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  • FAQs: The Best 296 Business Schools: 2015 Edition

  • How did you choose the business schools in The Best 296 Business Schools: 2015 Edition?

    In order for a school to appear on our ranking lists and receive "Students Say" text, it must: (1) meet our criteria for academic excellence and (2) allow us to conduct surveys of its students. We attempted to collect student opinions and statistical data from all American graduate business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), as well as from some excellent accredited international business schools. For all schools from which we were able to collect student opinions, we feature "Students Say" narratives in our book and website profiles of the schools. For accredited business schools from which we were unable to collect student opinion, we have included data listings of statistics reported by school administrators in the back section of our book and on our website profiles of the schools.

    How many ranking lists are in the book, and how did you compile the lists?

    The book has 11 ranking lists, and each one identifies the top 10 business schools in a specific category. The categories cover a range of topics that we think prospective applicants might want to know or would ask about during a campus visit, including academics, career prospects, and campus diversity. Ten of the 11 lists incorporate or are based entirely on student opinions that we collected through our business school student survey. A few of the lists also incorporate institutional data reported to us by administrators at the business schools. One list, "Toughest to Get Into," is based entirely on information reported to us by administrators. Note: We don't have a "Best Overall Academics" ranking list in the book because each of the 296 business schools featured in the book is a "Best" in our opinion when it comes to academics. We believe that hierarchical ranking lists that focus solely on academics offer very little value to students and only add to the stress of applying to business school. For more information, check out the User's Guide to Our Business School Rankings.

    Does this book include your Princeton Review entrepreneurship program rankings?

    No. Our annual entrepreneurship program rankings are a separate project. These lists name the top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate schools we believe have the best programs for entrepreneurship studies. We have reported these rankings for 11 years. With Entrepreneur magazine, our partner on this project since 2006, we reported our current list of the top schools for entrepreneurship programs in September 2014. Check out our entrepreneurship program ranking lists here.

    Why don't you have one list that ranks all the schools in the book?

    We don't believe that any one business school is the best overall. Instead, we believe there is a best business school for you. Moreover, the prestige of an academic program does not constitute the exclusive criterion by which a school should be (or is) judged. Among other factors (such as location, cost, and size), the campus culture is very important, and this is something that varies considerably from one school to another. Some business schools in our book and on our website may be ideal for certain students but wrong for others, depending on the interests and needs of each individual student. We offer a range of ranking lists to help students choose the best school for them.

    The profiles of business schools in the book, and the listings of schools on your site have ratings. What's the difference between the rankings and the ratings?

    Our rankings are lists of top 10 schools in the book in various categories. Our ratings are numerical scores (on a scale of 60 to 99) that we give to all schools in the book from whom we received sufficient data to tally the scores. Every school that appears in The Best 296 Business Schools: 2015 Edition receives an Admissions Selectivity Rating, and the schools from which we received student surveys also receive Academic Experience, Professors Interesting, Professors Accessible, and Career Ratings. Only the top 10 schools in each of our 11 ranking categories appear on our ranking lists. Two of our ranking lists—"Toughest to Get Into" and "Best Career Prospects"—are based on the ratings for Admissions Selectivity and Career, respectively. You can learn what our ratings scores are based on in the Ratings. You can learn what each of the ranking lists is based on in the User's Guide to Our Business School Rankings.

    Why don't some highly selective business schools have "Students Say" profiles or receive all of the five possible ratings?

    Unfortunately, some business schools did not permit us to survey their MBA students. Since student opinion is essential to the "Students Say" narratives as well as to four of our five ratings, those schools at which we were unable to survey students also did not receive Academic Experience, Professors Interesting, Professors Accessible, and Career Ratings. Schools that reported admissions statistics, however, did receive an Admissions Selectivity Rating.

    Why don't some highly regarded schools appear on many of the top 10 ranking lists?

    Ten of the 11 business school ranking lists either incorporate or are based entirely on MBA student opinions—so if the students at a particular school didn't have a high degree of consensus in their responses to a particular survey question, then their school won't appear on the corresponding top 10 list. Similarly, if a school doesn't have especially strong numbers in a given category that incorporates school-reported statistics, then it won't appear on that ranking list.

    The other reason a school might not appear on one of the ranking lists that incorporate student opinions is that we were unable to survey the students at that school.

    When was the survey conducted?

    It was conducted during the 2013-2014, 2012-2013, and 2011-2012 academic years.

    How is the survey conducted?

    We conduct the survey online using our online survey tool http://survey.review.com. We promote students' participation in our student surveys in various ways over a school year. We also work with administrators at the schools requested that they send an e-mail encouraging their MBA students to participate in our survey. The e-mail includes a link to the online student survey.

    The survey is divided into five sections: "About Yourself," "Students," "Academics," "Careers," and "Quality of Life." The survey is primarily a grid-based, multiple-choice questionnaire, though there are several open-ended questions to which students may write in their own responses. We use students' responses to many of our multiple-choice questions to generate the majority of our rating and ranking lists. In compiling these lists, we average students' responses to each question for each school and generate overall scores. In this way, we are able to compare each aspect of the business student experience at different schools. We quote students' written comments when composing our "Students Say" narratives; and we qualitatively evaluate their written comments when determining what we will write about each school.

    How many MBA students were surveyed for your business school rankings lists?

    For the ranking lists in this edition, we surveyed more than 21,600 students.

    I'm a current MBA student. Where can I complete a survey for my school?

    We will factor in your survey responses in the tallies for the ranking lists that will be in next year's edition of our book, The Best Business Schools.