November 18, 2008

BusinessWeek Ranks Johnson School 11th

Print More

In its 2008 ranking of the best business schools in the United States, BusinessWeek ranked Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management 11th — a two-spot promotion from its 2006 ranking. In comparison to its peer institutions, the business school overtook Dartmouth and remains ahead of Yale, but trails Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia.
According to Deirdre Snyder, the public relations officer for the Johnson school, the rankings were primarily based on three categories of analysis. Graduate satisfaction comprised 45 percent of the ranking, corporate recruiters’ satisfaction with the school and the competency of graduates entering the workforce was 45 percent of the ranking, and the remaining 10 percent reflected intellectual capital: the amount of published works in esteemed publications by the school’s faculty.
In addition to an overall ranking, BusinessWeek also issued rankings to the schools for each specific category. Snyder attributes the Johnson School’s climb in the rankings to “an improvement in the corporate poll where [Cornell] went from number 16 in 2006 to number 10 in 2008.” In the graduate poll, the business school ranked 15th overall and 13th in the intellectual capital category.
Dean Joseph Thomas targeted the 15th place ranking in the graduate poll as an area that needs improvement.
“That’s a number that we’d clearly like to improve,” Thomas stated in an e-mail. “Our grads did give us top marks of A+ in both the Teaching and Career categories, so we need to dig more deeply into the graduate poll to determine how and where we can improve.”
With the current economic crisis and the depressed business job market, Thomas explained that the Johnson School is taking measures to help students make the leap from business school to the working world.
“Full-time offers are a bit down for the class of 2009 as compared to other graduating classes at the same time in prior years. But, we’re doing everything we can to help our students find jobs. We’ve hired three additional advisors in our Career Management Center to focus specifically on helping students find jobs in finance, consulting and marketing,” Thomas stated in an e-mail.
While these three categories were the primary basis for the rankings, the table listing the rankings published by BusinessWeek also included additional categories.
“BusinessWeek’s [online] interactive table of the best U.S. business schools for 2008 permits you to look at all the top ranked schools according to your own criteria,” the caption above the graph stated on BusinessWeek’s website. “By the header for each of the columns, you can re-order the rankings to consider those schools that offer the highest post-MBA salaries, schools whose faculty publishes the most research, or rank the schools by their annual cost.”
For instance, if one were to rearrange the rankings to give priority to each school’s pre-MBA pay, Cornell would jump from the 11th to 9th in the rankings. On the other hand, if one were to prioritize job offers, then Cornell would fall to 14th.
In the other categories of general management, analysis, teaching and careers, the business school set high standards for its students by recording straight A’s: A’s in general management and analysis, and an A+ in both teaching and careers. On a Cornell grading scale assuming each of these categories is an equally weighted class, the Johnson school’s scores would translate into a 4.15 GPA.
“The Johnson School is quite pleased with the improvement in rankings. This uptick reflects movement in the right direction, and we have a lot to be proud of,” Snyder stated in an e-mail. “We’ve added new staff members to our Career Management Center who are dedicated to helping our students with their job searches in finance, consulting and marketing. We added more than a dozen new second-year electives to our curriculum, instituted weekly social hours to help students network and unwind, and launched a capstone event for graduating students. We’ve also admitted two of our strongest classes to date, which I think helps on the career placement end. Our [classes] of 2009 and 2010 are truly impressive.”
Snyder explained that although the students and faculty of the Johnson School are proud of the 11th place ranking, she stressed that the actions and measures taken by the school are meant not to enhance their standing among fellow business schools and are not influenced merely by the current rankings.
“Our goal is to provide the best graduate business education available, but we don’t make strategic decisions based on the rankings alone,” Snyder stated in an e-mail.
While the rankings might be a good way for the Johnson School to get an objective sense of where their strengths and weaknesses lie, Snyder explained the plan that Dean Thomas began at the start of his tenure. The Johnson School has held focus groups and distributed surveys to students, alumni, recruiters, corporate partners, faculty and staff to get feedback on the school’s operations. Snyder said the school will use this information to “outline the strategies the school will undertake over the next few years to remain competitive and hopefully reflect consistent upward movement in BusinessWeek’s next survey in 2010.”