MBA students and hopefuls have long followed the business school rankings of such publications as Bloomberg Businessweek, U.S. News & World Report, and the Financial Times seeking guidance regarding which programs offer the highest quality education. Although we at mbaMission often recommend that applicants take these rankings with a grain of salt and avoid relying on them solely when deciding where to apply, we can understand the temptation to see which programs claim the top spots each year. Business schools’ official opinions on rankings vary, but now some are taking a definite stand against them.
In a research paper published in the May edition of the Decision Sciences journal, deans and faculty members of more than 20 schools express doubts over the methodology used by various publications that offer rankings. “If the goal is to help inform [students] about how to make the best decision about business schools, let’s give them the raw information, and not take numbers—which may or may not be relevant to the student—and bungle them together into a ranked list,” Elliot Bendoly, co-author of the research paper and an associate dean at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University commented to the Wall Street Journal. Francesca Levy, one of Bloomberg Businessweek’s editors who oversees business school coverage and rankings disagrees: “Our ranking aims to answer a key question on the mind of many prospective students: Which B-schools are best at getting their graduates good jobs that set them on strong career paths?,” she told the Chicago Tribune. The more than 20 schools that took part in the research paper include the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa.