Taking a leaf from Forbes, The Financial Times, and The Economist, which all use ROI in calculating their rankings, The Wall St. Journal published a second ranking of EMBA programs based exclusively on ROI. The September ranking surveyed EMBA students and recruiters and asked them how well the programs “develop management and leadership skills.”
The new Top 5 based on ROI are:
- Texas A&M
- University of Florida (Warrington)
- Ohio State University (Fisher)
- UCLA (Anderson)
- UT-Austin (McCombs)
Dramatically different results from the first ranking, grandly titled “And the Best Executive M.B.A. Programs are…” And really not surprising. If you change the criteria completely, you change the results completely. In fact only one EMBA program is in both Top 10 lists. USC’s Marshall EMBA program is #1 in the September, survey-based ranking and #10 in the ROI ranking.
I personally find the data provided by the WSJ (and the other rankings) far more interesting than the rankings themselves. Some clients may be very sensitive to ROI. Others really want leadership development. Others are most interested in brand, probably best measured by the US News and BW or the first WSJ EMBA survey.
I think the real lesson of WSJ’s two rankings is that each and every one of you needs to:
- Determine what’s important to you and rank schools accordingly.
- Understand thoroughly what’s being measured in a given ranking and the biases inherent in the criteria. For example, a high ROI at Texas A&M relative to Columbia (#6 in the Sept. EMBA rankings) reflects the relatively high salaries of people going into CBS’ EMBA program vs those entering Texas A&M’s EMBA program.