Wharton Tops U.S. News’ EMBA List

Chicago's Gleacher Center downtown is the home of Booth's Executive MBA program.

Chicago’s Gleacher Center downtown is the home of Booth’s Executive MBA program.

REPUTATION MATTERS – AND U.S. NEWS SETS THE TONE

Still, U.S. News is considered the gold standard in educational rankings. Because of this branding, its EMBA ranking, however defective, has an outsized impact that cannot be ignored. And this year’s ranking features several winners and losers.

The big losers were three recognizable names that dropped off the ranking entirely: Indiana University (Kelley), University of Washington (Foster), and Emory University (Goizueta). While neither Kelley nor Foster had been ranked until 2016, Goizueta EMBA program was a mainstay with U.S. News, peaking at 13th in the 2012 ranking. They were replaced by two newcomers: Marquette University and Loyola Marymount University, with the list shrinking from 24 to 23 EMBA programs in the 2017 rankings.

The inclusion of Loyola Marymount and Marquette is also certain to re-ignite the so-called ‘Jesuit Conspiracy,’ where Jesuit programs – already heavily represented in U.S. News’ EMBA ranking by Seattle University, St. Joseph’s University and Xavier University, vote for each other to collectively raise their stature. Of course, this theory conveniently ignores that Georgetown (McDonough) – ranked highly in other polls – fails to make this ranking.

CORNELL CRASHES AS USC REVIVES ITSELF

Seattle University (Albers) emerged as this year’s big winner, vaulting from 18th to 12th, ahead of big name programs like the University of Virginia (Darden), Cornell University (Johnson), and the University of Notre Dame (Mendoza) – another red flag that warrants skepticism. MIT (Sloan), unranked just two years ago, jumped four more spots to rank 11th, making it the most likely candidate to break up U.S. News’ top 10 homogeny. After plunging from 20th to 11th last year, USC (Marshall) rebounded in the 2017 rankings, recapturing six spots to rank 14th.

Alas, some EMBA programs took a step back in the latest rankings. Most notably, Johnson suffered the Marshall curse, plummeting eight spots to 20th in the opinion of b-school deans and MBA directors. Southern Methodist (Cox) fared nearly as poorly, tumbling seven spots into a tie with Johnson. The University of Virginia (Darden) also slid three spots to 14th overall.

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