Wharton Repeats As Top Research School

The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia

The Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia

DOES RESEARCH COME WITH A TEACHING TRADEOFF?

That said, attending school at a program known for stellar research may come with a tradeoff: Teaching. Historically, for example, a program like Darden distinguished itself by its rigorous, case-based curriculum that melds deep thought with freewheeling dialogue. Such a framework requires strong teaching acumen to prepare students identify all angles and variables, defend their positions, and develop a process for thinking through situations. Even more, it involves intensive preparation. As a result, teaching is valued more highly than research at Darden in terms of faculty reviews and, ultimately, tenure.

From 1988-2010, Darden was the only program to score within the top 20th percentile for teaching excellence in every Businessweek student survey. In a world where whatever gets evaluated gets done, teaching takes precedence in such schools. Not surprisingly, Darden scores relatively low in Jindal’s research latest ranking. At the same time, however, Darden ranks 1st in The Economist’s 2015 student survey of educational experience and 7th for faculty quality. And it came in 9th in Bloomberg Businessweek’s student satisfaction survey. Compare that to Wharton, a top three program overall – and #1 for research according to Jindal. Wharton placed 26th and 20th for education experience and faculty quality respectively with The Economist. And it finished 27th in Bloomberg Businessweek’s student satisfaction survey.

You’ll find a similar dynamic at Harvard, where The Economist’s student survey respondents ranked faculty 24th overall (with the school coming in 19th with Bloomberg Businessweek). The same thing happened at McCombs, where faculty and student experience ranked 28th and 27th respectively with The Economist student survey (and 37th in Bloomberg Businessweek’s student survey).

That said, there are exceptions to this rule. Stern is one. Despite ranking 3rd in research, Stern professors also pulled off another 3rd place finish with The Economist on faculty quality.

DIFFERENCES IN RESEARCH RANKING BETWEEN JINDAL AND THE FINANCIAL TIMES

These days, business research gets a bad rap. Look no further than Bloomberg Businessweek, which  “scrapped’ its 10% research weight from its 2015 business school rankings to better answer, “How well does this business school channel its gradates into good jobs?” However, the Financial Times still factors in research (at a 10% weight, no less). And it offers some distinct advantages. Unlike the Jindal research ranking, which only covers 24 academic journals, the Financial Times, targets 45. More important, the Financial Times results are weighed “relative to faculty size. Unlike Jindal, however, the Financial Times research ranking is a lagging indicator, covering published research from full-time faculty members from January 2011-Octboer 2013.

Despite expanding the research universe, Wharton and Harvard still rank 1-2 with the Financial Times. Stern and Rotman climb to the third and fourth spots, while Sloan falls to sixth. The big loser, however, is McCombs, which tumbles all the way down to 20th. London Business School makes the biggest leap, going from 26th to 5th, while Marshall plummets to 23rd when the Financial Times methodology is applied.

Several MBA programs, which aren’t ranked in Jindal’s top 50, perform far better here, including Cambridge( Judge) (26th), Western Ontario (Ivey) (26th), HEC Paris (30th), Georgetown (McDonough) (30th), Imperial College (37th), Tuck (37th), and SDA Bocconi (37th).

In a grand irony, Jindal doesn’t even crack the Financial Times’ top 100 in research, which likely stems from not making the top 100 overall. The same would apply to Arizona State (Carey) and the Netherlands’ Tilburg University, which ranked 25th and 32nd with Jindal but don’t appear in the Financial Times’ overall ranking.

To see how your favorite MBA programs ranked in both the Jindal and Financial Times rankings, go to the next page.

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