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How Much Do MBA Rankings Matter to Employers?

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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
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Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
How Much Do MBA Rankings Matter to Employers?  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2019, 19:40
How Much Do MBA Rankings Matter to Employers?

One common trope in MBA admissions is that while school rankings may indicate a more competitive school, they aren’t a direct factor in your post-MBA employment prospects. In other words, Wharton may send more graduates to company X than UCLA Anderson, but that’s mostly a result of their student body containing more impressive people, NOT because the recruiter is checking the Financial Times or U.S. News and World Report. But… what if that’s exactly what recruiters are doing?

Recent reporting from the BBC and New York Times reveals that there are in fact many companies which rely directly on school ranking when making hiring decisions. The old fashioned view—where a recruiter reads the name of your B-school, nods sagely, and declares “old many Jimmy went there too, so you must be a swell chap!”—is being rapidly supplanted by two trends.

First there’s the millennial recruiter, whose first instinct on seeing a school’s name is to Google it and see where it ranks. Many of the people who say “school rankings don’t matter” are old enough to remember a time when they genuinely were a non-factor. Most graduating high school seniors in the 80s weren’t comparing the rankings of each other’s future institutions in USNWR. But today’s younger hiring managers grew up in a world where high-stakes testing and intense academic stratification was de rigueur—it’s no surprise they’re bringing that mentality to the interview room.

The second trend is automated hiring systems. Computers have made both applying to jobs and sorting through applications easier, and the end result is more applications for the same number of jobs. How can a company find the perfect hire in among many thousands of applications? A simple school filter is an easy way to start getting the pool down to more manageable size. And that’s exactly what a recent survey by graduate recruiter Milkround found: “tick-box exercises such as filtering candidates by university league tables.”

So what does this all mean for successful applicants picking a B-school? Well, it confirms what we’ve been saying for years: “You should go to the best school you get in to.” When you’re investing tens of thousands of dollars in an MBA (and losing tens of thousands more in missed years of work), you need to be sure that your degree is going to have the maximum possible return on investment. The unfortunate reality is that MBA ranking lists have become something of a self-fulfilling prophesy—if everyone thinks school X is good, then it IS good. School rankings are a force in the post-MBA job market that you simply can’t afford to ignore.

Still not sure where you should apply or matriculate? Let’s talk below!
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Jon Frank
Founder, Admissionado

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How Much Do MBA Rankings Matter to Employers?   [#permalink] 10 Oct 2019, 19:40
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