What could have been
Business School Ranks are so important. At Kellogg, that's all we talk about. Everyday we celebrate how Kellogg is equal to Wharton in the US News Ranking. We dream of the day that K will surpass W, and maybe one day, start rivalries with H and S. Oh the day....
Now back to reality
I am sure that the above is how many B school applicants, include me at one point, thought how things might be. I mean, how can Business Schools just be 'different' from each other. They need to have a number, that measures exactly what the net worth of the school is as compared to other schools.
But the truth of the matter is, Rankings have never once been mentioned since I joined Kellogg. They are just not relevant enough. The general rank tier is important - what you get from lets say a top 5 or 6 School, is much different from what you get from a top 30 school. But if you are a B School applicant, don't waste your time discussing on Businessweek exactly which school is best. I wasted a lot of my time when I applied, despite being told not to. It's just not worth it. Not just time, you end up adding anxiety to your already very stressful life.
Instead, explore the school. Understand the culture. Talk to current students a lot, and find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about the schools. Typically, students and alumni are pretty honest; they will not try to recruit you. Don't try to necessarily impress them; but do try to come across as someone who has a good idea of what he/she wants.
And oh, be nice. Be humble. If someone reviews your essays for you, email back and say thank you.