SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business executive MBA program has climbed to 33rd among U.S. MBA programs on the 2011 Financial Times list of leading executive MBA programs.

"We are happy to again be honored as one of the world's top executive MBA programs," said Eccles Business School Dean Taylor Randall. "That is a testament to the quality of both our faculty and students, as well as the relevance of our offerings to entrepreneurs and the corporate and the nonprofit arenas alike."

The U.'s business school moved up from last year's ranking of 38th among U.S. schools. The school's executive MBA program also ranks 88th in the Financial Times' world rankings and is the only Utah program to rank in the top 100, according to school officials.

According to Financial Times, the average U. executive MBA alumni annual salary is $133,570 which is up by $10,410 from last year; something school officials called impressive given the downturn in the economy.

"The value of an executive MBA remains a solid investment which pays dividends to both the employee and the employer," said Brad Vierig, associate dean of executive education at the Eccles school.

The Financial Times draws its ranking methodology from two sources. Around 55 percent of the ranking score comes from online alumni surveys and 45 percent of the score is calculated from data gathered by participating schools.

Alumni who are three years removed from graduating are asked about salary increases and career progression. The schools provide data on diversity of faculty and students, international reach, languages spoken by students, and the productivity of faculty in publishing articles in major academic and industry journals.

The David Eccles School of Business has been in existence since 1917 with about 3,500 students currently enrolled as graduates, undergraduates and executive degree candidates.