EACH RANKING INCLUDES STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
By creating a composite of these three rankings, P&Q is able to inject more variables into a larger ranking, while softening the extremes of each ranking.
Relying solely on academic opinion, for example, U.S. News provides EMBA candidates with an inkling of a program’s reputation in the marketplace. The drawback, of course, is that such sentiment doesn’t directly correlate to inputs (such as quality of classmates) our outputs (including earnings). Even more, U.S. News’ ranking can be swayed by the sample’s limited exposure or animus and could serve as a lagging indicator of a program’s true capabilities and value proposition.
The Financial Times integrates very little qualitative data. Instead, 45% of its weight is based on salaries and income growth. That said, the ranking places nearly 40% of its emphasis on more esoteric variables like faculty research, faculty doctorates, international students, faculty, and board members, and female faculty students, and board members, making it politically correctness run amok as much as a ranking.
The Economist EMBA ranking, on the other hand, is a dizzying array of data…that few people can actually understand. The ranking is divided into two segments – Personal development and career development – with each carrying equal weight. Unlike U.S. News (qualitative) and the Financial Times (quantitative), The Economist is a mix of both, focusing on variables ranging from salaries and salary increases (already covered by the Financial Times) to student surveys covering topics like faculty to the ability to stay in contact with peers off campus.
In theory, The Economist methodology appears reasonable. Taken individually, each piece of data is a valuable puzzle piece. In practice, The Economist’s approach produces a topsy-turvy ranking with inconsistencies that are certain head scratchers. Is Georgia’s EMBA program really better than Columbia, NYU, and Ross? Is Texas Christian truly a top 5 EMBA program…particularly when it doesn’t warrant ranking by either U.S. News or the Financial Times? As a result, it should come as little surprise that some EMBA programs don’t consider The Economist EMBA ranking worth their time.
Technically, the value of an EMBA degree is equivalent to its full-time counterpart. However, rankings are based on variables beyond EMBAs sharing the same curriculum and faculty as full-timers. Most notably, financial returns and survey results differ between the two. As a result, there isn’t necessarily an apples-to-apples ranking comparison between full-time and EMBA programs.