The Financial Times ranked the McDonough School of Business’ full-time Master of Business Administration program 19th nationally and 44th globally in its 2016 Global MBA Ranking, a slight ddecline from its 2015 rank of 42nd place.
The MBA program’s slight drop in its international ranking can be attributed to various reasons.
The Financial Times ranks MBA programs annually based on myriad factors including surveys conducted on alumni, students, faculty and peer institutions.
The international publication also considers statistics pertaining to the representation of women and international students in each MBA program, research conducted by the faculty and — most heavily weighted — the salaries students earn after graduation.
To be eligible for the Financial Times’ rankings, which have existed since 1999, a program must have been running for at least four years, have had its first class of students graduate at least three years before the rankings are released and be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Since 1999, each year, the rankings have become more competitive as more MBA programs around the world become eligible.
According to Senior Associate Dean of MBA Programs Prashant Malaviya, faculty, students and administrators use the MSB’s MBA program rankings to provide important feedback on the program.
“I think of the ranking as a very important feedback loop; it tells us how well we are doing,” Malaviya said. “Primarily because there are many important constituents who respond to the ranking request. So people get responses from alumni, recruiters, current students, peer institutions, and it is important to know what is it that they think about us.”
Malaviya added that while the rankings are a good reflection of the program’s success, the administration and faculty does not focus on them when making decisions about the program.
“I think of the ranking as an outcome of the job that we have to do, and the job we have to do is to ensure student success,” Malaviya said. “The rankings follow if we do our job. I look at the rankings as a reflection of how well have we done our job, but focus on the job rather than focus on the ranking.”
According to Malaviya, the MSB full-time MBA program’s drop in its international Financial Times ranking from 36th in 2014 to 44th in 2016 has not had significant effect on the applicant pool.
Malaviya noted that the part-time MBA program did see an increase in quality of the applicant pool following its recent jump from 38th to 4th place in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2015 rankings of MBA programs.
According to Ricardo Ernst, professor of operations and director of the Global Business Initiative, the MBA rankings most directly affect professors within the program.
“This is very important because it gives them kind of external validation. We might have questions and concerns about the way the rankings are calculated or determined, but at the end of the day it is a very important number that we should never displace as irrelevant,” Ernst said.
Ernst said he believes the rankings should also be important to students in the MBA program since it validates the quality of their educations.
“Your degree, at the end of the day, is like a stock. It’s like a share that you have in a company. It’s probably the most important company of life because it is the company that determines your education,” Ernst said.
Professor of management Roger Bies said the rankings influenced his decision to work at Georgetown.
“Georgetown had a great reputation and that was really important to me globally, and it had a great reputation in the areas around social justice, which is part of what my research is about,” Bies said.
Bies also said he thinks the rankings influence students’ decisions to enroll in the MBA program or not.
“Every graduate student who gets a Ph.D around the world looks at the rankings because associated with rankings is not only the prestige of working at an institution that people know of, but usually there’s more research money, more research opportunities,” Bies said.
First-year MBA student Gerald Gangaram (GRD ’17) said that Georgetown’s ranking affected his decision to pick Georgetown’s MBA program for his studies.
“Return on investment is a big thing that people talk about, and in my case, I’m not necessarily looking for a job right out of here so it is something that’s going to be on my resume for a while. … If I’m going to dedicate so much time to it, I might as well get a good return on it,” Gangaram said.
Gangaram said the perception of the program in the business community was also important to him.
“For me, I was looking at prestige of the university as well. I wanted it to be something that I would be able to leverage later on for the network and known name,” Gangaram said.
Another first-year MBA student, Katherine Maguire (GRD ’17), said Georgetown’s reputation and networking opportunities were important factors in her decision to attend Georgetown.
“Georgetown has a really strong network at a lot of companies that we look into so our reputation is already well known at those companies, and we have a strong network of support there,” Maguire said.
Christine Smith (GRD ’17) said the rankings were important, but were not the main reason she selected Georgetown’s program.
“I did look at them, but it wasn’t the primary reason for me choosing Georgetown,” Smith said.
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