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Sloan Ranks Ninth in Business Week

By Venkatesh Satish
contributing editor

The Sloan School of Management inched higher to ninth place in this week's Business Week rankings of the top business schools in the country.

The list, published biannually, ranked MIT 10th overall in 1994 and 13th in 1992.

"Sloan is going in the right direction, and this confirms that... [it] is one of the very best business schools," said Glen L. Urban, dean of the Sloan School.

Business Week compiled the rankings by combining the results of two surveys soliciting the opinions of graduates of business schools and corporate recruiters.

The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School topped the list for the second consecutive time, with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Northwestern University's Kellogg School, Harvard University, the University of Virginia's Darden School taking the next four spots.

Columbia University (6), Stanford University (7), the University of Chicago (8), and Dartmouth University's Tuck School (10) round out the top 10.

Emphasis differed from U.S. News

Business Week's rankings show a significant difference from those published by U.S. News and World Report, which has placed Sloan as high as first in the nation in the past two years.

One reason for the difference is the heavy emphasis Business Week places on recruiters' responses, Urban said. The U.S. News rankings take into account a number of other factors, such as graduates' starting salary and number of job offers, in addition to recruiters' ratings.

Sloan graduates had a median salary of $102,750, making MIT one of five schools in the nation whose graduates earned six-figure salaries. The median pay of entering Sloan students was $45,000.

"Recruiters aren't very happy about paying high salaries, and we have a fairly small program, so it might be hard for them to find a person that they might like," Urban said.

Sloan rated low on team play'

The rankings also categorized responses in specific areas and stratified schools by the responses.

Sloan graduates received A' grades in the areas of "analysts" and "global view," meaning recruiters gave them scores that placed them in the top 20 percent of all business school graduates. However, recruiters gave Sloan graduates a C' in "team players," translating to a place between the 20th and 55th percentile.

These grades reflect the "image-versus-reality" situation here at MIT, said Deputy Dean of Sloan Richard L. Schmalensee '65. "Because we are at MIT, we could spend most of our time teaching poetry, and we would [still] be ranked high in analysis."

This stereotype may have also played a role in the low scores on team play, Schmalensee said.

"We're intensively team based," Urban said. "We have to do a better job communicating [to recruiters] what we're doing."

"We don't think the rankings are that important," Schmalensee said. "As a friend of mine put it, Virginia was ranked higher than MIT, but how many students that were accepted to both schools would choose Virginia over MIT?'"

"Since we don't precisely understand [Business Week's] methods, we really can't tell" exactly what the rankings mean, Schmalensee said.

For instance, Business Week mentions that it does not compensate for the differences in recruiters' responses and students' responses in reaching a composite score, Schmalensee said.

Additionally, responses are "smoothed" by weighting the current year's responses 50 percent and ascribing a 25 percent weight to responses from each of the past two surveys.

Consequently, "if you are improving, you would expect these values to lag a little bit," Urban said.

In a similar ranking in the same article, Business Week ranked Sloan fourth in terms of quickest payback for a Master's in Business and Administration, taking into account tuition costs and salary improvements. The article also stated that MIT's alumni network was one of the nation's six best.

A total of 4,830 business school graduates and 227 companies participated in the Business Week survey.