The Effectiveness Of MBA Program Rankings

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A lot of weight is put on news publications’ ranking systems for universities and their programs, but how reliable and worthy are they? Dawn Iacobucci of Vanderbilt University puts them to the test in her new paper “Psychometric Assessment of the Businessweek, U.S. News & World Report, and Financial Times Rankings of Business Schools’ MBA Programs in the  Journal of Marketing Education. Do they pass? Read the abstract:

This research investigates the reliability and validity of three major publications’ rankings of MBA programs. Each set of rankings showed reasonable consistency over time, both at the level of the overall rankings and for most of the facets from which the rankings are derived. Each set of rankings also showed some levels of convergent and discriminant validity, but each has room for improvement, particularly Businessweek, which relies heavily on subjective surveys of students and recruiters, and Financial Times, whose methodology may be simplified and streamlined, ceasing to measure facets that are empirically superfluous. Together the three jme coverpublications blanket the student process—U.S. News & World Report captures incoming student quality clearly with GMAT scores, Businessweek captures whether the students are happy while at their respective business schools, and U.S. News captures salaries and Financial Times captures return on investment, as short-term and longer term indicators of graduates’ early career successes.

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