FT Rankings Present and Future

Helen Barrett, editor of work and careers at Financial Times, talks with AACSB International about the business school rankings we see today, and what we can expect in the future.


Dan LeClair: [00:15] Welcome, Helen.

Helen Barrett: [00:16] Thank you.

LeClair: [00:16] It's been a little more than a year since you began overseeing the work in careers...

Barrett: [00:21] That's right.


LeClair: [00:22] coverage at FT. That work in careers section includes the portfolio rankings.

Barrett: [00:29] It does.

LeClair: [00:29] FT rankings.

Barrett: [00:30] Special education. Complete responsibility for the rankings.

LeClair: [00:33] There are a lot of them though.

Barrett: [00:34] There is a lot of them, yes.

LeClair: [00:35] How many of them are there? [laughs]

Barrett: [00:36] We have seven main rankings every year. Then we have several spin off rankings and mini-rankings. It varies year to year.

[00:47] Usually, we do an extra two, three, four. We started doing directories as well of business schools. Lots of work.

LeClair: [00:56] It sounds rather continuous. [laughs] At any given moment, you and your team are preparing to release a new ranking.

Barrett: [01:03] That's right. We have a strict annual timetable.

LeClair: [01:08] What keeps you excited about doing this? What drives you in this work that you're doing with the rankings?

Barrett: [01:17] What I find exciting is that business education is absolutely core to the Financial Times proposition. It underpins everything that our readers are interested in.

LeClair: [01:30] The global?

Barrett: [01:31] Yeah, it's global. Business education is global. The people in the world of business education, the global citizens.

[01:39] I talked to business schools, the people who work in them all the time. It's very much a global industry. The Financial Times is obviously a global newspaper.

[01:50] More than that, our rankings are of interest to all our readers. Whether they are alumni, whether they are existing students. Potential students. Everyone's a potential student.

[02:03] Employers or as parents. In some capacity, all our readers are interested in business education.

LeClair: [02:11] In an industry, not only is business changing, journalism is changing, business education is changing. Where do you think the rankings—the FT rankings in particular—are going in the future? Where would you like them to go?

Barrett: [02:26] We have introduced some new rankings. These are purely editorial rankings. They're not necessarily commercial propositions. These are stories that we pursue. We think the data is interesting.

LeClair: [02:43] For example?

Barrett: [02:44] For example, directory of Chinese business schools. Very few Chinese business schools were getting into the main FT rankings.

[02:53] We could see that there was a lot of interest in stuff going on in China. If we were going to report the whole global picture, without touching on Chinese business schools, it was becoming a nonsense.

[03:07] It's such a booming industry. We decided to put together a directory of Chinese business schools. We don't rank them.

[03:14] We just list them and it's searchable. We have interesting editorial around it as well. Stories, videos, interviews, that sort of thing.

Filmed February 2018 on site at AACSB's annual Deans Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.