School Selection and the International Brand name – why the Economist ranking is important
Another area that is often overlooked in school selection is a Business School’s “International Reputation”. In a global economy, most all Business Executives will be spending a tremendous amount of time with customers outside of their home country (if not living there themselves). This makes the two “international business school rankings” of the Economist and the Financial Times important. Here’s how to wade through the flaws of them and use them in your business school selection process.
People often make fun of the lack of reliability of these magazine’s rankings. Indeed, Poets and Quants regular commentary of Business school rankings states:
“Of the five major MBA rankings, many B-school deans privately express major reservations about the rankings published by both The Economist and The Financial Times because of the lack of transparency in those lists along with questionable methodology.”
But simply because these rankings are “questionable” does not make the International perspective any less important. In China, MIT Sloan is generally more respected than many schools that are often ranked higher, such as Wharton and even Stanford. This is important information for future executives who most likely will be spending time in China.
As such, despite the high variability of the rankings of the Economist and the FT, we recommend that applicants understand them and the trends from the past couple of years, when making their school selections. An even stronger indication of “international perspective” is to speak to local executives in major international economies. Some of our clients incredulously say “you mean you want me to call the Director of our Hong Kong office”? No, don’t call their cell phone, but do reach out to them. While “foreign” executives are ridiculously busy, many would be willing to lend time to a young leader who is curious about his/her “local perspective”.
As we often say “do your homework”, which includes understanding the International brand of your target schools. Good luck!