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February 8, 2007

MBA program ranked by Financial Times

Pitt’s full-time MBA program has returned to the Financial Times listings of the world’s top 100 MBA programs at No. 84.

The Katz Graduate School of Business failed to make the 2006 list after ranking No. 70 in 2005.

Among all U.S. schools, Pitt’s program ranked No. 51; among U.S. public universities Pitt was 23rd in the rankings announced Jan. 29.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School continued its reign in the No. 1 spot overall. Rounding out the global top five were Columbia, Harvard, Stanford and the London Business School.

Other Pennsylvania schools on the list were Carnegie Mellon and Penn State, tied for No. 43, and Temple, which ranked close behind Pitt at No. 87.

The entire list is available online at

Last year, Pitt was excluded from the list due to an insufficient response by alumni, said Katz Dean John T. Delaney. “People think you’re worse than the bottom-ranked, but you’re really not.”

Delaney pointed out that rankings provide only a rear-view mirror reflection of a program’s quality and that the numerous entities that rank business schools use varying criteria in their assessments. Still, “Rankings are an important indicator of the way our external constituents perceive us,” Delaney said.

While collecting data for multiple ratings is expensive and time consuming, only schools such as Harvard can rest on their reputation and say no to requests from publications seeking data for their rankings.

For the rest, “It’s hard to refuse because everyone above us is going to use the ranking to try to attract students away from us,” the dean said. “Unless you’re perceived as one of the top universities, you’ve got to play the game,” even if it’s a drain on resources that might otherwise be spent on students or facilities, he added.

The Financial Times rankings, based on information provided by the schools and a survey of alumni from the class of 2003, rated schools on diversity, idea generation and alumni career progress.

Delaney said he draws two big positives from two subcategories that contributed to Pitt’s current Financial Times ranking.

In the “value for the dollar” ranking, Pitt was No. 24 overall but No. 1 in the U.S. “That’s a strong statement as to the quality of our program,” the dean said. “It’s a strong sign we’re ahead of everyone else in the U.S.”

The second positive is that faculty are rated highly, Delaney said, calling attention to Pitt’s No. 47 ranking in faculty research.

“We have quality faculty and a great return for the students. I see that as a strong positive message.”

Delaney, who arrived at Pitt last fall, said his goal is to concentrate on making changes that improve student satisfaction.

Plans are in the works to strengthen Katz’s finance program, including the addition of a financial analysis lab, Delaney said.

Small details that Delaney said might seem silly also are worth attention, the dean said. He is working on securing reserved parking for recruiters on campus, noting that the University of Chicago offers valet parking for recruiters. “We make it harder for the people that are critical,” he said, arguing that the seemingly small gesture of easing the battle for a parking place in Oakland eventually could translate into a difference in rankings.

“For every additional recruiter I can get in here, there’s a positive outcome,” he said.

The combination of attention to large and small details will have an effect on the business school’s success, Delaney predicted. “We’re looking to find little things to do and at the same time looking at the program.”

Patience will be needed in order to see the results. Because the Financial Times relies on information from graduates three years removed from the program, changes made now will not be reflected for four-six years, Delaney said.

The 2007 Financial Times ranking showed Katz MBA graduates had an average salary of $94,741 three years after graduation.

In other statistics included in the survey’s “alumni career progress component,” graduates reported a 100 percent increase in their pre-MBA salary and 95 percent of the Katz MBA graduates reported being employed within three months after graduation.

Pitt was No. 83 in alumni recommendations, calculated by tallying how many included the school when asked to name three business schools from which they would recruit MBA graduates, and No. 77 in placement success, a measure of graduates’ opinion of the effectiveness of a school’s career services office. Graduates rated the extent to which they’d fulfilled their goals for doing an MBA at 67 percent, measured as a percentage of returns for the school.

Alumni gave Pitt their highest marks in value for the dollar, ranking it at No. 24 worldwide and first among U.S. business schools.

The “diversity” component of the rankings took into account the Pitt MBA programs’ percentage of female faculty (17 percent), students (30 percent) and board members (6 percent), as well as international faculty (21 percent), students (40 percent) and board members (0 percent).

The “diversity” component also ranked Pitt’s program No. 36 in international mobility, which reflects the employment movements of alumni between the time prior to their MBA and graduation and between graduation and the present. Pitt’s international experience rank, No. 98, measured students’ international exposure during the MBA program.

The “idea generation” component of the rankings measured the percentage of MBA program faculty with doctorates (95 percent for a rank of No. 53), and ranked Pitt’s program on the number of doctoral graduates from the program in the past three years, with additional points given if the grads were hired as faculty at business schools that made the top 50 in last year’s Financial Times ranking.

It also ranked schools (weighted for faculty size) on faculty research — compiled by tallying the number of faculty publications in 40 selected journals. Pitt’s faculty ranked No. 47.

The Financial Times also ranks executive MBA programs. In the most recent (2006) ranking, released in October, Pitt’s EMBA Worldwide program was No. 35 out of 85 programs the publication evaluated.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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