Best MBA Program in the Land....Cornell

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on June 20, 2008

I never thought I’d see a ranking where Wharton is NOT in the top 3, but an economist at Vanderbilt University’s b-school has created just that.

Mike Shor took the top 50 MBA programs in the latest ranking by U.S. News & World Report (why not use BW’s list Mike?) and attempted to calculate what portion of actual salaries is above and beyond what grads would have earned with a degree from an “average” MBA program, based on GMAT scores and college grades. His goal was to remove the selection bias inherent in some rankings—the tendency for really smart people, who would have been high paid regardless of where (or if) they got a degree, to attend the very best schools.

So which programs fared best in Shor’s ranking? Drum roll please…

1. Cornell (Johnson)
2. Indiana-Bloomington (Kelley)
3. University of Virginia (Darden)
4. Texas-Austin (McCombs)
5. Harvard
6. Vanderbilt (Owen)
7. Rice (Jones)
8. Minnesota-Twin Cities (Carlson)
9. MIT Sloan
10.Maryland-College Park (Smith)
11.Georgetown (McDonough)
12.Ohio State (Fisher)
13.NYU (Stern)
14.Duke (Fuqua)
15.UNC-Chapel Hill (Kenan Flagler)
16.Brigham Young (Marriott)
17.Rochester (Simon)
18.Texas A&M (Mays)
19.Northwestern (Kellogg)
20.Boston College (Carroll)

The entire list of 50 schools is available on Shor's blog (use the link above), and a brief item about the ranking appeared on Inside Higher Ed this morning. If it's Wharton you're looking for, I'll save you the trouble of clicking through...it's No. 21. Ouch.

I wonder how much Vanderbilt's U.S. News ranking (44) contributed to Shor's desire to build a better ranking, especially one that puts his own school at No. 6. But regardless of his motives I think there's a lot to recommend this ranking methodology.

While I'm a little uncomfortable with any ranking that relies on estimates of what grads "woulda coulda" earned at an "average" MBA, Shor's methodology (which can be found on his blog) does a good job of teasing out the selection bias so that all that remains is the MBA program's true market value--something that gets lost in the U.S. News ranking, which relies on reputational measures (b-school deans, recruiters), salaries and employment rates, selectivity, GMAT scores and few other items. I will, however, point out that his study suffers from its own selection bias: the only schools he considered were the U.S. News top 50. I wonder what the results would have been had Shor cast a wider net.

But that's just me. What does everyone else think of Shor's ranking?

Reader Comments

Julie P.

June 22, 2008 12:35 PM

I think Shor's (Not Schor) rankings are better than the US News.

Sam

June 23, 2008 8:56 PM

Perhaps a perusal of Mike's follow-up post would benefit, well, all involved.

http://www.dis-equilibrium.com/2008/06/how-to-become-infamous-in-under-three.html

Louis

June 24, 2008 9:08 AM

Thanks Sam. Mike's new post makes an important point about BW's own ranking--namely that our recruiter survey "conflates the quality of student with the quality of the school" and suffers from the same self-selection bias that he criticized the U.S. News ranking for. I urge everyone to read it. However I have to take issue with his notion that he "did not 'name' any school as the top school." The original post includes a list that is identified as a "ranking," and the individual schools on the list are given a "rank." Sorry, Mike, if it looks like a ranking and smells like a ranking...it's a ranking. Even if you did it in the wee hours of the morning and with the most tongue-in-cheek intentions.

Louis

June 24, 2008 9:09 AM

Thanks Sam. Mike's new post makes an important point about BW's own ranking--namely that our recruiter survey "conflates the quality of student with the quality of the school" and suffers from the same self-selection bias that he criticized the U.S. News ranking for. I urge everyone to read it. However I have to take issue with his notion that he "did not 'name' any school as the top school." The original post includes a list that is identified as a "ranking," and the individual schools on the list are given a "rank." Sorry, Mike, if it looks like a ranking and smells like a ranking...it's a ranking. Even if you did it in the wee hours of the morning and with the most tongue-in-cheek intentions.

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