Ranking the MBA Rankings

John Byrne, granddaddy of rankings, creator of the 1988 Businessweek ranking, which caused (to quote Ghostbusters) “Fire and Brimestone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!…dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria.”   Schools reacted to that ranking with significant change and improvement to curriculum, faculty training, student selection and corporate education.  Now Mr. Byrne has created a new ranking, www.poetsandquants.com, that not only takes into account other rankings, but he also ranks the rankings (and of course, Businessweek is on top).  

I have tremendous respect for John Byrne, but the choice is rarely between two schools. While he turned the tables on business school education and may do it again, I would like to see a ranking that takes into account consumer behavior.  In other words, if offered admission to multiple schools, what school does the consumer choose and why?  This information is not revealed in aggregated data currently reported by schools for rankings like yield, selectivity and number of total applications.  

I would like to see a ranking that answers the questions of how and why a candidate that is offered admission to 5 schools selects his/her school of choice. No ranking captures this data. They capture highest GMATs, satisfaction, best reputation, but they don’t capture the nuances of consumer behavior.  Over 20 years, I have been analyzing data of why my students chose my school and why some students I admitted chose another school. This data is not shared with the public, but all schools collect this data and across all schools the information would make for a great ranking.  

How about it, John?

For more information on using the rankings, please see The Rankings, an Accepted.com special report.

 By Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, former Admissions Dean/Director at 3 top business schools. Natalie would be happy to help you choose your top 5 schools.


Sustainable MBAs

Thinking about a career in sustainable enterprise?  Each year the Aspen Institute ranks MBA programs in their Beyond Grey Pinstripes edition on the schools’ ability to provide curriculum, research and careers while looking at the triple bottom line.  This list continues to grow, but according to the 2010 rankings, candidates looking at MBA programs that embrace social enterprise and green initiatives should consider the following schools:

Top Ten Lists

Rank- United States Schools
1 U. of Michigan (Ross)
2 Yale School of Management
3 Stanford Graduate School of Business
4 Notre Dame (Mendoza)
5 UC Berkeley (Haas)
6 NYU (Stern)
7 Columbia Business School
8 U. of Virginia (Darden)
9 Cornell (Johnson)
10 GWU School of Business
Rank- International Schools
1 York (Schulich)
2 RSM Erasmus
3 IE Business School
4 Nottingham University Business School
5 Griffith Business School
7 McGill (Desautels)
8 ESADE Business School
9 Concordia (John Molson)
10 U. of Stellenbosch Business School
Rank- Coursework– the schools that best- and most frequently- integrate social, environmental and ethical issues into the classroom experience
1 Yale School of Management
2 Stanford Graduate School of Business
3 U. of Michigan (Ross)
4 York (Schulich)
5 Notre Dame (Mendoza)
6 IE Business School
7 NYU (Stern)
8 UC Berkeley (Haas)
9 Wisconsin School of Business
10 U. of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)
Rank- Research- faculty at these schools have published the most scholarly articles that address social, environmental, or ethical issues in peer-reviewed, business journals in calendar years 2007-2008
1 York (Schulich)
2 U. of Michigan (Ross)
3 Notre Dame (Mendoza)
4 UC Berkeley (Haas)
5 U. of Virginia (Darden)
6 Nottingham University Business School
7 RSM Erasmus
7 U. of Navarra (IESE)
9 Concordia (John Molson)
10 U. of Western Ontario (Ivey)

Need assistance sorting through the schools?  My colleagues and I will help you narrow your list and create an essay that addresses your passion for sustainability.  Complete a service request and a qualified consultant will help contact you regarding your application needs.

 By Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, former Admissions Dean/Director at 3 top business schools


Three Top Tips for Attending MBA Fairs

The MBA Tour will reach the four corners of the globe this fall, having four separate tours in Asia, India, Europe, and the United States, followed by tours to Latin America (October) and Canada (November). The tour events provide you with great opportunities to meet with school representatives and learn more about the schools.  However, fairs also can devolve into mind-numbing circuits of big, crowded halls where you collect shiny brochures that will gather dust and nothing more.

We asked MBA expert, Peter von Loesecke, CEO and Managing Director of The MBA Tour LLC a few questions about the MBA scene and about making the most of your attendance at The MBA Tour events.

Here is our short interview. I think you will find Peter’s responses thought-provoking.

A: What key 3 trends do you see affecting MBA education today?

PVL: The three key trends I see facing MBA education today are:

    1.  A soft market for full time MBA education: Challenged by the current economic realities in the developed world, many students in North America (The US in particular) and Europe are having a hard time justifying the tuition and opportunity costs of a full time MBA.

    2. Part-time and weekend programs are becoming popular: As a result of 1, some schools recognize that students want to remain employed so they are offering weekend programs. University of Michigan and University of Chicago both offer weekend programs that broaden their appeal beyond the local part-time market.

    3. In some countries rankings are becoming absurdly influential: Parents and students in the developing world place too much credence in rankings. By way of example, I was asked by an agent if I used school rankings to select schools for my son who is applying to undergraduate schools. I had to explain to him that school choice for parents who are involved in their kid’s application cycle use rankings to validate a particular school’s reputation. The remaining factors for selecting a school involve researching what the school offers for my son in terms of major, lifestyle, learning environment, and extra- curricular activities, which the rankings do not consider in much detail other than a check list. The same is true for MBA programs although the scope of education is much narrower.

LA: What are your 3 top tips for applicants participating in The MBA Tour events?

PVL: 1. Come prepared; research the schools in the event ahead of time. We post them. And bring your resume.

    2. Dress appropriately; don’t look like you just came from the beach.

    3. Take the MBA Spotlight survey to do a little self discovery on what is important to you. If you match to a school, great, if you do not match, no big deal.

LA:  How can applicants appropriately follow up after attending The MBA Fair?

PVL: After the event I recommend students follow up with a personal message to school representatives assuming you have their email.  Never call a representative you met at an MBA Tour event unless invited to do so.

To register or for more information about scheduled fairs, check out The MBA Tour website.

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of Accepted.com.

The Relative Unimportance of High School Rankings

There are people, institutions, school districts and media organizations that care a tremendous amount about the Newsweek ranking of America’s Best High Schools, which was released last week.  The rankings are based upon the number of Advanced Placement exams (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge exams given in the school divided by the number of students in the senior class — a statistic that should measure academic challenge available and undertaken in a specific school.  The  rankings included 1600 high schools, or about 6%.  Our local news organizations jumped on the idea that our comprehensive high schools made the list.  Amusingly enough, a high school in Texas made both the America’s Best list and a list of failing schools, which demonstrates the manipulability of statistics.

Does it matter if your school made the list?  When it comes to applying to college, not really.  Selective colleges take great care to evaluate each student within the context of the high school that he or she attends.  As your transcript is evaluated, the admissions officer is looking at your grades and class rank (if provided), and the rigor of the curriculum that you have chosen to take.  If AP or IB courses are available, then they expect you to have challenged yourself in several facets of the curriculum.  At the other extreme, if you attend a high school that offers little in the way of advanced courses, it won’t be held against your application. If you are not challenged by the standard offerings in your school, you might want to look to your community for other ways that you can challenge yourself academically.  Are there online courses, community college classes or summer programs that will quench your academic thirst?


The Admissions Yield

As colleges and universities admit their freshman classes, they are trying to read your mind as to whether you are likely to attend.  That’s right.  To some, a measure of college prestige is the yield rate, or the percentage of students who accept an offer of admission to a particular institution.  The higher the yield rate, the more popular one might construe the college to be.

As colleges play the rankings game, some of them are trying to influence yield by predicting which applicants are more likely to enroll.  One type of student who is more likely to enroll:  a student who has demonstrated interest in the college.  Students who have visited the campus, attended an off-campus presentation, participated in an alumni interview, or stopped by a table at a college fair are demonstrating more interest in the college than a student whose Common Application is his or her first contact with the admissions office.

For the current high school student, when you visit a college, take the tour or drop in to the admissions office.  Attend your local college fair and seek out the schools in which you are interested.  If you are considering a college, demonstrate your interest.