How much does Ranking Matter while Choosing an MBA College?

When choosing the best business school seems like a tricky task, rankings may look like a lifesaver. There are numerous organizations and publications that conduct comprehensive surveys and studies to rank colleges offering MBA programs. Unfortunately, no two rankings published in the same year look alike. This leads to the conclusion that there is no perfect measurement to help you determine the best college in the world for MBA program.

Is There Standardization In MBA Ranking Criteria?

The answer is no. When BusinessWeek publishes their Best B-schools rankings every year, their results are centered on one factor which is "customer satisfaction". The survey not only focuses on students, but also corporate recruiters who hired them. Forbes has been measuring the return on investment achieved by graduates to rank their colleges. Similarly, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist or any others have their own criteria for ranking business schools.

Does High Ranking Mean Reputation?

Almost all students take into account the reputation of their prospective college as the number one factor when choosing their business program. Ranking, to a great extent measures reputation. Almost all ranking surveys consider multiple factors even though their prime focus differs. A few factors of emphasis while ranking MBA colleges are average alumni salary immediately after graduation and the same after a few years, salary increase, placement success, career progress and goal achievement.

Can Rankings Be Helpful?

Under no circumstances should you join a college solely on the basis of impressive rankings that it attained from media or a company. Yet, it is one big one factor among many others to consider. If you analyze the methodologies and algorithms used by various ranking systems, you may eventually get more information from rankings than you initially expected. It may help you understand the culture of a college and how that educational environment suites your personality. It may indicate if the program that they offer supports your study habits and will help you achieve your ultimate professional goals.

Rankings have become an essential shortcut in a world where there are hundreds and thousands of colleges offering MBA programs. It is practically impossible for a candidate to sift through the enormous amount of data available and choose the best educational prospect. Rankings narrow down the number of colleges offering the best MBA programs.

What Else To Consider Beyond College Rankings?

Cost of MBA program, location of college, its relationship with top recruiters in the industry and its overall contribution to the students' future are a few factors that must not be forgotten.

While recruiters place some emphasis on the ranking of the college you graduated from, a larger emphasis is placed on your academic performance, skills and test scores. The bottom line is that MBA rankings are not perfect, but are helpful.