NYU Falls Off U.S. News’ Top Ten

New York University’s Stern School, locked in a tenth-place tie with Yale’s School of Management last year in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the best business schools, will fall out of the top ten when U.S. News publishes its new ranking on March 13th.

A sneak preview of the top ten, released today (March 6) by the magazine, fails to show NYU among the new top ten. The preview lists the schools alphabetically, without numerical ranks, and is a sort of teaser for the debut of the new ranking next week. Stern is the only school that disappeared off the top ten list. No new schools were added which suggests that Yale either won sole possession of tenth place or moved higher up on the list.

The top ten schools listed by U.S. News in its sneak peek are Columbia, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Yale. U.S. News said it surveyed 441 accredited master’s program in business to come up with this year’s list.

For many, of course, the forthcoming release of U.S. News’ updated list will matter little and largely be an issue of simple curiosity. For others, the ranking may have an important impact on a school’s image, reputation, application volume, and even the careers of some business school deans.

The publication of the new ranking by U.S. News follows the release in January of The Financial Times’ best list. Then, business school administrators will get something of a break. The next major ranking, by The Economist, won’t be published until seven months later in October. Arguably the most influential of all the B-school rankings–from BusinessWeek which originated regularly published rankings for business schools in 1988–is scheduled for release in November. The BW list, slated for publication in the magazine dated Nov. 19th, is published every other year. Forbes, which like BusinessWeek does a biennial ranking, will not publish a list this year.

Whatever the case, some of the more interesting things to look for in the upcoming U.S. News survey:

  • Will Stanford GSB repeat as the number one school, or will Harvard Business School replace it as the top full-time MBA program? Stanford edged out Harvard last year after the two schools had been in a dead tie for first in 2010.
  • Will Wharton be able to take sole possession of third place? Last year, MIT and Wharton were tied for third. The tie occurred because Wharton gained two places from fifth in 2010.
  • Also locked in a tie for fifth place are two of the B-school world’s biggest rivals: Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg. Will one break free and move ahead?
  • Will Yale University’s School of Management, which eked its way to a tenth place finish last year, tying New York University’s Stern School, be able to gain any more ground on the top ten list?
  • Who will be the biggest winners and losers this year? Last time around,

Last year, U.S. News ranked 111 schools in total. The magazine only ranks U.S.-based schools, unlike BusinessWeek, The Financial Times, or The Economist, which publish global rankings, either combined or separate.

The magazine ranks U.S. schools annually, using a vast amount of information and data. 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 three months after graduation (7% to 14%, respectively), student GMATs (about 16%), undergrad GPAs (about 8%), and the percentage of applicants who are accepted to a school (a little over 1%) (see table on next page to see how the top schools did in several of these categories last year).

How does U.S. News decide how much to weight each of these factors? Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News, once told a reporter that the weights are based on “our accumulated judgment.” Explains Morse: ” Our rankings aren’t social science in the sense that we’re not doing peer-reviewed rankings; we’re not submitting our conclusions and our weighting system to a group of academics and letting them decide if they are right or wrong. We do meet regularly with academic experts about the relative importance of the factors that we use.”

It’s instructive, however, to peer inside the methodology and ask how did Stanford edge ahead of Harvard last year. According to U.S. News, Stanford bested its East Coast rival on the “recruiter assessment” survey (gaining a 4.6 out of 5.0 score vs. Harvard’s 4.5), on its acceptance rate of applicants (6.8% vs. Harvard’s 11.2%, on average starting salary and bonus ($131,949 vs. $131,759), on average undergraduate GPAs (3.69 vs. 3.67) and average GMAT scores of incoming students (728 vs. 724), and on 2010 graduates employed three months after graduation (92.4% vs. 90.1%. There is only a significant difference in one of these measures–the percentage of applicants accepted–which can easily be attributed to Stanford’s much smaller intake of students and the allure of California, factors that have nothing to do with the quality of one institution over another.

Harvard, meantime, bested Stanford in only one of the metrics used by U.S. News to rank business schools: percentage of MBAs employed at graduation (78.6% vs. Stanford’s 75.8%). The two schools had identical “peer assessment” scores of 4.8 out of 5.0. All told, the differences between the two titans of graduate business education was two index points–Stanford was awarded 100 points and Harvard was awarded 98 points. By the time you reach the last school in U.S. News’ top ten, which is Yale University’s School of Management, the index score falls to 81, the peer assessment score drops to 4.1, and the recruiter assessment score hits 4.0

On March 13th, U.S. News also will publish rankings in 12 business specialties, naming the top schools in several key disciplines such as finance and marketing as well as the best schools for Executive MBAs and part-time MBA programs. Those specialist rankings are based solely on the magazine’s survey of business school deans and MBA directors.

In a blog post, announcing the release date of the new rankings, Morse noted that “It’s important that you use the rankings to supplement—not substitute—careful thought and your own inquiries. The rankings should only be used as one tool to help you choose the right graduate school or program, not as the only factor driving your choice.”

The new business school ranking will be published along with U.S. News’ new lists of the best graduate schools in law, education, engineering and medicine.

  • Thriive

    I went to NYU and spent a ton of time with people from Columbia. Difference in people quality (intelligence) is literally zero. Probably the case across a lot of schools. A lot of times the difference is “did this person have the motivation/focus to choose investment banking as a 21 year-old, ergo, applied to business school with the 2yrs i-banking/2-yrs pe pedigree”… literally.

  • Glostic


  • Busconnect

    Well NYU Stern is the best Finance School globally and I think this is a really important aspect: 

  • JohnAByrne

    Dan and Alex, I very much like and nearly agree with Dan’s tiered way of looking at the best schools. But let me throw out one possibly provocative idea: I’m inclined to believe that Harvard is in a league of its own. Its resources so completely overwhelm both Stanford and Wharton that I think it is in its own tier. This is especially true when you look at the hidden but vitally important assets of a great school: the size of its annual operating budget, it’s endowment, the amount of scholarship money it hands out, the near complete focus on a full-time MBA program (no distractions like business undergrads, EMBA programs or part-time MBAs), the strength, size and scope of the alumni network. Budget, endowment and scholarship is what buys the best faculty and the best students. While HBS may not have the most loyal or helpful alums ( a distinction that belongs to Tuck), it has the most influential and powerful network in the world.

  • Dan Smith

    Alex, here’s my view:

    Ultra elite – Harvard, Stanford, Penn
    Super elite – MIT, Northwestern, Chicago, Berkley, Columbia, Dartmouth
    Elite – NYU, Duke, Michigan, Virginia, Cornell, Yale, Carnegie Mellon
    Middle – North Carolina, Texas, Indiana, Emory, USC, Georgetown, Washington in STL, Vanderbilt

    Within each tier, there is not a significant difference between schools.  As I mentioned in another post, splitting hairs.  But any of the institutions in the three elite categories are highly competitive with top students and faculty.  

  • MBA2017


    Sounds like you need to hire a guy just to complete all of these ‘Smackdown’ request. 

  • jordan

    OK Pete, Ill play:
    1. Duke and Ross above MIT and Columbia?
    2. Booth and Kellog above Stanford?
    3. Tuck at 14?
    4. Indiana ahead of Yale and UT
    5. Gtown at 33? Below Texas A&M, BYU
    6. WashU at 40?….insane

    I think the ranking is worthwhile but not comparing one school over another. The methodology is based on student and employer satisfaction…numbers that get hurt at smaller schools. Also student satisfaction is no way to COMPARE schools.
    US NEWS is number one for this exact reason. There pistons of great info in the BW rankings but the best? no way.

  • seeksleek

    Small school factor plus dont forget the LA location

  • Jimmy

    You have to take into account the number of students accepted each year in a given school. At USC it is around 220 which is quite low and automatically makes a higher selective rate. Traditionaly an MBA class is around 350 students and can goes up till 500 or more in Harvard, Chicago or Wharton. The less students there are in an MBA class, the easier it would be for this school to increase its selectivity rate. Of course, to judge this rate you need also the total number of applicants (which explains why Harvard, Stanford or Columbia have the higher selectivity rate).

  • seeksleek

    A little over ten percent of USC MBAs enroll in their joint MBA/MRED programme. They have the nation’s best Real Estate program. I do not know if that has to do anything with USC getting some serious applicants who have MBA/MRED as their top priority.

    Trojan network is a very strong factor indeed. USC also gave out significant scholarships. There is a P&Q article that refers to that too.

  • ASDF

    This isn’t particularly accurate. Kellogg is as strong a general management school as either Tuck or MIT and has historically has been at the top of the BW rankings at least. In fact it’s in the last 5 years that it’s FALLEN in the rankings, not risen as you suggest. Chicago on the other hand has been more variable and went through a rough patch in the 1990s before rebounding in the last decade. It’s also an outstanding general management school despite it’s finance reputation. I can’t find historical data for the USN rankings, but I imagine it’s similar.

    As for recruiting into prestige employers, I’m not sure what you’re basing that off of, but a quick look at some of the numbers scattered around P&Q shows that Kellogg far outpaces other schools with the number of per capita placements to the top 3 consulting firms and Booth is a strong 3rd (of course that only considers schools that publish those kinds of numbers). Haven’t bothered to look at finance as much, but the face validity of your statement seems pretty shaky. I’m not a student at either school so I don’t have any horse in this race, but if you’re going to say something like this, it’s worth backing it up with some evidence.

  • Alex

     Do you ever see it rising up in the rankings?

  • Alex

     MIT vs Harvard. I don’t think that ones been done yet.

    And I want to second the USC vs UCLA nomination, and suggest Kellogg vs Tuck. Yale vs. Berkeley, given their reputations for nonprofits, would be a good one too.

  • Alex

    That’s a good point. If we were splitting up the top 25 or so schools into tiers, what do you think the list would look like, John? This is open to everyone else too.

  • Sleek

    i’d completely agree. I’d put MIT and Tuck next to Wharton. They are prestigious brands , long standing and have strong focus on General management with prestige employers and strong recruitment in consulting, industry and finance unlike the mid western schools which seem to have a repute in one or two categories and have just risen in rankings in the last 5 yrs

  • Anon,

    I wouldn’t worry about Yale’s efforts to be taken more seriously as a business school and to shed its mistaken image as a school of non-profit management. Yale is a really good bet at this point. Go and enjoy it!

  • Jimmy,

    Don’t pay too much attention to the Financial Times ranking. More important is to look at these rankings together, taking into account their flaws which they all have. That’s why I much prefer our more total composite look. Generally, the advice I would give is to accept the offer from the school with the best brand. In your case that is Cornell which has a fantastic MBA program. Yeah, I know, the Southern California thing is hard to turn down. But Cornell not only consistently ranks higher, it also has the better MBA teaching faculty and scores super well on having a strong, collaborative intimate student culture. It’s also close to New York, the media capital of the world. Ithaca is calling you.

  • Bethany

    As a matriculating student, I’m sad to see so many people put MIT lower in their guesses. But I know it’s definitely going to be a tough fight for those Top 5 spots!! I’m interested to see how this will play out – praying for Sloan!

    @Zander – completely agree that a tiered system would shift the focus to more meaningful and productive comparisons without getting lost on silly details.

    However, this is America and we love rankings and lists 🙂

  • Jimmy


    I have applied for 3 programs: UCLA, USC and Cornell. In the FT ranking Cornell moved up from number 30 to number 24. How would you explain it ? In order to get specialized in Media & Entertainment don’t you think that USC offers a unique offer with incredible connection to this industry ?

    Thanks for your help.

  • anon

    I went to a top Ivy, have well above-average admissions stats, and I think would be a strong candidate at any of the top 10. However, I didn’t apply to most of those schools but did apply to and would happily attend Yale. The reason is because of Yale’s unique reputation as a leader in non-profit management, its novel curriculum that focuses on holistic management skills and ethics, and its good synergy with other parts of Yale (the law school and school of Forestry come to mind). While I think Yale is rightfully now trying to appeal to the larger b-school app pool, I hope it doesn’t lose its position as a leading school of MANAGEMENT (not just business) for those who don’t want to necessarily go into finance.

  • Skeptical this time

    Yale has got great momentum, but one thing is to beat Cornell and Darden in the yield and rankings battle, and another is to upset the established order at the top. Yale has made a conscious effort to be the top backup for students with applicants who fancythemselves as m7 material, and just hope that they don’t get in. Snyder/new building is what will do the most for SOM, not a silly ranking 25% based on GMAT/GPA. Peope are not going to turn down Wharton/Sloan/Booth/Tuck in meaningful numbers for Yale for a long time. Top 10 is possible due to the weakness of the 10-20 pack, but top 5 is out of the question for this current generation.

  • Dan,

    Not sure about NYU, to tell you the truth. Of the more prominent schools, NYU tends to fall under the radar a lot. Thank goodness it’s in New York where a lot of very talented people want to study. From a marketing and communications perspective–ie. tooting one’s horn–NYU Stern is pretty much silent.

  • Dan Smith

    John, is NYU Stern on a downslide? They fell in the Financial Times ranking and Business Week has never rated them as highly as other publications. I thought momentum for them was gaining with the new dean.

    But then, like others have mentioned, the difference in quality between NYU/Duke/Michigan/Virginia/UCLA/Cornell is splitting hairs. I agree that Yale has the Ivy League cred to move up, but the others will probably stay more or less where they are forever. Seriously, the existing top 10 or world class schools and nothing is going to change that. In fact, the lower part of the top 10 and the schools I just mentioned are also probably splitting hairs in comparison.

  • Limo

    Thank you, Ive question about BW ranking, when u look into the “get in” page u find some info about: Undergrad, work ex, recomm, and gmat. BW categorize these info as “very important”, “important”, and “considered”. My question: when I look into Yale statistics, I find it one of the highest in GMAT and GPA, however, BW say about those factors at Yale “important”, while say “very important” at many other school!! I got confused about that, it is like conflict. can u highlight more plz..??

  • Limo,

    I think that is true, but generally it’s very hard for a school to move five or six places in the top 20. Many of these schools are very entrenched in their positions. So it takes a good bit of time. Depending on the university’s commitment to the business school, it’s possible that Yale SOM could be a top five school. But my guess is that would take from six to ten years, easily.

  • Limo

    I believe Yale has the highest potential among all the top 10 schools (including HBS and Stanford) to be really within top 5 or better..every thing is there, Brand, money, location, faculty members, alumni, prestige, all necessary things are there, they just need to work..particularly increasing their class size to more than 300 or even 400 to broaden the alumni base..

  • FunnyMBA

    So, Mr Ted have worked his magic so early at Yale then…hum

  • seemsonotsobright

    Personally I think Darden deserves a spot in the top 10…. But I think John as you had said in a previous article, Yale is the school to watch with the new dean at the helm of it. I see it making it to the top 5-7 in the next three years.

    And we are sooo looking forward to your smackdowns:
    Darden v Duke
    UCLA v USC
    Yale v Cornell

  • Zander

    @funnymba – Fuqua is not in the list. they already told us what the 10 will be and it’s of the list that I have posted. I’m just guessing order.

  • Zander

    @Abhi – here’s what I think. Not many changes but I think Chicago is moving up.

    1) Stanford
    2) HBS
    3) Wharton
    4) Chicago
    5) MIT
    6) Kellogg
    7) Columbia
    8) Dartmouth
    9) Haas
    10) Yale

  • FunnyMBA

    I believe Fuqua will raise to 5th place..Yale will lose..Tuck consistent..WUST Olin will make surprise..just guessing..

  • Pete

    Ok, besides that tell me one other that is wrong ballpark. If you look at their methodology it makes the most sense.

  • jordan

    Pete, BW is not the best! they got SMU @ 12…..their input is out the window, end of story

  • We should have a competition to see who gets the closest. Here’s my guess of how the top 10 will break down:


  • Zander

    I think a better ranking would be tiers. Ultra elite, super elite, elite, middle etc. and then everyone else. then people could argue about tiers but it wouldn’t be as trivial as the way they rank each school. Honestly the difference between a 10 and a 3 is not much. We all know that hbs and stanford and wharton are top three but then there are about 10 others that are about the same, ok that’s arguable but that would be more productive than each ranking by number.

  • Pete

    Michigan kind of gets hosed. It graduates students a month or more before most other schools so the hiring is delayed. If it weren’t for that it’d be like 8 – 10. Which is why business week understands and puts them 7. BW is largely known as the most legit ranking system of all of them. Instead US News should say “employed at end of June” and then “employed at end of Sept.” that would make most sense because of hiring seasons and companies practices. Also, GMAT really means nothing. That’s how you rank a school, or atleast 17% of the ranking? should have nothing to do with it. Schools can game the system by taking someone with a 10 point higher score (1 or 2 questions difference they could have guessed on) just for that – and some do!

    I will say they are good to give a ball park but fortunately most recruiters don’t care difference between 5 & 15 it’s all about quality of students, relationships and results. Honestly, corporate and peer should be the only rankings. salary is a good one too I can see. I thought BCS rankings were unfounded, these are worse, ha. It’s ok though it is what it is. just funny cause they really aren’t that credible, so much as offering a good ball park

  • Matty,

    Ah, yes. We just did an update because U.S. News just published its sneak peek.

  • Matty

    Ah sorry, I was commenting on the previous version of this article, before the new top 10 came out.

  • Matty,

    The headline reflects what the story says: When U.S. News comes out with its new ranking next week, NYU will no longer be among the top ten. It had been locked in a tie with Yale last year.

  • Matty

    Why is the headline ” NYU Falls Off U.S. News’ Top Ten” when it is indeed in the top 10?

  • Engineers

    @Drew – most people would put MIT Sloan slightly ahead of Chicago and Northwestern. Compare acceptance rates and yield and average starting salaries… even if you do a direct comparison of placement at “prestige” employers (MBB, GS, Apple/Google etc.) MIT Sloan comes out ahead on a per-capita basis.

  • hmmm

    In addition to the reasons John mentioned, USC also has a low acceptance rate because it is at a place in the rankings where lots of people whose main target schools are in the top 20 see it as a safety school. And it is a reach school for people who will just be happy getting an mba from everywhere. The avg gmat and gpa is pretty low, so it attracts a lot of applicants from both camps.

  • Drew

    So basically, without even knowing what the rankings say yet, we’re already unequivocally saying Harvard and Stanford are either #1 or #2, Wharton is #3, and NW & Chicago are duking it out for #4 & #5. Either status quo is in full effect regardless of metrics (Yes, I’m talking to you too USNews) or someone already took a peak at the rankings before they were published.

  • Alex

    Is there any way you could do a comparison between UCLA and USC for your comparison series? You’ve already done many on other pairs of schools in major cities, (ie, NYU and Columbia, Kellogg and Booth), and I feel like a comparison between the two would be a welcome addition. I also feel like Kellogg and Tuck would be an interesting comparison, because of their general management focuses and the “niceness” of their student bodies.

  • James,

    USC’s low acceptance rate is mainly due to four factors: 1) Its California location; 2) its Los Angeles location, 3) the strength of the Trojan alumni network, and 4) the overall quality of the program.

  • James


    I am curious why USC’s selectivity rate is so low (22%) yet it is ranked 21st. I would think selectivity should be a pretty high indicator in the rankings.