Saturday, June 30, 2018

Many Top Schools Opt Out of WSJ & Times Ed Rankings

The forthcoming MBA ranking from the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education isn’t going all that well. When it makes its debut in November, in fact, the list will have little to no credibility largely because so many elite schools are opting out of the game.

Harvard Business School, London Business School, MIT Sloan, Northwestern Kellogg, Columbia Business School, UCLA’s Anderson School and UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School are among just some of the prestige players who have decided not to participate in the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education rankings. Wharton School has yet to make up its mind. 

Over a year ago this month, Times Higher Education announced it would team up with the Wall Street Journal to publish yet another set of rankings on MBA programs but more and more schools declined. 

Many schools already participate in more than a dozen different rankings and some partake in more than 20. Most of the schools that have declined to participate either believe that there already are too many MBA rankings in the market and they don’t want to devote still more time to yet another one. 

Academics often argue that rankings are misleading and disingenuous. Times Higher Education, moreover, is entering the business school market 31 years after Businessweek published its first MBA ranking and 20 years after the debut of the global MBA ranking from The Financial Times. The proliferation of rankings, fueled by consumer interest in them, has largely diminished the influence any one ranking has on the market. But the WSJ has an average paid print circulation of 2.2 million which will give the new list widespread exposure.

Times Higher Education was even unable to get London Business School to cooperate. UNC made its decision not to cooperate in November of last year. 

Many schools are sitting out the ranking due to uncertainty about the methodology. 

One surprise: The new ranking will not attempt to measure the quality of incoming students in a program, a significant part of the way U.S. News ranks MBA programs by using GMAT and GRE scores, grade-point-averages and acceptance rates. Not surprisingly, career outcomes loom large, accounting for 38% of the total ranking. The two metrics getting the most weight are the difference between pre-MBA and post-MBA salaries, which will be given a weight of 12%, and faculty-per-student ratios, which will account for 10% of the ranking.

In general, the WSJ plans to rank programs under four categories: resources (with a weight of 25%), engagement (25%), outcomes (38%), and environment (12%), the latter attempting to measure “the social and human environment the students find themselves in and how well the school will prepare them for a global market.”

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