Businessweek 2010 MBA Rankings

Over the past few years, six-figure jobs out of business school have become harder and harder to obtain given the way the economic environment has impacted MBA recruiting.  With that in mind, applicants have recently become more concerned than ever about MBA rankings. For the typical applicant, being in a higher ranked school not only impacts the way colleagues will perceive them when they graduate but more importantly the way employers will read their resumes during the recruiting process. But there’s just one problem. Given the large number of sources of MBA rankings, most of which disagree with each other and use different methodologies to rank, how do you know which rankings are correct?

Fortunately, recent times has brought some good news – the MBA job market is picking up, and students are starting to get jobs in large number again (click here to see the pace of consulting recruiting). Top programs, like Kellogg, have a lot more companies coming to campus than they did a few years ago and they’ve also starting reporting higher percentage of students with summer and full time offers. This means students across all the top schools are benefitting, which for some applicants, helps take off some of the pressure to get into a top five ranked school.  On the other hand, this still doesn’t stop a lot of applicants from closely following a school’s  national rankings. After all, everyone that graduates from an MBA program carries with them a school’s reputation and resulting alumni network for decades to follow.

My personal view on the topic is threefold. First, that U.S. News tends to be the most widely used source for business school rankings, and for all other program rankings. Though over the past decade or so, a lot of people have also increasingly began referencing BusinessWeek.  Second, that all sources can be good data points and provide different perspectives in the market. This is especially true because most sources use different methodologies, so you can look at things such as return on investment, post MBA salary, students survey responses, rankings based on prestige, and international reputation. And finally, my experience is that most similarly-ranked schools have access to very similar job roles after business school, whether banking, consulting, marketing, general management, or anything else you can think of. Because what really matters to recruiters is not a magazine’s ranking of the school on your resume but instead the experiences (and results) on your resume, and future potential as an employee at the firm.

Because of that, my view is that fit is especially important when selecting a business school. That means understanding what school appeals to you most and has the highest number of classes you find interesting. Which students you fit in best with. Where did the energy levels inside and outside of the classroom best match your energy level? And what place will not only set you up personally to be most successful after graduation?

But it also means understanding which “program” might be best for you.  Today, more students than ever are more interested in programs, such as study abroad programs, skill-based training programs, and most notably dual degree programs, such as the Northwestern JD-MBA which I’m a huge proponent of.  But being in the program isn’t necessarily the same experience as being at Kellogg, nor does it draw the same reaction from recruiters.  So it pays to understand the program more deeply and see if actually makes sense for you to apply.

In sum, if you want to select the ‘best’ business school for you, you should not only look at rankings but also look at fit and program options before making your final choice.

Without further discussion, here below are BusinessWeek’s 2010 MBA rankings. And below that, are links to the articles on the BusinessWeek website.

Top Ranked U.S.
1  University of Chicago (Booth)
2  Harvard University
3  University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
4  Northwestern University (Kellogg)
5 Stanford University
6  Duke University (Fuqua)
7  University of Michigan (Ross)
8 University of California – Berkeley (Haas)
9 Columbia University
10  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
11 University of Virginia (Darden)
12 Southern Methodist University (Cox)
13 Cornell University (Johnson)
14 Dartmouth College (Tuck)
15 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
16 University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
17 University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson)
18 New York University (Stern)
19  Indiana University (Kelley)
20 Michigan State University (Broad)
21 Yale University
22 Emory University (Goizueta)
23 Georgia Institute of Technology
24 University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)
25 University of Texas – Austin (McCombs)
26 University of Southern California (Marshall)
27 Brigham Young University (Marriott)
28 University of Minnesota (Carlson)
29 Rice University (Jones)
30 Texas A&M University (Mays)

Click here for BusinessWeek’s interactive rankings table

Click here for BusinessWeek’s profile on Kellogg

Click here for BusinessWeek’s slide show on the programs

Click here for BusinessWeek’s article about the rankings

Click here for BusinessWeek’s ranking methodology

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Saturday, November 13th, 2010 Admissions, Business School, Careers 1 Comment

2010 Law School Rankings: National Law Journal’s Go-to Schools

How bad did law school graduates have it in 2009? This is the question everyone’s been wondering. But now we finally have a little data to shed some light on the situation. The National Law Journal‘s annual Go-To Law School List recently came out with its 2010 rankings of with the highest percentage of law school graduates hired by firms (NLJ 250 law). The bad news is that the No. 1 school sent less than 56% to NLJ 250 law firms (down from 71%). But, for Northwestern, there’s at least a little good news.

Just yesterday at Northwestern, we received an email from Dean Van Zandt. His message was to inform everyone about the survey and about our top spot on the list. Rankings aside, it’s good to know that the Dean and career center are doing there best to do well in today’s tough legal market. I suspect and hope that in 2011, the percentages will be a lot better for everyone. I guess we’ll see how things ultimately play out.

Here is a small piece of the Dean’s message below.

Dean’s Message:
“I am pleased to share that Northwestern Law holds the No. 1 spot.  This is the third consecutive year that we have ranked in the top 5 (we were 5th in 2008 and 2nd in 2007).

The list of “go-to” schools was compiled from recruiting information that law firms provided on the 2009 NLJ 250, the National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms.  As the article indicates, 2009 saw a definite decline in first-year associate employment at the nation’s 250 largest law firms, so the percentages are down across the board this year.

While the difficult economy continues to present immediate challenges to students hitting the job market, our placement in the top spot on this list is a testament to our strong reputation.  This is the second time this year that we have been ranked No. 1 in an employment-based ranking.  In the fall, Princeton Review ranked Northwestern Law No. 1 for Best Career Prospects.”

For reference, the top 15 law schools are (percent hired by NLJ 250 in parentheses):

2010 Rankings
1.  Northwestern Law   (55.9)
2.  Columbia Law School  (54.4)
3.  Stanford Law School   (54.1)
4.  University of Chicago  (53.1)
5.  University of Virginia   (52.8)
6.  University of Michigan  (51)
7.  University of Pennsylvania  (50.8)
8.  New York University  (50.1)
9.  University of California, Berkeley  (50)
10. Duke Law School  (49.8)
11. Harvard   (47.6)
12. Vanderbilt  (47.1)
13. Georgetown (42.8)
14. Cornell  (41.5)
15. University of Southern California  (41.3)

Also for reference, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog makes mention of our ranking.  To read the full story, click here”

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 Admissions, Law School 4 Comments

2010 Princeton Review Law School Rankings

Earlier today, Princeton Review released its 2010 rankings of the top full-time U.S. law school programs. The organization ranks law schools in 11 different categories based on student surveys. This year, 172 law schools were eligible.

Despite long-time criticisms about graduate school rankings, law school rankings still play an important role in the world of legal education. When a school’s ranking drops, fewer admitted applicants accept spots at the school (i.e. yield rate), and budgets are often adjusted. Likewise, when a school rises in the rankings, the school often achieve a higher yield rate and an increase in applications. Northwestern Law more than most schools has historically been quite supportive of the ranking system. The schools believes that it provides one way to measure the school’s reputation and progress toward its overall strategic goals.

See below for a look at this year’s school rankings and how Northwestern stacks up:

First, here are a few of the overall rankings “Career Prospects:”

1. Northwestern
2. Penn
3. Michigan
4. University of Chicago
5. Stanford
6. Boston University
7. Boston College
8. Harvard
9. NYU
10. GULC

Second here are the rankings for “toughest to get into:”

1. Yale
2. Harvard
3. Stanford
4. UC-Berkeley
5. Columbia
6. Penn
7. Northwestern
8. Virginia
9. Chicago
10. Michigan

Third here are the rankings for “quality of life:”

1. Virginia
2. Stanford
3. Chapman
4. St. Thomas
5. Colorado
6. Vanderbilt
7. NYU
8. Oregon
9. Northwestern
10. George Washington

Here are the summary rankings for Northwestern:

Best Career Prospects: #1
Toughest to Get Into #7
Best Quality of Life: # 9 (4th among top law schools),
Best Classroom Experience #10 (5th among the top law schools)

Northwestern has held the No. 1 spot for Best Career Prospects for four of the five years that the Princeton Review has published these rankings. While the difficult economy continues to present immediate challenges to students hitting the job market, this recognition is a testament to our strong reputation. It also affirms our distinctive career-focused strategy and efforts to prepare graduates for successful lifelong careers that will span multiple employers and industries.

As a point of reference, here is how Northwestern ranked in the 2009 U.S. News Rankings:

Overall: 10th
Trial Advocacy: 10th
Clinical Training: 13th
Tax Law: 4th
Legal Writing: 10th
Dispute Resolution: 15th
International Law: 19th
Diversity: 5th

Click here for a full list of Northwestern Rankings.

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Thursday, October 8th, 2009 Admissions, Law School No Comments

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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