Survey Says Wharton Beats HBS For Most Satisfied MBAs

Spurred to action by Harvard Business School‘s MBA satisfaction survey published in February, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School came out with its own poll earlier this week and claims to beat out HBS by nearly 25%. The question asked of respondents in the original survey was: how likely they would be to recommend an HBS MBA to an interested and qualified friend or colleague. The results garnered HBS a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 41, on a par with Walgreens or Tracfone. The NPS at Wharton, meanwhile, is 51, right up there with Discover Card.

This scoring system, created by management consultants to measure customer loyalty, subtracts the share of students who were less enthusiastic about the program from those who would strongly recommend it to a friend. People who rate the MBA program 0-6 on a 10-point scale are the “detractors,” while those who give it a 9 or a 10 are considered promoters. Those in the middle are considered passives and therefore aren’t included in the score.

MBA satisfaction
image credit: The Wharton Journal

At the time of the Harbus’s anonymous survey publication, 105 students had responded. Over 249 Wharton students filled out an anonymous survey link sent via email blast and Facebook two weeks ago.

According to an article in The Wharton Journal, Wharton’s NPS of 51 was comprised of 61.85% promoters and 10.84% detractors. In the Harbus survey, the MBA program’s NPS of 41 was comprised of 62% promoters and 22% detractors. In other words, the same percentage would recommend the program, but a greater number at HBS had serious gripes about it.

The Wharton article praises the increased satisfaction score with second-years, going from 49 to 53. There’s a conundrum though, in the fact that ‘the people at Wharton’ is simultaneously the top answer for what people like about Wharton, and for what people don’t like about Wharton.

Over at the Harbus, their survey results also indicate people seem to either love or dislike the same things: classmates, classroom learning, career opportunities, and program structure. The Harbus closes its article on a hopeful note, calling the survey “the beginning of an ongoing discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the MBA program.”

Meanwhile, The Wharton Journal says in their survey wrap-up that the administration is interested in reading the feedback, noting that Deputy Vice Dean Maryellen Lamb responded, “Given the data-driven culture of Wharton, I’m delighted to see our students express their school spirit and pride through a system like NPS.”


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