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Comparing MBA Rankings and Information Sources [#permalink]
23 Jan 2005, 22:53
It is interesting to contrast the rankings of schools across different ranking systems. For instance, BW and EIU have placed Northwestern at the very top of the ultra elite cluster while FT typically ranks Northwestern near the bottom of the ultra elite cluster. Likewise, FT placed Michigan at #25 the same year that EIU ranked it #10. Some differences were far more dramatic with Edinburgh ranked #20 (and above LBS) in one system and #73 (and some 65 positions below LBS) in the other.
Last edited by Hjort on 20 Jun 2005, 17:48, edited 2 times in total.
One ranking system that does not appear too often on GMAT Club is US News. US News is strongly influenced by the admissions attributes of schools. Accordingly, it does a pretty good job of showing which schools attract students with high admissions values. While quality and admisisons factors are certainly related, admisisons factors are still relatively crude indicators of quality. Further, the US News system essentially ignores the many quality MBA programs outside of the United States.
Since many of the schools in the Western US tend to have realtively high admissions factors, the US News system tends to rate these schools much more highly than other ranking systems. Consider, for instance, Univ of Washington which ranks #93 worldwide in FT2005 but #18 in the US for US News 2006. Some of the rankings of US News appear to test the credulity of the reader- consider UC Berkeley outranking both Columbia and Chicago in 2006. Nonetheless, the top 15 or so US schools on EIU, FT, BW, and US News tend to be pretty similar.
A number of applicants have asked me about good sources for information on MBA programs. I actually enjoy the campus tours sponsored by the business schools. They tend to be rather light on substantive content but provide a good opportunity the school in person.
Many schools provide contact information for current students in the MBA program. These types of contact can provide valuable insight into the school but I have generally found they to be a less than overwhelming source of critical information. Since the students who participate in contacting prospective students are generally self-selected, it comes as little surprise that they are often not representative of the general student population. Now and then I have come across some dissatisfied students who act an ambassadors for the school but they are quite rare (most people who truly dislike the school and feel that is was poor preparation for employment probably have far better things to do than express their bitterness to random students who contact them- but it still happens). It might seem obvious, but it is important to remember that most MBA students have little frame of reference to compare their school against since transfer is so rare with MBA programs (although exchange students have their home school to compare against).