Poets & Quants for Executives

HBS Ranks First In Exec Ed Programs

by John A. Byrne on

Harvard Business School held onto first place in BusinessWeek’s biennial ranking of the world’s best schools for open enrollment executive education programs. But the big news was the emergence of Spain-based IESE Business School which jumped seven places to rank just behind Harvard as the second best school in the world.

The ranking, released today (Nov. 10), lists the top 20 business schools in the world in executive education. INSEAD, Columbia Business School, and Spain-based ESADE rounded out the top five.

IESE also surged ahead in BusinessWeek’s ranking of custom education players, climbing four places to a rank of third behind only No. 1 Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and No. 2 INSEAD.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, a major exec ed player, was ranked seventh, unchanged from 2009 when BusinessWeek last ranked executive education programs. Duke University’s Fuqua School, also a major player in the industry, ranked ninth, a rise of nine places from its dismal 18th place showing last time. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, one of the pioneers of the executive education field, ranked 12th, up one spot from 13th.

The schools that took the biggest tumbles were MIT Sloan, which fell nine places to 19th; London Business School and Ashbridge Business School, which both dropped eight spots to 14th and 16th, respectively, and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and IMD, which both fell seven places to respectively rank at 15th and 11th.

In custom programming, the big winner was Columbia Business School which shot up 10 places to land 10th from 20th. The losers? MIT Sloan and the Center for Creative Leadership. Both institutions dropped six places to a rank of 20th for MIT and a rank of nine for the Center for Creative Leadership.

To compile the rankings, the magazine first asks the schools being examined to supply a list of client companies. Then, with the help of an outside polling company, Cambria Consulting, BusinessWeek asks those companies to complete a survey asking which programs they are familiar with and which programs they consider the best. In both open-enrollment and custom categories, the companies rank their top programs.

A No. 1 ranking is worth 10 points, a No. 2 ranking 9 points, and so on. To calculate the final ranking, BusinessWeek adds up each program’s point total, multiplies it by the number of companies ranking a given school, and then divides that figure by the number of companies that indicated a familiarity with that program. “The goal,” according to BusinessWeek, is “to identify the programs that are considered best-in-class by the vast majority of companies that are familiar with them.”

(To see tables of the top 20 schools in both open enrollment and custom programming see the next page).

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