How to Use MBA Rankings

by on September 11th, 2017

rankingsAs you narrow down your round 2 school lists, you might be wondering how much emphasis you should place on business school rankings. These rankings are often a subject of much debate, especially since there are many and they differ widely. US News and World Reports and Bloomberg Business Week are just two available. More than just big business for the publishers, rankings are an important tool for business school applicants. However, please keep in mind they are just one of many tools and not the be all end all! Below is Personal MBA Coach’s view on these guides: why they matter, how to use them and some important things to keep in mind!

Remember, these guides are only the beginning. Personal MBA Coach is a full-service admissions consulting firm that can help you design your overall strategy. School selection is a crucial part of the process and we are here to help!

Why They Matter:

  • Your education is a critical component of your resume and naturally most prospective employers and investors look closely at where you went to school. Right or wrong, many will use the quality of your education as a signal of your potential value and these ratings most often shape this perceived education quality.

How To Use Them:

  • Use them to get the lay of the land. MBA ratings provide a great overview of the business school landscape: what schools exist, where they are located and how they generally stack up.
  • Statistics such as average GPA, average GMAT, years of experience, acceptance rate and starting salary provide good benchmarking data. Use the ratings to get a high level of idea of which schools could be potential options for you.
  • Keep in mind these are averages across all candidates. The whole package matters so use these numbers as an initial guide only. Based on your unique background and experience, lower scores or grades might be perfectly reasonable. And vice versa, for a less unique profile, you might need higher than average scores/grades to truly stand out.

Keep in Mind:

  • Average rating over time is much more important than year to year fluctuation. When you are courting that investor 10 years from now, she won’t pay attention to what the rating was when you applied—so, pay closer attention to general trends.
  • Nearly every ratings scale will give different results. Of course, certain schools will be in the top 10 in nearly every rating, but the lists vary considerably from source to source. As with historical data, the general trend is most important.
  • Ratings vary by industry! While all business schools focus to some extent on providing strong general management education, each school has a specific area of expertise. Pay attention to how the schools stack up in the industry specific ratings as well.
  • Look at which schools your target companies recruit at. Companies recruit at many schools, not just the top ten.
  • Location matters. Sure, you can live anywhere after you graduate from business school and companies will often travel to recruit. But for obvious reasons, it is much easier to recruit and network close to campus. If you have a few schools in mind with the same general rating (even if one is slightly better than the other), there can sometimes be an advantage to studying closer to where you want to settle.

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Personal MBA Coach is here to help! We are a boutique admissions consulting firm helping clients since 2008 with a 96% success rate! Whether it is GMAT/GRE tutoring, school selection, letters of recommendation planning or essay development, we can help you achieve your career goals! Call today: +1 617-645-2424 or email for a consultation with founder Scott Edinburgh.

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