There are so many articles (and websites, and people, and books) out there that will tell you how to use the MBA US rankings. The rankings can help in many ways—they can help you compare programs, or see what programs might be up-and-coming. They can help you find some pretty helpful data.
But MBA US rankings don’t necessarily paint an entire picture of what you can expect, and accepted.com has pointed out four ways that “blinding yourself to the rankings’ flaws [can] lead to an expensive, time-consuming mistake: choosing the wrong MBA program for you.”
The first way the article points out that MBA US rankings may not be especially helpful is pretty straightforward: “They don’t measure your priorities.” Those rankings are not specific to you and, as such, cannot know what you, specifically, need in a program.
Way #2 is also pretty smart: “General rankings hide strengths (and weaknesses) in specific areas. There are numerous “gem” programs that thrive outside the top ten or top twenty. Many MBA students have a great chance of gaining acceptance PLUS receiving financial aid at these gem schools.”
The article goes on to remind us that, as far as MBA US rankings go, averages are always just that—average. “They aren’t a cut-off and don’t reflect extenuating circumstances or the interplay between myriad factors in an admissions decision.”
They leave us with some very solid advice: “Don’t replace school research and self-reflection with rankings to determine where you should apply or attend.” The rankings can certainly give us good information about business schools in Virginia and elsewhere, but independent research and a lot of careful and deliberate thinking about what we really need and want in our programs will always be the best way to go.