The Graduate School of Business (GSB) was ranked the best MBA program in the country by Business Week last Thursday, marking its first time at the top of the list.
Ranked second in the magazine’s 2004 rankings, the GSB “has built up an enormous amount of momentum,” said Rose Martinelli, associate dean of admissions. “The change is not a reflection of sudden changes, but rather the increasing expertise of the school.”
“The Business School is doing great things, and we’re glad to see them show up in the rankings,” said John Cochrane, a GSB professor of finance.
Since 2004, the GSB has aimed to improve the quality of its educational offerings. After centering activity around its newly-constructed Hyde Park campus facility, the school has worked harder to bring students closer to alumni, corporate employers, and faculty.
Despite the perceived importance of the rankings, most administrators agree that they have little impact on daily operations at the GSB.
“We’re very humble here,” Martinelli said. “Rankings are not what drive us as an institution.”
“Everybody feels good [about the rankings] for a while,” said Cochrane, adding that he questioned the rankings’ true purpose. “The number-one purpose of these rankings is to sell copies of BusinessWeek.”
GSB students said they are pleased with the honor and recognition. Second-year MBA student Wei-Woan Lee said a better BusinessWeek ranking “increases your market value for employment.”
Kristel Ruiz, another second-year student, said she anxiously awaited the release of the rankings. “I was on a Business Week chat room before the results came out,” Ruiz said.
Lee and Ruiz agreed that the rankings have not changed the approach or attitude of the GSB, but “people outside the school now perceive us as having a more holistic business school experience,” Ruiz said.
As a result of the public image boost, GSB officials anticipate increases in admission, enrollment, and alumni-giving numbers.
“We’ve seen that, with international students especially, rankings are an important factor for determining which business school to attend,” Martinelli said. “Alumni will be proud of the change in the rankings, but whether that will translate into dollars has yet to really be seen.”
The rankings have further fueled the GSB’s rivalry with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. “They’re two great schools in one city,” Martinelli said. “There’s bound to be some sort of rivalry.”
Kellogg ranked ahead of the GSB in 2004, but moved down to third place on the 2006 list.
“Northwestern puts more emphasis on the rankings than we do,” Cochrane said. “So it was nice to be placed ahead this year.”
Kellogg School representatives were not available for comment.