- The following information is based on the Wall Street Journal 2008 EMBA methodology -
The Wall Street Journal's executive M.B.A. rankings are based on three components; how a school scored in a survey of E.M.B.A. students; how it fared in a survey of companies familiar with E.M.B.A. programs; and how well it imparted management and leadership skills identified as crucial in the student and company surveys.
WSJ developed two surveys: one for members of the most current graduating executive M.B.A. class, and the second for companies that employ E.M.B.A. students.
With the help of Management Research Group, based in Portland, Maine, we focused on questions designed to measure how well schools do in helping to shape and build strong managers and leaders. Portland-based Critical Insights hosted and administered the surveys electronically.
School eligibility criteria included accreditation by AACSB or Equis, the main business-school accrediting bodies in the U.S. and Europe; a minimum of four previous graduating classes; and enrollment of 25 students or more in the class graduating before Sept. 30, 2008. Additionally, WSJ required that a program's students have an average of at least 10 years' work experience and three years' management experience, and that at least some traveled more than 45 miles to reach class.
Multiple programs at a school were eligible for ranking if they met the requirements. For ranking purposes, multiple programs that originated primarily from a single school counted toward that school's ranking. They are Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management; Duke University's Fuqua School of Business; the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business; and IPADE in Mexico. Partner programs -- in which schools evenly divide coursework, branding and teaching, and candidates apply to the partnership and not to an individual school -- were ranked separately. The University of California-Berkeley/Columbia Business School and Columbia Business School/London Business School programs fell into this category. WSJ reached students via email addresses provided either by the schools or through original reporting. One school, INSEAD, declined to participate after survey deadlines had passed, when it was too late to find students through original reporting.
The student survey included 57 questions -- 37 on program quality and utility, and 20 on leadership and management skills -- that were used in the student ranking. It was sent to 4,060 students at 72 E.M.B.A. programs at 53 schools in nine countries beginning in April. Some 2,536 completed the survey, for a response rate of 62%. Schools with fewer than 20 responses weren't eligible for ranking; seven schools were thus eliminated.
The University of Michigan's Ross School had the highest percentage of respondents, at nearly 93%. Surveys with more than six unanswered ranking questions were disqualified; 1.6% of surveys were discarded. Scores for each question were calculated and standardized to create a mean score for each school. That score makes up the student component of the final ranking.
More than 1,200 companies, garnered from the student surveys and schools' input, were vetted for the corporate survey. Very small companies -- mostly those with fewer than 75 employees -- and firms at which the E.M.B.A. student was a principal were eliminated, as were companies where there was no qualified executive to respond.
In the end, 478 companies were eligible for the survey; 455 received the questionnaire, and 201 corporate human-resources or executive-development officers completed it, for a response rate of 44%. Respondents were from 23 industries and nearly a dozen countries; 26% represented companies with fewer than 1,000 employees; 32% employed 1,000 to 10,000 people; and 42% had more than 10,000 employees. Each respondent was asked to rate only schools with which he or she was familiar or very familiar; questionnaires were disqualified if a company wasn't familiar with two or more schools. Schools with fewer than eight corporate raters weren't eligible for ranking; nine schools were thus eliminated. Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management had the most raters, with 71.
Companies were asked, among other things, to give their overall impression of schools they were most familiar with; to choose the skills they saw as most critical for an E.M.B.A. program to teach; and to describe their policies for degree sponsorship. Companies were then asked to rate schools they were familiar with based on their impression of the value of the education delivered, and to rank in order the three schools they felt were best.
A school that a company ranked No. 1 was assigned 10 points; a school ranked as No. 2 awarded six points, and a school ranked No. 3 was assigned two points. Then, points were added based on how the school was rated for overall impression, and the total was summed. If the respondent was very familiar with the school, the respondent's total score for the school was doubled. Scores were summed and standardized for each school to create the corporate score for the final ranking.
Finally, to calculate the management and leadership-skills component, the student ratings of each of 20 leadership skills were weighted by the percentage of corporate respondents who identified that skill as most important for an E.M.B.A. program to teach. Strategic thinking, ability to work across multiple functional areas, driving results, managing change and general leadership received the highest weights. The weighted items were averaged for each student and then for each school. The total scores were standardized for each school to create the skills score for the final ranking.
To calculate the final ranking, the student, corporate and skills scores were added up, with the student and corporate scores each given a weight of 40% of the final total and the skills score weighted at 20%.
Corrections and Amplifications:
In addition, programs needed at least 35 students in the class graduating before Sept. 30 to qualify for inclusion. An article in the Journal Report incorrectly said the minimum was 25.
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