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The Economist Full-time MBA Ranking Methodology – The Good, Bad and the Ugly

The Economist MBA Ranking MethodologyBusiness School rankings are biased. The preference that publications give for one ranking factor over the other is often based on these biases. MBA Aspirants should evaluate each ranking based on the methodology, and that is why we have started this series about the ranking methodology adopted by different Business School ranking publications.

The release of The Economist MBA ranking was faced with several backlashes from experts around the world for its unpredictability citing that The Economist ranking was the most unstable ranking with the big three – Harvard, Stanford and Wharton losing their positions. That in itself is not an argument to disregard a ranking.

Let us look at the various factors that The Economist Full-time MBA
ranking
takes into consideration before finalizing the list.

The four factors with their order of preference that The Economist team evaluates before creating the Full-time MBA ranking are opening new career opportunities (35%); personal development/educational experience (35%); increasing salary (20%); and the potential to network (10%).

Before we go into each factors and review whether the factors and their order of preference matches with that of what an MBA aspirant value, let us look at the 2010 ranking methodology that the team had adopted.

Number of Schools

In 2010, the Economist invited 130 leading Business Schools that offer a Full-time MBA program to a two-part survey that required the participation of schools, students, and alumni. The Economist didn’t include 15 schools because it did not respond to the survey or failed to provide enough data for evaluating the school. So the 2010 top 100 ranking was based on response from 115 schools.

Regional Ranking

The Economist also features regional ranking divided into North America, Europe and Asia & Australia. Full-time MBA programs not featured in the top 100 ranking are listed in regional rankings.

Data Collection and Validation

Data were collected from web based questionnaires and in the 2011 survey, a total of 18,712 students participated from 115 Business Schools with an average of 160+ participants from each school.

The data were then validated based on historical data, published sources, and from peer schools. There have been several cases of misrepresenting facts, and this is one of the most important part in any data validation. The Economist team also checks the questionnaire for misrepresentation or multiple entries.

50-30-20 Rule

The weighted average of the previous year’s data is also considered for this year’s ranking although the percentage decreases with year. For 2013 data, the class of 2011(2-Year Program) or 2012 (1-Year Program) is given the highest priority (50%), followed by 1-year earlier data (30%), and 2-year earlier data (20%). This means that if a school performed well in the latest survey but did moderately in the previous 2-years, the net result would be above average. To top the ranking, the schools have to consistently maintain the quality and to drop drastically in ranking (10 positions and above), the schools have to perform consistently bad in a 3-year period.

Good


• The 50-30-20 Rule makes sure that consistency is required to maintain positions in The Economist MBA ranking

Bad

•  Policies on penalty for data misrepresentation are not clear. This might encourage Business Schools to inflate their data.

Ugly

• Although over 18000 participants in a survey is a good indicator, the percentage of students, alumni, and school representatives who responded to the survey is much more important. Unfortunately, this data is missing.

Reference: The Economist MBA Ranking

Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)


We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).


Pages: 327

Reviews

"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

Download How to Choose the Best MBA in US: The Ultimate Guide
(2018 Entering Class)

Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)


We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).


Pages: 327

Reviews

"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

Download How to Choose the Best MBA in US: The Ultimate Guide
(2018 Entering Class)

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