Vanderbilt once again made it into the top-30 MBA programs as ranked this year by U.S. News and World Report. While that marks a slight decrease from last year, it simply reflects the volatile, horse-race nature of rankings. (If you want to read more about the limitations of rankings, check out Malcolm Gladwell, the New York Times, or the B-School website Poets & Quants.)
Here are a few highlights from this year’s ranking:
• Owen’s overall index score was the second highest we’ve ever received
• The Academic Reputation rank, as measured by a survey of other business school deans, increased to the second highest it’s ever been, placing us at No. 24 among all schools on this measure
• Owen’s average starting salary and bonus increased by 6% to nearly $109,000 and now stands at its highest point since the survey began
• Owen’s job placement rate (a measure of job acceptances within 90 days of graduation) climbed by 5 percentage points and is at the highest level since the recession began — higher than several perennial top-20 schools including Yale, Michigan, and UCLA
Key indicators measuring Vanderbilt’s academic vibrancy, starting salaries, and job placement are all trending higher. That spells good news. What’s more, no ranking can capture important differentiators like our renowned Leadership Development Program, as well as our expertise in popular specialties such as health care and our widely lauded human and organizational performance (HOP) track.
While ranking are a good place to start a search for the right business school, they rarely tell the whole story. Similarly, things like test scores and GPA can only tell us so much about a person. We want applicants bursting with core leadership skills like adaptability, grit, and curiosity — the types of people in high demand by our employer partners. That’s why we interview every applicant and we highly encourage everyone to come visit in person.
Don’t base the momentous decision of selecting a business school solely on ranking. If you do, you’ll be choosing for some of the wrong reasons. It’s like buying a car based solely on Consumer Reports, without ever taking the critical test drive or considering the lifelong attachment you’ll feel for such an important investment.