How to use LinkedIn to find the best school


Duncan
One of the challenges that MBA applicants have it to identify the best schools to apply to. The MBA rankings are very valuable, because they shows that even a modest investment (in getting a higher GMAT score and slightly higher fees) produces a massively positive improvement in the value of the MBA.

There's a great feature which helps prospective tools to see where the alumni network of top business schools (and other educational institutions) have their alumni.

If you go to any school's LinkedIn page, you can click on 'Alumni' to see where the former students are now.

Putting in London Business School, for example, produces this page: https://www.linkedin.com/school/london-business-school/alumni/ It allows you to filter by clicking on a country, company or role.

However, LinkedIn also allows premium members to refine your list or target schools even more powerfully. You can use LinkedIn to see which schools have the most alumni with MBAs in particular industries or countres.

To do this, you'll need to set up a LinkedIn account and be logged in to Linked in.

Here's an example, from http://www.find-mba.com/board/33494

This candidate is choosing between four excellent schools: McCombs, Kenan-Flagler, Goizueta and Tepper. They want to work in investment management. One thing that's very helpful to know is which of these schools has the most alumni with MBAs working in that industry. That number suggests a few other things, most obviously which school has the largest network on LinkedIn, but also which school might prepare candidates best for that industry, and which school has the best network.

So, let's log onto LinkedIn and go to the search:

Let's put in the keywords "MBA" and "Investment Management". And then press enter or the search icon. On the following page click on "People" to restrict the page to people.

So, you'll perhaps have different results from me. LinkedIn changes all the time and the more connections you have, the more you can see. I get 151,388 results.

Let's try to narrow the search to find MBAs currently working in IM roles. Click on "All filters". under industries you'll see the tp three results are
- Investment Management
- Financial Services
- Banking.

I'll filter to only those three. That leaves with with 106,736. A great sample!

So let's look at the list of schools shown on the "All Filters" page. From there I see the top schools are listed in descending order:
- The Wharton School
- Harvard Business School
- Columbia Business School
- The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- NYU Stern School of Business

Okay, so these look like the top schools for getting into IM with an MBA, since they have the most alumni with MBAs working in that industry. Of course you add more key words and filter on other variables, including country.

So what about the four schools this candidate is interested in? They are not in the top five. On the All Filters box we can add other schools to the list, and get them ranked. Add in the names of the schools and then click on Apply. When you go back, the schools will be ranked:-
- The University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business
- Emory University - Goizueta Business School
- UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
- Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business

However, these schools are difference sizes. The size of the alumni network matters, but so does the density.

Let's try to see how big the alumni bases are in relation to each other: first remove the filters for the industry, and press apply. Then in the search field let's search only for "MBA". I get 51,315 MBA alumni at those schools.
- The University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business
- UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
- Emory University - Goizueta Business School
- Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business

Viewed this way, Kenan-Flagler looks like it has fewer relevant alumni with a bigger base, while Goizueta has more relevant alumni with a smaller base. So, for this person UTA and Goizueta look like strong choices.

If we were to play around with the geographical filters, we might also find that one school is strong than another in particular areas.

Of course there are numerous weaknesses with this approach. If you were to search indivudally for each of the schools numbers of relevant alumni and the whole alumni base, then you'd get a more accurate percentage.

Furthermore, ome of these people might have an undergraduate degree from one of these schools and an MBA from somewhere else. A great example of that is Harvard: the top ten schools includes both Harvard Business School and Harvard University. But the fact remains that they are alumni of these schools with MBAs, and will are useful networking targets. It's certainly much better to have this information than to not have it.

PS If you want to know more about using LInkedIn, I'm the co-author of a best practice guide to LinkedIn which was published earlier this year: http://www.b2bmarketing.net/resources/linkedin-best-practice-guide

PPS I've updated this post in the light of changes to LinkedIn's search filtering.

[Edited by Duncan on Oct 22, 2018]

One of the challenges that MBA applicants have it to identify the best schools to apply to. The MBA rankings are very valuable, because they shows that even a modest investment (in getting a higher GMAT score and slightly higher fees) produces a massively positive improvement in the value of the MBA.

There's a great feature which helps prospective tools to see where the alumni network of top business schools (and other educational institutions) have their alumni.

If you go to any school's LinkedIn page, you can click on 'Alumni' to see where the former students are now.

Putting in London Business School, for example, produces this page: https://www.linkedin.com/school/london-business-school/alumni/ It allows you to filter by clicking on a country, company or role.

However, LinkedIn also allows premium members to refine your list or target schools even more powerfully. You can use LinkedIn to see which schools have the most alumni with MBAs in particular industries or countres.

To do this, you'll need to set up a LinkedIn account and be logged in to Linked in.

Here's an example, from http://www.find-mba.com/board/33494

This candidate is choosing between four excellent schools: McCombs, Kenan-Flagler, Goizueta and Tepper. They want to work in investment management. One thing that's very helpful to know is which of these schools has the most alumni with MBAs working in that industry. That number suggests a few other things, most obviously which school has the largest network on LinkedIn, but also which school might prepare candidates best for that industry, and which school has the best network.

So, let's log onto LinkedIn and go to the search:

Let's put in the keywords "MBA" and "Investment Management". And then press enter or the search icon. On the following page click on "People" to restrict the page to people.

So, you'll perhaps have different results from me. LinkedIn changes all the time and the more connections you have, the more you can see. I get 151,388 results.

Let's try to narrow the search to find MBAs currently working in IM roles. Click on "All filters". under industries you'll see the tp three results are
- Investment Management
- Financial Services
- Banking.

I'll filter to only those three. That leaves with with 106,736. A great sample!

So let's look at the list of schools shown on the "All Filters" page. From there I see the top schools are listed in descending order:
- The Wharton School
- Harvard Business School
- Columbia Business School
- The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- NYU Stern School of Business

Okay, so these look like the top schools for getting into IM with an MBA, since they have the most alumni with MBAs working in that industry. Of course you add more key words and filter on other variables, including country.

So what about the four schools this candidate is interested in? They are not in the top five. On the All Filters box we can add other schools to the list, and get them ranked. Add in the names of the schools and then click on Apply. When you go back, the schools will be ranked:-
- The University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business
- Emory University - Goizueta Business School
- UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
- Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business

However, these schools are difference sizes. The size of the alumni network matters, but so does the density.

Let's try to see how big the alumni bases are in relation to each other: first remove the filters for the industry, and press apply. Then in the search field let's search only for "MBA". I get 51,315 MBA alumni at those schools.
- The University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business
- UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
- Emory University - Goizueta Business School
- Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business

Viewed this way, Kenan-Flagler looks like it has fewer relevant alumni with a bigger base, while Goizueta has more relevant alumni with a smaller base. So, for this person UTA and Goizueta look like strong choices.

If we were to play around with the geographical filters, we might also find that one school is strong than another in particular areas.

Of course there are numerous weaknesses with this approach. If you were to search indivudally for each of the schools numbers of relevant alumni and the whole alumni base, then you'd get a more accurate percentage.

Furthermore, ome of these people might have an undergraduate degree from one of these schools and an MBA from somewhere else. A great example of that is Harvard: the top ten schools includes both Harvard Business School and Harvard University. But the fact remains that they are alumni of these schools with MBAs, and will are useful networking targets. It's certainly much better to have this information than to not have it.

PS If you want to know more about using LInkedIn, I'm the co-author of a best practice guide to LinkedIn which was published earlier this year: http://www.b2bmarketing.net/resources/linkedin-best-practice-guide

PPS I've updated this post in the light of changes to LinkedIn's search filtering.
quote
ezra
This is really useful info, thanks Duncan.

Any tips for getting this kind of data for places where LinkedIn penetration is low?

In my experience, the number of results for searches in some places (countries in Latin America for instance, or Australia) are so small that the data is not relevant.
This is really useful info, thanks Duncan.

Any tips for getting this kind of data for places where LinkedIn penetration is low?

In my experience, the number of results for searches in some places (countries in Latin America for instance, or Australia) are so small that the data is not relevant.
quote
Duncan
Hi Ezra, I'm glad you like it. It's not a perfect approach but its a useful too for most candidates.

There are other tools like LinkedIn: Viadeo is powerful in Catholic countries; Xing in Germany and its trading partners. But beyond that you're into
a] rather labour-intensive approaches which in some cases can be resolved by happy Filipinos hammering away at Plaxo, or by buying a list and mailing out a survey.
b] phoning the schools and asking them.
Hi Ezra, I'm glad you like it. It's not a perfect approach but its a useful too for most candidates.

There are other tools like LinkedIn: Viadeo is powerful in Catholic countries; Xing in Germany and its trading partners. But beyond that you're into
a] rather labour-intensive approaches which in some cases can be resolved by happy Filipinos hammering away at Plaxo, or by buying a list and mailing out a survey.
b] phoning the schools and asking them.
quote
adey786
Dear Duncan

By the way, I have read through this post and now actually tried applying these steps on Linkedin. As I would be largely looking for long term career in oil & gas industry, this really gives a good glimpse of what kind of MBA school grads are sitting in which companies.

I think, in my case, the results are as follows:

School (number of MBAs in bracket currently working in oil & gas industry):

(4501) Fundação Getúlio Vargas
(1875) University of Houston
(1609) Texas A&M University
(1382) The University of Texas at Austin
(1278) Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
(698)INSEAD
(519)London Business School
(467)IE Business School
(382)University of Warwick - Warwick Business School
(370)University of Manchester - Manchester Business School
(350)Henley Management College
(290)HEC School of Management
(144)ESADE Business School

Apart from top 5 schools which are more kind of regional schools, the rest of the schools looks relevant. From cost perspective, schools with 300s MBAs (i.e. Manchester, Henley, Warwick) and even IE school could be best fit for someone who is looking for a long term career in oil & gas industry. INSEAD, London Business School are definitely best places to study expensive, however gives more alumni base.

Do you recommend this approach (+ crown accreditation) to profile right school given alumni working in this industry? If this is true then I will ignore the ranking (though London, INSEAD, IE, INSEAD are already the toppers) and focus on the school based on the today's alumni network working in the industry.

Best regards
Dear Duncan

By the way, I have read through this post and now actually tried applying these steps on Linkedin. As I would be largely looking for long term career in oil & gas industry, this really gives a good glimpse of what kind of MBA school grads are sitting in which companies.

I think, in my case, the results are as follows:

School (number of MBAs in bracket currently working in oil & gas industry):

(4501) Fundação Getúlio Vargas
(1875) University of Houston
(1609) Texas A&M University
(1382) The University of Texas at Austin
(1278) Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
(698)INSEAD
(519)London Business School
(467)IE Business School
(382)University of Warwick - Warwick Business School
(370)University of Manchester - Manchester Business School
(350)Henley Management College
(290)HEC School of Management
(144)ESADE Business School

Apart from top 5 schools which are more kind of regional schools, the rest of the schools looks relevant. From cost perspective, schools with 300s MBAs (i.e. Manchester, Henley, Warwick) and even IE school could be best fit for someone who is looking for a long term career in oil & gas industry. INSEAD, London Business School are definitely best places to study expensive, however gives more alumni base.

Do you recommend this approach (+ crown accreditation) to profile right school given alumni working in this industry? If this is true then I will ignore the ranking (though London, INSEAD, IE, INSEAD are already the toppers) and focus on the school based on the today's alumni network working in the industry.

Best regards

quote
mba hipste...
The top five schools aren't really "regional," except in the sense that they reflect the regionalism of the energy industry.

Because of that, if I were you I would look more closely at school location in respect to this specific industry.

If I wanted to work in an oil company, I'd much rather be in Texas - near the headquarters of some of the largest producers, and all the networking that that entails - than in Fontainebleau.
The top five schools aren't really "regional," except in the sense that they reflect the regionalism of the energy industry.

Because of that, if I were you I would look more closely at school location in respect to this specific industry.

If I wanted to work in an oil company, I'd much rather be in Texas - near the headquarters of some of the largest producers, and all the networking that that entails - than in Fontainebleau.
quote
adey786
I agree your comments about top 5. I am working full time therefore it is not possible for me to take full fledge studies in Texas or university in the cities with energy headquarters.

Thank you for your thoughts and sharing interesting perspective.

Best regards
I agree your comments about top 5. I am working full time therefore it is not possible for me to take full fledge studies in Texas or university in the cities with energy headquarters.

Thank you for your thoughts and sharing interesting perspective.

Best regards
quote
Duncan
I think the alumni networks and international mobility of the top five schools will be very limited, and I think it's reasonable to call them regional schools. For global mobility, the world-class schools will be better.
I think the alumni networks and international mobility of the top five schools will be very limited, and I think it's reasonable to call them regional schools. For global mobility, the world-class schools will be better.
quote
adey786
Dear Duncan,

I am also thinking on the same lines. In the meantime, I have received the confirmation of same from the recent MBA graduate from Texas A&M (who is in energy industry, already head of global operations at Texas based oil major) recommend to look for global options.

Its dumb to ask, but I don't know how to analyze FT rankings based on different set of criterion used to come up with consolidated ranking. I can see ranking based on all these criterion, but not break up of each school ranking according to the factors ? I am interested in ranking with respect to international mobility, strong alumni network, strong post graduation career support etc? Appreciate if you can share any links.

On the other note, I was surprised to see Henley school not considered in 2013 executive MBA ranking. From the website reading ( http://www.henley.ac.uk/about-us/financial-times-executive-mba-ranking-2013) it looks like school management is disappointed on not being able to be the part of the ranking. Does it affect prospective ratings? Is it like if school is out for one year then it has some cooling off period before being considered again for ranking purposes? If yes then do you suggest targeting Henley at all? If no then is it still advisable to consider Executive MBA at Henley based on 2012 rankings?

Best regards
Dear Duncan,

I am also thinking on the same lines. In the meantime, I have received the confirmation of same from the recent MBA graduate from Texas A&M (who is in energy industry, already head of global operations at Texas based oil major) recommend to look for global options.

Its dumb to ask, but I don't know how to analyze FT rankings based on different set of criterion used to come up with consolidated ranking. I can see ranking based on all these criterion, but not break up of each school ranking according to the factors ? I am interested in ranking with respect to international mobility, strong alumni network, strong post graduation career support etc? Appreciate if you can share any links.

On the other note, I was surprised to see Henley school not considered in 2013 executive MBA ranking. From the website reading ( http://www.henley.ac.uk/about-us/financial-times-executive-mba-ranking-2013) it looks like school management is disappointed on not being able to be the part of the ranking. Does it affect prospective ratings? Is it like if school is out for one year then it has some cooling off period before being considered again for ranking purposes? If yes then do you suggest targeting Henley at all? If no then is it still advisable to consider Executive MBA at Henley based on 2012 rankings?

Best regards
quote
Duncan
You can add the variables and then export them as an excel file... after that it's some statistics as you prefer.

The Henley EMBA is very small, and it was a full-time executive MBA (very rare) so it was in the full-time ranking. I don't think rankings in themselves are a factor if you're not targetting the traditional MBA employers (and if you are, then a full time programme will be better).
You can add the variables and then export them as an excel file... after that it's some statistics as you prefer.

The Henley EMBA is very small, and it was a full-time executive MBA (very rare) so it was in the full-time ranking. I don't think rankings in themselves are a factor if you're not targetting the traditional MBA employers (and if you are, then a full time programme will be better).
quote
nav_nitj
Hello Duncan,
I tried this approach to Search for 'Cranfield University - Cranfield School of Management' network. 'Where they Live' section looks ok to me, but when I looked at 'where they work' section, i got confused. Top employers are Cranfield university and UK Ministry of Defense. Also, the top numbers are in hundreds, which doesn't make sense.. please add your two cents so that i can interpret this correctly.

Thanks
Hello Duncan,
I tried this approach to Search for 'Cranfield University - Cranfield School of Management' network. 'Where they Live' section looks ok to me, but when I looked at 'where they work' section, i got confused. Top employers are Cranfield university and UK Ministry of Defense. Also, the top numbers are in hundreds, which doesn't make sense.. please add your two cents so that i can interpret this correctly.

Thanks
quote
Duncan
You're looking here: https://www.linkedin.com/edu/school?id=12583&trk=tyah&trkInfo=tas%3Acranfield%20school%20%2Cidx%3A2-1-3 ?

MoD is a huge client. Full time students often put Cranfield as as their current employer
You're looking here: https://www.linkedin.com/edu/school?id=12583&trk=tyah&trkInfo=tas%3Acranfield%20school%20%2Cidx%3A2-1-3 ?

MoD is a huge client. Full time students often put Cranfield as as their current employer
quote
nav_nitj
but, why the numbers are in hundreds for these employers...shouldn't they be in thousands? Am i missing something here...
but, why the numbers are in hundreds for these employers...shouldn't they be in thousands? Am i missing something here...
quote
Duncan
The data are for 14,000 alumni. Why should one large employer have recruited more than one or two percent of all their alumni?
The data are for 14,000 alumni. Why should one large employer have recruited more than one or two percent of all their alumni?
quote
In this links: http://www.linkedin.com/edu/

Here You can find Linkedin for professional school Thanks
In this links: http://www.linkedin.com/edu/

Here You can find Linkedin for professional school Thanks
quote
Perov
Duncan, thanks for these useful tips!
Duncan, thanks for these useful tips!
quote
it's really very helpful. thx,Duncan:)
it's really very helpful. thx,Duncan:)
quote
Hi Duncan,
I read so far couple of your responses on different MBA schools. In number of reply you have suggested LinkedIn tool to get the idea about where the Alumni and What area(operations, IT, consulting etc) the school focus. The number specific to program shouldn't be the criteria while shortlisting any program? Don't you think so? For an example, for INSEAD, LinkedIn just shows around 1000+ members data. How we should get a closer and correct view of any school?
I am currently researching programs in Europe fro full-time MBA. I was thinking initially that STRATHCLYDE, UK
Lancaster, UK
Essec, France
EMLYON, France
TIAS, NL
HHL LEIPZIG, Germany,
Giving you my background, I have more than 8 years of exp and working as Senior business Analyst.

[Edited by gauravsaxena21 on Dec 21, 2015]

Hi Duncan,
I read so far couple of your responses on different MBA schools. In number of reply you have suggested LinkedIn tool to get the idea about where the Alumni and What area(operations, IT, consulting etc) the school focus. The number specific to program shouldn't be the criteria while shortlisting any program? Don't you think so? For an example, for INSEAD, LinkedIn just shows around 1000+ members data. How we should get a closer and correct view of any school?
I am currently researching programs in Europe fro full-time MBA. I was thinking initially that STRATHCLYDE, UK
Lancaster, UK
Essec, France
EMLYON, France
TIAS, NL
HHL LEIPZIG, Germany,
Giving you my background, I have more than 8 years of exp and working as Senior business Analyst.
quote
Duncan
LinkedIn has the data for 63,081 alumni of Insead. I suggest you explore its search features more deeply, or hire someone to do the research for you (I can help: see my profile page). Of course, schools vary in size so you have to think about the data and take each criterion in context with the others.
LinkedIn has the data for 63,081 alumni of Insead. I suggest you explore its search features more deeply, or hire someone to do the research for you (I can help: see my profile page). Of course, schools vary in size so you have to think about the data and take each criterion in context with the others.
quote
laurie
I filtered LinkedIn with the search phrase "MBA" and the school Insead, and got over 30,000 members. That's enough to see broad trends in where grads generally end up (UK, France, US are the top areas) and what fields they work in (management consulting, financial services, and information technology).

That seems fairly accurate to me, but your results will vary based on the sample size. Schools like HHL will certainly have less of a footprint in terms of grads on LinkedIn, because of a variety of factors.

One thing is that you should U\use care with this method because it's not a complete picture. Grads certainly don't have to register for LinkedIn, and people in certain countries might be more likely to use LinkedIn than those in other places. The key is to get the broad strokes with this info and then drill down with other research methods.
I filtered LinkedIn with the search phrase "MBA" and the school Insead, and got over 30,000 members. That's enough to see broad trends in where grads generally end up (UK, France, US are the top areas) and what fields they work in (management consulting, financial services, and information technology).

That seems fairly accurate to me, but your results will vary based on the sample size. Schools like HHL will certainly have less of a footprint in terms of grads on LinkedIn, because of a variety of factors.

One thing is that you should U\use care with this method because it's not a complete picture. Grads certainly don't have to register for LinkedIn, and people in certain countries might be more likely to use LinkedIn than those in other places. The key is to get the broad strokes with this info and then drill down with other research methods.
quote
Duncan
I've updated the post at the top of the thread in the light of changes to LinkedIn's search filtering.
I've updated the post at the top of the thread in the light of changes to LinkedIn's search filtering.
quote

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