The full-time MBA program at the Rice University – Jones Graduate School of Business was recently named the 8th best program in the country for 2016 by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, a position which will have implications far and wide for the school and those involved with it.
The ranking has varied little in recent decades, and the ability for a young Sun Belt school like Jones to break into the top tier can be majorly transformative. For Rice, it is also one of the quickest growing school’s to make the grade.
Though the process of rating schools and programs is often flawed, the ranking can often turn into very tangible results for the schools—with the validation of a high ranking, higher numbers, and more qualified candidates may apply, outside donations may increase and corporate recruiters may grow. It can also increase the number of minority candidates, who tend to be underrepresented in business schools throughout the country.
As helpful as a good ranking can be, a slip or loss in rankings can be a significant blow to a school, and result in lower alumni giving or a reduction in applications. And even with one good year, a school’s overall ranking is the most important indication of its competitiveness. For Rice, this suggests that the school should not get cocky—roughly 30 percent of Rice’s school ranking index score came from a survey of alumni from the classes of 2008, 2009 and 2010. Considering this was during a particularly positive period for the Houston economy, during which jobs were abundant, it’s no wonder graduating students were pleased. Business schools must continue to consider how these factors outside of academics might influence the school’s ranking.
Going forward, experts agree that Rice’s job will be maintaining and possibly improving their seat at the table, keeping in mind that the strength of the program has less to do with what a list says and more with hard work and solid leadership.
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