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What qualities make for a great teacher? Like beauty, that’s very much in the eye of the beholder. But in business school, students almost universally praise certain attributes: a compelling classroom presence, an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, easy availability after class, and a research record second to none.
As part of Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 Best B-Schools ranking, scheduled for publication on Nov. 15, we asked recent MBA graduates to judge the quality of their business school’s faculty. When the ranking is published, we’ll award letter grades, from A+ to C, to each of the ranked schools based on how well each program fared in this area. The letter grades are based on an actual numerical ranking, which we used to create the ranking below.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this list is that it doesn’t include any of the schools typically considered the best of the best—including Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Harvard Business School, and Wharton, which took the top three spots in our 2010 ranking. In fact, the highest-ranked school on the “best” list is Virginia’s Darden School of Business, which ranked 11th in 2010 and came in at No. 3 for teaching. It’s possible that Booth, Harvard, and Wharton were the victims of high expectations. Their reputations for excellence may be impossible to live up to. Very large classes probably don’t help, either. All three have somewhat crowded classrooms, with Harvard tipping the scales at an average of 90 students in core courses.
The “worst” list is dominated by international schools, including two top 10 programs, No. 4 ESADE in Barcelona and No. 9 York’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto. There does not appear to be a universal explanation for this.