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IESE ranked 1st in world for Executive Education by FT for record 6th year

Innovation, networking, internationality and faculty highlighted

In the 2020 Financial Times ranking, IESE's custom programs were also ranked first in the world.

May 11, 2020

IESE’s Executive Education programs have been ranked the best in the world by the Financial Times for a record-breaking sixth consecutive year.

The 2020 performance means IESE breaks its own record: last year, IESE became the first school to top the FT‘s Executive Education ranking five years in a row. (More information on IESE’s rankings.)

This year the school extended its unrivaled run at the top of the ranking, thanks to its performance in categories such as the preparation and innovation of its programs, the ability to provide new skills and learning to executives, the follow-up given to participants, its internationality, and its faculty, among others.

Mireia Rius, Associate Dean for Executive Education at IESE, said the FT ranking was particularly significant coming in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. “Technological disruption in recent years has changed the business landscape significantly,” Rius said. “At IESE, we have a proven track record in helping executives, entrepreneurs and companies thrive in these challenging circumstances. We’ve done this by delivering programs adapted to their specific challenges, and which utilize the latest teaching methods and technologies to ensure maximum flexibility (whether delivered online, face to face or a mix of both).”

Ability to adapt

“The fact our corporate clients and participants have continually considered us best in class during a time of such seismic shifts shows we know not only how to be agile to respond to their needs, but also how to teach business leaders themselves to adapt. And that’s a skill that’s going to be even more important during and after this crisis,” Rius said.

IESE has recently launched a series of initiatives to help companies and executives at all stages in their career cope with the current pandemic, including Project Safeguard, a new online program to give participants and their companies the tools they need to survive in these turbulent times, and a series of open access sessions related to COVID-19 and its fallout.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been in constant dialogue with companies and executives around the world, adapting to their immediate needs. This builds on our model of always putting the concerns of our students, alumni and clients at the center,” Rius said.

First in custom programs for companies 

The 2020 FT Executive Education ranking analyzes two types of programs for executives: custom programs (courses that are tailor-made for specific companies) and open-enrollment programs (open to executives from any company). The FT produces separate rankings for custom and open programs, and then produces an overall rating for all of executive education, based on the data collected for the two rankings. As well as coming first overall in the combined ranking, IESE was also ranked first for custom programs, and in the top 10 for open programs.

Regarding custom programs, IESE scored high marks across the board, placing in the top five for 13 of the 15 categories that the FT uses to rank programs, and in the top three for 10 of them. These include factors such as program preparation, design (where IESE stood out for its close interactions with clients and the ability to integrate cutting-edge research into its programs), the ability to impart new skills and learning through the program, as well as the diversity of its faculty and the international reach of the school.

For open programs, participants particularly valued the follow-up provided by IESE once they were back in the workplace (ranking no.2 in the world on this measure), as well as the numerous networking opportunities on the program. IESE´s internationality and strong alliances with top business schools such as Harvard, Wharton and CEIBS, also drew praise, as they allow rich opportunities for networking and help foster an international mindset.

The Financial Times ranking is based on survey responses from custom program clients and open program participants, combined with data provided by the business schools themselves across a number of different criteria.

View the full ranking.