GRADING THE TEACHER: HOW WE CRUNCHED THE NUMBERS
The widespread interest in BUSINESS WEEK's rankings of full-time MBA programs sparked this project to rate business schools' efforts in executive education. Like the earlier MBA ratings, these new rankings look at education from the consumer's standpoint. Both the executive-education rankings and the executive MBA rankings are based on a composite of two separate polls conducted during the spring and summer. Matthew Goldstein, former president of the Research Foundation of the City University of New York, consulted on the project.
EXECUTIVE EDUCATION: -- Participant survey. A 30-question survey was mailed to executives who attended the flagship programs of 26 top schools. Our aim was to survey both the alumni whose studies were the most recent and those who have had some time to judge the subsequent payoff in the workplace. So in nearly all cases, participants from classes in 1989 and 1991 were asked for their views. Of the 3,546 questionnaires sent out, 1,567 were answered and returned, a response rate of over 44%.
Managers were asked to answer questions on a scale of 1 to 10. Example: "Did you have the feeling that your teachers were at the leading edge of
knowledge in their fields?" If the answer was "always," the executive would check "10"; if it was "rarely," he or she would choose "1."
The executives' responses were weighted to account for how closely they related to overall satisfaction. The weighting also valued more highly the questions that showed the least variability in responses.
--Company survey. The survey was sent to vice-presidents for human resources or directors of management development. Starting with a list of about 500 corporations, we screened out companies that either did not use university-based executive education or could not render an opinion because the company's spending was too decentralized. Some 144 of 346 companies replied, a response rate of 42%.
Officials were asked to identify schools performing "an excellent job in meeting the needs of business in designing and offering programs that help organizations better develop executive talent." Each selected school received a point. The total score for a school was then divided by the number of responding companies that had experience with it. That became the basis for the corporate ranking.
--Composite ranking. To gain an overall ranking, the raw scores from both surveys were combined, using a standard statistical approach for independent scores. The opinions of corporate officials naturally have greater weight in the overall ranking because that survey reflects a greater difference in scores between top- and bottom-ranked schools.
EXECUTIVE MBA: -- Graduate survey. A similar 30-question survey was mailed to 1989 and 1991 graduates of 30 schools. Out of 2,844 graduates, 1,610 answered the questionnaire, a response rate of 57%.
--B-school survey. Because these programs serve mostly local markets, we surveyed school officials rather than corporate executives who could not render judgments on a national basis. Surveys were sent to program directors at all 102 schools listed in the Executive MBA Council's 1991 directory. Some 76 schools responded, a response rate of 75%. Deans were asked to list the top 10 schools, in order. A school named No. 1 received 10 points, while a school ranked 10th got 1 point.
--Composite ranking: The scores from both surveys were combined to achieve an overall ranking.THE SURVEYS
EXECUTIVE EDUCATION PARTICIPANT POLL
RESPONSE RATE 44%
RESPONSE RATE 42%
EXECUTIVE MBA PARTICIPANT POLL
RESPONSE RATE 57%
RESPONSE RATE 75%