Amay Tewari

The rankings are in — across a variety of publications’ annual evaluations of business schools, the School of Management placed anywhere from 11th to 21st globally and 8th to 14th
nationally.

Earlier this month, the SOM website posted five news outlets’ rankings of MBA programs. SOM Dean Kerwin Charles published rankings from Bloomberg Businessweek, The Economist, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report and the Financial Times, each of which was followed by a short paragraph explaining the publication’s methodology. SOM’s MBA program rankings for 2019 have remained consistent with those of years past. Each organization also released rankings for a variety of subcategories. The Economist, for example, named Yale’s MBA program 21st among global universities, but they ranked the school’s executive MBA program first globally. Students and administrators at SOM read these data sets as reflections of the school’s progress and as indicators for where it could improve.

“I want Yale to be full of the most talented students that will best represent the school as future leaders in business and society,” SOM Student Body President Reeve Harde SOM ’20 said. “And although many ranking reports are compensation-driven, I would never change our mission to only focus on post-MBA compensation. Yale SOM has a reputation for developing leaders who make an impact in society, and that is the ranking that I am most proud of.”

Harde added that he wants publications to recognize SOM as the best business school in the world but added that it is more important to him that SOM attracts students who align with the school’s mission.

Deputy Dean of Academic Programs Anjani Jain said that faculty members’ work is guided first and foremost by the mission to educate leaders for business and society. Ratings and reviews often cite SOM’s mission statement as a distinguishing characteristic. Jain — who served as acting dean of the school in the 2017–18 school year — added that while this mission informs how the school constructs its degree programs, media rankings provide “stakeholder perceptions” that he finds useful.

“The high volatility of outcomes in each ranking from year to year makes the signal considerably noisy, but what matters more than the signal is that media rankings can create perceptions about the School, which matter to prospective students and other stakeholders,” Jain wrote in an email to the News. “That by itself is sufficient reason to take the rankings seriously.”

Compared to business schools at peer institutions, SOM is relatively new to Yale. The school was created in the 1970s and did not issue its first MBA until 1999. Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking methodology used survey responses from employers, alumni and students, heavily weighting compensation and networking potential. Considering that SOM has a younger alumni base and an emphasis on social leadership, the school may rank lower in categories like compensation and networking when compared to older schools that emphasize those traditional aspects of an MBA.

Despite the school’s youth and unique emphasis on social impact, SOM still ranked among the top 10 MBA programs in the country. U.S. News & World Report placed SOM ninth among the best business schools in the U.S. and the Financial Times ranked the school eighth among American schools.

“I actually feel that SOM is doing a different thing a different way … [the rankings are] very good, useful and informative, but imperfect,” Charles said. “One must be mindful of the rankings … I learn about the world, myself from looking at the rankings … Are there things that can be readily addressed that would firm up our ranking position? Then they should.”

SOM was founded in 1971.

 

John Besche | john.besche@yale.edu