Methodology for Fortune’s 2022-2023 part-time MBA ranking

BY Meghan MalasOctober 19, 2022, 2:26 PM
Illustration by Martín Laksman

There’s a competitive market for part-time MBA programs that provide the same rigorous coursework, valuable network, and access to professors and resources as a traditional MBA program—but on a timetable that suits working professionals. That’s why for the second year in a row, Fortune has ranked part-time MBA programs. 

This year, we ranked 59 business schools in our list of the best part-time MBA programs. To rank these programs, we used data collected via questionnaires submitted by schools, data points available on school websites, and information collected from companies and executives. The final ranking is determined by three parts: the Program Score, Brand Score, and Fortune 1000 Score.

Program Score (60%)

As is the case for any MBA program, one of the biggest benefits of a part-time MBA is the network of other professionals you meet in school. Part-time MBA students are already in the midst of furthering their career while taking classes, which means they can apply what they learn from the curriculum in real time and share experiences and findings with their classmates. MBA peers can help each other figure out the balance between school, work, and life while in the program—and this network can also help open doors career-wise. This is why Fortune puts significant weight on the strength of a program’s entrants.

Outcomes data like salary and job information isn’t widely provided by the part-time MBA programs we surveyed, so for this score we considered factors like average years of work experience, average GMAT score, and average undergraduate GPA of incoming students. Schools without an average GMAT score (or too few students submitting one) could still be ranked. However, the lack of that information lowered their Program Score. 

If schools didn’t provide these three metrics, Fortune pulled the information from their websites. This was the case for the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross), Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper), the University of Southern California (Marshall), and The Ohio State University (Fisher). 

Brand Score (25%)

Fortune partnered with Ipsos to survey thousands of business professionals and hiring managers to get their thoughts on specific B-schools. This metric looks at business school brands, not just their part-time MBA programs.

Ipsos deployed a survey methodology similar to what it would use if asked by a consumer brands company to evaluate its brand strength. For this research, Ipsos interviewed a total of 2,500 professionals. These professionals work in a corporate role, have attended college and/or an institution of higher education, and know at least two of the schools in our selection.

Ipsos completed the fieldwork in March 2021. The total length of each interview was 13 minutes. The results yielded a 95% confidence interval, which gives us a maximum ±1.96% margin of error. This analysis was done on a regional basis. The exception being the nation’s top 20 business schools (according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest ranking), which we also measured on a national basis.

The final score produced is a business school’s attitudinal equity (AE) measurement. That tells us, according to Ipsos, “how much a group of people want to recruit from the university. It is the university’s share of mind.” (For more on attitudinal equity scores, go here.)

Fortune 1000 Score (15%)

Good business schools help grads get good jobs, while elite programs help develop the future leaders of business. We sought to find schools with a good track record doing the latter. That’s why Fortune looked at the number of each school’s MBA alumni who are executives (C-suite only) at Fortune 1000 companies. This includes everyone from CEOs to CFOs to CIOs. The more Fortune 1000 C-level placement, the higher the school’s Fortune 1000 Score.

A school’s score includes Fortune 1000 C-levels who graduated with an MBA from the school (regardless of the type of MBA program).

(Note: The Fortune 1000 are the 1,000 largest U.S. publicly traded companies ranked by revenues, as compiled by Fortune.)