The University Record, October 22, 1996
MBA program receives #2 ranking from Business Week
In a meteoric leap, the Business School has risen to number two in the nation in Business Week magazine's latest rankings of the best business schools. U-M was ranked sixth in the last survey, done in 1994.
Wharton, at the University of Pennsylvania, ranks first for the second time in a row by strengthening "the school's lead among corporate recruiters" and gaining "the fourth-best marks" from its graduates.
"The biggest surprise, though," the magazine says, "was the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor's four-place jump to the No. 2 spot---ahead of even Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg School of Management, which slipped another notch, to third, after dominating the Business Week ranking from 1988 to 1992.
"This ranking is great news for us as we continue to build our global reputation," Business School Dean B. Joseph White says. "No ranking captures everything that's important to us in measuring our success, but the recognition is well-deserved by our students, faculty and staff."
In explaining how the rankings are derived, the magazine notes that they are based on the perspectives of MBA students and those of corporate recruiters. Questionnaires were sent to 7,235 MBAs at 51 schools and 326 companies that actively recruit at the top schools. A total of 4,830 graduates and 227 companies responded.
Graduates judge only their schools and were asked for their views on teaching quality, program content and career placement. Recruiters were asked to rate student skills and rank schools on their overall quality and the success rate of graduates in their organizations.
"It's no accident that the schools sitting atop the Business Week ranking nabbed the highest grades for innovative curriculums," the magazine states. "Michigan's fast-forward has come under B. Joseph White . . . who took over as dean in 1990. He quickly made curriculum innovation a signature of his deanship, launching, among other things, a business version of a medical school residency in which student teams work at sponsoring companies on specific projects.
"Central to that experimentation," Business Week says, "is the notion that students are true partners in the educational process. White has gone so far in this direction that he recently lost a popular tenured marketing professor in part because the prof believes White has given Michigan students too much power and influence. Junior professors," the magazine adds, "must be rated `very good' at teaching in student evaluations to gain tenure."
The magazine also notes that corporate recruiters, who "favor the school over every competitor except for Wharton, give Michigan rave reviews for its well-trained, no-nonsense graduates."
"There's no doubt that our innovations have captured the attention of companies and prospective students," White says. "We're providing preparation that matches the needs of both, especially in this changing economy where things like teamwork and the ability to turn knowledge into action is fundamental to success."
The Business School's placement program is ranked second nationwide---"No placement office gets higher marks from graduates," behind the University of California, Los Angeles---"More than 20 percent of recruiters rate its office as second to none."
Other schools in the top 10 (in order) are Northwestern, Harvard, Virginia, Columbia, Stanford, Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dartmouth.
Coming up with the Rankings
To determine overall rankings, Business Week does not total a school's rank in the MBAs' and recruiters' polls and divide by two. Rather, the ranking combines the raw scores in both surveys. "Recruiter opinion tends to loom larger in the over all ranking," the magazine says, "because there are greater differences among the schools in the corporate surveys."
Where companies find the best grads
In looking for graduates with specific skills, corporate recruiters rank the U-M fourth in general management, third in marketing, seventh in finance and third in operations.
Michigan received all "As" in a grading of MBA skills by recruiters in analysis, team players and global view, and the same marks in schools graded by MBAs for teaching, curriculum and placement.
THE TOP 10SchoolWhartonMichiganNorthwesternHarvardVirginiaColumbiaStanfordChicagoMITDartmouth