2015 Better World MBA Ranking Methodology

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The 2015 Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking includes the 100 schools from the 2015 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking plus all additional schools (a total of 21) who ranked among the Top 30 in the MBA rankings by Corporate Knights in 2012, 2013, 2014, and responded in the affirmative to an invitation to be included. In future years, the Better World MBA ranking universe will be further expanded to include any accredited MBA schools who request to be included via email to research [@] corporateknights.com. There is no cost to be included in the Better World MBA ranking.

The 2015 Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking schools were assessed on three indicators: curriculum, institutes & centres and faculty research. Data for these three indicators was collected from publicly available sources. Outreach was conducted to each of those schools for verification and confirmation prior to completion of the ranking.

1.     Curriculum: Only core/required courses fully dedicated to sustainability were counted under the scoring. (maximum 5 courses, 30 per cent weighting)

2.     Institutes & Centres: Only relevant institutes affiliated to the business school regardless of location, sponsored or ran in partnership with another school, were counted towards the scoring. (maximum 5 institutes and centres, 20 per cent weighting)

3.     Faculty Research: All research was conducted using the business school’s website and Google Scholar. All relevant peer-reviewed publications in academic journals were considered between 2012 and 2014. Thirty per cent of the final score was derived from total number of relevant publications authored or co-authored per faculty member of a given business school (maximum total published work: faculty ratio of 1:1, 30 per cent weighting). The other 20 per cent is in relation to the total number of times those publications were cited (maximum average citations=10, 20 per cent weighting).


Methodology rationale:

A great society is a society in which its business leaders think greatly of their functions.

Business schools are the training grounds for future business leaders. While there are many business rankings that focus how they can help graduates make more money, The Better World MBA Ranking aims to identify which MBAs best equip graduates to change the world for the better. As the march to a more inclusive, socially, and ecologically just form of capitalism gathers steam, it is our hope that these new graduates will not only produce the highest returns for society and the planet, but they will also be handsomely rewarded by the market for doing so.

How to measure the “better world” component of an MBA is an inexact science. After a decade of running MBA rankings on the topic, we have learned some important lessons:

  1. Provide a clear vision on the goal of the ranking.
  2. Keep it simple, transparent, and objective.
  3. Do not make the ranking dependent on schools having to fill out yet another survey.

The vision of the Better World MBA Ranking is to help ensure future business leaders know how to integrate social and environmental factors into their thinking, whether it’s how to do full-cost accounting, build inclusive leadership and governance structures, or engage in ethical marketing. We aim to do this by:

  1. Providing a complementary resource to prospective MBA students that helps them to identify which schools are on the cutting edge of making the world a better place.
  2. Providing a carrot of positive recognition to leading MBAs (Top 40) and a stick of reprimand to those that are lagging.

In terms of ranking methodology, we focus on the three most important metrics we can obtain in the public domain: # of MBA core courses, # of research centres and institutes at the business school, and volume of faculty research on better world topics.

In order for a MBA programme to achieve top marks, it has to do three things:

  1. Have at least five research centres dedicated to better world topics such as sustainable finance or clean energy or gender diversity (please see Better World Taxonomy here for full list of eligible themes).
  2. Have five core courses that meaningfully integrate social and environmental into the course materials and instruction, as determined by headline prominence of such themes in the course title or short description.
  3. Be publishing at least one professional research paper per faculty every three years that is cited by at least 10 other sources, according to Google Scholar.

The thinking is that any school fulfilling the above criteria is likely to be offering interested students meaningful exposure to learn how to integrate social and environmental factors into their management function via the core MBA courses, faculty expertise and research centres.

The target of five courses, five research centres, and one well cited professional research paper per faculty every three years reflects current best practices, and accommodates a variety of business school structures and sizes.

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