Miquel Espinosa – EADA Business School
Confusing methods, changing measures – how helpful are rankings for prospective MBA students?
Prospective MBA applicants have access to a variety of rankings issued by such distinguished publications as the Financial Times, the Economist and Business Week. There are rankings that focus on specific types of programs such as Full-time or Executive MBA programs and rankings that evaluate the Business School as a whole or focus on a particular region, such as the European Business Schools ranking published by the Financial Times.
Each of the publications uses a different methodology to assess the quality of the school or program, which often leads to variation in the placement of these across the various rankings. This can be confusing for prospective applicants trying to determine their best choice of school, especially since most candidates tend to look at the final result without delving in depth into the methodology or the meaning behind the given numbers.
Rankings are undoubtedly important for prospective students and they are associated with the perceived brand value of the program or institution. In our opinion, however, they should never be the only or even the main basis for choosing a particular program by the applicant.
Most important are the individual goals
An MBA is a big investment in terms of money and time that can only be made once. It is important therefore for the applicants to look at a program that best fits their needs and those may be quite different from the „value assessment“ provided by any given ranking. Ideally prospective students would benefit from first identifying the developmental and learning goals they would like to achieve by completing an MBA program and look for a program that will best help them to achieve these. For example, international participants who shortly after completing their program wish to work in the US may benefit more from following an MBA program in that country as this may facilitate their job search after they have completed their program. On the other hand, participants who are looking for true diversity and a global experience may benefit more from focusing on programs that are offered by European business schools, whose MBA classes tend to be much more international than those offered by American schools.
These are only a few examples of questions that prospective students should investigate when determining the school they would like to apply to. Rankings should not necessarily be dismissed, but they should play a secondary role in the decision making process.
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Miquel Espinosa is the General Director of EADA, Business School in Barcelona, Spain, since 2009, Institution which mission is to train managers of companies and organizations, who are economically efficacious, socially responsible and environmentally friendly. Previously, he was General Director at the Barcelona University (UB) and at the Autonomous University (UAB) and before, he was Managing Director at the Technical Foundation of Catalonia (FPC).