Vlerick programs now 14th in the FT European rankings – should I worry?

Yooohoo! After the (very) bad performance of the EMBA this year, a rebranding exercise and a new website, the whole schoool is back at the 14th position in the FT rankings for 2012! The Academic Dean can of course be very proud of his cursus. As usual let’s have a look at the numbers …

14So, Vlerick Business School is at the 14th position, a stable position on a 3 years average (up from 16th last year however). There are of course big names before Vlerick: HEC Paris (2nd), London Business School (3rd), INSEAD (4th), IMD (7th), etc. But there are also big names after Vlerick: Cranfield (16th), Imperial College (18th), ESSEC (19th), London School of Economics (27th), etc.

Compared to other Belgian business school, Vlerick is better placed (than for the EMBA rankings e.g.):

  • Antwerp Management School is climbing from an average 52nd to the 40th rank;
  • Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management goes down from a 42nd to the 46th rank;
  • IAG-Louvain School of Management goes down from a 52nd to the 59th rank.

So if I take again my table from the previous “ranking” post (best of each row in bold):

Ranking Vlerick B.S. Antwerp M.S. Solvay B.S.E.M. IAG-L.S.M.
FT European Business School Rankings 2012 14 (=) 40 (↑ av. 52) 46 (↓ av. 42) 52 (↓ av. 59)
FT EMBA Ranking 2012 90 (↓ from 77) 50 (entry)
FT Global MBA Ranking 2012 70 (↓ from 71)
The Economist Full time MBA ranking 66
Aspen Institute Beyond Grey Pinstripes Vlerick

The methodology used by the FT is well explained. There you will learn that this ranking assesses the performances of 4 MBA programs in each school. And it looks at the breadth but also quality of these programmes. So indirectly it represents the aggregate of lots of parameters (see here for the list on Vlerick). But is seems to put some emphasis on the salaries (at program entry and after) as well as the number of female, international and PhD faculty.

So – back to the title – should I worry? ;-)

Well, just go to the previous post about rankings and read the conclusion ; I haven’t changed since. But congrats anyway to the Vlerick team for this good performance!

Photo credit: 14 by xiaming, on Flickr (licence CC-by-nc-sa)

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Vlerick EMBA program now only 90th in the FT rankings – should I worry?

From time to time, you wonder if you chose well your business school (well, that’s also when you procastinate instead of working on your statistics assignment – that’s another story). It all started with an e-mail stating that the MBA at Antwerp Management School earned a 50th position in the FT EMBA ranking (while Vlerick EMBA is down from the 77th position to the 90th) …

Ok so let me gather some facts first (best of each row in bold):

Ranking Vlerick B.S. Antwerp M.S. Solvay B.S.E.M. IAG-L.S.M.
FT European Business School Rankings 2011 16 (↓ from 13) 62 (↓ from 57) 46 (↓ from 42) 51 (↓ from 48)
FT EMBA Ranking 2012 90 (↓ from 77) 50 (entry)
FT Global MBA Ranking 2012 70 (↓ from 71)
The Economist Full time MBA ranking 66
Aspen Institute Beyond Grey Pinstripes Vlerick

There is a limited number of rows because I was focused on Belgian business schools that are not in the WSJ ranking nor in the BusinessWeek ranking for instance. Thus Vlerick is in three types of configuration: either ranked alone (we don’t know how the other would behave), either in first position (EU ranking 2011), either in second position. Why can’t Vlerick be first everywhere? (and also I’m only comparing Belgian business school).

Before going into the details of what components are in the EMBA ranking of 2012, there is something that is worrying: whatever business school, whatever ranking, all Belgian business schools are going down! How come? I thought that more and more students were chosing European business schools, mostly because they seem more prepare to face the economic crisis and cheaper (this does not necessarily mean of better quality I agree).

So let’s compare VBS and AMS (again, best of each row in bold, “Past” column indicates if this factor includes data from past years in the FT comparison) …

Vlerick B.S. Antwerp M.S. Weight in FT (%) Past in FT
Rank 2012 90 (↓) 50
Rank 2011 81 (↓)
Rank 2010 61
3 year average 77
Salary total (US$) 115,204 175,930.00 20 y
Salary increase (%) 54 53 20
Career progress rank 41 2 5 y
Work experience rank 90 35 5
Aims achieved rank 33 82 5 y
Women faculty (%) 23 22 3
Women students (%) 19 35 3
Women board (%) 16 0 1
International faculty (%) 25 14 5
International students rank 81 67 5
International board (%) 100 86 2
International course experience rank 66 30 5
Languages 2 2 1
Faculty with doctorates (%) 95 84 5
FT doctoral rank 80 88 5 y
FT research rank 77 92 10 y

So clearly we see the AMS is recruing people declaring a much higher salary (entrance fee is approximately the same) and declaring a very good career progress after the EMBA. AMS classes has nearly the double of women than VBS. And where the VBS makes a good difference with AMS, the FT doesn’t give that much weight to it (e.g. women on board, international board, etc.).

What is interesting is that AMS alumni declared being very pleased with their career progress. While Vlerick alumni declared being very pleased with their aims achieved. The first sentence is not surprising. Let’s compare the two graphs of alumnis’ current job title 3 years after graduation:

So – back to the title – should I worry?

I don’t think that Vlerick should change its behaviour (exclusively) according to rankings. However it could work on recruitement, career counselling / progress and research in order to improve some criteria in the FT ranking. But on a personal level, you know where you should work on your own and where Vlerick can help you …

Vlerick in FT business schools ranking 2011

Last week, the Financial Times released its annual business schools rankings for 2011. Some potential students don’t take this ranking into account when they choose a business school. From my experience, almost every candidate at the on-campus assessment I attended knew the rank of Vlerick and its position compared to other schools.

The top 3 global business schools (Global MBA ranking) are the LBS (London), Wharton and the HBS (Harvard). The first Asian B-school is 6th (Hong Kong UST). Vlerick is 55th and only Belgian B-school in this rankings. One of the candidate sitting next to me during the on-campus assessment was also applying to Rotterdam School of Management; this school is 36th. The graph below shows that Vlerick continues its steady progression to the top (the lower the better). If Vlerick continues to progress at an average of 14 places per year, it will be the first B-school in 2015! :)

Vlerick Global MBA Ranking

The top 3 in the EMBA rankings are: Kellogg/Hong Kong UST, HEC Paris/LSE/Stern and Columbia/LSE. Vlerick is 81st and the only Belgian B-school in this rankings too. As the graph below shows (the lower the better), 2011 is the worst year for Vlerick in this EMBA rankings since it is ranked. I’m sure Vlerick has an explanation for this.

Vlerick EMBA rankings

In the European Business school rankings 2011 (published in December last year), HEC Paris, LBS and Insead are the top 3. Vlerick is 13th and 1st Belgian B-school: Solvay is 35th, IAG-Louvain is 45th and Antwerp is 54th. When you look in the past, you see Vlerick went fast to the top-20 but has now some difficulties entering the top-10. At least, the last 5 years were rather stable (compared to other Belgian B-schools).

FT Belgian B-school ranking

FT Belgian B-school ranking (the lower the better)

Finally, remember it’s just a ranking. It only has value if you give value to it. And you have other important aspects in a B-school that will certainly better suit your needs than a rank. However, it’s good to see the progression of Vlerick.

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