Ranking MBA programs: What to look for in a top ranking MBA

Ranking MBA programs offer talented people with leadership potential the management training they need to boost their business careers. Top ranking MBA programs can give you the leadership skills to take on more responsibilities — and to make you more sought after by employers. Business managers who complete top ranking MBA programs can also expect their pay on average to rise significantly above that of graduates from programs with a lesser reputation.

Small wonder then that top ranking MBA programs from the best business schools in the world attract exceptional participants.

Without a doubt, rankings of Master Business Administration programs are an important consideration if you are planning to study for an MBA. But who decides the top ranking MBA programs? What factors set the top ranking MBA programs apart from the others? Let's explore a bit more:

Singling out the best
The job of ranking MBA programs is conducted by independent, unbiased sources such as Forbes, the Financial Times and The Economist. With their comprehensive coverage of the business world, these authoritative publications assemble a range of informative executive education rankings, including assessments of the best MBA programs.

They evaluate MBA programs from accredited business schools according to criteria that vary depending on the kind of ranking. Assessments are made regarding such factors as global perspective — how international the faculty is — and how globally mobile graduates are.

Best MBA programs are also judged on how well program goals are achieved and the international business success of participants. The average GMAT scores of participants, an indicator of the kind of people you will be rubbing shoulders with, are another factor frequently taken into consideration.

Return on investment
One of the most pertinent ways to compare top ranking MBA programs is by looking at the return on your educational investment. You can establish an MBA world ranking by surveying graduates from top international business schools to find out their salaries three or five years after graduation.

This is compared with their pay levels before entering the MBA program, offset by tuition costs, additional expenses and foregone compensation during the period of study. One year MBA programs allow participants to gain executive training in half the time as two-year MBAs for a greater potential return on investment, though such programs are challenging because of the intensity of the training.

Track record
MBA international rankings will inevitably change from one year to the next. It is worth checking the track record of leading business administration schools to see how their executive training programs have been rated over the past few years.

The best schools stay at the top by continually updating their MBA and other leadership and management training programs. They remain in step with the times and reflect the latest world business trends. In a fast-changing global environment amid massive technological change, business schools that develop a real world real learning curriculum will be more relevant than universities with training courses saddled with academic theories.

Other factors to look for
Rankings are important but they do not assess all aspects of MBA programs. Some leading programs require participants to have past experience working for businesses with international exposure, for example.

This offers the prospect of a richer executive education experience because of the potential to learn from your colleagues. Some of the best MBA programs may also emphasize self-awareness and moral judgment, in addition to technical competencies, although such features may not always be reflected in the rankings.

It pays to be discriminating when considering even a top ranking MBA.


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