Rankings of Business Schools

Numbers of rankings accessible are escalating year by year, big newspapers, media houses, education magazines all are engaged in providing rankings for Bachelors, MBA or specialized masters, subjects, business schools etc.  The most followed and famous ranking of all is Financial Times first ranking they published was in 1998 of European Business School and MBA programmes. This was the first international rankings evaluating various schools from Europe and United States. However, schools from Europe and United States of America were in the same list. The same format was taken up by other ranking publishing companies. In 2000 Business Week started to publish a different ranking of business schools which were not from the United States of America and for the first time the business schools from Canada and Europe were part of this rankings, BW also had a separate ranking for US business school which used to come out in a gap of two years. Later in 2001 Wall Street joined the club and published an international ranking which included both business schools from Europe and North America. Following the trend, The Economist came out with a ranking but it had a different methodology and all the business schools were given a score. Then there are various other international organizations which came out with their rankings, for example, International Herald Tribune, QS, Times Higher Education and Internal Herald Tribune.  After few years various regional media houses or publication started the rankings for a particular country, subject or course. To name a few India Today, Business Inside in India, Maclean in Canada, Good Universities Guide in Australia, Stern in Germany, Guardian in the UK. Nevertheless, there are mixed reactions for rankings by business schools, people, consultants and students. Should a business school take part in rankings, does a business school try to improve in the rankings, are rankings affecting the operations, strategies and marketing of a business school, what are the methodology of rankings, how true and right are the rankings. However some business schools are concentrating on improving the rankings every year and they committees, analyst to look at the progress. Some don’t even bother to even take part in the process.  Business schools like INSEAD were happy to look at their position in the rankings.

What was the motive that led these organizations’ to start their own rankings? First, it was the interest of common people shifting towards management educations, skills and degree. This led to a number of series of articles, columns, journals, publication and news coverage of management educations. There was a significant increase in the articles where were carrying management topics number increased to 15 in the 1990s from 5 in 1980s.  This interest was not only limited to the education industry, staff but also other industry as well. A great emphasis and importance were given to management training in 1980 and in the 1990s. Financial Times introduced a management education section in the newspaper this was to create a base or a guide to a number of management education programs/courses and also to the organisation. This section also contained “News from Campus” which contained notices about business programs and schools. Due to cut-throat competition in the press media, financial times introduced rankings which became a starting point for the launch of education section. One of the milestones was when Financial times introduced there first rankings after the coverage of management education courses/programs in the education section. A statement along with the rankings was released “Because we are the FT we have to produce something that is hard, and that is factual, and something that is going to have an authority. And I felt very strongly that we could only do that if we had rankings. (Business education correspondent FT, 29th March 2001”) Financial Times was stressing on authority that the business education and ranking should have the authority and that is how it is different from other media publications and rankings. This was the policy of and strategy of Financial Times to sell more newspaper, attract interest and attention of individuals, business schools and organizations’. This was the first rankings which combined colleges/institutions from Europe and North America and was called as “Atlantic Divide”. This was something new for the audience as before this there were only a few rankings and that too they were published by US News and World Report and Business Week.  At first Financial times published the rankings of only 50 business schools from Europe and the United States. In due course, there was a rapid growth and expansion of the rankings and this was catering to a huge international audience. A large number of international audiences started to follow and refer to it. In the following years after the success of existing rankings and as a succession Financial Times also started few other specialized rankings for example-: business school ranking, executive MBA rankings and executive education. Rankings also became as a separate business for big media houses and companies.

Due to the vast media attention of management education courses and rankings the interest of European students, institutions and organizations also developed. The management education industry expanded severely. New courses of were introduced according to the audience and there was a strong competition between the colleges to withhold their positions in the rankings. New courses for fresher’s were developed in Europe and in a few years became a rage in Europe. MBA became most popular choices of students worldwide. MBA is a product of United States of America education system but now it has spread to other parts of the world.

Latest and most followed rankings are The Wall Street Journal, U.S News & world report, Financial Times, Poet and Quants, Eduniversal, Bloomberg and Business Week.

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1 Comment

  • Thank you for touching upon this sort after topic of rankings. Students nowadays have multiple options and every one wants to skip those institution which might not satisfy what they expect and this fear lead to a situation wherein ranking becomes important factor for choosing the right school. Ranking systems is de facto need of identity based on performance and it has become credibility certificate for institution.

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