Choosing a college is a big decision at any level, but choosing the right Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program can be crucial to your career. Whether you want the degree because you’re eyeing a high-powered position or you’d simply like to develop your leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills, you can’t afford to settle for second-best. Your competition won’t, especially now that the MBA has become one of the most popular degree programs in the nation.
The obvious way to stay ahead of the competition is to base your decision on MBA program rankings – but how do you know which rankings are the most reliable and the most relevant for your personal purpose? Rather than flooding the market with another MBA ranking, we’ve decided to highlight the best MBA rankings out there, all in one place. Stay tuned to this space because the new year marks the beginning of rankings season and we’ll be adding new quality rankings as they become available.
Traditional MBA Program Rankings
U.S. News, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Financial Times release the top three sets of rankings for traditional MBA programs.
US News MBA Rankings
U.S. News publishes rankings for the top three-quarters of MBA programs. U.S. News bases assessments on selectivity of students accepted into the program, career placement information (such as employment rates and salary) and quality as determined by deans and directors of schools and MBA programs and by corporate recruiters. To be eligible for a ranking, full-time MBA programs must be accredited by the AACSB International and must have graduated at least 20 students during the past year.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek MBA Rankings
Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranks business schools from the United States, Europe and Asia based on recruiter assessments, graduate satisfaction and faculty research. Graduate satisfaction and corporate recruiter assessments each account for 45% of the total ranking, and faculty research supplies the remaining 10%. Though Bloomberg BusinessWeek rankings include schools and programs beyond the United States, the amount of schools ranked is selective, with a starting population of only 101 schools and final rankings published for 75 in the 2010 rankings.
Financial Times Global MBA Rankings
Financial Times uses 20 different criteria in determining its Global MBA rankings. Different criteria are weighted differently, but assessments are essentially based on three areas of data: career success of alumni, international influence of the school and MBA program and research associated with the program. Unlike Bloomberg BusinessWeek rankings, Financial Times Global MBA rankings base the majority of alumni data off of survey responses from alumni who have graduated three years ago rather than a few months after graduation.
Distance MBA Program Rankings
With professional and personal obligations keeping adult students from the classroom, online and distance-learning MBA programs are more popular than ever. If you’re considering an online or distance MBA program, your best bet for reliable rankings is to review the “Smart Choice” Awards Online MBA Rankings, BusinessMBA Online MBA Rankings or Bloomberg BusinessWeek Distance MBA Profiles.
SuperScholar “Smart Choice” Awards Online MBA Rankings
Like rankings of traditional MBA programs, the “Smart Choice” Awards Online MBA rankings base their rankings partially on considerations like school and program reputation in the business world and selectivity of applicants. Only accredited MBA programs are ranked, and awards earned by those programs are also taken into account. “Smart Choice” Awards also considers the cost of attendance in their rankings, basing their evaluations on programs’ value as well as prestige.
BusinessMBA Online MBA Rankings
BusinessMBA.org ranks only the top 10 online MBA programs, taking into consideration the reputation of professors, the history of the institution and the demand for graduates of that MBA program. Each BusinessMBA ranking provides detailed information about the online MBA program, including tuition and a summary of positive qualities and pragmatic considerations like length of time required to complete a program. BusinessMBA rankings also state characteristics that distinguish each ranked online MBA program from others.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek Distance MBA Profiles
Bloomberg BusinessWeek evaluates online and distance-learning MBA programs in a different way than other college rankings sources. Rather than using a traditional ranking system, prospective students can view in-depth profiles of eligible online and distance-learning MBA programs. Profiles highlight admissions information, logistics of how a particular online or distance-learning program operates, graduation requirements and rates and career services offered. Profiles may also include numerical data about the institution and MBA program and financial data, like cost of attendance and financial aid prospects.
MBA Specialty Program Rankings
Within the world of the MBA is a wide range of specialties to help you develop your credentials in everything from accounting to marketing to entrepreneurship and earn specialty MBA degrees like the sought-after Executive MBA. For a broader spectrum of specialty MBA program rankings, consult U.S. NewsSpecialty Program Rankings or Bloomberg BusinessWeek U.S. MBA Program Rankings. If you’re looking for an Executive MBA program specifically, the Wall Street Journal’s Executive MBA Program rankings can help.
U.S. News Specialty Program Rankings
U.S. News ranks specialty MBA programs according to reputation within the community of MBA academics. Deans of business schools and directors of MBA programs that are eligible for the U.S. News ranking of traditional full-time MBA programs are surveyed and asked to recommend as many as 10 MBA programs in each specialty. Ranking is assigned based on how many nominations a school or program has received, with the lowest-ranking schools having earned at least seven nominations.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek U.S. MBA Program Rankings
Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranks eleven specialties of MBA programs according to corporate assessments. Specifically, recruiters evaluate the graduates of each program, taking into consideration skills like management attributes. In the most recent set of specialty MBA rankings published, a total of 57 schools were ranked. All 57 appeared in the rankings for each specialty, though their actual ranks in each specialty varied. Some schools with lower-ranked traditional MBA programs appeared competitively with higher-ranked schools in the rankings of specialty MBA programs.
Wall Street Journal Executive MBA Program Rankings
The Wall Street Journal publishes rankings for one ever-popular specialty MBA program, the Executive MBA. Based on graduate and corporate personnel assessments of the program and a joint assessment of graduates’ skills, The Wall Street Journal ranks the top 25 Executive MBA programs from a population that spans 18 countries. Executive MBA graduates evaluate the school and their skills improvement. Corporate figures, like human resources and management personnel, assess the quality of Executive MBA programs and the skills most required by their companies.