MBA Programs Ranked According to Individual Criteria to Assess Quality

The popularity of the MBA degree has naturally resulted in rankings of MBA programs and schools. A number of periodicals publish lists of schools ranked according to their presumed quality. Typically, well-known top-tier private and state universities appear on these lists rather consistently. But many excellent MBA programs are omitted from the popular rankings. A university ranked as "number one" by a periodical, may be excellent in finance but only mediocre in taxation or production. The school with the best marketing program may be entirely ignored in the rankings because it is not among the top dozen schools surveyed. The school that is best for you may not be mentioned by popular periodicals that publish rankings.

It is interesting to look at rankings according to a single criterion based on data reported by a large number of MBA programs. Such rankings are available for the top 40 MBA programs, and we'll look at them by showing only the top four US schools in each ranked list.

1. A criterion which ranks the top forty schools by GMAT score of entering students provides a ranking very similar to the popular publications' ranked lists. The GMAT is widely used as a measure of applicant quality. More than 5,000 MBA programs require applicants to submit GMAT scores to be considered for admission. With GMAT scores ranging from 200 to 800, here are the top US schools ranked by GMAT score as of January, 2011:

Stanford University -- 721
University of California, Berkeley - 718
MIT - 718
Dartmouth College - 713

At the bottom of the 40 schools are Georgetown University, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Texas, Austin tied with a score of 684.

2. The undergraduate GPA of entering MBA students is an indication of how well the students did while earning their bachelors degree, another indication of student quality. The top 40 US schools ranked by GPA are

Hawaii Pacific University - 4.0
St. Mary's University - 3.8
California National University - 3.7
Indiana State University - 3.7

At the bottom of the list of 40 are 29 US schools tied with a GPA of 3.5. Who is to say that Brigham Young in this group is better than Washington State simply because its name is higher in an alphabetized list? Note also that the four top schools in the GMAT list are all in the top 40 of the GPA list.

3. An important consideration for MBA students is the salary they will earn upon graduation. At the top of the list of 40 MBA are these US universities' median salaries:

New York University = $117,000
Stanford University - $115,000
MIT - $111,000
Dartmouth College - $107,406

The median is the middle value. It means that for MIT, half the graduates earned more than $111,000 and half earned less. The bottom of this list includes University of Iowa -- $86,078, Babson College, and University of Southern California, tied at $85,000.

If the above three ranking criteria are an indication of the quality of MBA programs, it should be clear that many more than so-called top-tier schools offer excellent quality. GMAT scores of 600 and above, GPA greater than 3.5, and median salaries of $79,000, which is the figure for all 2010 MBA graduates in the US, are found in many more than the top 40 schools. It is clear that you should be able to find a very good MBA program in which you fit well at hundreds of MBA schools.

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4 Response to "MBA Programs Ranked According to Individual Criteria to Assess Quality"

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