International Transactions in Operational Research

A new DEA approach to fully rank DMUs with an application to MBA programs

Early View

Abstract Data envelopment analysis (DEA) can be used to evaluate the efficiencies of decision‐making units (DMUs) in various areas like education, healthcare, and energy. Several DEA methods are proposed for this purpose; however, some of these methods cannot provide a full ranking and others often overlook some considerations that arise with special characteristics of DMUs. We propose a new DEA‐based approach to achieve a full ranking of DMUs. Our approach takes various issues into account such as the initial efficiency score of the DMU, the DMUs that should be removed from the set for it to become efficient (if any) and its effects on the efficiency scores of other DMUs. We demonstrate the shortcomings of several other DEA methods and discuss how our approach overcomes these. We apply our approach to evaluate 50 MBA programs from Financial Times 2018 rankings and compare the results with the evaluations of other methods. As opposed to some methods, our approach has the advantage of differentiating between all efficient DMUs as well as inefficient ones. In addition, the results demonstrate that we can achieve a consistent ranking that considers different aspects of the problem setting. The generated scores are also used to sort DMUs in classes of preference.

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