Thursday, December 17

B-school Ranking -- Which source is the best??

First thing that comes to the mind of perspective MBA candidates while shortlisting the target b-schools is the b-school rankings. Now, we have a number of b-school rankings in the market. How to determine which source is best? Obviously no two rankings place the same school at the same slot {for eg Businessweek places Tuck at 12th while forbes has recently placed Tuck at 2nd}. Things become tough for applicants when they see FT or WSJ or US news rankings. The top 5 would comprise of same schools but pegged at different places.

The big question is which ranking is the best and which one is the most accurate. While rankings cannot be ignored, they should not be the sole criteria for shortlisting b-schools. Why? ok, they should be a factor because the school from which you will pass will be the brand that you will carry for the rest of your life. Why not?ok, even if you go to harvard and cant learn a single thing and cant make it to the career of your choice then whats the use of brand name Harvard. {I might be in trouble when i say this :) }. Ok i will try to cover my @ss.

Prada means prestige but consider a stileto by Prada having 12 inch heels {i guess gals wud better be able to link up with this example}. While you will wear it, you will feel tall but will you be comfortable?? And how about the side effects that follow??{high heels may contribute to knee and back problems, disabling injuries in falls, shortened calf muscles, and an awkward, unnatural gait.}. People will be impressed by Prada but when you will have to walk you will curse your choice.


I would rather wear an inexpensive unbranded footwear than wear a prada and feel like a fool.

So before one peeps into rankings one must answer the following questions honestly:

1. Why MBA {what are the reasons apart from money??}
2. What are the skills that you want to learn {Now MBA bridges the gap between your existing skill-set and the desirable skill-set that you would aspire to have post MBA. }
3. What kind of  class environment you are looking for?? is it ultra competitive or collaborative??
4. What is the mix of class room learning and peer learning? or mix of case learning and theoretical learning?
5. What are the long term career prospects?? Whats the long term ROI??
6. Whether i will b able to switch careers {say you want to switch from IT to consulting, and you get into Harvard, now you will have to compete with best of the best for a place in the coveted firm. }
7. Whats the Alum network like at my perspective school?

Once you answer these questions in great detail start lookingat the rankings. If ROI is the biggest factor in your decision making process, go no further than Forbes Business School rankings.

Forbes Ranking
Forbes ranks return on investment of MBA programs based on:
Average 5-year increase in compensation compared to pre-MBA salary for each school's graduates
Cost of each MBA program, including estimated foregone salary

Detailed MBA Rankings Methodology 

Forbes ranks MBA programs based on return on investment (ROI) achieved by graduates. Forbes surveys alumni at over 100 schools and compares their earnings in their first five years out of business school to their opportunity costs (two years of forgone compensation, tuition and required fees). Forbes then:
  1. Adjusts for cost of living expenses
  2. Discounts earnings gains using a rate tied to money market yields
  3. Discounts tuition to account for students who pay in-state rates and for the non-repayable financial aid from schools
  4. Accounts for required fees that students must pay on top of tuition
Now let us consider FT rankings.

The Salary incremental {Outgoing salary - Incoming salary } is one of the biggest factor in FT rankings. Now this is something i dont like. ISB is ranked ahead of Kellogg {Man its not Kellogg corn flakes, its Kellogg Business School}. To make the matters worse FT uses some PPP conversion index = value provided by world bank. Thus weighted average salary calculated by FT comes out to be:

WAS = average of salary (with some adjustments) x PPP ;

thus ISB's "WAS" becomes larger than Kellogg's or Ross's or Duke's WAS...crap.

*Personally i dont give a **** to FT rankings after this debacle.

BusinessWeek Rankings

BusinessWeek bases its MBA rankings on:
  1. 45% on student satisfaction surveys of recent MBA Program graduates
  2. 45% on surveys of corporate recruiters based on their experiences with a school's graduates
  3. 10% on "intellectual capital" calculated by BusinessWeek, which tallies points for appearance of the faculty's research in 18 specific publications
Fairly good indicator of a school's worth!! {atleast i think so}

The Wall Street Journal MBA Rankings

The Wall Street Journal bases its MBA program rankings 100% on surveys of recruiters' perceptions of the MBA programs from which they recruit.

Now i dont like this method..Why? Where's the students Perspective?? Where's the ROI?? Good that you are asking the External customer about his satisfaction level but what about the satisfaction level of Students?? I dont think one goes to a b-school to make the recruiter proud {that might be one reason} but money, career opportunities, learning, ROI etc play a big role.

U.S. News & World Report bases its MBA rankings:
  1. 25% on ratings by business school deans and MBA program directors
  2. 15% on ratings by recruiters of the schools at which they recruit
  3. 35% on placement statistics provided by each school
  4. 25% on school-reported "selectivity", the percentage of applicants the school accepts for admission
Now this is again a good method to rank the schools.

Once you are done with the introspection part, i would suggest that Businessweek, Forbes or US news be used as a reference to shortlist schools of top reputation.

4 comments:

Accepted.com said...

Hi Braveheart,

We'd like to invite you to become a judge for Accepted.com's Beautiful B-School photo contest. For more details, please email onlinesupport (AT) accepted (DOT) com.

Regards,

Miriam Berlin
Accepted.com

Sarah from Accepted said...

Hi Braveheart, It's the crew from Accepted.com again. I had seen that you had posted about rankings a few days ago, just as Linda Abraham was completing her special report on b-school rankings--good timing!

Here is the link (http://www.accepted.com/mba/rankingreport.pdf) to the special report PDF. Let us know what you think!

Sarah Pritzker
www.accepted.com

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