MBA program ranked 34th in national survey

William Evans

The Manderson Graduate School of Business at the University of Alabama ranked 34th among public institutions, according to a new ranking of MBA programs developed by John Byrne, former editor of Business Week and founder of the original Business Week rankings in the 1980s.

Manderson ranked 70th overall among all MBA programs.

Byrne’s “Poets & Quants” ranking of the various MBA programs in the United States is based upon the ranking methodologies developed by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and The Economist.

According to Byrne, each methodology contained flaws that misrepresented the value of certain MBA programs.

To provide a more accurate ranking system, Poets & Quants assessed the pros and cons of the five ranking systems and weighted each ranking system according to its authority and credibility.

“These differing weights reflect the authority and credibility we believe each of these rankings have in the business school universe,” Byrne writes on the Poets & Quants website.

For instance, the weight given to the BusinessWeek rankings was 30 percent, while Forbes received a weight of 25 percent and The Economist received a weight of 10 percent.

“The Poets & Quants ranking has an important advantage over all other lists: because it is a composite of the five major rankings, the P&Q methodology tends to smooth out the impact of statistical anomalies that are often present in any single ranking,” Byrne writes. “Instead, the Poets & Quants system tends to award MBA programs for consistency across the five rankings.”

Robert Morgan, associate dean of the Manderson Graduate School of Business, said Byrne contributed to the spearheading of publishing MBA rankings with BusinessWeek, which pioneered the effort to rank MBA programs in the United States.

Morgan said Byrne is attempting to clarify the rankings of the MBA programs after other publications have followed in the footsteps of BusinessWeek and have added noise to the ranking system.

“Each put different priorities on things,” he said.

Morgan said the Financial Times and The Economist are both British publications that include schools from outside the United States that publications such as BusinessWeek would not include.

“They look at different sets of variables than BusinessWeek or U.S. News & World Report might look at,” he said. “They look for a blend of programs [in their rankings].”

Morgan said Manderson received a favorable ranking in Byrne’s survey because of many factors, one of which includes the starting salary of graduates from the University’s MBA program.

“We put a priority on making sure that we are doing all that we can for students by finding employers and by bringing in recruiters to campus,” he said.

He said Manderson continues to be one of the most attractive programs on campus as indicated by rises in enrollment in the program.

Heather Hale, a second year student in the Manderson MBA program, said her experience as a student in the program has been rewarding.

“The staff does a great job of organizing alumni lunches, corporate speaker sessions, networking events and on-campus recruiting,” she said. “They also go out of their way to find connections with alumni who work for companies aligned with student interests.”

She said the team-oriented nature of the program’s instruction has been helpful.

“The ability to work with a diverse group of individuals toward a common goal is a key factor for any young professional’s success,” she said. “In addition, improved presentation, project management and spreadsheet modeling skills have been highly practical experiences that will be very helpful in the future.”