Business Week ranks Kogod in top 70

The Kogod School of Business is ranked among the top 70 schools in the United States that offer a master's degree in business administration, according to the Oct. 18 issue of Business Week magazine.

The list ranks the nation's top 30 MBA programs, and then lists the next 20 schools and another 20 schools "also considered for ranking." Business schools in other countries are listed separately.

Northwestern University had the top spot, and Georgetown University was named No. 25. George Washington University was in the "also considered" group with AU.

Business Week's rankings, which come out every two years, are based on surveys of MBA graduates and companies that recruit them. AU finished in the same tier in 2002.

Barbara Bird, who chairs Kogod's Management Department, said that the school has been working on improving AU's standing.

"We take the rankings, I think, very seriously," she said.

The faculty has been working to increase the number of guest speakers in class and students' contact with professors, as well as making classes more demanding and applicable to contemporary issues, she said.

"I think almost all the resources in Kogod ... are making individual and synergetic steps to improve the experience of students," she said.

According to AU's Web site, the average full-time student in the MBA Class of 2004 earned an average score of 590 on the Graduate Management Admission Test, while the average part-time student had a score of 560. The average student admitted to the program in the fall of 2001 had a score of 560. The highest possible score on the GMAT is 800.

The SAT scores of new undergraduates are also increasing, Bird said.

"That's a signal that brighter students are finding it worthwhile to come here," she said.

Some students said rankings did not matter much to them.

"A ranking is probably one-twentieth of a consideration," said James Nyika, who is in Kogod's MBA program. "The pace of learning, the distance from my home, is exactly what I need."

MBA student Kendra Wright said the rankings might be misleading, partially because Kogod has experienced changes in the last two years, such the school's dean. Dean Myron Roomkin announced in September that he is stepping down and taking a job at Casewestern Reserve University in Ohio after spending six years at AU.

"I think coming from American University you can be just as good as someone from Harvard or anywhere else," Wright said. "I don't think rankings are stupid, but I think people put too much emphasis on them."

Nyika said, "While it might be objective, it might not be meaningful."

Bird said it was important to consider how schools are ranked, and that some top schools have more students and bigger endowments than Kogod. The school has 478 graduate students, according to its Web site.

"A school that's small like American University just doesn't have the resources," Bird said.

While it only matters for a few years where a graduate's MBA came from, Wright said some employers put too much stock in them.

"Employers aren't necessarily going to take the time to say, 'Are these rankings correct?' They'll just go by [the list]," she said. "That would not be what I chose someone for a job for. I'd look at experience, what kind of person you are"

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