U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 MBA Ranking

by John A. Byrne on

To rank the best graduate business schools, U.S. News and World Report pretty much throws nearly everything into the mix except the kitchen sink. We’re not kidding: The methodology takes into account its own survey of b-school deans and MBA directors (25% of the score), corporate recruiters (15%), starting salaries and bonuses (14%), employment rates at and shortly after graduation (14% to 7%), student GMATs (about 16%), undergrad GPAs (about 8%), and the percentage of applicants who are accepted to a school (a little over 1%). U.S. News ranks 97 schools in the 2010 ranking.

U.S. News puts Harvard Business School (above) in a direct tie for first with Stanford.

Pro: U.S. News puts a good deal of effort into the ranking, cranks it out on an annual basis, and measures a lot of different factors that are clear indicators of quality. There are a lot of ties in its ranking of schools (four schools, for example, are tied at rank 33, while another four are tied at rank 40). That’s to be applauded because U.S. News is acknowledging that the differences are so small among these schools that it would be intellectually dishonest to say one is better than the other. On the other hand, it would be even better if U.S. News provided readers with index numbers that show in more detail how close these ranks actually are.

Con: About 60% of the ranking is based on data supplied by schools who therefore have plenty of reason to present the information in the best possible light to get a better ranking. There’s no way to independently check or audit the data provided by business schools. Unlike the Financial Times, there is no audit of school-provided information. The ranking also is completely U.S.-centric when there are many non-U.S. schools with better programs not listed at all. Finally, some of the ingredients in this ranking stew seem a bit silly: Why even bother to include the percentage of applicants accepted when you weight it at little more than one percent? U.S. News also rates business schools in an overall survey of graduate education so its reported information on individual business programs is fairly skimpy.

Here’s U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 ranking and how it compares to the other major rankings.

U.S. News Rank & School P&Q BW Forbes FT Economist
1.  Harvard Business School 1 2 3 3 5
1.  Stanford School of Business 2 6 1 4 7
3.  MIT (Sloan) 8 9 14 8 19
4.  Northwestern (Kellogg) 7 3 8 22 15
5.  Chicago (Booth) 3 1 4 9 4
5.  Pennsylvania (Wharton) 4 4 5 2 9
7.  Dartmouth College (Tuck) 5 12 2 14 6
7.  California-Berkeley (Haas) 9 10 12 28 3
9.  Columbia Business School 6 7 6 6 20
9. New York (Stern) 10 13 17 13 13
11. Yale School of Management 15 24 10 16 27
12. Michigan (Ross) 12 5 18 28 25
13. Virginia (Darden) 13 16 9 31 24
14. Duke (Fuqua) 11 8 13 20 28
15. UCLA (Anderson) 16 14 19 33 50
16. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 17 19 23 34 33
16. University of Texas-Austin 19 21 11 52 49
18. Cornell (Johnson) 14 11 7 36 32
19. Washington Univ. (Olin) 26 28 41 50 65
20. Southern California (Marshall) 23 25 32 57 36
21. Ohio State (Fisher) 34 ST 39 67 45
21. North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) 18 17 15 46 39
23. Indiana-Bloomington (Kelley) 20 15 25 57 46
24. Georgetown (McDonough) 24 ST 31 38 48
24. Minnesota (Carlson) 31 ST 26 75 62
26. Georgia Institute of Technology 32 29 44 NR NR
27. Arizona State ((Carey) 42 ST 56 89 NR
27. Emory (Goizueta) 21 23 22 34 52
27. Univ. of Rochester (Simon) 36 ST 37 48 NR
27. Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison 39 NR 35 67 54
31. Boston University 40 ST 61 61 NR
31. Notre Dame (Mendoza) 25 20 38 71 34
33. Brigham Young (Marriott) 22 22 16 83 NR
33. Texas A&M (Mays) 37 NR 24 54 NR
33. Univ. of Washington (Foster) 28 27 40 78 31
36. Purdue (Krannert) 41 ST 45 54 NR
36. California-Irvine (Merage) 44 ST 58 72 NR
36. Vanderbilt (Owen) 30 30 30 57 64
39. Boston College (Carroll) 47 NR 46 47 NR
39. Rice University (Jones) 46 NR 47 44 77
39. Florida (Hough) NR NR NR 77 NR
42. Univ. of California-Davis NR NR NR NR NR
42. Illinois-Urbana Champaign 48 ST 63 52 87
42. Univ. of Iowa (Tippie) 33 ST 20 64 61
45. Univ. of Maryland (Smith) 27 26 29 43 51
46. Michigan State (Broad) 35 ST 21 65 NR
46. Wake Forest (Babcock) 45 NR 34 NR 77
48. Penn State (Smeal) 43 NR 28 NR 58
49. Southern Methodist (Cox) 29 18 33 96 88
50. Univ. of Arkansas (Walton) NR NR NR NR NR
50. Univ. of Texas-Dallas NR NR NR NR NR

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Footnotes: NR means not rated by the publication. ST means “second tier,” the rating given to 15 schools by BusinessWeek after it ranks the top 30.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2010 ranking

  • Norman Okada

    Currently entering my second year of the Distance MBA program at Colorado State University, I would like to see where the university rates in the grand scheme of MBA programs.
    Most of my friends attempted to persuade me to enter the University of Phoenix (UOP) MBA program but I wanted a program accredited by AACSB and offering a GMAT waiver based on experience.

    Thank you for starting this website. It is a great forum for those of us expats far removed from the happenings in America.I currently reside in Japan.

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