The Financial Times rankings , generally accepted as the premiere international ranking of MBA programs, came out early this week and there were very few surprises. Cambridge’s Judge program vaulted from 35th place to 15th place and HEC Paris and CEIBS entered the top-twenty, while no school exited the top-twenty, because of various mutually held 19th place positions.
While the Financial Times ranking is remarkably comprehensive, its very comprehensiveness makes it one of the more absurd rankings. For example, Nanyang University (Singapore) ties with George Washington University for 67th place. We surmise that not one candidate would be choosing between the two and that it is impossible to compare the programs at all – rendering the rankings, at this point, irrelevant. Further, the idea that a school can leap twenty places is somewhat absurd as well. Is Cambridge a completely different program than it was last year when it was ranked 35th? If one were to argue that the Financial Times finally reassessed Cambridge after a four year hiatus, wouldn’t this suggest that the ranking itself is flawed and that the time lag is just too long?
At MBA Mission, we take a somewhat detached view of rankings. Rankings have some relevance in that they keep schools sharp and are a general reflection of school’s brand strength, but they also need to be read with a sense of humor, as methodologies can be flawed and the rankings themselves can change quite rapidly.