Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 318 current; 324 intended, GPA 3.4
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Wake Up & Grind
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Nonprofit Social Entrepreneur
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Ms. East Africa Specialist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.34
Darden | Mr. Fintech Nerd
GMAT 740, GPA 7.7/10
Harvard | Mr. Improve Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Low GPA Over Achiever
GMAT 700, GPA 2.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Minority Champ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Gmat
GMAT 690, GPA 73.45 % (No GPA in undergrad)
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Indian Telecom ENG
GRE 340, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. 1st Gen Brazilian LGBT
GMAT 720, GPA 3.2
USC Marshall | Mr. Ambitious
GRE 323, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Tuck | Ms. Nigerian Footwear
GRE None, GPA 4.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Low GPA High GRE
GRE 325, GPA 3.2
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Finance Musician
GRE 330, GPA 3.6
NYU Stern | Mr. Hail Mary 740
GMAT 740, GPA 2.94
Harvard | Mr. London Artist
GMAT 730, GPA First Class Honours (4.0 equivalent)
Harvard | Mr. Professional Boy Scout
GMAT 660, GPA 3.83
SDA Bocconi | Mr. Pharma Manager
GMAT 650, GPA 3,2
Kellogg | Mr. Young PM
GMAT 710, GPA 9.64/10
Wharton | Mr. Indian VC
GRE 333, GPA 3.61

A Dozen Top Schools To Abstain From All MBA Rankings This Year

Columbia Business School is joining an effort with a dozen other top business schools to quit all MBA rankings for the forthcoming academic year.

The decision follows an effort by the Graduate Management Admission Council in mid-April to convince the major rankings organizations to put their lists on hold (see GMAC Leads A Call For A Pause In MBA Rankings). The unusual move by GMAC and two accreditation agencies—AACSB and EFMD—came at a time when many schools extended their application cycles and are deeply worried about the composition of the incoming classes they hope to enroll in the fall. It also occurred at a time of great concern over the employment outcomes of this year’s graduating classes.

Thus far, only Bloomberg Businessweek has announced that it will suspend its ranking this year. Instead, the magazine will do a survey of student reactions to the shift toward remote instruction when the pandemic disrupted normal class schedules. U.S. News, The Economist and the Financial Times have yet to announce their ranking plans. Forbes, which ranked MBA programs in 2019, publishes a biennial ranking so it does not have a 2020 list.

STANFORD GSB TAKES A CASE-BY-CASE APPROACH

In an email obtained by Poets&Quants to members of the Class of 2021, Columbia Business School attributes the move to “a collective decision, led by business school accrediting bodies and endorsed by a dozen top peer schools.”

Columbia does not name the other schools, and a spokesperson for the school declined to do so. But at least two other peer schools have told Poets&Quants they have not agreed to a full-out ban on cooperation with all MBA rankings. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business is taking a case-by-case approach. “We are not doing a blanket no rankings and taking each one, looking at timing and how big of a lift it is for our community,” explains a spokesperson for Stanford. “We are determining each ranking on a case by case basis and what makes sense for our students and alumni. In March, we didn’t want to add stress to our community and ask them to do one more thing since their world was being turned upside down.”

Yale School of Management, according to a spokesperson, has abstained from The Economist’s MBA ranking, which typically comes out in late October and decided not to participate in Businessweek‘s COVID-19 survey of students. “But as we move into the new season, we anticipate full participation with all the major rankings publications,” the spokesperson added.

‘THIS YEAR’S RANKINGS WOULD NOT ACCURATELY DEPICT WHAT FUTURE MBAS WOULD LIKELY EXPERIENCE’

According to the email to Columbia’s students, the decision not to participate was based on two main factors. “First, MBA rankings are used primarily by prospective students to better understand what their experience would be like in a particular program,” he wrote. “Given this unique moment in time and the extraordinary – and temporary – changes to our program, this year’s rankings would not accurately depict the type of environment that future MBA students would likely experience, both here at CBS or at any peer school.

“Second, we recognize that this continues to be a moment of heightened anxiety and stress. Asking our global community and key stakeholders to participate in a variety of MBA rankings when they have other concerns and priorities felt like an unfair intrusion and burden.”

Many rankings survey current students and recent graduates in student satisfaction surveys, as well as employers of MBAs and the schools themselves. Generally, alumni and employer surveys would take less than ten minutes to complete. The business school surveys, however, are time-consuming, requiring the verification of many data points from different offices and departments. In the latest Poets&Quants’ ranking of the top 100 MBA programs in the U.S., Columbia Business School ranked seventh.

‘THE LACK OF EASY ACCESS TO ADMISSIONS DATA IS A NEGATIVE SIDE-EFFECT OF THE SCHOOLS’ MOVE’

“I sympathize with the schools,” says Linda Abraham, founder of Accepted.com, a prominent admissions consulting firm. “They are still trying to finalize their Class of ’22. They are starting recruiting for the class of ’23, and they know they have to connect with applicants in a very different way than in any previous cycle.  Finally, and most importantly, they have to prepare different options for instruction depending on circumstances when school starts and as it continues throughout the year. In addition to concern about external stakeholders and their global community, which is real in this very stressful time, they are simply prioritizing serving their students and recruiting their next classes over filling out the forms required of the rankings.”

Abraham correctly notes that the main advantage of rankings has not been the actual numerical ranks for each school’s MBA program but rather the underlying data that allows applicants to easily compare programs. “The lack of easy access to this data is a negative side-effect of the schools’ move,” she notes. “I doubt if schools will do away with class profiles, although I guess even that is possible, so some of the data will still be available on individual school sites. Employment reports also provide a lot of valuable information for potential applicants.”

‘THE GOAL IS NOT TO STIFLE OUR COMMUNITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK’

Columbia claimed in the email that the school’s goal “is not to stifle our community the opportunity to provide feedback. In fact, we – along with many other schools who have decided not to engage in the rankings this year – are partnering with Bloomberg Businessweek to provide students an opportunity to share their feedback on how the school has responded to this crisis.”

The email included a link to a short questionnaire from Bloomberg Businessweek seeking input across a variety of dimensions of the school’s crisis response, including virtual learning; career management; communications and reimbursements of tuition and other fees.

“This will not be a ranking; instead, Bloomberg Businessweek will use your feedback to draw general conclusions regarding the actions business schools have implemented,” according to the message. “Your individual responses will not be shared with Columbia or others who have filled out the survey. Bloomberg Businessweek will only disclose survey responses in the aggregate and unlike rankings, will not use the data to make comparisons among schools. We think collecting data on your experience is important to our school, all business schools, prospective students and all of higher education. ”

The full email from Columbia Business School follows:

Dear Class of 2021,

We hope this message finds you safe. In light of the ongoing impacts the coronavirus pandemic is having on our global community, CBS has joined with other top schools to abstain from all MBA rankings for the upcoming academic year. This was a collective decision, led by business school accrediting bodies and endorsed by a dozen top peer schools.

Our decision to abstain is based on two main factors. First, MBA rankings are used primarily by prospective students to better understand what their experience would be like in a particular program. Given this unique moment in time and the extraordinary – and temporary – changes to our program, this year’s rankings would not accurately depict the type of environment that future MBA students would likely experience, both here at CBS or at any peer school. Second, we recognize that this continues to be a moment of heightened anxiety and stress. Asking our global community and key stakeholders to participate in a variety of MBA rankings when they have other concerns and priorities felt like an unfair intrusion and burden. 

Our goal with this decision is not to stifle our community the opportunity to provide feedback. In fact, we – along with many other schools who have decided not to engage in the rankings this year – are partnering with Bloomberg Businessweek to provide students an opportunity to share their feedback on how the School has responded to this crisis.

Below is a link to a short questionnaire from Bloomberg Businessweek seeking your input across a variety of dimensions of the School’s crisis response, including: virtual learning; career management; communications; and reimbursements. This will not be a ranking; instead, Bloomberg Businessweek will use your feedback to draw general conclusions regarding the actions business schools have implemented. Your individual responses will not be shared with Columbia or others who have filled out the survey. Bloomberg Businessweek will only disclose survey responses in the aggregate and unlike rankings, will not use the data to make comparisons among schools. We think collecting data on your experience is important to our school, all business schools, prospective students and all of higher education. Your participation is entirely voluntary, though we encourage you to complete this survey if time permits.

We remain appreciative for your patience, understanding and ongoing support as we continue to confront this crisis together. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at the below email or the Dean’s Office if you have any questions.

DON’T MISS: BUSINESSWEEK AGREES TO SUSPEND ITS MBA RANKING THIS YEAR or GMAC LEADS A CALL FOR A PAUSE IN MBA RANKINGS

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.