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HEC Executive Education Stays Top of 2023 FT Classification

HEC Paris preserves its number one spot in the F.T. Combined classifications, published today. This brings together the Open and Custom rankings where the school takes second and third places, respectively. After its record-breaking 2022 position, today’s announcement consolidates HEC as the world’s best Executive Education establishment in the general table. 

FT Executive Education Rankings 2023 - HEC Paris Executive Education Stays Top of 2023 FT Classification

As the legendary basketball coach Patricia Sue Head once said: “It’s harder to stay on top than it is to make the climb.” HEC Paris nevertheless has retained its number one position for its Executive Education programs, a first in the school’s long history. “I am very grateful for the FT’s recognition,” said Anne-Valérie Corboz, the HEC Paris Executive Education  Dean on hearing the news, “as it speaks directly to the hard work, dedication and passion the team invests in its relationship with our clients and participants."

In the Open-enrollment programs, the school tops the rankings in seven of the eight categories, almost doubling its 2022 results in this sector (see below for details on how the British FT daily calculates these rankings). This reflects HEC’s ability to recruit students, prepare them for the courses and design them for made-to-measure, personalized sessions. The school has maintained its top global position in the Teaching Methods, Follow-up, Aims Achieved and New Skills categories. “Our school is reaffirming its contemporaneity and the pertinence of its academic teaching,” says Omar El Arfaoui, Director of Accreditations, Data and Rankings at HEC. “Clearly, the students are satisfied with skill sets they are acquiring and the new methods of management and leadership our school is offering.” 

Outstanding Track Record for Follow-up

What is equally satisfying in reading the results is the ability of the school to follow the career paths of its executive graduates. And HEC has also been lauded as a world leader in bringing together its alumni network, retaining its number one position in this category for the third consecutive year. Anne-Valérie Corboz, who has a long career in top business schools, insists that the rankings reinforce the leadership role institutions like HEC must take in the future: “In a time of unprecedented global instability and turbulence, we must take our seat at the table of the critical debates of our time, providing a platform for reflection, strategic thinking and thoughtful leadership.” 

Corboz also points to the ability of the school to maintain or reach the world’s Top Five rankings in the following categories: Quality of Participants (a leap of eight places to third compared to 2020); the International Participants (up one place from last year, to fourth); International Location (our ability to offer Exed programs outside of the countries in which HEC operates); and Faculty Diversity (a more than honorable fifth).

Custom Programs Progress Too

The FT tables also show a strong progression in the made-to-measure programs in terms of its overseas proposals and international clients. In the former, HEC finds itself ahead of its direct rivals, Duke and INSEAD, while in the latter its improvement has been incremental but nevertheless undisputed. What the school can be proud of is the fact that it is second only to Henley in terms of the Faculty Diversity sector. This includes gender and nationality. 


The three annual FT rankings feature the world’s top 75 business schools, internationally accredited by either AACSB or Equis. The customized table focuses on programs tailored to the needs of organizations, who consult with business schools to address strategic imperatives. The Open-enrolment table puts an emphasis on programs open to participants from different organizations and at different stages in their careers, around topics ranging from cryptocurrency to entrepreneurial mindset. A third ranking combines the two tables to bring the 50 best business schools in the world. This is calculated “according to an equal weighting of the total scores achieved in both rankings, rather than an average of ranking position,” states the F.T.

The classification in the 14 categories of each ranking is principally based on evaluations by the school’s entrepreneurship clients (for Customs) and its participants (for Open). 20% of the ranking is also calculated from the school criteria on international clients, growth, faculty diversity, overseas programs, and partner schools.

In terms of client and participant feedback, HEC - which administers executive programs in both its Jouy-en-Josas and Qatar bases - topped the rankings in 2023 in the following categories: Preparation, Course Design, Teaching methods & material, Faculty, New skills & learning, Follow-up and Aims achieved. 

NB In 2021, the Financial Times was forced to cancel its 23rd Global executive rankings in response to the crippling impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also important to note that INSEAD did not participate in last year’s FT Exed Ranking.


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