Ten Biggest Surprises In Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2022 MBA Ranking

7) Is This Really Diversity?

What constitutes diversity in a business school population? Certainly, gender and race are critical in any attempt to measure the diversity of a school’s student body. But so is the work backgrounds and experiences students bring to the classroom as well as the global nature of a given class.

For the second year in a row, Bloomberg Businessweek attempts to take a crack at measuring an MBA program’s diversity and makes it part of the overall ranking. Officially, the magazine’s editors say they give an 8% weight to this factor, while Jain’s anaysis shows it is more like 10%. No matter. More important, however, is how Businessweek measures this topical issue.

The so-called Diversity Index rewards schools for recruiting both minority students and women, with additional weight given to underrepresented minorities, with half of the emphasis on race and ethnicity and half on gender. The formula for all this is complicated because the magazine adjusts each minority group’s number according to the “GMAT pipeline.”

We’ll let Businessweek explain this in its own convoluted language: “A multiplier is used to adjust a school’s minority group population based on that group’s presence in the GMAT test-taking population relative to the US population. By comparing the GMAT makeup and the U.S. population makeup, we are able to identify overrepresented minority groups such as Asian American students (GMAT % greater than US %) and such underrepresented minority groups as Black and Hispanic students (GMAT % less than US %). We then give schools more credit for the underrepresented minority students they recruit.”

The end result is that Businessweek gives a school more credit for enrolling a Hispanic or Black MBA student than it does an Asian American student. In fact, a Hispanic or Latino student is three times as valuable as an Asian American, while a Black MBA student is roughly twice as valuable. While we agree that business schools need to do a better job recruiting Black and Hispanic MBA students, applying a subjective formula that is blatantly biased against Asian Americas is not the way to do it.

The results of this formula? Howard University’s business school, which was ranked third in diversity last year by Businessweek, now ranks first.  While it’s good to see a Historically Black College and University (HBSC) at the top, you could easily argue that the school is among the least diverse business schools in the U.S. After all, according to Businessweek’s own data, there are no white students at Howard even though whites make up 61% of the U.S. population. And there are no Hispanic students, even though Latinos represent 18% of the U.S. population. As for Asian Americans, who account for 7% of the U.S., it’s also zero. percent white, Hispanic, and Asian American students at Howard. That wouldn’t meet anyone’s definition of diversity when those races make up 85.3% of the U.S. population. So you can justifiably argue that Howard has the least diverse MBA population of any ranked business school in the world, with the exception of a few schools in India.

It’s also important to make a distinction between diversity, literally the mix of students, and inclusion, a student culture where differences are respected and valued. One goes hand in hand with the other. You can have an amazing mixture of people from different work and undergraduate backgrounds, far-flung geographies, races and ethnicities of all kinds, and close to a gender balance, but if those alternate perspectives and opinions are not embraced, it’s pretty worthless.

While diversity is rightfully a priority at most U.S. business schools these days, it’s also a difficult challenge. And it’s not only about race and ethnicity. Businessweek efforts to measure it fail miserably.

8) What’s Really Best About Each School?

On its surveys to students and alumni, Businessweek asks this question: “What is the best thing about your MBA program?”

For this ranking, the magazine says that 929,000 students and alumni answered from its surveys over the year. Businessweek says it uses natural language processing to identify representative comments from each school based on their common themes and keywords. Then it eliminates duplicates and tosses in a few of these quotes on each school’s page on the magazine’s website.

Given the exceptional students these schools attract, you would think a reader should find some fairly thoughtful and insightful comments reproduced by Businessweek. Not so much. A sample here:


“Meeting and learning from the incredibly smart and talented classmates”

“Network and focus on interpersonal dynamics / leadership development”

“The quality, kindness, and collaborative attitude of the student body”

“Meeting new people with diverse professional backgrounds”

“Focus on entrepreneurship, small class size of incredible peers”


“The vigor of the classroom environment, the network, the job opportunities”

“Classroom environment, peer relationships and experiences, access to career opportunities”

“The incredible people I met. Students, professors, protagonists, campus administrators, everyone was amazing”

“Quality of classroom teaching, conversation, cases and learnings – the best academic experience possible”

“Learning from some of the smartest people in the world – both professors and students”


“Diversity of the cohort, alumni network, and the key learnings taken from working in diverse teams”

“Diversity, teaching quality”

“Diversity, internationalism”

“Diversity, global perspective in all class content, faculties try to have cases from all over the world”

“Diversity, career opportunities, excellent peers, truly global learning”


“Broad interests and diverse backgrounds in a large class, can easily find people who you get along with”

“Student led extra-curriculars and opportunities to connect socially with students from a breadth of backgrounds”

“The brand name carries a lot of weight, though it feels like the program relies strongly on this fact”

“Depth of resources, expansive education departments, quality of peers, vast alumni network, fun & engaged community”

“Large, diverse class, lots of pride, focus on learning, multiple stretch opportunities”

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