In this video, Travis discusses the importance of MBA rankings, and how much they should factor into your decision to apply to a certain school. He answers a question from a candidate who wants to gain admission to Columbia Business School’s MBA programme but noticed that the school dropped in the U.S. News ranking.

Travis says that although Columbia indeed slipped down the ranking, he has not noticed any dramatic differences at Columbia or other peer schools. There is nothing to indicate that the quality of the education or the quality of recruiting at the school has deteriorated.

Check out: How Trustworthy Are MBA Rankings?

Rankings are sensitive to small changes

These rankings reflect very minute changes – sometimes hundredths of a point in certain areas. These changes can move schools one or two places in the ranking. Travis’ advice is to look at these rankings as being divided into tiers rather than focusing on individual numbers. The first tier almost always includes schools such as Harvard (US) and Stanford (US). The second tier, for example, may be between places 10 and 20. This can give you a better idea of the quality of the schools.

However, Travis points out that b-school rankings are just the starting point for your research. You should not cross a certain school off your list simply because it has dropped in a ranking. There is much more nuance to it than that.

Take a holistic approach

Answering the specific question about Columbia, Travis says that he wouldn’t worry too much about the fact that Columbia is now ranked lower. He says he wouldn’t be surprised if they pop back up next year.

Check out: Which Business School Rankings to Check out

Travis concludes by reminding MBA aspirants to look at rankings holistically and not to focus on individual numbers.