Global report said business education in the region "is in the very early stages of development"
The American University of Sharjah and the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut have been ranked among the top five MBA programs in the Middle East and North African (MENA) in a new global business schools report.
Published by www.TopMBA.com, the QS Global Business Schools Report 2013-14 provides an alternative to traditional MBA rankings by highlighting feedback from employers.
The report is based on 4,318 responses from recruiters who actively hire MBAs.
In the report, which is separated into global regions, the American University of Sharjah, in the UAE, was ranked third the MENA region, while the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut was ranked fifth.
Top billing in the MENA region went to the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business program, followed by the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. The American University in Cairo came in fourth.
The report said business schools in this year's rating for the Africa and Middle East region had all featured in previous years.
“There are many more business schools across the African continent, but management education is still in its infancy and it will take many years before these schools achieve real prominence on the international stage,” it said.
“In general terms, business education in the Middle East is in the very early stages of development. However, with the region looking to diversify its economy away from a strong reliance on the extraction and trade of natural resources, countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are investing in attracting management education providers from abroad to help train local business leaders and future-proof their economies.”
Overall, five schools received the maximum score for employer recognition, identifying them as the leading schools in their region: Harvard and Stanford (North America), INSEAD and London Business School (Europe), and again INSEAD (Asia-Pacific).
The report points to a leading cluster of 33 “elite global” business schools spread across North America (18), Europe (13) and Asia-Pacific (2).
The US dominated the accompanying rankings in ten MBA subject specialisations: finance, strategy, innovation, leadership, marketing, entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, information management, operation management and international management.
Harvard tops five of the ten subjects, with INSEAD, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Stanford and Wharton topping the others.
“As key industries such as the finance sector consolidate their recovery from the economic crisis, the MBA is an increasingly in-demand qualification,” said Nunzio Quacquarelli, managing director of QS.
“With graduates from elite global schools in both North America and Europe now commanding average salaries in advance of $120,000, the MBA remains one of the safest investments around.”
The school with the highest average graduate salary is the Swiss business school IMD ($159,912), ahead of the US’s Stanford Graduate School of Business ($156,265).