Columbia Business School vs. Dartmouth’s Tuck

Historical Rankings by BusinessWeek:

Over the years, Columbia Business School has performed slightly better than the Tuck School in the BusinessWeek rankings. Yet, it has never done as well as Dartmouth did in the inaugural 1988 survey when Tuck placed third and Columbia placed a disappointing 14th. Tuck’s weakest performance in the BW survey was in 2000 when it his 16th, while Columbia’s poorest showing was in 1988 when it drew that rank of 14th. Best showing for Columbia occurred in 1994 and 1996 when BusinessWeek ranked Columbia sixth. It’s worth remembering that both schools have a difficult time in this customer satisfaction survey: It’s hard to keep students and recruiters happy in New York City, given the less-than-adequate facilities at Columbia and all the distractions in New York. Dartmouth, on the other hand, is disadvantaged in the BusinessWeek survey due to its very small size. The methodology tends to favor larger schools that attract greater numbers of corporate recruiters who hire MBAs.

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Historical Rankings by The Financial Times:

Unlike BusinessWeek’s rankings, The Financial Times includes business schools from all over the world. So the FT is ranking both Columbia and Dartmouth against such places as London Business School, which ranked number one in this survey in 2010 and 2009, and INSEAD, which ranked fifth these last two years. Columbia has done much better than Dartmouth in the 11 surveys charted below, ranking third five times. Columbia’s highest rank from the FT was second in 2007. It’s lowest: a current rank of sixth. Dartmouth, on the other hand, has never had a higher rank than 7 in 2005 and has been ranked as low as 15th twice and 13th on three occasions, including the past two consecutive years. Tuck’s showing in the Financial Times survey is a reflection of the methodology’s attempt to measure what the newspaper calls “the diversity and international reach” of the school. Among other things, the FT takes into account what it calls “international mobility,” “international experience,” and “international board,” factors that favor European schools where countries are not much larger than most states in the U.S.

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Admissions:

Both Tuck and Columbia attract exceptional talent to their schools and are highly selective as a result. Dartmouth turns down 8 of every 10 applicants, and has an acceptance rate of just 18.8%. Columbia is even more selective, mainly because its location in New York City is highly desirable. Columbia sends offer letters to just 14.9% of its applicants, making it the sixth most selective business school in the world. That is a world of difference from where Columbia was in the early 1990s when it was accepting 47% of its applicants in 1992. Dartmouth’s average GMAT score for the Class of 2011 is 712 versus Columbia’s 713 average. * Estimate.

Admission Stats Dartmouth Columbia
Average GMAT 712 713
GMAT Range 580–790 560–800*
Average GPA 3.53 3.50
Selectivity 18.8% 14.9%
Yield NA tk%

  • CBSalum

    I am a CBS alum and I can 100% attest that the vibe and culture of the school is not competitive/cut-throat.  It’s a very collegial, fun and hardworking bunch.  Admittedly, the facilities are pretty bad for a top school.

  • BSchoolGuy

    This article needs to be archived and dated. The material is very out of date. 

  • guest

    All of these smackdowns are going to be a little out-of-date rankings-wise since they were published in 2010 when the P&Q site launched.  The articles are still useful since things like culture, facilities, class size, recruiting ties, etc, don’t change all that much from year to year.

  • NewEnglander

    Well only for this year. Dartmouth has the oldest graduate business school and the New England prestige dies hard.

  • B-Schooler

    This is pretty out-of-date. Columbia is ahead of Tuck in nearly every ranking today, and compositely ranks 5 nationally, while Tuck is somewhere between 7 and 9. 

  • Srikar

    A common feature to both B-Schools is that they don’t act as as Co-signor for International Applicants. It’s really SAD. Wonder what’s stopping them?

  • LoboMBA,
    We think so, too. But there is a surprising amount of overlap largely because applicants apply to business schools more on brand, reputation and geography than culture or expertise in a discipline. So you have two closely ranked prestige schools here on the Northeast Coast.

  • LoboMBA

    NYU vs. Columbia? I would think this is more of an appropriate comparison, is it not?

  • Thanks Paul.

  • Richard,

    Let me suggest another reason for the difference. It’s very possible that the discrepancy is due to the higher percentage of Columbia grads going into finance which can provide some outsized compensation, particularly if you stay on Wall Street and climb the ladder. On the other hand, those lifetime numbers are from a survey by a firm which is sampling the population. Because it is a sample, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of error due to the size of the sample.

  • @Kshitij – If I’m not mistaken I think what’s stated is that the full time enrollment for 1st and 2nd years is 510, but each class is around 250, give or take a couple spots.

    What’s curious to me about this write up is that the starting salary & bonus for a Tuck graduate is higher than those for a Columbia graduate and yet the mean lifetime earnings is $200k more for the Columbia graduate. I wonder when the change occurs. Maybe it’s because so many Columbia graduates go into finance?

  • Kshitij

    Hi John, While I am finding all these comparisons quite useful and they have really impacted my selected B-Schools list heavily, I am a bit confused about one parameter here.

    Tuck’s intake is mentioned as 250 students while the enrollment is 510 how can these two figures differ while you mentioned there is no program other than Full time MBA offered at Tuck???

  • Ravishankar S

    Hi John, Thank you for such an in-depth and detailed analysis. I am always a fan of Tuck and your research made me a lot more inclined towards Tuck now. Looking forward to comparison of Tuck with other B schools (Wharton, Haas etc…)

  • Paul

    I just graduated from Tuck. For what it’s worth, I find this to be the most accurate portrayal of the Tuck experience that I’ve read.

  • Jtbb

    Patroklos, what played into your rationale to choose Columbia over Tuck?

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  • Patroklos, can you explain what you mean?

  • Patroklos

    Having successfully been through both schools’ admission processes, I ended up with a bad taste in my mouth with the attention Columbia gives its admitted, and in my case enrolled, individuals.