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Smith School MBA program ranking plummets in recent rankings

By Josh Cooper
On November 30, 2010

The Robert H. Smith School of Business' full-time MBA program dropped 16 spots in Bloomberg Businessweek's ranking, released last month. The Smith School is ranked No. 42, down from the No. 26 ranking it held two years ago.

The results were based on a review done in March, in which Smith School graduates, corporate recruiters and faculty were surveyed.

Smith School Dean G. Anandalingam expressed concern about the lower ranking.

"We're not happy," Anandalingam said. "The reputation of the full-time MBA program is very important to the Smith School of Business and we are concerned with the drop in the ranking."

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business' full-time MBA program sat atop the list, while Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and Stanford University rounded out the top five.

Anandalingam said the lower ranking was unusual compared to previous rankings.

 "To put things in perspective, our undergraduate program is ranked No. 19 by U.S. News, our part-time MBA program is ranked No. 15 by U.S. News, our executive MBA program is ranked No. 15 by Financial Times and No. 22 in the world by Wall Street Journal," Anandalingam said. "We see the most recent Businessweek ranking of the full-time MBA program as an aberration."

The ranking puzzled some Smith students.

"We don't deserve this," said Ragavan Manogaran.

Students gave many possible explanations for the drop.

"Apparently, the Office of Career Services has had a lot of turnover in the director position," Arun Bhattacharay said. "They just hired a new director, so hopefully there's some stability in that position."

 "Also, the reviews for the rankings were conducted in March, so when students filled out surveys for the reviews, it was a bad time for employment, and a lot of them didn't have jobs. Now a lot of those students have work, and so it seemed like it happened at a bad time," said Bhattacharay.

Bhattacharay also said the poor rank may have something to do with the way the Smith school is marketed.

"The University of Maryland undergraduate has a very strong brand, and the Smith brand hasn't translated, so I think they should try to play up the Maryland connection," said Bhattacharay.

"They call it the Chicago Booth, but they don't call us the Maryland School," said Manogaran.

Anandalingam added Smith School leaders are working to improve the reputation of the full-time MBA program.

"We are expanding and improving the Office of Career Services," Anandalingam said. "We have brought in an excellent managing director after a national search. We are also hiring more industry experts to help our students get into excellent well-paying positions around the country. We are also going on a branding campaign to shore up the reputation of the full-time MBA program. With all the improvements being made in the program, we are very confident that the full-time MBA program will be back among the top 20 in the United States."

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