The independent news organization of Duke University

Fuqua MBA shines in new rankings

Several MBA programs at the Fuqua School of Business were ranked in the top 10 in three independent surveys released last week.

Duke fell four spots to ninth in BusinessWeek's rankings of United States-based daytime MBA programs, but leapfrogged from No. 21 to No. 6 in the Financial Times's ratings of top international executive MBA programs. In addition, The Economist magazine's sister company for data analysis, The Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked Fuqua third in the world, behind Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business.

"Looking at all three, we are celebrating but also trying to not blow these rankings out of their proper proportion," Fuqua Dean Douglas Breeden wrote in an e-mail to the Fuqua community. "It is good news, but we have to continue our drive to improve across many areas."

Students, faculty and staff gathered last Thursday in the new Fox Student Center to watch BusinessWeek's online "countdown." BusinessWeek's rankings are based on surveys of the daytime class of 2002 and of corporate recruiters, and also factors in the previous two surveys in 1998 and 2000.

It is generally considered the most prominent of the business school rankings, said Associate Dean Jim Gray, and the school is pleased to be considered a top-10 school.

"When you examine what happened in the past to schools ranked No. 5 as we were in 2000, there is an average drop of three places," Breeden wrote. "Moves of this magnitude are normal fluctuations, and so I am quite pleased that again we have taken our rightful place among the very best schools in the world."

The Financial Times survey, for the first time, used Duke's global executive MBA program instead of its weekend executive program--resulting in its 15-place jump, the largest of the survey. The newspaper said Fuqua's program bucked the trend of high-ranking schools being concentrated in major Northeastern and European cities.

"We pioneered these executive MBA programs that involve distance learning," Gray said. "[The ranking] positions us as an international school."

The Economist Intelligence Unit's releasing of rankings came as a surprise, Gray said. For 14 years, the group has published a book annually called "Which MBA?" but decided this year to include rankings for the first time. The results are based upon a student-centric study of 18,000 students and alumni from around the world.

In September, The Wall Street Journal ranked Fuqua as the 25th-best business school in the nation, a significant jump from a 44th-place ranking last year. Despite the increase, however, many in the Fuqua community felt the ranking--only in its second year-was inaccurate and its research poorly conducted.

Last April, the business school jumped from eighth to sixth in U.S. News and World Report's rankings. The magazine ranked Duke's executive education program third, marketing fifth, both general management and international business eighth and quantitative analysis tenth.

Breeden said the school still has room to grow, and cited expanding faculty and doctoral programs, building its presence overseas and expanding its financial resources as top goals.