Many organizations, including business magazines, newspapers and Internet sites publish lists of Universities offering MBA programs that are supposedly the best in the country. If you compare such lists, you find that many of the same schools appear on them, although not ranked in the same order on all lists. These are usually schools with national reputations and their names are well known in many parts of the world. Sadly, excellent schools offering good MBA programs have no chance to be including in these rankings. Some of the schools not included may, in fact, be more suitable for some students than the nationally known schools.
If you attach too much creditability to rankings published by periodicals such as Bloomberg Business Week, Forbes , and The Wall Street Journal , you may miss many opportunities to find an MBA program that fits your needs best. You must also understand that these lists rank the business school and not the school's MBA program. Many schools offer full-time, part-time, and executive MBA classess. Distance Learning programs are now growing in popularity. A school's full-time program may be taught by highly qualified professors while its part-time program is taught by adjuncts without terminal degrees.
It is interesting to look at the way MBA schools and programs rank if we compare them on a single characteristic such as student quality or starting salary of graduates. In this article we look at three rankings based on data reported by a large number of MBA schools.
The first ranking criterion is selectivity, or a measure of how many applicants are returned by an MBA program. One must take this criterion with some skepticism. A school that rejects a large number of applicants because many of them are unqualified may rank higher than a school that rejects fewer applicants because it gets a small number of them but most are very good candidates. From a list of top 40 MBA programs out of 928 programs reporting as of January 2011, the first few most selective programs were:
Indian Institute of Technology's Master of Management program – India – 99
University of Dhaka's Full-Time MBA – Bangladesh – 97
Chaminade University of Honolulu's MBA Evening Program – US – 95
National University of Singapore's Part-Time MBA – Singapore -95
National University of Singapore's The NUS MBA – Singapore -93
HFU Hochschule Furtwangen University's Executive MBA – Germany -90
Lahore University of Management Sciences's Full-Time program – Pakistan – 90
The two schools at the bottom of the list of 40 schools both ranked as # 35 were
Simon Fraser University's MBA – Canada – 75
TiasNimbas Business School's 2-year Part-Time MBA – Netherlands – 75
A second ranking criterion is recruiting, the number of companies interviewing MBA students on campus prior to graduation. It is important to understand that a large number of recruiters does not mean a large number of job offers and a large number of interviews does not always mean talking to the best companies. A lot depends on the individual student's background and record. From a list of top 40 MBA school's programs out of 423 reporting as of January 2011, the top five reported the following number of recruiters:
Escuela de Administracion de Empresas' three MBA programs – Spain – 600
University of Western Ontario's Full-Time program – Canada – 330
Indian School of Business' Post Graduate Program in Management – India – 300
Kansas State University's Full-time program – US -300
Washington State University's Pullman Full-time Master of Business – US – 300
University of Arizona's Full-Time MBA – US – 250
Quinnipiac University's Full-Time program – US – 235
The list continues with some 120 MBA offerings tied for 29th place with 100 recruiters each.
The third ranking we look at is based on a combination of factors weighed according to how important each is to MBA degree seekers. The weights assigned are as follows, with 100 assigned to the most popular item and the others weighed accordingly ..
Median salary of MBA graduates – 100
Percent of students in the program with work experience – 20
Average GPA of entering class of students – 20
Average GMAT score of entering class – 13
Percent of graduating obtaining jobs upon graduation – 6
Schools are asked to report the above data and the resulting ranking is based on schools that reported each of the five data. From the top 40 schools out of 234 reporting, here are the scores of the top seven:
University of Ottawa 'Part-time program – Canada – 125.5
Leipzig Graduate School of Management's Full-time program – Germany – 113.4
Graduate School of Business Administration, Zurich Executive program – Switzerland – 108.7
New York University's Full-time Program – US – 105.3
Stanford University's Full-time Program – US – 104.4
University of California, Berkeley's Evening and Weekend MBA – US -104.1
MIT's Full-time, Two-Year MBA – US == 100.7
At the bottom of the list of 40 are # 39, Babson College's 2-year MBA – 78.6; and # 40, Texas A & M University's Full-time MBA – 78.2. Interestingly, Babson's One-Year MBA for Business Graduates ranked # 29 in the list.
Assuming that the 5 criteria that make up the weight are an indication of MBA education quality, any school in this list of 40 can be considered as having a high quality MBA program.
There is general agreement that the best MBA programs are found in the United States. Many other countries, however, have established good reputations for their MBA offerings. Such foreign programs are typically modeled on the American approach to MBA education. As you can see from the above lists, many non-US MBA programs now rank highly on the three quality criteria described above.