[Update: INSEAD moves up to 5th spot in the 2009 Financial Times rankings! Forget about the Economist! :)]
The Economist’s 2008 MBA rankings are out, and INSEAD has fallen from 16th to 19th position. IMD is tops. If it makes you feel slightly better, our partners Wharton are now ranked 17th and Columbia, a whopping 21. What’s going on?!
Looking at the breakdown, these were the areas that pulled us down (ranked out of 100):
Number in jobs three months after graduation - 61
This was an issue in other publications’ ratings of INSEAD as well. I once expressed concern to a senior (I think it was the great Zanat0s) as to how come INSEAD graduates take so long to find a job. He explained that unlike other top programs which run for a longer time, INSEAD students have little time between starting school and graduation to find a job.
Also, from what I’ve observed, my classmates looking for Finance positions have to plunge into interviews soon after starting school, competing with our P4 seniors who are about to graduate, and with our American MBA counterparts who have had two years of school already. Of course, given the financial crisis going on now, it’s a double whammy. However this year I expect the American b-schools to be affected a lot more - especially those with a Finance focus - and it will be interesting to see if the tables will turn in favour of general management schools like INSEAD, which has diversified ‘risk’ in having graduates working in other parts of the world that are less badly affected.
Student assessment - 62
I gather that this is dependent on what we think of our own school. I’d have thought our seniors would have rated our school about the same as the rankings given to us by publications, meaning that we should be in the top 10, if not top 20. If I was asked to take the survey I’d give INSEAD pretty good marks, not a measly 62/100. Unless 61 other schools had students who were insanely in love with their programme…
Faculty quality - 60
Is this based on students’ own assessments of quality, or does the Economist do spot checks and compare it across all assessed schools? I think the latter is unlikely. So again, this ranking depends on us. I don’t think our professors deserve a lowly 60/100 rating.
Post-graduation salary -100
I think this ranking penalises the more international schools, especially those with many graduates who are working in second and third world countries where salaries are lower. Considering how there are relatively few Asian business schools in the top 100, for instance, we are therefore being compared mainly with schools in Western countries whose graduates are more likely to work in the West and therefore command higher post-MBA salaries. Also, it penalises schools with more graduates working in non-profit organisations and lesser-paying jobs.
Breadth of alumni network - 100
This doesn’t make sense at all. How can we be ranked 100 out of 100 with such a diverse student body?! We should be in the top 10 for this at least. The London Business School, which has similar diversity, is ranked 88 out of 100. Unless the Economist meant this to be a reverse ranking?
What is also strange is that the Nanyang Business School in Singapore is ranked better than us in this category, at 98/100! While it is Singapore’s top-ranked business school, I don’t think it can possibly be more international. [Note: The Economist’s methodology looks at ‘Ratio of registered alumni to current students’ - so if there’s a surge in the student body or a low number of alumni, then we won’t do well in this category - but surely we have a pretty strong Alumni network?]
Also, the Economist says our Dean is still Antonia Fatas … when it should be Jake Cohen! So I am wondering how updated and accurate these findings are. In fact, I am starting to suspect that perhaps INSEAD did not provide all the figures the Economist needed, and thus we were penalised with a low score.
Nevertheless, there are some good takeaway points and we can definitely improve in many areas. I know rankings aren’t everything but they are one of the few ways that b-schools are assessed, and this can affect the quality and number of top students applying to INSEAD and becoming fellow Alumni. It can be a positive or vicious cycle, so let’s not slide further down the slippery slope.
I’m no analyst and I haven’t had time to plough through the methodology and make more comparisons (I need to study for my test!) so be my guest and leave a comment with your insights.