How do you judge a business school's quality? Of course, there are the MBA rankings, which each year critically examine business schools across the world in terms of placements, salaries, and other qualitative factors.
In a rational world, one would expect that the MBA rankings would correlate with business school popularity. That is to say, the most popular business schools should be the ones that are ranked highly. But a recent survey of the most-viewed school profiles on FIND MBA in 2013 reveals that this is not necessarily the case.
In fact, the most popular business schools on FIND MBA might illuminate a different kind of quality, or demonstrate that rankings are only one of a number of complicated factors that go into making the decision “where do I go for my MBA?”
Some of these factors include value (few of the most popular schools had MBA programs that cost as much as an MBA from Harvard or Stanford), internationality (some of the most popular schools are in places like Egypt, Malaysia, and New Zealand, which are typically under-represented in the rankings) and certification (the vast majority are accredited by AMBA, AACSB, or EQUIS).
And still, even if some top-ranked schools like Columbia and IE Business School do make appearances, the rest of the top 50 might surprise you. Here's a breakdown.
US: One-Year MBA programs were a big draw
It seems that many FIND MBA users are looking for full-time MBA program options that are shorter than the traditional two-year options. Specifically, many of the university profiles with the most views on FIND MBA in 2013 are accredited business schools in the United States that offer one-year MBA programs. Site-wide, the school with the most profile views in 2013 was Boston University, which, in addition to being accredited by AACSB, offers a one-year International MBA program for time-conscious students. Similarly, other popular US business schools with one-year MBA program options in the top 50 include the following:
- USC Marshall has a one-year Accelerated MBA
- University of San Diego offers a one-year International MBA
- Florida - Warrington offers a one-year MBA program option
- Cornell - Johnson just began offering a one-year MBA program in New York City, and also offers an Accelerated MBA in Ithaca, New York
- California State University Long Beach offers a one-year Accelerated MBA option.
- Honorable mention: While Columbia University doesn’t specifically offer a one-year program option, it does offer a January start, which allows program completion within 16 months.
Asia: MBA programs in Malaysia and Singapore
Of the top 50 most-viewed school profiles, 5 were from Asia, and all of these were from only two countries: Singapore and Malaysia. The University of Malaya Graduate School of Business — Malaysia’s only AMBA-accredited business school — was the 4th most-viewed school profile on FIND MBA; Singapore-based Nanyang Business School, which is accredited by EQUIS and AACSB, was the 5th most-viewed profile.
The other Asia-based business schools in the top 50 include:
- Singapore Management University
- National University of Singapore (NUS)
- Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
Europe: A mixed bag
Of the top 50 most-viewed schools on FIND MBA in 2013, 16 are based in Europe. These represent a wide swath of countries: from Germany (Berlin-based ESMT was the 6th most-viewed school, while WHU and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management were in the top 25), to Spain (IE Business School was the 10th most-viewed school), and even Scandinavia (Stockholm University's School of Business was in the top-25, even despite the fact that it doesn't offer an English-language MBA. Some other European business schools that were popular in 2013 include:
- Alma Graduate School
- WU Executive Academy
- Copenhagen Business School
- Amsterdam Business School
- ETH Zurich
- HEC Paris
Canadian business schools remain popular
Canadian business schools remained popular in 2013, with many international MBA applicants attracted to the country's solid economy and liberal visa policies. In fact, Montréal-based Concordia University was the 7th most-viewed business school in 2013. York University's Schulich School of Business, which is based in Toronto, was also a hot school, placing in the top 25. Other Canadian business schools that were popular include the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business.
The UK: Mid-tier schools dominate
Interestingly, the most-viewed business schools in the UK weren't necessarily the highest-ranked ones. In fact, the most-viewed UK school wasn't London Business School, but its London rival, Imperial, which was the 12th most-viewed school overall. Other UK business schools in the top 50 included Aberdeen Business School, Nottingham, Cass, and Manchester.
And the rest...
Although business schools in New Zealand and Africa weren't generally as popular as those in other regions, a few schools did make appearances in the top-50. These include:
- New Zealand's Otago School of Business and the Auckland University of Technology
- The American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt
Some business schools mentioned in this article are site sponsors
The complete list of top 50 business schools of 2013 can be found in the box on the left, in no particular order.
See the current most popular business schools on FIND MBA's 100 Most Popular Business Schools page.