Tilburg ranking of economic departments, and Economist on MBAs

Another day, another ranking, this time of Economics departments by Tilburg University.

The global ranking has Vrije U in 77th position. You’ll need to use the “ranking sandbox” to discover that UCD is 157, TCD 233, NUIM 503, and NUIG 696. DCU, DIT, UCC and UL are not ranked.

This ranking’s method is simple. Papers are attributed to the department at the time of publication, rather than to the current department of the author. Quality weighing is simple too: publications are given a weight 1 if in a listed journal, and 0 otherwise. The list has 36 journals (although another 32 can be added in the sandbox). The list contains all of the obvious journals, and omits quite a few journals that are equally respectable — and why use a subjective criterion for respectability anyway when objective quality measures are readily available?

The Tilburg ranking thus compares badly to the IDEAS/RePEc one, but the results are not that different: Vrije U is 76, UCD 198 (Geary) or 225 (Econ dept), ESRI 252. Other Irish departments do not make it to the top 5%.

Both rank the total output of the department, not correcting for the number of faculty. Large schools are thus on top.


The new MBA ranking by the Economist is out too. UCD ranks 38th, and is the only Irish entry. The method is a lot more sensible than the Tilburg one.

9 replies on “Tilburg ranking of economic departments, and Economist on MBAs”

Considering the present state of economics, may I assume that one reads the Tilburg rankings in reverse order? And if DCU, DIT, UCC and UL are not ranked, does this mean that they did, at least, no damage.

I mean, in the US of A, if one did not subscribe to Mairt_een Feldsteen’s free, purfect, an god-feerin mawrket then one did not get a response let alone tenure?

How many of the senior executives of the Irish banks had an MBA and which universites gave them out to the clowns? Surely thats more relevant than these endless rankings?

@ Tim O’Halloran

You know, I actually spent some time trying to figure out which bank board members had degrees (if they did) and from where.

I suspect that one of the failures of the economics departments was to see their graduates get to high levels within the banks – and I wonder how they track how their graduates are doing after they leave.

I keep a close eye on people who have taken the Fishamble playwriting courses and how much work is getting staged as a consequence. It’s one way of working out if the courses are any good.

Not, of course, that the majority of economics graduate go into banking, but it would be nice to know more about process and figures.

Are the QJE numbers for 2009 correct in the Tilburg ranking? The number of articles in 2009 is much higher than in other years. E.g. for MIT from 2004-2010 it’s 3, 2, 5, 7, 5, 32, 7. For Chicago it’s 5, 6, 9, 5, 4, 28, 3.

I like a ranking made in the sandbox with just AER, Econometrica, JPolE, QJE and REStud, with all years included, because it’s close to the USNews ranking but includes departments in Europe.

Graduates are tracked in two ways: Surveys of alumni, and surveys of members of professional organizations. There are selection issues with both.

Two examples. For their ranking, the Economist used a survey of 250,000 MBAs. I dutifully return the annual questionnaire (filled) of the alumni association.

There was a time when an MBA guaranteed a swift climb in the corporate hierarchy. As MBAs worldwide were produced in the tens of thousands and every corporate suite contained a few, the advantage they added was reduced. The old “model” dilemma that bedevils economics has had a similar effect on MBAs’ in the corporate world. The “case” model and variations on it dominate MBA teaching. The result is the case models get applied in a cookie cutter fashion governed by fads, fethishes and fashion.

The three most prominent Irish CEOs I knew never saw the inside of a university one headed the North American operations of a world renowned German Reinsurance company and the other headed up a North American Stock Exchange. One was from Dublin and gthe Other from County Kilkenny. Last and not least was Matthew Barret a saxophone player from Tralee who headed up Bank of Montreal and later Barclays

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