Tag Archives: Rankings

Rethinking MBA Rankings

MBA rankings are a tricky subject. Most applicants put an enormous amount of credence in them when making their school selections, but the results aren’t always as clear-cut as they seem. The various media outlets …

MBA rankings are a tricky subject. Most applicants put an enormous amount of credence in them when making their school selections, but the results aren’t always as clear-cut as they seem. The various media outlets that publish this information each have a specific focal point, which often differs from their competitors, and at times, it can feel more like an “apples and oranges” comparison.

For example, whereas Forbes focuses on ROI five years after graduation, Businessweek looks closely at the satisfaction levels of students and recruiters. U.S. News meanwhile takes the pulse of b-school deans and takes GMAT and GRE scores into account, and the Economist wants to find out how effective the MBA degree is at opening up new professional opportunities.

In other words, the rankings are not all the same.

When the Financial Times published its annual MBA rankings at the beginning of the year, Conrad Chua, head of admissions at Cambridge Judge Business School, blogged about the low-key reaction he received internally about the program’s strong showing at no. 16 after prior years spent in the mid-twenties.

“…While rankings are important and gives us valuable benchmarking information in certain metrics, there are a lot of areas that we feel strongly about that are not captured by rankings,” Chua writes. “For example, the quality of the academic experience, the learning environment, the networks that our students and alums can tap into.”

Last week, Poets & Quants published a fascinating piece on the “love-hate relationship” b-schools have with rankings. Using the rankings see-saw experienced by the Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business over the past four years, the article points out some very real perils of taking this particular data point at face value.

Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of Indiana University’s Kelley School, tells P&Q, “You love them when they go in your direction, and you are frustrated when they don’t. For a long time, we said that if you do good things, the rankings will follow. We have woken up to the fact that we need to focus on the rankings in and of themselves.”

The article is a must-read, and I encourage prospective applicants to think hard about the data points that are important to your own career path when determining the value of a particular ranking. You don’t have to go to the best business school of all. Just figure out which MBA program is the best one for you.

You may also be interested in:
The Truth Behind 3 Common MBA Rankings Myths

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MBA Application Trends in 2014-2015

How many schools are applicants applying to? How important are MBA rankings? Should you consider submitting GRE scores rather than the GMAT? These are just a few of the questions we here at Stacy Blackman …

How many schools are applicants applying to? How important are MBA rankings? Should you consider submitting GRE scores rather than the GMAT? These are just a few of the questions we here at Stacy Blackman Consulting attempted to find out with our MBA application trends survey, conducted online in April.

Poets & Quants picked up the story this week, and shared the main data points with their readers. Based on the responses of 675 participants who intend to apply to business school in the 2014-2015 admissions cycle, the survey showed an uptick in the number of applicants planning to apply to five schools this year. More than 25% plan to do so, up from 22.9% who aimed for five schools in 2013.

This increase reflects the growing awareness among applicants of the ultra-competitive nature of b-school admissions, but also, an understanding that there are more than just a handful of terrific schools out there. Just a few years ago, highly competitive applicants wouldn’t go for an MBA unless they could get into Harvard, Stanford or Wharton. Now, applicants are interested in applying to a range of schools.

In fact, the list has become a lot longer and broader, with applicants adopting a more open attitude about where to study and adding schools such as UCLA Anderson, UT McCombs School of Business, and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School into the mix, in addition to the power trio. MBA admissions have become increasingly competitive at the elite level, and applicants now realize that an MBA from a highly selective school offers all of the benefits and a similar return on investment as a degree from a very top brand.

This year’s survey showed that once again, applicants place a lot of weight on the value of rankings, with almost 70% of respondents saying rankings are extremely important, and less than 1% saying they weren’t important. Meanwhile, the influence of school reputation on an applicant’s decision of where to attend dipped slightly, from 52.4% in 2013 to 50.87% this year.

Applicants are starting to place greater attention to the strength of a school’s job placement program—21.87% this year, versus 18.8% in 2013. Career advancement remains the most important reason for attending business school for 43.7% of survey participants, followed by the desire to change careers, which motivates 38.17% of MBA hopefuls.

Finally, our survey polled prospective students on their interest in submitting GRE scores with their b-school application. While the GMAT still reigns supreme as the exam of choice, GRE interest this year grew to 7.65%, up from 3.97% in 2013.

At this point I’m not pushing the GRE, and we typically tell clients that unless they have a hard time with the GMAT, or with testing in general, the GMAT is the better way to go. The schools are just more comfortable with the GMAT in general since it’s such a known entity.

I believe people can always derive great value from going to business school, but many factors affect the kinds of programs that best meet their needs. Applicants need to find the very best fit for their own game plan.

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Stanford, Synonymous with Satisfaction

Super salary doesn’t equal satisfaction, Forbes reveals in its latest ranking of the most satisfied MBA graduates. While Tuck School of Business, the Wharton School, and Chicago Booth alumni typically receive paychecks in the $200,000 …

Stanford MBA ranking

Super salary doesn’t equal satisfaction, Forbes reveals in its latest ranking of the most satisfied MBA graduates. While Tuck School of Business, the Wharton School, and Chicago Booth alumni typically receive paychecks in the $200,000 range,  Forbes says these graduates gave middling marks on job satisfaction. Stanford Graduate School of Business meanwhile takes the number-one spot for the third year running, and also topped Forbes‘s ROI ranking in 2013.

Forbes surveyed 17,000 grads from the Class of 2008 and heard back from 4,600 last year for its biennial b-school ranking. Their methodology considers satisfaction five years after graduation, when students have had time to reflect on their educational experience and how they compare to other MBAs in the workforce.

Ten 10 Schools with the Most Satisfied Graduates

  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  2. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  3. Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business
  4. Michigan State Eli Broad College of Business
  5. Indiana University Kelley School of Business
  6. Dartmouth Tuck School of Business
  7. Duke University Fuqua School of Business
  8. Rice Jones Graduate School of Business
  9. Wisconsin School of Business
  10. Chicago Booth School of Business

Both Stanford and second-place UC Berkeley Haas’s top employers are heavy on consulting and tech led by Google, eBay, McKinsey, BCG and Deloitte. Survey respondents appreciated how their schools helped prepare them for entrepreneurship and form global networks they will leverage throughout their careers.

This story appears in the May 5th issue of Forbes, but you can preview the MBA satisfaction rankings by following the link above.

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Unusually High Admissions Rate at UNC Kenan-Flagler

While we often hear about the extremely low acceptance rates at MBA programs at Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business—11% and 7%, respectively—we don’t often discuss the cases on the other side …

While we often hear about the extremely low acceptance rates at MBA programs at Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business—11% and 7%, respectively—we don’t often discuss the cases on the other side of the dial, particularly among well-ranked schools.

The University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School finds itself in just that position, with a high MBA admissions rate of 44%, according to a recent story in the Daily Tar Heel.

Senior MBA admissions director Lisa Beisser acknowledges that the percentage is higher than Kenan-Flagler would like, particularly from a perception point of view, and that a realistic admissions rate to aim for would be 30-35%. “That would be much more in line with our peer schools,” she says.

Kenan-Flagler’s new dean Doug Shackelford, who began his term on February 1st of this year, doesn’t seem worried about lowering the admissions rate to improve the school’s ranking by key media outlets.

“Any school in the world who isn’t ranked No. 1 would like to be No. 1,” he says in the Daily Tar Heel, noting that the rankings are based on many, often subjective, factors.

The school introduced a new branding campaign in 2013 which emphasizes the ampersand symbol, distinguishing Kenan-Flagler as a place where students master both “the science & heart of business.”

The change in tone may have led to the dramatic 30% increase in application volume this year. Beisser says that most schools would consider a 4-6% increase a success, so “That’s huge actually in the business school world.”

Whatever the cause, right now Dean Shackelford is focused only on attracting the best students and providing the best management education possible.

“We don’t sit here and reverse engineer the rankings,” he tells the Daily Tar Heel. “If we get that ranking, wonderful; if not, we’ll live with it.”

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3-Way Tie in US News Best B-School Rankings

There was little movement and few surprises among the elite programs in the U.S. News ranking of the top business schools, announced today. Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the University of …

There was little movement and few surprises among the elite programs in the U.S. News ranking of the top business schools, announced today. Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School share the number-one spot in the 2015 rankings.

Harvard and Stanford’s first-place tie remained the same as last year’s standings. This was the highest rank ever achieved by Wharton in the U.S. News survey; last year Wharton finished third.

Chicago Booth School of Business ranks No. 4, moving up two places over the previous year, MIT Sloan School of Management takes fifth place, while Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management fell two spots to No. 6 in the 2015 standings, according to the report.

The top ten is rounded out by UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, and, No. 10, NYU Stern School of Business.

11. Michigan Ross School of Business
12. UV Darden School of Business
13. Yale School of Management
14. Duke’s Fuqua School of Business
15. UT McCombs School of Business
16. UCLA Anderson School of Management
17. Cornell’s Johnson School
18. CMU Tepper School of Business
19. UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
20. Emory University’s Goizueta Business School

The U.S. News rankings are based on a weighted average of several indicators, including overall program quality, peer assessments, recruiter assessments, placement success, starting salary and bonus, average GMAT/GRE score, undergraduate GPA and more.

To compile this year’s rankings, all 453 master’s programs accredited by AACSB International were surveyed in fall 2013 and early 2014. A total of 385 responded, of which 127 provided enough of the data needed to calculate the full-time MBA rankings.

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Harvard Tops FT Global MBA Rankings, Again

For the fifth time since 1999, Harvard Business School tops the 2014 Global MBA Ranking published Sunday by the Financial Times. Stanford Graduate School of Business occupies the number-two slot for a second year running,  …

For the fifth time since 1999, Harvard Business School tops the 2014 Global MBA Ranking published Sunday by the Financial Times. Stanford Graduate School of Business occupies the number-two slot for a second year running,  while Wharton School swapped places with London Business School this time around, and Columbia Business School and INSEAD share the fifth place spot.

In fact, seven of the top ten MBA programs are taught in U.S. business schools, but France’s INSEAD (ranked 5th) and Spain’s IESE Business School (ranked 7th) also make the cut. Financial Times calls Yale School of Management a “notable climber” for rising four places to 10th, noting that this is the SOM’s first appearance in the top 10 in seven years.

The ranking also shows the salary of 2010 graduates of elite MBA programs has doubled over the past five years, despite a sluggish global economy. According to the Financial Times survey, 94% say they had achieved the salary increase they were looking for after business school.

Stanford GSB graduates enjoy the highest salaries, averaging $184,000 annually. The second highest salary earners were Harvard graduates, with $178,000. Wharton graduates aren’t far behind though, with salaries averaging $170,000.

The FT says its ranking is based on two surveys of the business schools and their alumni who graduated in 2010. MBA programs are assessed according to the career progression of their alumni, the school’s idea generation and the diversity of students and faculty. Compensation, however, is the most important factor in the ranking and accounts for nearly half of the total weight.

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