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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chicago Booth tops ranking of world's best exec MBA programs 05-22

Chicago Booth tops ranking of world's best exec MBA programs

After making a significant overhaul to its executive MBA program last year, the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business emerged as Poets&Quants' best EMBA in the world.


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(Poets&Quants) -- Sometimes, the new model is just better than the old one.
After a significant overhaul to its executive MBA program last year, the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business emerged as the best EMBA in the world, according to the new 2014 composite ranking by Poets&Quants.
Chicago, which was second last year, nosed out the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School for first place honors. Wharton had held a tight grip on the top spot since Poets&Quants began ranking EMBA programs four years ago.
Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, No. 4 IE Business School, the highest rank ever achieved by a non-U.S. school in the ranking, and No. 5 Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.
Though there were many changes up and down the list of the 48 ranked programs, the biggest surprise was Chicago's emergence at the top. At a time when many institutions are lightening the workloads of their executive MBA programs and awarding the degree for less work, Chicago continues to have one of the most rigorous and academically challenging programs in the world.
The school last year increased the international exchange portion of the program to five weeks from four, doubled the number of required electives so that students can specialize in a discipline, and tossed into the program a full menu of leadership exercises that had long been an entry hallmark of its full-time MBA experience.
Booth also added a three-month-long capstone course that provides the opportunity for students to integrate concepts and tools from much of the curriculum in a multi-round simulation culminating in presentations to a panel of investor-judges. The simulation requires competing teams of students to maximize revenue for a fictitious company.
Booth's 21-month program is taught at campuses in Chicago and London, and the school has more than 500 students studying in its executive MBA program on campuses in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Still, the school maintains unusually tight control of the program's quality. Booth doesn't partner with other schools, preferring instead to fly its professors from Chicago to London and Hong Kong to teach. Though costly and hard to scale, the practice allows Booth to parade its most seasoned faculty before its most experienced students. 
At the beginning of the program, all students take a course in analytical methods to refresh their understanding of quantitative methods and statistics. Each course has one or two PhD students working as teaching assistants to the professors. They too are flown to London and Hong Kong, so that they are available to students during class weeks. Both faculty and teaching assistants are evaluated by students, and the feedback is used to improve the courses.
None of this comes cheap. For the U.S. class that starts in June, tuition and fees come to $168,000, up $14,000 from a year earlier. The cost includes hotel accommodations for three weeks in Chicago, a week in London, and a week in Hong Kong, but not airfare.
Though fewer corporations are footing the bills for these programs, the costs continue to rise. For students in Kellogg's EMBA program that started in January, the tuition bill will be roughly $176,600. For the latest EMBA classes at Wharton, students entering the program this month at the school's home campus in Philadelphia will pay a whopping $181,500 in tuition and fees, up from $171,360 a year ago. Self-sponsored students must pay the tuition -- the highest of any MBA program in the world -- in six equal installments at the beginning of each semester.
Rank tends to influence the price of an EMBA. The highly ranked schools often have the highest price points. Last year, for example, the average cost of an executive MBA program was $73,400 -- much lower than the price tags at either Wharton, Kellogg or Booth, which sit at the top of the market.
"Full financial sponsorship has been going downward, but the number of students who are partially funded by their employers has stayed reasonably stable," says Michael Desiderio, executive director of the Executive MBA Council. "In terms of partial funding, some corporations have a cap and others will only reimburse the tax credit amount, so it really varies." The group's surveys show that 24% of EMBA students receive full financial sponsorship, 41% are fully self-funded, and 35% are partially funded.
The new ranking by Poets&Quants measures the overall reputation of these programs by combining the four latest ratings on EMBA programs from BusinessWeekThe EconomistThe Financial Times, and U.S. News & World Report. By blending these rankings into a composite list, the methodology tends to diminish anomalies that often show up in any one rating system. 
A school must be ranked on at least two of the four lists to be included. The reason? Generally, the more widely recognized an EMBA program is, the more one can be assured of its quality and brand value. Programs that land only on a single ranking are less likely to have the cache and prestige of those that are ranked by all four or three of the most influential rankings.
There are some notable and obvious exceptions. Executive MBA offerings by UC-Berkeley, MIT Sloan, Yale School of Management, and Notre Dame's Mendoza School immediately come to mind. UC-Berkeley's EMBA was ranked ninth by U.S. News & World Report this year, but the school's 19-month program was only launched in May 2013 and has yet to graduate a single class. 
Berkeley's new standalone program replaced its long-time partnership EMBA with Columbia Business School. MIT didn't graduate its first EMBA class until 2012, one reason the program doesn't show up on any lists. Notre Dame actually improved its latest ranking in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, rising to finish 15th from 27th. But the school's program was not ranked by the three remaining ranking organizations, so it did not make Poets&Quants' list.
This year, Poets&Quants changed its methodology to incorporate the findings of The Economist'sdebut ranking of executive MBA programs last year. The Economist list replaces the now out-of-date ranking from The Wall Street Journal, which last ranked business schools in 2010.
That change alone caused significant reverberations on our list for two major reasons: The Economist ranked more than twice as many programs as the Journal -- 68 vs. 25 -- and The Economist's list is much more global. Four years ago, only one non-U.S. school made The Wall Street Journal's ranking, IE Business School in Spain. By contrast, there are 25 standalone EMBA programs outside the U.S. ranked by The Economist.
The upshot: International programs fare much better on this year's list. Last year, only three non-U.S. EMBA programs made Poets&Quants' top 25. This year, there are eight, ranging from No. 4 IE Business School to No. 25 National University of Singapore. Of the 48 EMBA programs ranked by Poets&Quants, 15 are outside the U.S. 
As always, the new ranking takes into account a blizzard of metrics to measure the quality of the programs, from surveys of student satisfaction to increases in income attributed to the degree. Each of the four major rankings are equally weighted in this 2014 survey of the best.
For the first time ever, Poets&Quants also published a separate ranking of joint EMBA programs. The Kellogg School's partnership with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology came in first among the joint programs. In fact, Kellogg partnerships with other schools in Germany and Canada were in the top five.