The Financial Times recently ranked the Georgetown McDonough School of Business MBA program 14th among full-time U.S. programs, and 17th out of 100 programs internationally.

MSB Dean John W. Mayo is very pleased with the ranking.

“[The rankings] should help reflect the quality of education offered by Georgetown University – we’re delighted by that,” he said. “We’re always delighted to see very positive judgments by the media and other institutions. We pay attention as part of ongoing benchmarks.”

“Rankings provide one means by which we can benchmark against our peers,” Marilyn Morgan, associate dean and MBA program director, said. “We are committed to making programmatic improvements that will continue to strengthen the value of the Georgetown MBA for our future business leaders and the global enterprises they serve.”

Mayo also stressed that Georgetown does not seek higher ratings, but rather higher quality of education.

“Our primary goal is to provide the best in education and continually do things to increase the value of the degrees of our alums,” he said.

The high rankings may also influence applicants into the MBA program within the next few years, as they tend to attract potential students to Georgetown, Mayo said.

The Financial Times ranks MBA programs based on three areas: purchasing power of graduates in the marketplace, diversity of educational experience and research qualities of the institution, according to a Jan. 20 Georgetown press release. Data is received through alumni questionnaires and a business school questionnaire, as well as a review of research in leading journals.

The university’s high ranking for its MBA program, however, is offset by its poor ranking in a more unlikely category – quality of testing sites for the MCAT and the LSAT. A recent study by Kaplan Test Prep, the largest provider of test preparation and admission services, ranked Georgetown 175th of 192 schools that host the MCAT, only 17 spots from the worst position. The Georgetown site scored better for the LSAT, ranking 93rd of 261 other possible locations.

Executive director of Kaplan Test Prep and study director Justin Serrano believes that the results of this study are very important for Georgetown students who plan on taking either test this year.

“The validity of standardized testing rests on standardized conditions . You might take the LSAT at one place and have ideal conditions and I might take it somewhere else where negative conditions impact my anxiety level and performance,” Serrano said. “That’s troubling, especially considering we may be competing for the same spot at law school.”

The impetus behind Kaplan’s study came from its students, who often ask for advice on where to take either test and sometimes relate horror stories that they have heard from students who have already taken them, according to Serrano.

“We wanted to give students an opportunity to see how sites have performed in the past,” he said.

The survey concentrated on the experiences of test-takers at the August MCAT and the October and December administrations of the LSAT. Students answered questions about the test-site experience, including proctoring, comfort and noise level of the site, amount of desk/work space, and overall experience. Serrano also mentioned that test site data will continue to be collected and reported for future exam dates.

Factors detracting from the Georgetown sites included the fact that only 40 percent of LSAT takers reported having enough room to work, while others reported extremely cold temperatures, Serrano said.

Ellie O’Brien (COL ’03) took the October LSAT at the University of Maryland, College Park. O’Brien would have preferred to register at Georgetown, but was abroad last semester and unable to register until June. It turns out, however, she may have been lucky.

“I’m glad that I didn’t [take the exam at Georgetown] because I heard it was just extremely intense,” she said.

O’Brien maintains that Kaplan’s ratings would not influence her decision in selecting a site should she choose to take the exam a second time.

“So many people take this that it is really a matter of where there is space. I would rather take it closer because it is so early, even if the site may not have had a good rating, but if it had a really bad rating, maybe I would reconsider,” O’Brien said.

“In D.C. there are a handful of options for students. We recommend that students do their homework before signing up for tests and find the best location in their area,” Serrano said.

Students who wish to check test site ratings can go to www.kaptest.com/test.

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