Here at Babson College we don’t define ourselves by our place in the rankings. We know who we are — the premiere provider of entrepreneurial education in the world — and focus incessantly on finding ways to get better at it. That being said we do like it when rankings come out and we’re way up high.

During this last week the Babson College undergraduate program was recognized by two different organizations:

US News
We were ranked #1 for entrepreneurship for the 17th consecutive time by U.S News & World Report; here is their list of top entrepreneurial schools. We were also ranked #34 overall in business education.
PayScale determined, through an analysis of 1.4 million college alumni, that our graduates are #5 in the overall rankings of college graduates when looking at median mid-career salaries.

I have two different kinds of reactions to these two, but I am happy to celebrate both. The first one is based on our reputation among deans and senior faculty. It is always nice to have a good reputation among our peers but, to be honest, this is a secondary measure of our effectiveness at educating students. Again, it’s better to have a good reputation than otherwise but we’re not going to do anything different with our students one way or the other because of the results of this particular survey.

The second report requires a bit more nuanced interpretation. The top schools in this list (here is PayScale’s entire list) produce graduates who are all prepared to contribute to the working world and who, by mid-career, are quite well compensated. This survey includes all types of schools from all over the economic and geographic landscape. I’m guessing that much of the survey results reflect the types of jobs and careers that graduates pursue. But, of course, students pick school partly based on the types of careers that previous graduates of that school have gone into. If I were looking to choose a school to attend, I wouldn’t base my decision solely on this survey, especially if I were looking at many different types of schools. (Think of comparing the U.S. Naval Academy at #2, Babson at #5, and Cal/Berkeley at #20. Lots of other variables are more important than this one when choosing among these disparate schools.) However, when looking at schools that are relatively similar, the information captured by the analysis done in this report would be of significantly more interest. In short, it is nice — and quite good for our graduates — to be ranked so highly and I hope we continue to be found in such a place.

You can bet that we follow all of the rankings in which we appear quite carefully. However, you can be equally sure that we are more concerned with hiring the best faculty, designing the best curriculum, coordinating and delivering the best co-curricular experiences, selecting the best & most diverse student body, and looking for the best organizational partners for our graduates. It is these efforts that will enable us to maintain high rankings in the long run.