A number of universities are pushing back against annual business school rankings. Academics from more than 20 business schools participated in a research paper to be published this month in the journal Decision Sciences that questions the methodology and purpose of numerical ranking systems employed by several publications.
Deans and faculty from USC Marshall School of Business, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, and OSU Fisher College of Business are among those protesting the approaches used by media outlets to aggregate multiple factors into a single ordinal rank—and they are airing their grievances in the form of a research paper scheduled for publication in the May issue of Decision Sciences Journal.
Bloomberg Businessweek, for example, has ranked full-time MBA programs in the U.S. since 1988. The current methodology focuses on "how well the programs prepare their graduates for job success" and is comprised of five elements: employer survey (35 percent), alumni survey (30 percent), student survey (15 percent), job placement rate (10 percent), and starting salary (10 percent).
The 2016 survey, published in November, ranked Harvard the top MBA program, followed by Stanford, Duke and the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management was ranked No. 9.
Some argue that surveys that focus on average base salary at graduation unfairly reward schools that place graduates in the financial sector. Others argue that the best universities are the ones that provide the most value added to their students. Further, schools that do not cooperate are left out of rankings.
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