Berkshire Ruminations

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wall Street Journal Ranks Missouri #28

There is no shortage of MBA rankings out there. US News, Business Week, Forbes. The list goes on forever. So take this for what it is worth, The Wall Street Journal is certainly one of the most respected publications in business journalism. Section “R” (I guess that stands for “recruiter”) of today’s Journal ranks MBA programs according to recruiters’ responses to questions about past and future recruitment at each school. The national ranking lists twenty of the usual suspects, i.e. Dartmouth, Berkeley, Chicago, Harvard etc. The Regional Ranking, however, ranks schools that “draw many of their recruiters from their local regions.” This one is a little more surprising.

Coming in at #28 on that list is none other than the University of Missouri - Columbia, with its Crosby MBA Program. This is a huge jump for us and several things about the list stand out to me.

First, consider the geography of the other schools on the list. Nearly all are near or in much bigger markets. We here in Columbia are a good hour and a half from the closest big cities and even those cities don’t really offer the type of opportunities on the coasts or in Chicago or Texas. A school with comparable geography that comes to mind is Iowa, which came just shy at #31. Also interestingly low is my former employer, Washington University in St. Louis, at #46. From what I understand, most of the recruiters that come to our school also seek WashU grads.

Second, we are third among Big 12 schools, behind Texas (how do you compete with them?) and Texas A&M. Further, we are ahead of five of the Big 10 schools. This indicates to me that as far as public midwestern business schools go, this one is right at the top.

Third, we are first among schools making the list for the first time. That’s right. Didn’t even scratch the top 50 last year. I won’t claim credit for anything, but I certainly don’t think it hurt this school’s image to have a nationally televised – and relentlessly re-televised – CNBC documentary singing our praises. I am, of course, referring to Warren Buffett: The Billionaire Next Door that featured me and the class I teach here at Missouri.

I think I can offer a unique perspective on the situation, as both an alumnus and a teacher of the Crosby MBA Program. So here goes, all biases aside, my advertisement for the school.
This is a fantastic way to get a degree, people. We have a beautiful five year old building that generally awes our visitors. We have financial aid out the wazoo for MBA students, meaning that a good portion of them (of which I was part) don’t pay a dime out of pocket. Compare that cost to the one of the WashU MBA I mentioned earlier. We are in a great community, the quintessential college town with big gameday festivities in the fall and cultural activities year-round.

But most importantly, the curriculum in the MBA program, more and more, is useful! This really can’t be said about some programs I don’t think. We train students to graduate with the skills that impress employers. This is hard to explain in a soundbite, but it is absolutely true. Besides Buffett, we have a large investment fund managed by MBA students, courses in security analysis and financial statment analysis, and an entire real estate institute.

I am really excited to be a part of this rise to prominence. Anyone considering an MBA please feel free to drop me a line. I’d love to give you the low-down.


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