The world does not need another list of top MBA programs.
But we have a method to our madness.
The purpose of us publishing this possibly-useless rankings list of our own is to help educate you consumers in the MBA application market, so that you can get yet one more datapoint to use as you plan out your strategies and determine where to apply. This datapoint is designed around YOU.
The other rankings are all ostensibly measuring constituents in the MBA marketplace, specifically employers, graduates, and the schools themselves. The degree to which each ranking weights different elements that can be weighted is completely beyond our discussion today, but there’s lots of smart people working on these rankings projects at these media companies every year and we don’t pretend to be doing a “better” job at this task where the analysis is concerned. We’re not doing anything scientific here. Again, it’s just our opinion – but an opinion formed from the on-the-ground work that we have done for many years running.
That’s what impacts you, Brave Supplicant: We see what schools respond to, and which ones are more discriminating in who they’ll let in.
The absolute position of any one school doesn’t much matter. What matters to you is how to set your application strategy, when you know the relative position of each school.
Any school at the top of our list DEFINITELY should be targeted in Round 1 if you’re serious about them. Lots of people get into all bschools in Round 2 as well, but you’ll have a better chance of success if you get your act together and put a strong pitch forward early.
Any school towards the bottom could potentially be suitable for a Round 2 strategy – though if you really really like Duke, then even though we’ve not put them at the top — which is perhaps a contrarian position, given that other publications have been grouping Fuqua with the likes of Chicago and MIT and Columbia — but given their place on our list, if you’re in love with Duke, then you should be thinking about their Early Action round as a major advantage. This is because Duke loves those who love them, and they make it easy on you to get in during that cycle if you’re serious about them – even if you have a flaw or two. Never seen anyone regret that decision, when Duke was their first choice.
By the way, Duke, and all schools, can tell when someone is trying to skate in under the Early Decision wire due solely to the perceived advantage. If you’re applying in a school’s “early” round and your profile has gaping holes and glaring issues in it, then the adcom will naturally assume that you’re trying to get a pass on those. Sometimes that works, but not always. Applying in one of those “early” rounds is an advantage when you’re properly positioning yourself for the school. That’s your job with ANY application, and if you have flaws, then it’s even more critically important – especially in the “early” round. The adcoms have been around the block. It’s not like your wise idea of trying to slip those weaknesses past them unnoticed has never been thought of before.
Anyway. Now you’ve got our take on how the schools tend to cluster, and who their peers really are. Our list from yesterday shows you how admissions decisions tend to fall out at these very good MBA programs. The order we’ve put them in may surprise you – and even more important, it may help you in determining your approach with your apps this year.