The United States has the best business schools in the world – according to United States business schools anyway. Not that they’d be biased or anything.
A recent Kaplan Test Prep survey of 125 business schools in the United States found that at the overwhelming majority of schools, admissions officers thought U.S. business schools were doing a better job than their European and Asian counterparts.
Specifically, 97 percent of the schools surveyed agreed that U.S. business schools prepared their students better than European schools. And 96 percent thought U.S. schools were better than Asian business schools.
These numbers are up slightly from 95 and 92 percent respectively in 2014. So while U.S. schools have believed in their own superiority for a while now, the belief seems to have become even more firmly rooted.
Explaining their perspective, many survey respondents cited the prestige a U.S. business degree conveys. Even if the quality of education isn’t much different, a degree from the U.S. carries more name brand recognition, they said.
As one admissions officer surveyed by Kaplan put it, “American MBA degrees are more valuable around the world. That might speak to what the world thinks. The curriculum might be the same but a U.S. degree sells better.”
Other respondents simply felt that U.S. schools were better without referencing any specific differences.
For example, one said: “As long as the school is accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the degree carries about the same weight, but without any concrete evidence, I think American schools are a little better.”
Of course, not everyone agreed with this assessment.
“U.S. business schools are often quite local in the needs they meet, which is fine, but there are other markets that need to be served,” she said. “It’s unclear to me why many of them would think they produce graduates suitable for international markets, when they may not truly have an international scope.”
And others would no doubt point to the latest MBA rankings from Financial Times as evidence that European schools can hold their own. After all, INSEAD, which bills itself as “the business school for the world,” is ranked first, and five of the top ten programs are European.
Part of the problem comes down to the vagueness of the question. What does it mean for U.S. business schools in general to be “better,” and which schools exactly are we talking about?
From the perspective of U.S. schools at least, though, even if the question is a little vague, the answer in the end is clear.