Picture a newsroom. Along with communal tables, scribes hunch over their monitors. Their fingers race across their keyboards like a grand pianist…under a 30-minute deadline. Sure, journalists strive to produce rigorously-researched and thought-provoking products. Like any decorated Indy rocker, they also dream of making a hit: a story that resonates with a larger audience.
Journalists are like any creators. Beyond the dogged pursuit of truth, they want to reach out and make a difference…even entertain on occasion. These days, performance is measured in clicks. Fair or not, page views reveal the value of content. They reflect the interests, concerns, and aspirations of readers. Even more, they tip journalists off to where they should devote their energies.
At Poets&Quants, our mission is threefold. We want to help readers understand their education options, increase their odds of admission, and enhance their MBA experience on campus. Not surprisingly, our biggest stories revolved around rankings and data dumps. Technically, our most-read stories involved rankings from 2018: our exclusive full-time MBA and online MBA rankings. Among the top five, you’ll also find statistics-related stories involving acceptance rates and average GMATs. In addition, many of our biggest stories from 2019 had a “tail” as editors say. Translation: They were published before 2019 and continued to generate page views organically through search.
Overall, five of our ten most popular stories were authored in 2019 (with the top 20 containing another five). The big trend this year? Aside from rankings and data, P&Q readers love learning about other MBAs. Even more, they want to know which applicants got dinged and (more importantly) why. Wondering which 2019 stories garnered the most attention from readers? Here is a list of this year’s non-rankings stories that generated the most traffic on Poets&Quants (with links to the most-read rankings and data stories on the third page).
Rankings can become rigid at times. Let’s be honest: schools know the measures and their weights. When they stray or slide, they get knocked down a few pegs. Make no mistake: applicants notice. Rank equals identity. Just ask any dean: there are few tasks more difficult than re-gaining lost ground. As a result, many schools play to the metrics that govern their ranking.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t making investments in facilities, programming, and resources. Problem is, these initiatives don’t always move the ranking needle…at least not immediately. That’s why P&Q profiles 10 MBA programs that are making strides below the rankings radar. This year, for example, P&Q feted Washington University’s Olin School for opening their core with a month-long global excursion to boost their first-years’ international mindset. In contrast, P&Q publicized how Vanderbilt University’s Owen School has carved out a lucrative niche in healthcare, a $3.5 trillion dollar market that accounts for nearly 20% of GDP.
Whether they are incumbents like Michigan Ross or upstarts like Georgia Tech Scheller, this annual feature celebrates the schools that aren’t afraid to take bold paths. This courage – and its potential to disrupt the graduate business marketplace – are what make these schools worthy of watching more closely in the coming years.
Each spring, business schools celebrate the achievements and sacrifices of their graduates. They dole out awards and deliver speeches – accolades that are lucky to make a press release (let alone reach the large public). This begged a question that P&Q wrestled with in early 2015. How do we expose the year’s top MBA students to a broader audience – to give them a positive digital footprint that could create opportunities for them?
In response, P&Q launched its Best & Brightest MBAs feature, which profiles 100 of the most promising full-time MBA graduates. To do this, P&Q invites over 70 graduate business schools to submit nominations for their top students. While schools pick students using their own criteria, P&Q encourages schools to include “trailblazers,” “servant leaders.” and “the most indispensable MBAs in the class.” Overall, P&Q received 243 nominations in 2019, evaluating them in three categories: extracurricular activities, academic and professional achievements, and the insightfulness of their responses.
This year’s Best & Brightest featured 56 women. Over a third of students honored hailed from overseas, with Deloitte and McKinsey being the largest employers of Best & Brightest talent. The Best & Brightest’s ranks included Lia Winograd, who built her startup into a million-dollar enterprise at NYU Stern, and Vito Errico, a Bronze Star recipient and Pentagon officer who helped the dean research his next book. Those are just a few tidbits about the class, with each member’s profile including 20 questions and a recommendation from a faculty member or administrator. Along with 100 student profiles, the Best & Brightest also spins out several additional stories ranging from 100 MBAs To Watch (featuring talented graduates who just missed the Best & Brightest cut) to topic-driven analysis like the biggest business school myths.
Taking a page from Best & Brightest, P&Q also launched its “Class of” series in 2015. The difference? P&Q profiles a dozen first-year MBA students from each of the top business schools. In 2019-2020 alone, P&Q will introduce its readers to over 50 MBA programs, ranging from Chicago Booth and Wharton to HEC Paris and CEIBS.
Each August, P&Q kicks off this series with an introductory story, highlighting a student from each of the schools being covered. What exactly do these first-years bring to the table? “If past is prologue, this class will boast tech moguls, financial heavyweights, and consulting partners in the years to come – not to mention thought leaders, public servants, and philanthropists,” observes P&Q senior writer Jeff Schmitt. “Think of them as the proverbial high potentials, the gifted and gutsy game-changers who’ve opened markets, launched products, and formed coalitions at iconic firms like Google, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs. Their impact can already be quantified in terms of thousands of people and millions of dollars.”
The student profiles, shorter than their Best & Brightest counterparts, outline each candidates’ academic and professional backgrounds. In addition, these profiles reveal why these students chose particular programs and how they determined which schools were a good fit. Big picture: the “Go-Getters” story acts as a bridge to the larger “Class of” series, one that enables readers to take a deep dive into the programming and cultures of their target business schools.
What do prospective students love nearly as much as rankings and data? That’s right: they want lists – with information that’s easy to find and all in one spot. That’s exactly what P&Q supplies each spring by collecting business school application deadline information for over 40 programs (along with a supplement for top European schools).
Broken out by round, this application story is designed to be bookmarked. It includes deadlines and decision dates, along with links to essay and application preparation instructions from the schools. In short, it is an all-in-one tool that makes it easy for applicants to stay organized and informed.