MBA Program Rankings

Our economy is pretty strong now, but in the weak economy we experienced not so long ago, many people were returning to school in order to pursue their Masters of Business Administration.  Unfortunately, just having an extra degree doesn’t always mean a strong edge in the job field.  That is why MBA program rankings are becoming increasingly more important when it comes to deciding on a university.

MBA program rankings are determined in many different ways, though most often a university’s rating is based on the average salary of its alumni.  Business Week is often considered one of the best sources of MBA program rankings but there are many others as well: The Economist, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and The Princeton Review are just a few.

It can be very confusing when you look through the MBA program rankings because they often differ substantially by comparison.  The Princeton Review, for example, bases MBA program rankings partially on student surveys while Forbes determines MBA programs rankings based on return on investment.  Before you get stressed out trying to determine which school is the best and will get you the best job afterward, you should consider several things.

First of all, when are you going for your Masters?  If it is right after your bachelors, you might not have a leg up on the job market competition without any work experience.  If you are already working, do you plan to continue your work while studying?  You will be more interested in the types of part or full-time programs available and location more than just rankings. Check out also this post about MBA Entrepreneurship Rankings.

The MBA program rankings vary according to specialty, but here are the US schools which are constantly showing up in the top 10 lists from various reports:  Northwestern (Kellogg), Chicago, Harvard, Stanford, Pennsylvania (Wharton), MIT (Sloan), Columbia, Michigan, Duke (Fuqua), Dartmouth (Tuck),  and Cornell (Johnson).

Before you rush into an MBA program based on rankings, make sure that you do all the appropriate research ahead of time.  Consider the cost as well as the return.  Most top MBA programs cost around $50,000 a year and your salary increase may not be so drastic.  Also, consider enrollment trends.  Now that so many people are returning to earn their MBA, job experience is even more crucial.  Think about what an MBA can do for your career.  Most importantly, pick a program in which you feel you will grow and get the valuable knowledge you desire.

MBA Colleges Rankings

MBA colleges rankings are what prospective students look at when deciding upon a university.  Ironically, these MBA college rankings often are self-fulfilling prophecies.  Once schools get to the top of the list, they become a sort of elite haven which corporate recruiters use to find employees.  Often, it doesn’t even matter what the schools teach.

When trying to figure out MBA colleges rankings, it can be very confusing.  Every business magazine seems to have their own interpretation about which schools are good and the methods for determining this are unclear.  The Economist, Business Week and US News & World Report are some of the top sources for MBA colleges rankings.  Each of these reports uses different factors such as student surveys, cost and return, objective data and GMAT scores.  Many of these methods are completely flawed.  If you are going to determine how good a school is by the quality of the graduates, then it should also be noted who is accepted to the schools, to begin with.  Some of these students would have been successful even without an MBA.

Before you decide on a Masters of Business Administration program, for example in Global Management, you should consider several things.  Are you choosing a school based solely on the name recognition from the MBA college rankings?  If so, you might not have much post-MBA luck without work experience.  Think about how you will fit in with the atmosphere on the campus.  Each university preaches a different business methodology and its own culture.  Make sure that you are looking at the programs offered and not just the entire school.  Cost may be an important aspect of your decision, especially with premier schools costing around $50,000 a year.

While MBA college rankings are important, make sure that you are putting your own personal judgment ahead of the reports.  While each report aims to do something which is understandable, it may not be possible to achieve.  There are too many factors to consider when choosing an MBA program and no one survey can depict overall quality and how this relates to you.  While you shouldn’t ignore the MBA college rankings completely, make sure that you know what methods are used in the ratings and use your own logic when choosing a program.