Businessweek to Release New Undergrad Business School Rankings Today

Business School RankingsToday at 5:15pm EST, Bloomberg Businessweek will host a live chat to announce its 2011 undergraduate business school rankings.  Will Notre Dame hold onto the top spot in the rankings? Could UVA or MIT make the leap to the #1 position?

Even if you’re not considering a BBA, there are some interesting stats and trends to follow in the undergraduate rankings.  The salary and job placement statistics year-to-year can provide insight into the health of the typical MBA feeder industries (consulting, banking, brand management), and the rankings of the MBA feeder programs can demonstrate some insight into your competition for MBA programs down the road.  Washington University (St. Louis) – Olin was the top-ranked MBA feeder program in 2010, with Cornell, Berkeley, MIT, and Virginia following.  (Do note, however, that these are statistics just for business programs and not for undergraduate institutions as a whole, and that MBA feeder universities like Princeton and Harvard do not even have undergraduate b-schools).

For prospective MBA students (and GMAT examinees) in particular, analyzing school rankings can be a useful exercise in preparation for the entrance exams and for school itself.  While many will view the rankings, a relatively small percentage will consult the methodology behind the rankings.  Based upon what attributes are these rankings compiled?  A word to the wise for any rankings-readers: consult the dimensions along which the schools are ranked and consider which attributes are most important to you.  While typically well-constructed by each publication, the rankings need to weight characteristics and attributes that may not match your preferences; are employer perceptions more valuable to you than student survey results?  Are cost or location higher or lower priorities for you? 

Famously, some of the top-ranked schools in the job placement metrics for MBA programs tend to lag in the Wall Street Journal rankings, which heavily weight recruiter perceptions.  Why?  Because those students tend to have a wider array of job prospects and therefore tend not to be as deferential to each  recruiter – the students in many ways are analyzing the recruiters’ offerings instead of merely trying to impress them, so psychologically the average recruiter may come away from a middle-tier school with a better perception of the students (“they were hanging on my every word!”) and from a top-notch school with a slightly lesser perception (“they really grilled me about our 401k match”).

The 2011 Undergraduate Business School rankings are just a few hours away, and at Veritas Prep headquarters at least a few of us with BBA degrees from competitive schools will eagerly await the results for intraoffice bragging rights.  Any predictions?

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(Yes, we erroneously reported last week that the new BW undergrad rankings were going to come out last Thursday. Turns out someone slipped Colombian decaffeinated coffee crystals into the Veritas Prep coffee supply. Those responsible have been sacked. — Ed.)