MBA Program Rankings

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What MBA Program Rankings mean for you…

MBA program rankings are published to educate and persuade consumers that the schools at the top of the list are the best investment. MBA program rankings attempt to predict the positive effects that a degree will have for the individual. They do this by evaluating schools on a number of levels and in a variety of manners. What this means for you, the potential student-the educated consumer, is that MBA program rankings can help you choose the college that best suits your career goals, learning style, and life style.

How MBA Program Rankings are determined

Although each publication generally uses its own unique formula and method to determine its MBA program rankings, there are some constants.

  • Survey Data: Most lists are based on the results of surveys. However, the population being surveyed varies from one publication to the next. For example, one publication may sample high ranking university administrators about their opinions regarding the best MBA programs. Publication number two may question corporate executives and human resource personnel to identify the schools that consistently graduate highly qualified candidates and the most productive employees.
  • What this means for you, the potential student-the educated consumer, is that it is important to know how a list was constructed, and which list is based on criteria that are important to you. If you’re interested in academic reputation, then you might value the list from publication number one. On the other hand, if you’re interested in how your degree translates into career success, you might put more weight on publication number two’s list. Read and understand the methods that were used to determine the rankings before you put all of your faith into what it says.
  • Financial Benefit and Cost: The consensus reason for enrolling in an MBA program is to increase earning power. So it only makes sense that rankings would in some way be based on the average amount that an individual’s salary increased after completing an MBA from a particular school. In other words, if a degree from school X results in a greater salary increase than a degree from school Y, then school X will rank higher than school Y. However, schools that cost less but result in similar financial benefits bear positive return on investment sooner than more expensive schools.
  • What this means for you, the potential student-the educated consumer, is that when selecting an MBA program based on a school’s rank on a list, it is important to have all the facts about the outlook for jobs commonly associated with a particular MBA concentration. Because if there aren’t any jobs available in your degree field, you might want to reconsider your concentration and your school. Ultimately it comes down to this, the best MBA program requires the least amount of personal investment and has the highest guarantee of the greatest return on investment.
  • Intangible Benefits: MBA program rankings take into consideration a school’s name recognition, student access to an established network of contacts (faculty, alumni, and peers), and the skills and knowledge acquired during course work.
  • What this means for you, the potential student-the educated consumer, choose an MBA program that is accredited, thereby assuring the quality of your education. And while name recognition and network of contacts are important, the Internet and social networking sites allow students to proactively become linked in and connected to industry leaders without incurring the cost of a degree from the most recognizable schools.

Ultimately, MBA program rankings are subjective. So as an educated consumer, you must choose the school that best suits your individual needs, that will advance your career, and that is right for your lifestyle.

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