Do rankings have value?
That depends where you sit.
For business school deans, rankings are the bane of their existence. They’re narrow and easily-manipulated instruments, half-truths that can’t measure subtle differences like culture and teaching. To them, rankings are one-dimensional jigsaw puzzles, an interlocked frame full of holes in the middle.
Imperfect as they are, rankings serve a critical purpose. They introduce a variable as anathema to academia as vital to business: competition. The transparency of data – however flawed – holds MBA programs accountable for results. They justify if reputation is warranted or return is commensurate. In the process, rankings drive schools to focus on serving their students and boosting their programming and resources. Of course, they offer bragging rights to alumni from General Mills to Google.
GOING BEYOND BOX SCORES TO SHOW WHAT RANKINGS REALLY MEAN
Yes, rankings are as fallible as they are well-intentioned. Still, they make great starting points for potential applicants who are unsure where to best spend their time and energy. The trick is understanding how specific rankings work. Here’s the big secret: The data chosen and the weights given reflect a certain value system. U.S. News & World Report, for example, prizes inputs and outputs. In contrast, The Financial Times and The Economist rankings spotlight student and alumni sentiment…with a more global perspective to boot. And Bloomberg Businessweek? Well, no one is quite sure; they’re more of a work-in-progress.
In other words, rankings are far more complex than they appear on the surface, full of underlying assumptions that create certain inconsistencies. That’s why Poets&Quants looks behind the numbers and their accompanying methodologies. We look at history and compare rankings to identify the programs that are creating buzz…or slipping in stature. In other words, P&Q acts as an independent voice with a simple agenda: providing readers with a no-nonsense look at what rankings really mean to MBA candidates.
This year, P&Q authored over 80 articles analyzing various MBA-related rankings. Aside from examining the usual ‘name’ rankings, P&Q collected original data and produced exclusive rankings in the online and executive MBA arenas. In the process, we’ve also taken deep dives in rankings in fields like business master’s degrees, consulting, investment banking, and entrepreneurship.
Wondering where your target school or employer stands? Check out our links to our best rankings from 2018.
Poets & Quants
U.S. News & World Report
Wall Street Journal / Times Higher Ed
Go to next page for MBA rankings involving consulting firms, investment banks, startups, executive MBA programs, online MBA programs, and much more.