Friday, November 11, 2011

Wonky E-MBA and Part-time MBA rankings

As part of my research into business schools, I realized that rankings by National publications cannot always be trusted.  They are, after all, there to sell you a magazine.  In fact, there is this great comment written by one of the readers of the online publication Poets and Quants, that I really agree with:

"Mr. Byrne, 

How can we take these rankings seriously given the Part-Time rankings that were released along with the EMBA. As someone who obtained a graduate degree in Economics at the University of Neveda’s business school. I can promise you that I was not attending the 4th best business school in the country unless you are counting the skiing at Lake Tahoe. I would bet that even the Dean at Elon doesn’t believe he has the number 1 program in the country. We have always known that the rankings would give a surprise or two but this year is just silly. Elon over Chicago or Northwestern, come on! I enjoy your site despite the goofy Businessweek rankings.

Scott" Source.

In fact, even Business Week admits that their methodology may be flawed, as many individuals who know their schools are being judged and ranked by the publication may inflate their scores.  The judgement panel is also not uniform, as someone who may have been accepted to University of Nevada program may have less overall experience and be of a lower caliber than someone from a top tier school, and therefore have less expectations of the program.  Judgement of a program based on the increase of a graduate's salary is also misleading.  The people accepted into the top programs would generally have a much higher salary to begin with, than someone say, accepted into the USF MBA program.  A salary jump from $40,000/year to $80,000/year on a percentage basis may look great on paper and for business school rankings, but I would much rather have a $100,000 to $140,000 salary jump any day, even though the salary growth is much less.  This is especially true considering most business school programs out there cost pretty much the same no matter where you go.

"Because these surveys are filled out by graduates who know that BusinessWeek will use their answers to rank their programs, it’s very possible that many grads scored their schools much higher than deserved. Each crop of graduates, moreover, enter these programs with different expectations that can have an impact on how they score their schools. A Wharton EMBA student, for example, could have far higher expectations of the school’s EMBA program than a student at Villanova. The result of those differences can affect a school’s scores–and therefore its overall ranking." Source.

That being said, I would much rather prefer to spend my money at a school where the name can carry itself, rather than having to refer to a silly commercial publication to justify why I received my degree there. One of my mentors did make a good point, try to go to the top business school in the area you would like to live.  Although a few national programs carry their weight no matter where you go, most alumni networks are the strongest close to where the school resides.  I found this to be true for my undergraduate studies as well.  Lastly, I strongly believe that if you go to any Top 10 business schools that have been consistently on the list for the past several years, you should be okay.

Booth Topples Kellogg in New EMBA Ranking

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