When you looked for colleges, it was easy to figure out which degrees were worth more and which less, because the ranking systems agreed, for the most part. MBA program rankings are not nearly as easy to decipher and this makes comparing MBA classes online, or considering which program to apply to, extremely difficult. There is no single standard for business school rankings. Rankings vary based on the particular aspect by which the ranking institution is passing judgment, and everyone has a completely different opinion. So how do you know which schools are the best investments of your time and money?
One method by which institutions rank MBA programs is by looking at what the corporate recruiters say. Corporate recruiters rank business schools according to the ease with which they are able to find quality recruits at those schools. The results of this ranking method are often quite different from those of the other methods. This is largely because recruiters look negatively upon students from highly ranked schools who expected their alma mater to do their interviewing work for them. They complain that students from schools with a high level of recognition sometimes think that the recruiters should be trying to impress them instead of the other way around.
Most other ranking methods look at things like the percentage of students employed after graduation and how much they make on average. They may also take other things into consideration such as student-faculty ratio, diversity, international experience, and the opinions of recruiters, though only in part. Using such mixed methods of evaluation, rankers tend to put schools like Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Yale, and MIT rank in the upper echelons. Since salary upon graduation is a factor in such mixed ranking methods, it only makes sense for prospective MBA students to look at the results of these ranking methods closely.
Another thing to take into consideration when looking at MBA rankings is the specific type of MBA being offered. Within MBA programs, there is a significant difference between specializations. Students who know what field they prefer to work in may want to look at particular concentrations offered by MBA programs, as opposed to MBA programs, in general. For example, some common concentrations are global management, finance, marketing, and ecommerce. Additionally, EMBA (executive master of business administration) programs cannot be compared to normal MBA programs. These are specifically for professionals with a higher level of experience, and they generally cost more as well. While both types of programs can often be found at business schools, the same school may have considerably different rankings for its EMBA and MBA programs. Since EMBA, finance MBA, and e-commerce MBA programs have fundamental differences, raking institutions frequently give them separate rankings.
In considering where you will go for your MBA, make sure to look at multiple MBA rankings from reputable sources, as this is the only way of getting some idea as to what your job prospects will be like upon graduation. In addition to these rankings, though, take other matters into account, such as program length and cost of living where the program is located. Conducting such research and making intelligent decisions according to that research is exactly what someone seeking to become a highly paid manager should be able to do effectively.