MBA Program Ranked Among Best by Forbes
February 7, 2000
As an investment value, the MBA program at UConn's School of Business Administration ranks among the nation's best, according to a new survey in Forbes magazine evaluating the country's top 50 business schools.
The latest issue of Forbes, dated Feb. 7 and available on news stands now, ranks the top 25 national and the 25 top regional business schools, according to the return on investment students can expect from earning their MBA degrees by attending those schools.
"Students can give up a very substantial amount of money to obtain an MBA, in terms of tuition and lost income, so they need to ask what they can expect in return," says Richard Dino, associate dean of the School of Business Administration and executive director of its MBA programs. "No survey until now answered that question in a way that is consistent with sound financial decision-making. This survey really captures the full impact of that return on investment calculation."
Forbes divided the schools in its survey into two groups. Schools where the median cost (tuition and lost income) was more than $90,000 were placed in the national category; programs where the median costs were less than $90,000 were classified as regional schools. For the most part, the schools in the regional category are public and draw the bulk of their students from within a few hundred miles.
UConn's School of Business Administration was ranked 15th among the top 25 regional business schools, ahead of such schools as Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Florida, and just behind Penn State (No. 12), Illinois (No. 13), and Rice University in Texas (No. 14). Among students at national business schools, Harvard students gained the most from going back to school to earn an MBA, even though their costs - $200,000, comprising $50,000 for tuition and $150,000 in lost compensation - were the highest.
The typical graduate of a national business school program enjoyed salary gains of $37,000 over the four-year period surveyed by the magazine, compared to a $23,000 average salary increase for regional business school graduates. But the lower-cost regional MBA programs held their own against national schools in return on investment. Their gain as a percent of expenses averaged 33 percent, just about the same as for the national MBA programs.
Forbes' ranking of MBA programs is the second national survey of top business schools that includes UConn's School of Business among the nation's best. In November, Computerworld's third annual survey of MBA programs doing the best job preparing technology-s avvy executives ranked the University's program 23rd. Additionally, in October, the U.S. News & World Report's annual college ranking listed the School of Business' management department as 28th in the country.
"This is the second national ranking UConn's MBA program has received in the last six months that is the result of a true market performance test," notes Dino. "Both the new Forbes and this fall's Top 25 Techno-MBA Computerworld rankings are based on market-driven criteria and are extremely valuable in demonstrating our success in recruitment and placement."
Business school administrators recognize that the growing number of national magazine surveys of this kind are closely watched and influence prospective students. Yet they also contend that some of the magazine rankings are inadequate measures to evaluate the relative merits of MBA programs.
For example, Business Week's rankings of the nation's top MBA programs, published every two years, extensively polls graduates, recent alumni and the companies who recruit them, meaning it is perceptual to a large degree.
Similarly, U.S. News & World Report's survey of business school programs uses data such as starting pay, average GMAT scores, percentage of students who apply compared to the number admitted, along with the results of two reputation surveys filled out by business school deans and corporate recruiters. Again, its rankings are based largely on their perception of academic quality.
To calculate the worth of an MBA, Forbes compared the salary gains it generated against the cost of getting it. The magazine started with surveys of each school's class of 1994, asking students to disclose - anonymously - their compensation just before matriculating, after graduation and four and a half years later.
Forbes then compared estimated median incomes, year by year for each school with what the same students would have earned without degrees.
The median MBA gain for students at the 50 schools surveyed was $29,000. The magazine reported that, on average, graduates were able to recoup all their investment in just 4.1 years.
"Unlike many other rankings that evaluate MBA programs based on today's data, Forbes performed a return on investment follow-up analysis five years after graduation," says Thomas Gutteridge, dean of the School of Business. "Such a follow-up study based on empirical returns over time validates the success of our program and our alumni."
Tuition in UConn's MBA program is currently $6,230 in-state and $14,654 out-of-state. The program's graduates are recruited by companies such as IBM, GE Capital, United Technologies, Anderson Consulting, and CitiGroup, and many others.