Sunday, October 5, 2008

And the Best Executive M.B.A. Programs In 2008 Are...

Executive M.B.A. programs make a big promise: They'll turn up-and-coming managers into full-fledged leaders, showing them how to think strategically, inspire their staff and expand the business.

So, which schools do the best job of delivering on that bold talk? That's what we set out to measure in The Wall Street Journal's first survey of executive M.B.A. programs.

Working with Management Research Group and Critical Insights, we asked thousands of students and hundreds of companies to rank executive M.B.A. programs in a host of categories, with a focus on how well they develop management and leadership skills. The result is a ranking of 25 schools world-wide that takes into account the rigor needed to build tomorrow's corporate leaders and C-suite executives.

Topping the list: Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, which ranked No. 1, and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, which came in No. 2. The two schools have among the largest E.M.B.A. programs, with 406 students currently enrolled in Wharton's two programs and 843 candidates in the seven Kellogg programs, including four international partnerships and a satellite campus in Miami.

What set Kellogg and Wharton apart? The schools got high marks from companies -- nearly double those of their nearest competitors -- which gave them a clear lead overall. And those stellar grades far outpaced their lower marks from students.

Kellogg and Wharton were ranked at the top more often by companies by a wide margin over their competitors. What's more, corporate scores varied the most in our surveys, with the leaders outpacing the middle of the pack, and the middle schools leaving the laggards far behind. That variation and wide lead shifted the overall rank in favor of Kellogg and Wharton.

In contrast, student survey scores showed less variation. Kellogg, for example, which ranked No. 15 in the student survey, had a score much closer to that of the leading schools. In a few cases, like that of the No. 1 school in the student ranking, the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, a school's student score was strong enough that the school made the top five.

In all, we surveyed 4,060 students and recent grads from 72 executive M.B.A. programs at 53 business schools in nine countries on how well their program enhanced leadership and management skills; 62% responded.

We also surveyed 455 human-resources and executive-development managers at companies across 23 industries, on the value of the education provided by E.M.B.A. programs. More than 200 officials completed the survey, for a response rate of 44%.

Last, we looked at how well the programs met employers' and graduates' expectations when it came to enhancing their management acumen. We measured what employers wanted out of the programs -- largely, improved management and leadership skills such as managing change and strategic thinking. Then we asked students how well their programs delivered those skills, and weighted their responses to arrive at a final score for the 2008 ranking.

Read the full artical

No comments: