BusinessWeek just announced its list of the top Executive MBA Programs of 2011. The rankings are based on three distinct surveys of EMBA graduates from 2011, 2009 and 2007, as well as a poll of EMBA program directors. Yet this year’s rankings held some surprises.
University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business took the number one spot, with Columbia University’s Business School ranked second, pushing Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management down two spots from last year to number three. In fact, Kellogg has held the number one spot since the rankings began twenty years ago, making the school’s two-spot drop a bit of a surprise.
In an article in Poets and Quants (“Booth Topples Kellogg in New EMBA Ranking”) BusinessWeek explains that the reason Kellogg fell a few spots is “the overall satisfaction of Kellogg EMBA graduates appears to have declined–the program ranked 11th in our grad poll this year, down from eighth.” BusinessWeek believes the reason for this decline may be the “support staff and services. In 2009, Kellogg grads awarded the program an A+ in this category. This year they gave it a B.”
Meanwhile, IE Business School took the number four spot with UCLA Anderson rounding out the top five. Another surprise was that University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business fell six spots from last year’s rankings, going from third place to ninth place. While the EMBA directors ranked Wharton number one, BusinessWeek’s surveys of graduates put it in the twenty-eighth place. Ouch!
Just remember, the statistical difference between one spot and the next in the rankings may be minute (the statistical difference between Chicago Booth and Kellogg was 4.4%). So when you use the rankings to pick the right school for you keep an open mind, because rankings are just numbers.