Does the world need yet another ranking of MBA programs?
Fortune, the old business media brand, apparently thinks so. This week Fortune debuted a new ranking of full-time MBA programs in the U.S. All together, 69 different business schools were on the inaugural list.
The winners, appropriately enough, reflect the old world view of a magazine that has lost much of its relevance an readership in today’s modern world. The top three in order? Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton.
Despite those predictable results, however, there are a few surprises and some key takeaways. You can decide whether Fortune missed its target, but here’s our five Botton-line thoughts:
1. Where In The World Is Michigan, UCLA, USC, Emory & …
Omissions often count more than inaccuracies in quality journalism, and the debut ranking of full-time MBA programs in the U.S. by Fortune has done a great job omitting some of the best MBA experiences in the world. The most obvious business schools missing in action are the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. These four institutions are among the world’s best, routinely making in Top 25 lists year after year. You won’t find any of them on the Fortune ranking.
In fact, 26% 26% of the MBA programs ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News this year are missing. So are another 27 programs that make U.S. News‘ Top 100. Translation: Four of every 10 business schools in the Top 100 (see table below) fail to even get a mention by Fortune, making its ranking yet another useless and damaging piece of misinformation on the Internet. Many of these schools, moreover, can rightly boast of having superb MBA programs, including Washington University, Rochester University, Arizona State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Northeastern, Penn State, and Boston College.
How much blame for these omissions fall on Fortune? After all, these schools by and large declined to complete the magazine’s questionnaire, thinking the ranking wasn’t worth the time. Problem is, Fortune only had to go to these schools’ website to find out the information it would need to rank their MBA programs. Median and mean starting salaries and the percentage of MBA graduates employed three months after graduation–the only three data points provided by schools for the ranking–are publicly available. Obviously, Fortune’s editors were too lazy to do what would have taken a few minutes of time to collect.
That’s a consequential error because unknowing prospective students are likely to be misinformed about the MBA market thanks to Fortune. Only so many people can apply and get admitted to the Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. Many of the missing schools are more accessible to greater numbers of applicants. Less less important, many of them offer MBA experiences that are significantly better than some of the programs ranked by Fortune.