By SARA BRUECK
Faculty members at the Marriott School of Management were calling the bookstore yesterday hoping to steal a peek at the February issue of Forbes magazine. Bookstore employees said no, not just yet.
But today they will open the flaps and see in black print what they previously got word of. The school is ranked fourth among regional business schools in the United States. And the reason why the school did so well is based on the simple marketing idea that a bargain is better.
“We think it is the right way to measure a business school-the way you measure a business,” said Henry J. Eyring, director of the Marriott School’s Master of Business Administration Programs. Eyring said BYU’s low tuition and the relatively low salaries of students entering its MBA program, compared with the relatively high salaries they earn later on, are some of the reasons BYU is ranked so high.
“It highlights the fact we offer a good deal,” he said.
Forbes defined regional schools as schools where the median cost of getting an MBA was less than $90,000. Forbes’ criteria for ranking business schools were students’ incomes before entering school, the cost of tuition and expenses, and graduates’ incomes four and a half years after school.
The article also listed schools according to the amount of time it took students to recover their investments. According to the article, it takes a BYU graduate 3.6 years to recover their investment- an impressive comparison to the 3.3 years it would take a Harvard graduate.
What makes the Forbes ranking different from other rankings such as the commonly publicized U.S. News and World Report is the way it compares the “best deals” among schools, Eyering said.
Other good news recently came the way of Eyring and his collegues as well.
In a January 24 article of the Financial Times the Marriott School’s finance program was ranked in the top ten of the world. The Times’ article also rated BYU 71st among international business schools. It is the first time BYU has ever made the Financial Times’ list. Ned Hill, dean of the Marriott School of Management, was pleased with the ranking, and hopes that the Marriott School’s recent international focus will continue to grow.
“Of all the universities, we ought to be global,” said Hill. “We have a greater infrastructure through the global reach of the LDS Church.” For Eyring, the ranking is a way for BYU to be of greater assistance to the church.
While the Marriott School views the rankings as helpful, Hill believes the real benefit of being a well-recognized school is on the students’ end.
“What rankings do for you is on the other end,” he said. “If firms perceive you as a quality program, they will sometimes pay students more and give them more responsible positions.” Rankings did play some part in choosing a good business school for Robert Gardner, 26, an MBA candidate from Kansas, who has an emphasis in organizational behavior.
“I think most MBA students (look at rankings) at some point,” he said. “When you go out into the job market the ranking of your school has some effect on your opportunities and your clout.”
The reports by both Forbes and the Financial Times paint BYU in a favorable light, something both Eyring and Hill are happy about. But Eyring said he feels BYU’s true value will never be reflected in outside ratings.
“It is hard to measure the spiritual qualities of a program,” he said. “The rankings will not show that.” Gardner said he agrees.
“You have to balance the culture (of the school) with its reputation out there in the world,” he said.
“We hope that the people we really care about will go deeper than the rankings,” Eyring said.
The Forbes evaluation of business schools differed from more traditional business school rankings because it focused more on students’ rates of return on their MBA investment and overall value of a school, rather than a school’s recruiting power and the starting salaries of its graduates.