January 24, 2023
Manhattan Prep/Kaplan Survey: Many Business Schools Say the MBA Rankings Have Lost Prestige and Would Welcome its Demise
New York, NY (January 23, 2023) — The decision by some top law schools to exit the rankings hasn’t led to anything similar among business schools (yet), but if it did, many admissions officers would welcome it, according to Manhattan Prep/Kaplan’s 2022 business school admissions officers survey*. Among the admissions officers surveyed at 117 full-time MBA programs across the United States, 37 percent believe that “business school rankings have lost some of their prestige over the last couple of years” and 29 percent disagree with that point of view; the remaining 34 percent didn’t express one view or the other. Additionally, 34 percent of business schools “think it would be a positive development, for both business schools and applicants, for business school rankings to no longer exist,” while 30 percent disagree; the remaining 36 percent didn’t express one view or the other.
These evolving views on the rankings come at a time of significant change on the MBA admissions landscape, with business schools looking for ways to boost their application numbers and many continuing to remain test optional, a COVID-era policy, as a way to accomplish this. It also comes at a time when some business schools and colleges have come under fire for reporting false data to game the rankings, hurting the system’s credibility.
Those who held negative views about the rankings shared these reasons:
“We should be focusing on fit, not prestige. What program is going to give the student the most positive experience and highest return on investment. We should be in the business of informing, not competing.”
“The methodology is often so terribly flawed. Some are so poorly done and are done so only to make money. Business schools have accepted that somewhat, but many of today's prospective students seem to have a more critical eye than previous prospects. They tell us the rankings don't have the influence they once had.”
“The criteria used for ranking is skewed to benefit the schools that already have more students and spend a lot of marketing dollars.”
“The audience is more aware of the subjectivity of rankings, some schools have chosen not to participate, and some of the rankings have produced questionable results.”
“Over the years, more than a few admissions officers half-jokingly said that ‘The most sleepless night for business school leaders is the night before the U.S. News rankings come out,’ since for some, their job hangs in the balance,” said Stacey Koprince, director of content and curriculum for Manhattan Prep, a sister company of Kaplan. “Whether there’s widespread rebellion against the rankings the way we’ve seen among top law schools remains to be seen. For prospective students our advice is to look at the rankings when deciding where to apply and enroll, as they serve as a useful aggregate of important stats like post-graduate job numbers and starting salaries, but also strongly consider which schools seem like the best fit for you personally and for your professional goals.”
*Based on the results of a survey conducted by phone and email between September and December 2022 and includes responses from 117 business schools across the United States; among them are 18 of the top 50 schools, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
Kaplan, Inc. is a global educational services company that helps individuals and institutions advance their goals in an ever-changing world. Our broad portfolio of solutions help students and professionals further their education and careers, universities and educational institutions attract and support students, and businesses maximize employee recruitment and development. Stanley Kaplan founded our company in 1938 with a mission to expand educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds. Today, all of our employees across 27 countries continue Stanley’s mission, working with hundreds of thousands of students and professionals and 12,000 corporate and 4,000 school and university clients worldwide. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). Learn more at https://kaplan.com.
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