New MBA rankings – why they matter to schools

The new 2007 US News MBA rankings are out.  Great quotes from the "winners" in this Bloomberg article.

HBS: "The way we look at this is that there is no such thing as
a No. 1 school.  What
matters is that the school is a match for the student.”

Sloan:  "For some students, we are in fact No. 1 if you take
someone with a certain set of interests.  For others,
we would just not be a good fit and not be in their top 10.”

This year’s top 10:

  • Harvard (HBS)
  • Stanford
  • Penn (Wharton)
  • MIT (Sloan)
  • Northwestern (Kellogg)
  • Chicago
  • Columbia
  • UC Berkeley (Haas)
  • Dartmouth (Tuck)
  • UCLA (Anderson)

From a short-term perspective, getting a higher ranking absolutely matters for marketing purposes.  Getting higher on the list means more applications – which means more application fees.  Although not a primary revenue source, it’s not just spare change either.  In the case of HBS, 2005 enrollment was about 911 for an entering class.  Not all offered admission matriculate, so assume this figure is 90% of those offered admission.  A 15.7% acceptance rate means 6,447 applications.  At $225 per app, that’s $1.45 million gross.  Certainly the margin for processing cuts into that a bit (why do you think online applications were adopted so quickly?).  For smaller schools with non-Harvard sized endowments, getting a better ranking and more applications in the doors matters a lot.

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