Title: "The Insiderís Book of Business School Lists"
Author: Mark Baker
Length: 180 pages
Price: $12.00
Reading time: 3 hours
Reading rating: 10 (1=very hard, 10=very easy)
Overall rating: 1 (1=average, 4=outstanding)
Reviewed by Robert F. Mulligan

Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times

Itís not clear whether "The Insider's Book of Business School Lists" is supposed to make you an insider, or the author claims to be one. He clearly isnít. This is an interesting idea for a supplemental guide to MBA programs, but none of the information is documented, and much is incorrect or misleading.

For example, App State is deservedly listed as one of the least expensive MBA programs in the country, but Western, which costs almost exactly the same, is not. Duke is sixth most expensive. The tuition data seems to be at least two years old. Western is listed among schools with 50 or fewer students, but this information is many years out of date Ė there are now 170 graduate students in MBA, Master of Project Management, and Master of Accountancy programs.

Itís good for prospective students to know they need five years work experience to go to Duke or Yale, but only four for Harvard, Babson, or Chapel Hill. The smallest core classes average 15 students at MIT, Millsaps, and Wyoming. East Carolina averages 19 and Western averages 25.

USC Columbia has a student-faculty ratio of 1.1, App Stateís is 1.4, and East Carolinaís is 2.7, all among the lowest in the country. Comparison shoppers would find it helpful to know how these numbers were calculated and how old they are. Itís doubtful they were computed in a consistent manner.

The list of schools with the most computers on campus is pathetically out of date, and just plain inaccurate Ė Western is not listed, and neither is Clarkson University, which required every student to own one as far back as 1980. Based on the questionable numbers, Clarkson, with 3500 students and about 3900 computers should be fifth on the list, and Western, with 7500 students and about 2000 computers should be tied for tenth place.

North Carolina, with seven graduate business programs, has the eleventh most in the country. Georgia is tied for fifteenth place with five programs. App State and East Carolina are deservedly cited for their attractive rural locations, but Western is not, suggesting the author needs to buy a map.

Dukeís graduates earn the twelfth highest average starting salaries at $67,000 but rack up the third highest student loan debt at $43,000. Lots of space is wasted with dumb, book-padding lists, for example, of schools near professional sports teams, forgetting that some colleges have world-class sports programs of their own.

No mention is made of AACSB accreditation, a very important consideration for prospective consumers of graduate business programs. If done better, this would have been a useful supplement to standard guides to MBA and other graduate business programs. As it is, "The Insiderís Book of Business School Lists" is inaccurate, insubstantial, and potentially misleading.

Robert F. Mulligan is visiting assistant professor of economics, finance, and international business in the College of Business at Western Carolina University. His research interests are monetary and international economics and he is a fierce fan of Clarkson University, UHL, and ECHL ice hockey. For previously reviewed books, visit our web site at www.wcu.edu/cob/bookreviews.