When BusinessWeek’s 2008 MBA rankings appeared, I was disappointed that BW had seemingly done away with its MBA specialty rankings. I am happy to report, that they reappeared last month in a slightly different format.
The good in this year’s specialty rankings:
- You can look at individual schools and see how recruiters have ranked them in specific areas.
- You can also find the rankings for the specialties and see which schools have strengths in your areas of interest.
- BW ranked additional areas like Analytical Skills, Communications Skills, and Innovative Curriculum,
The bad in this year’s specialty rankings:
- A few previously ranked specialties, like entrepreneurship and technology, are not included.
- BW ranks US schools and non-US schools separately, but did not provide an integrated ranking, which would be appreciated. It may not be possible because recruiters probably work either domestically or internationally.
I, like MBA applicant blogger BizWiz, believe that the specialty rankings are in many ways more valuable than the overall ranking. If you’re interested in, let’s say, operations research, you should know that recruiters generally regard your target programs well. The program’s strength in … accounting may not be terribly relevant to you.
At the same time don’t take these rankings as absolute Gospel. Again, like BizWiz, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to minor differences in rankings within a specialty. Use the data in the rankings and the overall information as a launching pad. Specialty rankings can be a good place to start your research and are a terrible place to end it.