MBA ranking: Q & A on MBA ranking

MBA ranking publishers strive yearly to offer recruiters, business schools and prospective students an objective comparison on the value of MBA degrees. If you're interested in pursuing an MBA course with top impact, you know that MBA ranking lists can help you focus on the most well-reputed business schools. But it's good to keep things in perspective with an understanding of how MBA ranking is done, what its value is and what its limits are. Here are some answers to questions about MBA ranking.

Q: Who conducts MBA ranking?
A: The MBA ranking lists to look at are those conducted by independent, internationally-recognized sources such as the Financial Times, Forbes and The Economist.

Q: How is MBA ranking done?
A: The above-mentioned reviewers rate accredited business schools according to a professionally-designed methodology. They conduct surveys among business school administrators, graduates and recruiting companies on factors such as post-program career progress, the school's global profile and diversity. MBA ranking also requires crunching of objective data such as GMAT scores, professors' research output, and graduate salaries.

Q: What will I learn from the MBA ranking lists?
A: For a business school to participate in MBA ranking, it needs to be pretty good – accredited and able to provide the necessary data for scoring. But you're probably looking for “excellent”, not “pretty good”, right? MBA ranking lists put the focus on MBA programs with good reputations and generally positive outcomes. They can also highlight particular strengths or features of some business schools, such as their positioning in a particular geographic region.

Q: What are the limits to what an MBA ranking can tell me?
A: MBA ranking must be viewed as a tool with limits – and if you really want ROI from your MBA degree, it's your job to complement the information. For example, MBA ranking cannot easily evaluate how well a business school is tuned-into the fast-changing needs of the global economy. To get some sense of this, it helps to look at the faculty's involvement in client-based research and consulting. Another often-overlooked factor in impactful learning involves the group dynamics and diversity of the MBA class itself. A small class of diverse, highly-motivated individuals will foster an amazing learning environment that is also closer to business management career realities.

Q: How do I use the MBA ranking to choose a business school?
A: Remember, it's a personal decision. Know your own needs fully in terms of practical requirements (geography, duration, etc.), your preparedness (what do you bring, what do you need to learn?), and your long- and short-term goals. Basically, the trick to using MBA ranking lists to help you choose a business school is to combine the thoughts from the previous two answers. Understand thoroughly what insights the MBA ranking offers and be realistic about what it doesn't. Then do the legwork to fill in the gaps. To find the right MBA course for you, it pays to use all the tools at your disposal, including the MBA ranking.


IMD business school

Looking for a top 1-year MBA program?
See how the IMD MBA prepared you for the next state of your career - download the free brochure now!


Exploring programs through MBA ranking? Consider IMD: