B-Schools: Networking and Brand Value

Business Insider’s piece Wednesday on the world’s best business schools may leave many readers bristling…unless they have or want Harvard Business School on their resume.

Forget the rankings of BusinessWeek, U.S. News or The Economist. Reporters Lawrence Delevigne and Henry Blodget argue that metrics such as the quality of professors, campus facilities or the education are pretty even across the board at top programs. These guys say there’s only one thing that really differentiates one business school from another, and that is how much the school helps your future career. 

Beyond the curriculum, that breaks down to:

  • the value of the school’s brand (how others perceive the quality of the school), and
  • the network of contacts you build while you’re there

These two things — a credential that will cause future employers, executives, investors, and journalists to be impressed by you and a high-power social network — will help your career more than any particular accounting course or case study.  And they’re part of what you’re buying when you elect to spend two years and up to ~$100,000 as a customer of a particular business school.

Here’s how Business Insider ranks the top full-time MBA programs in the world, based on the network of contacts and the brand value of the school and degree:

  1. Harvard Business School
  2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
  5. University of Chicago (Booth)
  6. Columbia Business School
  7. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  9. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
  10. London School of Economics
Check out their methodology and see whether you agree that Harvard Business School adds the most cachet to an executive’s resume and future career success. And to see what recruiters really think  of the top B-schools, click here.
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