MBA News: The Financial Times Rankings: London on Top, but Does It Matter?

The Financial Times released its ranking of the top international business programs, and our primary question is (as always), how relevant can rankings actually be when they compare apple and oranges? In the case of the Financial Times, some schools are “audited” in 2006 and others are “audited” in 2010. For example, the National University of Singapore was last audited in 2006 and is now ranked as the 23rd “best” school on the list of the top 100 MBA programs. Meanwhile, the Indian Institute of Management, which was audited in 2011, debuts at 11th overall, ahead of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which was last audited in 2007. So, if you think that these statistical measures are flawed because of the different audit years alone—especially considering the role that salary plays in the Financial Times ranking and thus the absurdity of comparing those who graduated during a recession with those who graduated during boom times—consider the problems involved in measuring and comparing qualitative data, such as the cohesiveness of the community, support for spouses or the nature of external health care expenses. By their very nature, rankings simplify that which cannot be simplified and assign a numeric value to that which cannot be quantified. Still, rankings sell and applicants buy, and thus the Financial Times will surely release their flawed rankings again.

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