Alex Lawrence – UCLA Anderson School of Management
Confusing methods, changing measures – how helpful are rankings for prospective MBA students?
Rankings of graduate business school programs have existed for decades. The variety and number of programs have increased during that time as well. Now, individuals can consider a full-time, part-time, online, or other type of MBA program with information from any one of the ranking systems. In that light, one may question whether business school rankings are important.
There is more to consider than rankings
One thing to keep in mind: no one should evaluate a program based on rankings alone. It’s more important that an applicant knows why he/she is going to business school in the first place. Many applicants turn to graduate school to improve their career trajectory and/or add needed skills to improve their performance in the workplace. An applicant should consider a business program that meets and exceeds his/her expectations.
So-called highly ranked programs may not be the best fit, depending on one’s opinions about life after business school. With so many factors that go into a particular rankings formula, there are likely some that may not be of interest to the applicant. One should consider the quality of faculty, career placement/recruiting, student satisfaction, and any other criteria.
Applicants should create their own rankings
As one investigates different programs, opinions are formed about career prospects, quality of life during the two-year period, the community and culture of the school. It is inevitable that an applicant will create his/her own rankings of the programs that hold particular interest. And in the end, an applicant will choose a program that feels right and fits his/her needs.
Are business school rankings important? It depends on whom you ask…. In my humble opinion, I believe that they can provide a great starting point, but should not be the ending point.
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Alex Lawrence (’99), assistant dean of MBA admissions and financial aid at UCLA Anderson, stepped into his current Anderson role in 2012 and is responsible for sourcing, attracting, recruiting and enrolling qualified candidates to the full-time MBA Program. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Drexel University, his master’s degree in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech and his MBA at UCLA Anderson.
He was recently recognized as Diversity MBA’s 2014 Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders. The highly selective group of leaders from Fortune 500 companies, health care organizations, educational institutions and nonprofit agencies are chosen based on their position within their company, their time in that role, the advanced degree held, their contributions to the community and achievements in the workplace.