LIKE OTHER RANKINGS, THIS ONE IS HARDLY FLAWLESS
Like any other ranking of business schools, it is not flawless. Though BusinessWeek employs statisticians to comb through the data to verify its integrity, students come to each of these schools with very different expectations that can result in significantly different grades they award their institutions. There is also concern of widespread cheerleading by students who want to push their schools ahead in the rankings so their degrees have more prestige. These issues alone are in all probability what has kept Harvard and Stanford from ever placing first in the BusinessWeek survey.
Those students come to campus with high expectations and are less likely to care about how a ranking impacts the status of their degree. So they are prone to be more demanding and more honest in their answers to BusinessWeek’s questions. They graduate with the highest starting pay packages and know that a Harvard or Stanford MBA can pretty much open any door in the world.
It’s also helpful to realize that in many cases, BusinessWeek is pretty much splitting hairs by giving a specific numerical rank to a school’s MBA program. Because the magazine publishes the underlying index scores used to assign a given rank to a school, you know that in many cases the difference between a school ranked 26 and 27 is statistically meaningless.
In the 2012 survey, for example, Texas A&M Mays School has an index score of 69.63 which is used by BusinessWeek to give the school a rank of 26. The 27th school, Ohio State University, has an index score that is only .05 lower at 69.58. But it gets even sillier: the University of Southern California’s Marshall School is ranked 27th with an index score of 69.52, while Southern Methodist University’s Cox School is ranked 28th with an index score of 69.46. The upshot: all four of these schools have different actual ranks but their index scores separate them by a tiny fraction of a point.
Corrected 2012 BusinessWeek Top MBA Programs in the U.S.
|2012 Rank & School||Index Score||2010 Ranking||MBA Satisfaction||Recruiter Satisfaction||Intellectual Cap Rank|
|1. Chicago (Booth)||100.0||1||11||1||11|
|3. UPenn (Wharton)||97.21||3||16||2||6|
|4. Stanford GSB||95.99||5||8||5||8|
|5. Northwestern (Kellogg)||94.22||4||13||4||25|
|6. Duke (Fuqua)||93.59||6||22||7||1|
|7. Cornell (Johnson)||93.50||13||2||12||2|
|8. Michigan (Ross)||92.65||7||14||6||12|
|9. MIT (Sloan)||91.01||10||9||10||13|
|10. Virginia (Darden)||90.20||11||5||9||32|
|11. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)||88.71||15||3||17||22|
|12. Dartmouth (Tuck)||88.67||14||4||11||16|
|14. UC-Berkeley (Haas)||87.51||8||10||13||3|
|15. Indiana (Kelley)||87.07||19||1||20||49|
|16. New York (Stern)||85.60||18||7||16||18|
|17. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)||80.48||16||18||14||28|
|18. UCLA (Anderson)||79.63||17||21||19||5|
|19. Texas-Austin (McCombs)||78.78||25||28||15||4|
|20. Notre Dame (Mendoza)||78.15||24||17||18||31|
|22. Emory (Goizueta)||72.86||22||29||23||24|
|23. Georgia Tech (Scheller)||72.24||23||23||34||20|
|24. Maryland (Smith)||71.80||42||6||44||14|
|25. Vanderbilt (Owen)||69.83||37||24||31||37|