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HOW WE CRUNCHED THE NUMBERS

It's a simple idea: Ask the people who have first-hand experience with graduate schools of business--the grads themselves and the corporate recruiters who hire them--which institutions are doing the best job. Their candid feedback has made BUSINESS WEEK's ranking a talked-about and influential source of information since its debut in 1988.

This time, we heard from 4,830 freshly minted grads polled at 51 top schools and the corporate recruiters who were responsible for the hiring of 8,100 MBAs this year. As he has in the past, Matthew Goldstein, an expert in survey design, consulted on the polls to ensure the best results.

-- Graduate Survey: Members of the MBA Class of 1996--selected at random from class lists--received a 36-question survey. We mailed out 7,235 surveys and received 67% of them back. Grads were asked to answer questions on a scale of 1 to 10. Sample: ``How would you judge the opportunities given to you--either in class or in extracurricular activities--to nurture and improve your skills in leading others?'' An answer of 1 meant the respondent felt the school had done a poor job; 10 stood for outstanding.

Together, this year's surveys make up 50% of a school's student-satisfaction score. To smooth the results, BUSINESS WEEK then added the responses of 4,608 graduates from its 1994 poll and the 4,712 from 1992. Those previous surveys each received a weight of 25%.

-- Recruiter Survey: A total of 326 companies that most heavily recruit MBAs were polled, and 227, or 70%, responded. Recruiters were asked to name a Top 10, in order, based on the quality of the schools and their company's success with the grads. The top school received 10 points, and No.10 got 1 point. A school's total score was then divided by the number of responding companies that recruited MBAs from the school. Because schools graduating large numbers of MBAs attract more recruiters, ratings for some of the smaller schools were adjusted upward to account for any possible large-school bias.

-- Composite Ranking: To produce an overall ranking, BUSINESS WEEK does not total a school's rank in both polls and divide by two. Instead, the ranking combines the raw scores of both surveys. This approach takes into account the statistical significance of a school's lead over another in each poll. As a result, a large gap between schools in one poll gets more weight than a smaller gap in the other poll. Recruiter opinion tends to loom larger in the overall ranking because there are greater differences among the schools in the corporate survey.



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Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
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