Are you considering going back to school for your Masters of Business Administration?  You aren’t alone.  Lots of workers and new graduates are hoping that an MBA will guarantee them a higher salary and more job security during the economic crisis.  One of the first things that prospective students look at are the MBA business school rankings.

It seems like every magazine has their own system of ranking and it is hard to know which ones to trust.  To start with, you should know that the MBA business school rankings have been controversial for years.  It is only recently that these studies have been accepted by the general public.  In fact, they have become too accepted and many people base their school decisions solely based on MBA business school rankings without knowing what they mean.

Before you jump into a program after reading the MBA business school rankings of one press, you should do some intense research.  You need to find out how the rankings are based and how this will affect you.  Business Week, one of the most popular MBA business school rankings, determines its findings based on a survey of recent graduates and a survey of corporate executives.

Both of these evaluating systems have faults.  Larger schools will obviously produce different results than smaller schools, but percentages of graduate success aren’t factored.  Also, the system relies on the fact that executives know anything about the schools.  To top it off, Business Week pre-selects 44 schools and uses only these in their survey.

US News & World Report takes a different approach by including various factors like undergraduate GPA, GMAT scores, the percentage of graduates who are employed, average graduate salaries, and several other factors.  While each of these factors might tell us something about school, collectively they make for skewed MBA business school rankings. See also this article about what you can do with a Criminal Psychology Degree. 

Interestingly, the MBA business school rankings seem to have a self-prophesizing effect.  If a school does well in rankings, then more qualified students attend and more recruiters come.  However, the rankings still say nothing about the quality of education being offered to students or the overall campus culture.

Should you trust the MBA rankings?  They are too important to be ignored, but you should take the findings with a grain of salt.  When it comes down to it, you need to pick a school based on your own decisions and preferences, like getting an MBA in Global management, and not the poor statistical analysis done by magazines.