‘THE FT RANKING ALGORITHM IS SECRET’
“As a school entirely focused on teaching, Hult has historically scored at the bottom on areas relating to research, namely “Faculty with Doctorates”, “FT Doctoral Rank” and “FT Research Rank,” explained Hodges. “Hult has also scored in the bottom 10% on “Alumni Recommend Rank” (a measure of how many other schools’ 2011 alumni recommend Hult) and “Placement Success Rank” (a measure of how Hult 2011 alumni rate the school’s placement services). Collectively these scores account for 24% of the overall ranking.”
“Clearly, the FT ranking algorithm is secret,” added Hodges in his email, obtained by Poets&Quants. “ And, as with any ranking, it is periodically updated. However, the team that compiles the FT ranking has indicated to us that schools are rewarded disproportionately for being significantly above average in any category and disproportionately penalized for being significantly below the average.”
Hodges promised students and alumni the school is taking its loss of an FT ranking seriously and hopes to reappear on the list next year. “Clearly we must get back into the FT ranking and ensure that the School is not susceptible to small changes on a single, relatively minor, measure,” he wrote, describing a series of “actions” the school is taking.
Among those identified changes are the school’s upcoming merger with Ashridge Business School in the United Kingdom. “Ashridge is located in a 5,000-acre country park in a magnificent estate. Formerly the home of Queen Elizabeth I, the campus is just 30 minutes from Heathrow, and gives us a truly unique property, which no other business school in the world could hope to offer,” added Hodges. “The planned merger will not only give us a higher profile with employers around the world, it will also significantly increase our full-time faculty with PhDs and, for the first time, give us research output.The combination of all this will allow us to pursue additional accreditations and help our FT ranking.”
Starting this summer, Hult said it would offer leadership courses for alumni at the Ashridge campus. “There will be no tuition fee for these courses for the foreseeable future. Over time we also hope to offer free access to Ashridge’s online professional development courses. We hope that this, in addition to continued free electives at Hult, will enhance our alumni’s career growth,” he said.
He also pledged to shift more resources into corporate relations and alumni relations. “We will increase the number of staff dedicated to working directly with employers,” he said. “Whilst these staff will be primarily focused on helping clients with their management training needs, they will also be introducing companies to Hult and looking to build links with their hiring functions. This will raise awareness of Hult amongst the world’s biggest employers and generate hiring opportunities for both students and alumni.”
Hodges noted that since 2011–the class surveyed by the Financial Times for its 2015 ranking–Hult has launched a revamped MBA program, rebuilt its campus in Boston with eight modern classrooms, opened two separate dedicated campuses in London, one for graduate students and one for undergraduate students, and begun a year-round Shanghai campus and relocated the Dubai campus to a far more central location.
He also shared recent student satisfaction and teaching evaluation data with alumni and current students, saying that student satisfaction rose from 3.6 in 2011 to 3.8 in 2014 (out of 5), and teaching evaluations rose from 3.9 to 4.2.