Do Business School Rankings Matter? (And If So, Why)?

Choosing an MBA program to attend is no easy feat, with so many factors to consider. One factor that plays an important role for many applicants is the ranking of the business school itself. Several different organizations, such as business-focused media outlets (the Economist, Businessweek, the Financial Times etc.) have ranked business schools for years, using a number of metrics including the average GMAT scores of admitted students, starting salaries for graduates, employment rates and more.

But are business school rankings still relevant? Or should MBA applicants focus on other factors when deciding which MBA program suits them best?

The short answer to this question is that MBA rankings do still matter. The long answer is the following:

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These rankings are important since prospective employers care about them, meaning you are more likely to be hired after your degree if you’ve attended a well-ranked business school. Your salary is likely to be higher as well. A smart MBA applicant calculates their potential return on investment on each MBA program before applying, and a better-ranked school will often turn out to be a better investment than attending a similar program at a lower-ranked or lesser-known school.

Candidates should also pay close attention to a school that ranks well for a specific specialization, such as marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, supply chain management, etc. This is usually a sign that the school makes an effort to lead in that field and has been focusing on the subject in question for a long period of time. Employers watch these specialization rankings too and are likely to seek new employees from schools that specialize in the relevant fields.

Important to keep in mind

Based on the above, you might think that it is a good idea to choose a business school solely based on its ranking. However, while a school might rank highly it may not be the right school for you. Applicants value different things in schools and also have varying post-MBA goals, so no one school will fit all applicants equally well.

Business school rankings should just be one factor to take into account when deciding which school to apply to and attend. As an applicant, you need to do your own research of the schools to determine which will fit your needs. Good luck!
About the author: Michelle Miller is the CEO of the Americas Division at ARINGO MBA Admissions Consulting, a top MBA admissions consulting firm with 15 years and 2000 successful candidates (and counting!). When she she’s not helping MBA candidates get accepted into their dream schools, Michelle likes to read, watch series television, and play with her dogs. Michelle is currently finishing her dissertation to complete her PhD in Higher Education Administration.

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