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Financial Times Publishes First Alternative MBA Survey

To complement the many MBA rankings out there – most of which seek to evaluate schools according to things like the rigor of their academic programs, the accomplishments of their faculty or the future earnings of their graduates – the Financial Times has this week published the results of its first-ever alternative MBA survey, which looks at considerations generally overlooked by the more formal rankings, such as weather, social life, the quality of the food, and the comfort of the student accommodations.

As always, those of us at Clear Admit encourage prospective applicants to use rankings as just one of many information sources they consult as part of their efforts to understand which of the schools they are considering will best help them meet their personal and professional goals.

As part of its new alternative survey, the FT asked MBA alumni from the top 100 schools as ranked by its own 2014 Global MBA Rankings to rate their schools on criteria less likely to be captured by the formal rankings.

Among the FT’s discoveries was that students at the top 100 schools tended to rate their experiences at business school quite high. No schools with significant numbers of respondents averaged a score of less than 8.5 out of 10. Harvard Business School took top honors, rated 9.9, followed by “a clutch of other U.S. schools: Yale, Darden, Babcock and Fuqua,” the FT reports.

When asked about the school’s general environment, the University of Cambridge’s Judge School of Business won out, followed closely by the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Both schools, the FT noted, also appeared in the top five for social life, and Anderson scored high for networking.

In terms of what students didn’t like about their business school experience, chief complaints came around career services, followed by costs. Branding was brought up by students who felt their school was not well enough known, location was raised by students at schools that were outside city centers. Students of one-year MBA programs complained that they were too short. Weather actually topped the list for many students who attended schools in North America or Europe as the thing they most would have liked to change.

The foodies among you will want to take note: Switzerland’s IMB topped the rankings for food satisfaction, with a perfect 10 out of 10. INSEAD, located outside of Paris, was ranked fifth for standard of food. If what you eat really matters to you, you might want to avoid Manchester Business School, which came in last, with a score of 4.8.

As to accommodation, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School seems to have the best digs. It scored a perfect 10 for both the standard and location of its accomodations. Two Indian schools, the Indian School of Business and IIM-Ahmedabad, also got strong marks from their alumni, ranking third and fifth respectively. London Business School did not fare so well. Its alumni gave it a mean score of 5.1 on the cost of accommodation, and they also ranked it lowest on quality.

The FT noted that further results of its alternative survey will be released via social media and encouraged those interested could follow on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Read the full Financial Times story, “MBAs Write an Alternative School Report.”