Monday, September 22, 2014 at 3pm

Top Business Schools in the US Failing Homepage Test: MBA News

The failing homepages of top business schools in the US

The top business schools in the US are not answering applicants’ most pressing questions about an MBA program in the online information displayed on their homepages.

That’s the verdict of a study carried out by a Chicago-based digital marketing company, Lightspan, which concluded that schools’ homepages were more concerned with ‘looking good’ by citing rankings and alumni testimonials than addressing the essentials needed for applicants to begin making informed decisions about an MBA program.

The 100 top business schools in the US according to U.S. News’ latest rankings provided the pool of homepages to be analyzed, which were then held up against the information sought by applicants as reported in a GMAC survey of prospective students.

While these MBA applicants considered employment prospects and financial information to be essential criteria in selecting an MBA program, neither of these areas were, according to Lightspan’s results, adequately served by the online information contained within the homepages of the US’s leading schools. 

Do schools need to improve access to MBA program specifics in their online information? 

One of the biggest criticisms leveled by the study against US schools’ homepages was a failure to include employment data – just 4% showed this kind of data on their homepages.

This 4% is included in the lowly 18% of schools that used any of their own school-specific data to make a pressing case for an MBA program’s credentials. Instead, more than half (59%) mentioned their place in popular business school rankings – which could easily be a factor that is already known to applicants before they reach a school’s website.

In addition, only 36% of the top business schools in the US had a link to their online information regarding MBA program finance and scholarships on their homepages.

The costs involved in an MBA are often critical to a prospective student’s school selection – specifically in the search for online information, and not just in the US.  

The newly-released Finding the Right MBA report into online trends worldwide shows MBA program costs to be the second-most popular reason behind an applicant’s online search. Plus, applicants struggle to find the scholarship details they desire more than any other factor in their school research.

In the homepage analysis of the top business schools in the US, the author of Lightspan’s study found that the sites all began to resemble one another after a while. However, some praise was reserved for a few schools, including UNC Kenan-Flagler for the use of a handy infographic on its homepage, a re-launched website for Michigan’s Ross School of Business as well as Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, where news and research info displayed on the homepage encouraged the author to delve further into the site – which is surely what the aim of good homepage should be. In this regard, failing to include information - or even links to information – seen as vital by prospective students may not be doing the top business schools in the US any favors.

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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