Rating B School Programs For Executives

We've always kept our readers up to date on trends in business education. But we really struck a nerve three years ago, when we published our first ranking of the top 20 B-schools. As soon as the story hit the newsstands, our switchboard lit up and the mail flooded in, both pro and con. Happily, many of the schools that did poorly in the ranking took our survey to heart and set out to make their programs better.

That story led to a second, more comprehensive ranking in 1990 -- and two editions of Business Week's Guide to the Best Business Schools, a book published by our parent company, McGraw-Hill Inc.

Now we have taken a big step to broaden our franchise. In this week's Cover Story, which begins on page 102, you will find our first rankings of B-school programs for executives. These programs play an increasing role in training the managers who will soon lead Corporate America. Companies -- including a lot of foreign ones -- are spending almost $4 billion annually for these efforts at American schools.

To prepare our ranking, Senior Writer John A. Byrne began last May. He and his team dispatched more than 10,000 surveys to deans, corporations, and participants in 56 programs. "The surveys flowed back from every corner of the world -- from Australia and China to Kuwait and Germany," says Byrne. "After the coup attempt, one Moscow official responded -- and apologized for being late."

Byrne, the architect of our earlier B-school rankings, had a lot of help on this project. Matthew Goldstein, a respected statistician and former president of the Research Foundation of New York, assisted in developing the survey methodology -- and interpreting the results. Rounding out the team: intern David Leonhardt and staffers Judi Crowe, Christine Muzyka, Monica Roman, and Stephan M. Romanoff.

Besides the rankings, you'll be interested in Byrne's assessment of what companies and their managers are getting for their huge investment of time and money in these programs. The cover package includes a story on the most innovative programs -- and report cards that describe the strengths and weaknesses of executive education at the major B-schools in the U. S.