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The Washington Monthly College Rankings

 

Admission Sync Widget

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Washington Monthly Ranking like US News Ranking is not about the student-teacher ratios, money available for research, endowment contributions by alumni etc, but about the social impact of universities and their students.

Washington Monthly Ranking “gives top billing to colleges that are engines of social mobility, not just finishing schools for the super-rich” writes Chronicle of Higher Education.

This ranking puts University of California group among the top institutes and some of the Ivy League schools move down.

 

School Washington Monthly Ranking US News
Ranking
MIT 1 7
University of California, Berkeley 2 20
Penn State Univ, University Park 3 48
Univ of California, Los Angeles 4 25
Texas A&M University 5 60
Univ of California, San Diego 6 32
Stanford University 7 5
Cornell University 8 13
South Carolina State University 9 *
University of California, Davis 10 48
University of Wisconsin, Madison 11 34
Yale University 12 3
University of Notre Dame 13 18
University of Chicago 14 15
University of Washington 15 45
University of Illinois, UC 16 42
University of Texas, Austin 17 52
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 18 25
College of William and Mary 19 31
University of Virginia 20 23
University of Rochester 21 34
University of California, Riverside 22 85
Duke University 23 5
Alabama A&M University 24 *
Case Western Reserve University 25 37
Rice University 26 17
Ohio State University, Columbus 27 60
Harvard University 28 1
Johns Hopkins University 29 13
University of Pennsylvania 30 4
Georgetown University 31 23
University of North Carolina 32 27
University of Southern California 33 30
Brown University 34 15
Dartmouth College 35 9
Columbia University 36 9
University of Florida 37 50
Iowa State University 38 85
University of Arizona 39 97
Ohio University 40 60
Fordham University 41 68
Northwestern University 42 12
Princeton University 43 1
New Mexico State University 44 *
WA University in St. Louis 45 120
Jackson State University 46 *
Vanderbilt University 47 18
Utah State University 48 *
Marquette University 49 85
Michigan State University 50 74
Virginia Tech 51 78
Widener University 52 *
Rutgers University, NB 53 60
Carnegie Mellon University 54 22
Wake Forest University 55 27
Kent State University 56 *
Univ of California, Santa Barbara 57 45
Indiana University, Bloomington 58 74
University of Iowa 59 60
Boston University 60 40
University of Oregon 61 115
Syracuse University 62 50
Georgia Institute of Technology 63 37
New York University 64 37
University of Idaho 65 *
University of Pittsburgh 66 58
University of MN, Twin Cities 67 74
Univ of California, Santa Cruz 68 68
George Washington University 69 53
University of the Pacific 70 104
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 71 *
University of California, Irvine 72 40
Brandeis University 73 34
Tufts University 74 27
Purdue Univ, West Lafayette 75 60
University of Kentucky 76 120
Texas A&M University, Kingsville 77 *
Pepperdine University 78 55
Univ of Maryland, College Park 79 55
University of New Mexico 80 *
University of Montana 81 *
Tulane University 82 43
Auburn University 83 85
University of Colorado, Boulder 84 78
University of Missouri, Columbia 85 85
Oklahoma State University 86 *
Oregon State University 87 *
Howard University 88 93
Univ of Massachusetts, Amherst 89 104
Arizona State University 90 *
Loyola University Chicago 91 115
University of Illinois, Chicago 92 *
Northern Arizona University 93 *
University of Delaware 94 66
University of San Francisco 95 115
Emory University 96 20
University of San Diego 97 32
University of Southern Mississippi 98 *
University of Wyoming 99 *
National-Louis University 100 *

* Unranked by US News

 

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Law School Rankings vs. Parent University Rankings

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By Paul L. Caron

From Which Law Schools Outrank the Undergraduate Institutions With Which They’re Affiliated?

U.S. News Rankings: Law v. Undergrad

Here are the Top 100 law schools that have overcome the most headwind — the law schools with the biggest positive spread between its ranking and the ranking of its parent university

[click on chart to enlarge]:

Us_news_law_v

Note that the chart understates the spread in many cases, because it assigns the highest possible ranking to schools in the Third (#131) and Fourth (#196) Tier of the National Universities Rankings.

Other Top 20 law schools that are ranked significantly higher than their parent universities are

Michigan (#8 Law, #25 National University)

Virginia (#10, #23)

USC (#16, #27)

UCLA (#15, #25).

Update:  Several readers commented that since U.S News ranks more national universities (262) than law schools (184), a more meaningful measure would look at the disparity by percentiles rather than by absolute rank.  See here for a ranking by percentiles
 

Law Schools Ranked Lower Than Their Parent Universities

The law schools that are ranked significantly lower than their parent universities
[click on chart to enlarge]:

Us_news_minus_law_v_university

Percentiles rather than absolute ranks have been used because U.S News ranks more national universities (262) than law schools (184). Schools in Tier 3 and Tier 4 the percentile ranking of the midpoint of those tiers because U.S. News does not disclose the actual rank of those school

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The Times Higher World University Rankings 2007

ranking-headerUNABLE TO SEE A TABLE? HIT THE HEADER

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Rank 2007 Rank 2006 Institute Country
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Harvard

University of Cambridge

University of Oxford

Yale University

Imperial College London

Princeton University

CALTECH

University of Chicago

University College London

MIT

Columbia University

McGill University

Duke University

University of Penn

Johns Hopkins Univ

Australian National Univ

University of Tokyo

University of Hong Kong

Stanford University

Carnegie Mellon University

Cornell University

University of California, Berkeley

University of Edinburgh

King’s College London

Kyoto University

Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris

University of Melbourne

Ecole Polytechnique

Northwestern University

University of Manchester

University of Sydney

Brown University

University of British Columbia

University of Queensland

National University of Singapore

Peking University

University of Bristol

Chinese University of Hong Kong

University of Michigan

Tsinghua University

University of California, LA

ETH Zurich

Monash University

University of New South Wales

University of Toronto

Osaka University

Boston University

University of Amsterdam

New York University

University of Auckland

Seoul National University

University of Texas at Austin

Hong Kong University of Sc & Tech

Trinity College Dublin

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Warwick

University of California, San Diego

London School of Economics

Heidelberg University

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

University of Adelaide

Delft University of Technology

University of Western Australia

University of Birmingham

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität  M

Technische Universität München

University of Sheffield

Nanyang Technological University

University of Nottingham

Dartmouth College

Uppsala University

University of Illinois

Emory University

University of York

University of St Andrews

University of Pittsburgh

Purdue University

University of Maryland

University of Leeds

University of Southampton

Vanderbilt University

University of Glasgow

Leiden University

Case Western Reserve Univ

Fudan University

University of Vienna

Queen’s University

Utrecht University

Pen State University

Tokyo Institute of Tech

Rice University

University of Copenhagen

University of Montreal

University of Rochester

University of California, Davis

University of Alberta

Georgia Institute of Technology

Cardiff University

University of Helsinki

University of Liverpool

Georgetown University

National Taiwan University

Tohoku University

University of Geneva

Lund University

University of Colorado

McMaster University

Durham University

University of Virginia

Maastricht University

Nagoya University

University of Waterloo

University of Aarhus

University of Basel

University of Otago

University of California, SB

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale De L

University of Southern California

Ohio State University

University of Sussex

Texas A&M University

Université Catholique de Louvain

University of Ghent

Nanjing University

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Univ of Western Ontario

Hebrew Univ of Jerusalem

Newcastle University

Technical Univ of Denmark

Eindhoven University of Tech

Korea Adv Inst of Sc & Tech

Université Pierre et Marie Curie

University of Arizona

University of Florida

Kyushu University

University of Aberdeen

Indiana University Bloomington

Simon Fraser University

University of California, Irvine

University of Zurich

University of Minnesota

Universität Tübingen

Universität Freiburg

University of Bath

Freie Universität Berlin

University of Lancaster

Wageningen University

City University of Hong Kong

Queen Mary, Univ of London

Hokkaido University

University of North Carolina

Tel Aviv University

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Univ of Sc &Tech of China

University of Notre Dame

Ecole Normale Supérieure

Cranfield University

Michigan State University

Tufts University

Keio University

Washington University in St Louis

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Universität Stuttgart

University of Calgary

Vienna University of Tech

Universität Göttingen

Macquarie University

Helsinki University of Tech

University of Dundee

Universität Karlsruhe

University of Bologna

University of Groningen

University of MA ,Amherst

University of São Paulo

University of Campinas

University College Dublin

Rutgers,  New Jersey

University of Reading

Waseda University

Rheinisch-Westfälische Tech

Università Degli Studi Di Roma

Université Louis Pasteur

University of Leicester

University of Twente

University of Antwerp

University of Canterbury

University of Oslo

University of Surrey

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

KTH, Royal Institute of Technology

Univ Nat Autónoma de México

University of Barcelona

Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

Queensland Univ of Technology

Chalmers University of Technology

Kobe University

University of Wollongong

University of Cape Town

Rmit University

US

UK

UK

US

UK

US

US

US

UK

US

US

Canada

US

US

US

Australia

Japan

Hong Kong

US

US

US

US

UK

UK

Japan

France

Australia

France

US

UK

Austraila

US

Canada

Austraila

Singapore

China

UK

Hong Kong

US

China

US

Switzerland

Australia

Australia

Canada

Japan

US

Netherlands

US

New Zealand

South Korea

US

Hong Kong

Ireland

US

US

UK

US

UK

Germany

Belgium

Australia

Netherlands

Australia

UK

Germany

Germany

UK

Singapore

UK

US

Sweden

US

US

UK

UK

US

US

US

UK

UK

US

UK

Netherlands

US

China

Austria

Canada

Netherlands

US

Japan

US

Denmark

Canada

US

US

Canada

US

UK

Finland

UK

US

Taiwan

Japan

Switzerland

Sweden

US

Canada

UK

US

Netherlands

Japan

Canada

Denmark

Switzerland

New Zealand

US

Switzerland

US

US

UK

US

Belgium

Belgium

China

Germany

Canada

Israel

UK

Denmark

Netherlands

South Korea

France

US

US

Japan

UK

US

Canada

US

Switzerland

US

Germany

Germany

UK

Germany

UK

Netherlands

Hong Kong

UK

Japan

US

Israel

Belgium

China

US

France

UK

US

US

Japan

US

Netherlands

China

Germany

Canada

Austria

Germany

Australia

Finland

UK

Germany

Italy

Netherlands

US

Brazil

Brazil

Ireland

US

UK

Japan

Germany

Italy

France

UK

Netherlands

Belgium

New Zealand

Norway

UK

US

Sweden

Mexico

Spain

Netherlands

Australia

Sweden

Japan

Australia

South Africa

Australia

For a Commentry on this Ranking also See:

THES-QS World University Rankings 2007

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‘Career Enhancement Potential’ Ranking of Business Schools-Financial Times

If you cannot view the tables please hit the header

Rankings of the B-Schools from Students Career Enhancement Perspective has been made in Table 1. It shows the world schools from a different perspective.

In analyzing the Financial Times,London data it is assumed that a MBA student opts for the program to increase his earnings potential or desires change in his career stream. Thus factors as defined in “Open New Career Opportunities ” and “Increase in salary ” are taken in consideration.

Definitions:

Open New Career Opportunities Sums the following:

1. Diversity of recruiters.Number of industry sectors.
2. Assessment of careers services.Percentage of graduates in jobs three months after graduation
3. Jobs found through the careers service.Percentage of graduates finding jobs through careers service
4.Student assessment.Meeting expectations and needs

Increase in salary considers the following:

1. How much did your salary increase after graduating? Salary change from pre–MBA to post–MBA (excluding bonuses)
25.00

2. Leaving salary.Post–MBA salary (excluding bonuses)

TABLE 1

(First twenty ranked schools in each area have been considered)

This table has been created from FT -2007 Rankings Statistics.

Rank Open new career opportunities Increase in salary
1 GSB-Chicago Ashridge
2 IIM-A Henley
3 Berkeley -Haas HULT
4 IE Business School IESE
5 IESE IMD
6 NYU-Stern Oxford
7 Virginia-Darden HEC
8 Dartmouth-Tuck Strathclyde
9 Stanford Stanford
10 Hong Kong University LSB
11 Michigan-Ross Harvard
12 Columbia University of Bath
13 MIT-Sloan Cranfield
14 IMD TiasNimbas
15 Ohio-Fisher RSM Erasmus
16 Northwestern-Kellogg Dartmouth-Tuck
17 Washington University Intl.Univ of Monaco
18 CMU-Tepper Cambridge
19 ESADE Manchester B-School
20 Penn State-Smeal Monash

Conclusion:

Table 2

Country or Region Open new career opportunities Increase in salary Schools in both category
  Number of Schools Number of Schools Number of Schools
USA 14 4 2
Europe 4 15 2
Hong Kong 1 X X
India 1 X X
Australia X 1 X
       
       
       

USA Schools

1.Considering both these criteria Stanford and Dartmouth are the only USA schools having Ranking in the range of 1-20.

2. If we consider only “Open new career opportunities” then there are fourteen USA schools in this category meaning thereby that these schools place more emphasis on creating career opportunities.

3.”Increase in Salary” has four USA schools HULT,Stanford,Harvard and Dartmouth

European Schools

1. IMD and IESE fall under both the categories.

Conclusion

It is concluded that American schools emphasize more on creating career opportunities or maybe on having better placement offices and contacts with the industry.They have a poor record of increase in salary as compared with their European cousins.

European School candidates have a better jump in income after completion of their MBA, may be because the concept of MBA is in the process of being integrated into European economies.The Americans have a head start in this as such this is not surprising.
RELATED ARTICLES

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Ranking of MBA Programs – Based on Placement and Average Earnings

MBA – American Universities With Financial Help

Getting into a Top MBA Program

Business School Essay Topics

Are Green-Horn Applicants Acceptable by Business Schools?

WSJ Rankings Comparison of Top Business Schools

Top Business Schools – WSJ Ranking 2007

Recruiters’ Top MBA

Comments about The Best B-Schools of 2006

B-Schools Ranking – Placement within 3 months

All You Wanted to Know about Top MBA Programs – BW

MBA DEADLINES

Canadian MBA

"Outlook" Ranking of Indian B-Schools 2007

outloocover September 2007

HIT THE HEADER IF A TABLE IS NOY DISPLAYED

Ranking School
1 IIM A
2 IIM B
3 IIM C
4 IIM L
5 XLRI
6 MDI
7 SP Jain
8 NITIE
9 IIM I
10 NMIMS
11 IMT Gaziabad
12 IIM Khozikhode
13 IIFT Delhi
14 ICFAI Hyderabad
15 XIM B
16 SJSOM
17 IMI Delhi
18 IRMA
19 TAPMI
20 Symbiosis CHRD
21 IFMR Chennai
22 ALLAINCE
23 IIFM Bhopal
24 BIMTECH Noida
25 MANAGE Hyderabad
26 IHMR Jaipur
27 BIM Trichy
28 INST of PUBLIC Ent Hyd
29 IIMM Pune
30 IISWBM Kolkatta
31 SOMAIYA
32 NIRMA
33 GIM
34 LBSIM Delhi
35 LIBA Chennai
36 SIES Navi Mumbai
37 IMT Nagpur
38 PSG Coimbatore
39 College of Agri Pantnagar
40 CHRIST Bangalore
41 AMRITA
42 NIILM Delhi
43 ITM Navi Mumbai
44 DMS Dhanbad
45 IFIM Bangalore
46 IMS Ghaziabad
47 SCMS Cochin
48 JAIPURIA Lucknow
49 ICFAI Mumbai
50 RAJAGIRI  Cochin

Note: Some Schools like ISB,Hyderabad are not included in this list as they offer one year management program

GRE Subject Test

In Search of Artifice is a blog written by Joshua Eckroth recently it rated some good GRE subject test preparation material:

GRE Computer Science (REA) 5th Ed. (2004) – 1 star,

GRE Computer Science (REA Test Preps)(1998) – 1.5 stars,

GRE Computer Science (Graduate Record Examination Series, Gre-21) (1997) – 1 star,

GRE: Practicing to Take the Computer Science Test (3rd ed) (1997) – 2.5 stars.

The last one in combination with ETS’s official sample test (PDF, 53 pages) should be a good start in your preparation strategy.

Another incredibly useful resource is Christopher Scaffidi’s (CMU) booklet (PDF, 117 pages).

For extra study material, check out Howard Zhou’s (Georgia Tech) notes.

Other Related Articles in this blog 

Advice for Low GRE

Engineering Schools Acceptance Rate and GRE Score

GRE Diagnostics

GRE Resources

Some Good GRE Preparation Sites

Is GRE Required? Is it worthwhile to go to a University not insisting on it?

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Getting into a Top MBA Program

Why a Top MBA?

Unlike graduates of medical schools and law schools, there is no licensing exam required to practice business in the United States. In addition, the quality of accredited schools offering MBA degrees varies tremendously. This is a degree you can obtain part-time in 4 years, in an executive program in 1 year, via correspondence courses, and from schools with near 100% acceptance rates.

As a result, the value of your MBA degree is directly related to the prestige of the university and business school which grants it. A recent study of the value of MBA programs concluded that “if you don’t get into a leading business school, the economic value of the degree is really quite limited.” The study examined consultants at McKinsey & Company and investment bankers at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and found that those without MBA’s performed as well, or better, than business school graduates. The fallacy of the study was that it did not recognize that it is much harder to get such a job without an MBA degree. Intellectual horsepower and potential – rather than business knowledge – is the primary criterion top consulting firms and investment banks look for. If someone possesses a Ph.D. in economics from MIT or a JD from Harvard – quite common at such firms – then that obviously serves as a more than adequate intellectual proxy for even a top two-year MBA.

The required curriculum at most business schools consists of courses such as finance, accounting, statistics, organizational behavior, strategy, economics, communications and technology. Schools may have a larger or smaller set of “core” courses, and many give these subjects different names. But overall, MBA programs have more similarities with one another than they do differences, and most of the same subjects are taught from the same textbooks, using many of the same cases.

Thus, the academic content of a business school education – much like a law school or medical school education – does not vary greatly between programs. But due to the tremendous variation in the standards of institutions conferring the degree, an MBA has the most value in the marketplace when it is from a school that is highly respected. In addition, the lifelong professional network which comes from going to business school is more valuable when it is from a school where graduates typically go on to the most successful careers.

Ranking the Rankings

There is no other academic degree which is ranked and analyzed by so many publications and organizations as the MBA. While the general public and the business world have intuitive ideas of which the most famous and prestigious programs are, many of these rankings have highlighted improvements in other programs and presented them as viable competitors. Nonetheless, the traditional top schools perform the best across the best-regarded rankings.

US News and BusinessWeek

US News & World Report and BusinessWeek are the most well-known and respected MBA rankings, and have each been published for more than 10 years. New rankings from the Financial Times, Forbes, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal have come out in the last few years. Each ranking has strengths and weaknesses.

US News is generally considered the best ranking for prospective MBA applicants, as their system is the most transparent, and their rankings always come closest to peoples’ common sense perception of relative prestige. This is no accident, since their ranking heavily favors “peer assessment”, which is essentially “prestige”, as one of their key factors. There are three schools which have been ranked #1 by US News in the past ten years – the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School, and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

BusinessWeek is considered the next most useful ranking for applicants, since they collect a great deal of data and weight their ranking toward student feedback. Yet, none of Harvard, Stanford or MIT has ever been ranked #1 by BusinessWeek. Instead, the only schools to achieve the top position in their ranking are the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Business School Highest Ranking in US News Highest Ranking in BusinessWeek
Harvard Business School

1

3

Stanford Graduate School of Business

1

4

MIT Sloan School of Management

1

4

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

2

1

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

3

1

Outside of these five schools, no other school has ever been ranked #1 in either of these rankings. BusinessWeek displays some variation, but has generally had each of these schools in or near the top 5. In US News, they have consistently been the top five schools every year the ranking has been published.

Other Rankings

The newer rankings, The Financial Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, are essentially specialty rankings which weight specifically chosen criteria very heavily to produce different results. The end results have some similarities with US News and BusinessWeek, but also produce many curious outcomes for individual schools and are more useful for the data they collect than the rankings they produce. A summary of the methodology issues with these rankings:

Ranking Methodology Problems
Financial Times Focuses on self-reported salary data several years post-graduation Unreliable and incomplete data: self-reporting bias
Forbes Focuses on self-reported salary data several years post-graduation; focuses on ROI Unreliable and incomplete data: self-reporting bias; penalizes schools with high entering salaries (inversely correlates program quality and applicant salary)
Wall Street Journal Based entirely on recruiter satisfaction Recruiters who tend to be unsuccessful at attracting interest from students at top schools tend to give those schools poor marks (inversely correlates program quality and graduate choices)

These methodology problems produce some questionable results, such as the Wall Street Journal ranking Stanford outside of the top 40, Forbes ranking MIT Sloan outside the top 15, and the Financial Times ranking Yale and NYU ahead of Kellogg. As such, the top business schools don’t pay as much attention to these rankings. Stanford’s dean even commented, quite justifiably, that doing poorly in the Wall Street Journal ranking was probably a better indicator of the quality of a program than doing well!

The Top Programs

Harvard, Stanford, MIT Sloan, Kellogg and Wharton stand out consistently amongst their peers, and have historically been considered the most prestigious MBA programs. They are also considered the best programs today. Two other notable programs are the University of Chicago and Columbia Business School. In fact, the deans of Harvard, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia and Chicago, meet regularly to share benchmarking information, and generally consider each other to be peer schools.

The reason that Columbia and Chicago are generally considered just below the other five is because they carry somewhat less prestige, as reflected in a couple of key statistics. Columbia used to have a 46% acceptance rate as recently as 10 years ago, far higher than any other top school, admitting nearly half of all applicants. Meanwhile, Chicago consistently has a much higher acceptance rate than any other top school (above 25-30%) and through much of the last 10 years maintained a 50% yield – in other words, nearly half of the people offered admission to Chicago choose not to attend. Nonetheless, these two schools are considered among the most prestigious after the top 5, and are even ranked in the top 5 in some finance-heavy rankings. Siebel’s “Siebel Scholars” program recognizes the top MBA students in the United States by awarding $25000 scholarships to the top five students at each of Harvard, Stanford, Sloan, Wharton, Kellogg and Chicago.

After these seven schools, other well known and highly regarded programs include:

  • Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
  • Haas School of Business, University of California-Berkeley
  • Yale School of Management
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
  • Anderson School of Business, UCLA
  • Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

Collectively, there are about 15 schools in the United States with a claim to “top 10 status” in one area or another.

Additional Statistics

Top MBA programs by subject area – one of the best ways to think about the top five MBA programs is to consider that they are all excellent in nearly every discipline, but are #1 in different specific subject areas:

Business School US News #1 in 2006 for… BusinessWeek “top-rated” in 2005 for…
Harvard Business School – Management – Finance
– Management
– Entrepreneurship
Stanford Graduate School of Business – N/A – Management
– Entrepreneurship
MIT Sloan School of Management – Information Systems
– Production/Operations
– Supply Chain/Logistics
– Finance
– Management
– Marketing
– Entrepreneurship
Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania – Finance
– Accounting
– Finance
– Management
– Marketing
– Entrepreneurship
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University – Marketing – Management
– Marketing

Yield – that is, the % of students who accept offers of admission. While some less prestigious programs may have high yields because of a highly targeted audience, the top programs are certainly competing with one another for many of the same students. In other words, the typical explanation for someone turning down an offer of admission at one top business school is because they accepted the offer of a school they would rather attend. Since top candidates receive more offers of admission, their choice of program is a factor which can be used to gauge the quality of each program. The yields of the top schools (2004 figures) are:

School Name

Yield

Acceptance Rate

1

Harvard

85%

12%

2

Stanford

83%

9%

3

MIT Sloan

75%

18%

3

Wharton

75%

15%

5

Columbia

71%

13%

6

Kellogg

66%

16%

7

Chicago

58%

28%

Endowment – this is kind of like the market capitalization of a business school, in a somewhat silly way. If a school has many graduates who have gone on to become very wealthy, it should have a lot of money in its endowment fund. If the school is well-managed, that fund should grow and help it attract more successful students. These are the top 10 schools by endowment (BusinessWeek, 2001):

School Name

Endowment ($ millions)

Endowment per student ($ 000)

1

Harvard

1100

628

2

MIT Sloan

402

560

3

Stanford

387

530

4

Kellogg

380

152

5

Wharton

338

216

6

Michigan

267

138

7

Darden

255

523

7

Yale

255

607

9

Chicago

207

87

10

Tuck

167

420

The reason the per-capita endowment figures for schools like Chicago and Kellogg are so low is because they spread their resources amongst a large number of full-time and part-time students. Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Wharton do not have part-time programs.

Famous Alumni – so who goes on to fame and fortune with an MBA degree? Besides George W. Bush, the nation’s first MBA president (Harvard ’75), the most prominent MBA’s are CEO’s of the world’s largest companies. MBA Jungle analyzed the Fortune 200 to see where their CEO’s went to school. The list, once again, has the top schools well-represented, and shows Harvard’s strength historically:

School Name

# of Fortune 200 CEO’s

1

Harvard

20

2

MIT Sloan

5

3

Stanford

4

3

Columbia

4

3

Chicago

4

6

NYU Stern

3

7

Kellogg

2

7

Darden

2

7

Goizueta

2

7

Indiana

2

7

Texas

2

In the past 100 years, Harvard has been the most popular destination for those interested in an MBA. Of course, the MBA was a completely different animal just 20 years ago. Back then, most students went directly out of college, and the competition and prestige were nothing like it is today. It is worth noting that only 79 CEO’s in the Fortune 200 had MBA degrees at all – but the MBA accounted for more than two-thirds of all graduate degrees held by these CEO’s. Although Wharton only had 1 CEO in the Fortune 200, they have historically had more, and this particular ranking is always in a state of flux.

The rest of this document will focus on the top 5 programs, but the same principles apply to the admissions process at most top 10 or top 20 programs.

Keys to Admission

Your GMAT score, undergraduate GPA, and the number of years of work experience you possess are the primary quantitative indicators used by business school admissions committees. Here is how the top 5 schools stack up on those measures:

Business School

Median GMAT

Median GPA

Mean Work Experience (Years)

Stanford

710

3.5

4.0

MIT Sloan

700

3.4

5.3

Harvard

700

3.6

4.4

Wharton

710

3.5

5.8

Kellogg

700

3.4

5.2

As of this writing, this means that more than half of all students attending these schools scored in the top 5% of all GMAT test takers worldwide. It also means that somewhat less than half did not. The GMAT is the primary indicator of raw intellectual ability considered by admissions committees, since it is standardized, and offers an objective – albeit incomplete – measure of ability between students from different colleges and majors. If you are lower than your target school’s average on any of these measures, it should be compensated by all of the other areas. In other words, if you expect to get in to Wharton with only 2 years of full-time work experience, you should have a very high GMAT score and GPA amongst other things.

Retaking the GMAT – this is only useful if your highest score is below your target school’s median. Retaking the GMAT to get a 730 when you already have a 710 is reasonably meaningless and shows you to be focused on the wrong things. Of course, getting a 720 after previously scoring a 670 may greatly help your candidacy. While most schools say you can take the GMAT as many times as you want, you should never take the test without proper preparation, as the entire process can be quite arduous. Prepare by taking practice tests – particularly CAT simulations – and if you find that you are not scoring 700+ with regularity, you should consider taking a course to prepare.

Although admissions committees at top schools say that a low GMAT score won’t keep you out, those who get in with scores in the low 600’s are almost certainly exceptional cases. If you are the average candidate without any internationally impressive accomplishments, a low GMAT score almost guarantees you a dreaded “ding” letter. On the other hand, for the candidate who is average in all other respects, a 790 isn’t much different from a 740 from the school’s point of view. Most schools will admit two otherwise similar candidates with disparate but high GMAT scores based on characteristics other than the GMAT. As for the people who get in with scores from 650 to 700, admissions can be frustratingly random – even more so than for everyone else.

While the overall GMAT score is what will be counted most heavily, the quantitative score is more important for applicants with non-technical backgrounds while the verbal score is examined more closely for applicants from foreign countries and those with science or engineering degrees. Schools are merely looking for the assurance that a candidate will be able to both crunch numbers and communicate well. Assuming that the overall GMAT score is alright, only a seriously low score on the section that will be examined most closely for a given candidate would be a liability. For example, if you are a native english speaker and have good grades from an Ivy League college in Literature, they probably won’t be too concerned about a low score on the verbal section, and just consider it an aberration. However, a low score on the quantitative section – regardless of how strong your combined GMAT score is – could be a major liability. The AWA score is not important for most applicants, and is not factored into the overall GMAT score anyway. In some cases, the actual text of the AWA section might be compared to an applicant’s essays if the schools are skeptical about either’s authenticity.

How the GPA is evaluated – top business schools are not as focused on undergraduate grades as other professional programs. If you have a 99th percentile LSAT score, and a 4.0 GPA in Political Science from Princeton, you will almost definitely get into Yale Law School. If you score 9.2 on the MCAT and graduate with a 3.4 in music, you will almost definitely not get into Johns Hopkins Medical School. On the other hand, if you graduate first in your class in finance at NYU, get a 780 on the GMAT, and work at Boston Consulting Group for three years, the admissions committee at Stanford Business School could decide they’ve already let in enough people like you, and the spot could go to someone with a 3.2 GPA in English who worked in a NGO in Africa. The bottom line is that if you are still in school, you should try to get the very best grades you can, but afterwards you just have to live with them. If you did poorly in undergraduate, good graduate degree grades help offset the impression that you’re incapable of getting good grades, but they don’t undo the damage your GPA does to the school’s average. Thus, letting you in becomes a very context and timing-driven judgment call.

Essays – there are typically two to seven essay questions in each application, with between 2000 and 3000 words required in total. While the first application will take you the longest, and you can cut-and-paste many paragraphs into subsequent essays, overall the differing nature of school’s questions will require you to spend many days on each package to create a satisfactory product. The essays are your primary opportunity to convince the school to let you in. They will evaluate you on two dimensions: what you will bring to the school as an MBA student, and what you will bring to the school as an alumnus. The second criterion is obviously the most important. Schools are trying to select the applicants they believe will be the most successful in their careers based on their backgrounds and accomplishments to date. Put another way, the 10-20% of applicants who get into a top business school are the ones who least needed the top MBA degree to succeed in their careers. Ironic, but true.

Of course, most of the applicants to top schools are reasonably successful in their careers already, so your essays need to distinguish you from others in your peer group. Your peer group – those applicants who are most like you – is who you are competing against primarily. For example, any top school could fill up their entire class with analysts from consulting firms with high GMAT scores and GPA’s. But they won’t. Instead, they will have a certain number of spots for such applicants, and someone who was a sculptor would not be competing for one of those spaces. This makes some peer groups more competitive than others in any given year. Most schools will say that every candidate competes against every other candidate, and from a certain point of view this is true. Someone could be a consultant, and even though they have already let in more consultants than they would like, he could bring something so special to the class from other experiences that they decide to let him in too. But in such a situation, the candidate likely won’t get in on strong numbers alone.

Your essays also give the school a sense of your personality. They want to see how you work your argument and the reasons they should admit you into your writing – while still answering their questions directly. They want you to be able to list and explain your accomplishments without being boastful or off-topic. These are, of course, the same skills you will need to be successful in your career after graduation.

Many people have taken to using admissions and essay consultants, and most schools will tell you that they discourage this. It is our opinion that the vast majority of successful candidates do not use paid essay editing services, and the majority of those who do use such services do not get in. This makes sense, of course – the people that need those services the most are the weakest candidates, and they’re on their own when it comes to a final interview. But beyond that, admissions consultants are invariably not the kind of people that a candidate to a top school wants advice from. Most did not ever attend a top business school themselves, and those few that did were essentially not successful enough to find reasonable jobs afterwards – and thus got into the essay editing business. We encourage you to get someone else to look at your essays and make suggestions, but pick someone who isn’t being paid on the basis of how much of your time they take, or how many changes they suggest you make. Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with your essays at all!

On the other hand, you should collect as much information and advice on the admissions process as you can, but always take it with a grain of salt. An unsuccessful applicant may not always be right about why they didn’t get in, but alumni of a given school can usually give you a pretty accurate picture of what it takes to get in. Written information sources are also essential, and this guide assumes that you’ve probably already picked up Richard Montauk’s excellent book, “How to Get Into The Top MBA Programs”. Although his advice is more generic – and thus applicable to any MBA program, but not customized for the truly best programs – you need to learn everything about the process. You should use that book with this guide to tune your application for top 5 schools.

Recommendations – these are most certainly the least important part of your application, but you shouldn’t discount them. They should reinforce what their rest of your package says, and provide the opinion of a real person who knows you very well and can answer the school’s questions directly and honestly. Every school will tell you this, and you should listen. The truth is that school’s know that many applicants write their own recommendations and just get their recommenders to sign and send them.

When to apply – the earlier the better, in general. Schools have either 2 or 3 application deadlines (rounds) and round 3 is almost always incredibly difficult to get in. This is just because statistically, there are very few spots left open by the third round. While some people believe that round 2 can be best for candidates without extremely strong backgrounds, it’s our belief that the first round is the best if you can get your application up to a desirable standard of quality in time.

The Interview – Harvard, Sloan, Stanford and Wharton all interview candidates by invitation only. This means that if you receive an interview – and at Harvard and Sloan, nearly all accepted candidates are required to interview – then this is your last and best opportunity to convince the admissions committee that you are someone they would like to have at their school. At Kellogg, all applicants are required to interview, so this changes the dynamic of the session significantly. Instead of the interview being an opportunity for you to address any weaknesses and convince them to let you in, it is merely another data point taken with the rest of your application. Put another way, a strong interview at Kellogg can’t get you in – but a weak interview can, and will, keep you out.

Conclusion

Attending one of the top business schools in the United States is really an amazing experience that we would recommend to anyone. Our classmates from business school are some of our closest friends, and the value of the network after graduation is immeasurable. We believe that you will be best served by attending the very best school you can get into, so never set your sights too low for reasons of expense, geography or other hassles.

Take a risk, and apply to some great programs – you won’t regret it.

Good luck!

Harvard Business School

Harvard University

Boston, Massachusetts

http://www.hbs.edu

HINTS

Harvard is obsessed with leadership, and they are looking for indications of leadership ability in each of their candidates. This can be in the form of managerial work experience, extracurricular activities, or initiative taken in other forms. What is more important than demonstrated leadership is to convince them that you have the capability for taking on great responsibility and taking charge of a situation in the future. Harvard is considered the #1 general management school by US News (and most of the world), so personal well-roundedness is key.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

George W. Bush, President, United States of America

Louis Gerstner, former Chairman, IBM Corporation

Rajat Gupta, former Worldwide Managing Director, McKinsey & Company

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO, General Electric Company

Jeff Skilling, former CEO, Enron Corporation

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 3

Class Size: 910

Applicants: 8,893

Waitlist Size: NOT RELEASED

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: NOT RELEASED

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $54,800

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/harvard.htm

Harvard MBA Admissions

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/index.html

Kellogg School of Management

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu

HINTS

Kellogg believes that teamwork is what builds great organizations, and the ability to work with, and co-exist with others in the business school environment is their primary screening criterion. Kellogg is ranked as the #1 school for marketing, so communications ability and softer skills are more valued here – and expected – than at other top programs. As was mentioned earlier, the interview has a different nature at Kellogg than at other schools, and they want to see if you are the Kellogg “type”, and excited about their program specifically.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

Michael Borman, President, Blue Martini Software

Leland Brendsel, CEO, Freddie Mac

John Hoeven, Governor, State of North Dakota

James Keyes, CEO, Johnson Controls

Locke Burt, Senator, State of Florida

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 3

Class Size: 625

Applicants: 6,039

Waitlist Size: NOT RELEASED

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: NOT RELEASED

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $52,533

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/kellogg.htm

Kellogg MBA Admissions

http://www.kellogg.nwu.edu/admissions/index.htm

MIT Sloan School of Management

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

http://mitsloan.mit.edu

HINTS

Sloan wants to admit a class of innovators. What is most important is to convince the admissions committee that your career will involve having a great impact on your organization or industry, and that you have the creativity and courage to take it on great challenges. Sloan is ranked the #1 school for technology, operations management and quantitative analysis, so strong business analytical skills are expected, but communications ability is what distinguishes successful applicants.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations

Carly Fiorina, former CEO, Hewlett-Packard Corporation

William Clay Ford, CEO, Ford Motor Company

Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Minister, Israel

John Reed, Chairman, New York Stock Exchange

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 2

Class Size: 319

Applicants: 2,940

Waitlist Size: 208

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: 15%

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $55,310

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/sloan.htm

Sloan MBA Admissions

http://mitsloan.mit.edu/mba

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford University

Stanford, California

http://www.gsb.stanford.edu

HINTS

With the highest average GMAT score in the world and the lowest acceptance rate, Stanford is the most difficult business school to gain admission into on the basis of numbers alone. That being said, they have a very diverse class mix and a balance curriculum that emphasizes both hard and soft skills. The key to admission is convincing the committee that you are bringing something unique to the class. While Stanford is not ranked #1 in any sub-specialty, it is strong in many areas.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft Corporation (dropped out after 1 year)

John Donahoe, former Worldwide Managing Director, Bain & Company

Philip Knight, CEO, Nike Corporation

Scott McNealy, CEO, Sun Microsystems

Charles Schwab, Chairman, Charles Schwab Corporation

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 3

Class Size: 378

Applicants: 5,253

Waitlist Size: 243

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: 9%

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $48,012

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/stanford.htm

Stanford MBA Admissions

http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/mba/

Wharton School

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

http://www.wharton.upenn.edu

HINTS

The Wharton School is ranked as the #1 school in finance and accounting, and their emphasis is definitely on business fundamentals. Although the class has the same number of years of work experience as at other top programs, the average age skews a little higher, and thus maturity is definitely valued by the admissions committee. The admissions committee at Wharton is looking for talented, hard-working individuals that have achieved a great deal but are not arrogant about it.

FAMOUS ALUMNI SAMPLE

Reginald Jones, former CEO, General Electric Company

Shaun O’Malley, former Chairman, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP

Louis Platt, former CEO, Hewlett-Packard Corporation

Donald Trump, CEO, Trump Organization

Gary Wilson, Chairman, Northwest Airlines

ADMISSIONS STATISTICS

Application Rounds: 3

Class Size: 771

Applicants: 7,274

Waitlist Size: 371

Waitlist Acceptance Rate: 23%

FINANCIAL AID

Annual budget: $59,728

Guaranteed loans available for all students.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BusinessWeek Profile

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/04/full_time_profiles/wharton.htm

Wharton MBA Admissions

http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba

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