Yale Slips Out Of U.S. News’ Top Ten

by John A. Byrne on

Yale's School of Management is ranked 14th among the best U.S. business schools by Poets&Quants.

Yale’s School of Management business schools by Poets&Quants.

When U.S. News & World Report unveils its new business school ranking March 12, Yale University’s School of Management will slip out of the top ten. Yale, which nudged out New York University’s Stern School last year for tenth place, now finds itself pushed aside by Stern.

In a “teaser” for its forthcoming rankings, U.S. News disclosed today (March 5) the top ten business schools in alphabetical order. The only top ten school not included on the list is Yale, replaced by NYU’s Stern School.

U.S. News said the other top ten schools in alphabetical order are Columbia University, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Stanford University, UC-California at Berkeley’s Haas School, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.


Yale’s slippage, presumably to 11th place, is something of a surprise because a relatively new dean of the school, Edward Snyder, has been working to remake SOM and improve its standings in rankings.

But the numerical rank of a school is often decided by fractions of an underlying index number with little, if any, statistical significance. So it is likely that Yale’s drop is inconsequential, in terms of the actual underlying data used to crank out the ranking. Even last year, for example, just one index number separated No. 10 Yale from No. 11 NYU. Yale was given an index number of 84, while NYU scored an 83. It’s possible that Yale slipped even further than one place because Duke University’s Fuqua School, ranked 12th last year, had an index number of 82.

As business school rankings go, U.S. News is widely followed, though not as influential as either Bloomberg BusinessWeek or The Financial Times. Nonetheless, no top  school—particularly one that is undergoing significant change to improve its overall standing–would want to fall out of the top ten.

NYU's Stern School of Business is rated 12th among the best U.S. B-schools by Poets&Quants

NYU’s Stern School of Business knocks out Yale


U.S. News said its “sneak peek” is based on a survey of 488 accredited master’s programs in business. “The actual ranking and score of these and other graduate schools—including those offering full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs—will be available March 12, 2013,” the magazine said.

Last year, U.S. News ranked Harvard and Stanford in a tie for first, with Wharton third, and MIT, Kellogg and Booth all tied for fourth place. The top ten were rounded out by No. 7 Berkeley, No. 8 Columbia, No. 9 Dartmouth, and No. 10 Yale.


  • P&Q Fan

    They should fall way further given the way they hide their employment data. Even after being
    accepted and asked to pay a deposit, you can’t get straight answers on how many
    students go to each company. I wonder what they’re hiding?

    They’ll make sure to emphasize you can take classes at the law school though!

  • http://twitter.com/DaveBivens David Bivens

    Ya…I’d still go there in a heartbeat.

  • hbsguru

    “As business school rankings go, U.S. News is widely followed, though not
    as influential as either Bloomberg BusinessWeek or The Financial Times.” Well, influential is an iffy word. USNEWS has the virtue of listing schools in some rough order of how hard they are go get into, and relatedly, in order of which school an applicant would attend if admitted to two, E.g. Most people admitted to Stanford and Chicago would attend Stanford. Bloomberg/BW currently lists Chicago above H/S/W and Cornell above MIT. Does anyone believe that, would anyone in the whole wide world go to Chicago over HBS and Stanford??? Including the guy who made up that BW chart. In light of that, what exactly does it mean that Bloomberg/BW lists Chicago as No. 1??? That listing is a clear case of a magazine editor more in love with his or her Platonic metrics than reality.

  • Orange 1

    Are you talking about NYU or Yale?

  • AIG_Quant

    How in the world is NYU Stern still a top 10 on US news? I can think of several deserving candidates to replace it.
    Yale SOM is still getting a free ride based on its undergrad & Law school and even at 11 is still a tad bit high. These two schools should be behind Fuqua, Ross, and Darden in the US News rankings.

  • Orange1

    I think you are splitting hairs. Throw in Cornell, UCLA, and Carnegie Mellon and this pack of schools is very similar.

  • Bmac

    I don’t agree with your assessment of “most people admitted to Stanford and Chicago would attend Stanford.” I think it truly depends on a person’s discipline and what they want to do post b-school. If someone’s focus is to do banking they would choose Chicago 99% of the time. In regards to the school rankings, there’s a reason why Chicago is always #1 in most case, or at the lowest #3. The program is well rounded and basically caters to the top 3 disciplines that drives most folks to b-school. Schools, like HBS are known for producing general managers. HBS alum aren’t known for being strong in analytics, finance, or marketing. If you look at wallstreet, most of the MBA bankers come either from Chicago, Wharton, or Columbia. If you’re looking at Management Consulting, Stanford, Kellogg, Chicago, Columbia are the best schools. Brand Management and Marketing, Stanford and Kellogg offer the best programs. For the most part the ranking are usually pretty spot on. HBS is nothing more than a name is most circles. Sorry buddy…

  • SayWhat

    Student satisfaction, along with a very strong job placement number and a prime location is probably how Stern rose up the ranks. I agree that SOM is overrated, but Fuqua, Ross and Darden are all is the neighborhood with Stern, along with the schools Orange mentioned … not sure why you think Ross, Fuqua and Darden are decidedly “better” schools.

  • SayWhat

    He’s gotta be talking about Yale (given the law school reference)

  • P&Q Fan

    Yale SOM

  • P&Q Fan

    Dead on. Fuqua, Darden, Ross are all better than SOM and Stern.

  • AIG_Quant

    IMO Cornell, UCLA, CMU are top 15- 20 schools

  • SayWhat

    hbsguru — you raise a fair point. however, the metrics have to play into the equation to prevent top “name” schools from becoming content and using the name as a crutch (as SOM has historically done). i’d argue that there is one school in particular within the M7 has done very little to improve the quality of classes and job opportunities outside of consulting and finance.

  • bcs

    No clue how you come to this absurd conclusion. I went to a top-10 business school, know a handfull of people from Darden, my brother went to Ross, I worked with 3 Fuqua grads… and the Stern people I’ve worked with were top-notch. One Darden guy I interned at a bank with was literally unable to do his job and didn’t get an offer. Why is NYU ranked highly? (A) Because when you go to school on Washington Square Park it’s insanely easy to intern at a bank/PE shop, startup, etc., during the year or jump on the subway to meet face-to-face with someone. That makes it a lot easier to get good experience and get hired. (B) The finance department has some of the best professors on the planet. (C) If you want to work in media, luxury, retail, or any New York-based industry it doesn’t make sense to spend 2 year anywhere else. (D) People want to be in New York, which means many applicants, which means it’s hard to get into, which means higher “selectivity” score.

  • AnalyzeThat

    Could you share which school you are talking about? I’m genuinely curious because I will be attending one of these schools and like to know general perceptions.

  • AnalyzeThat

    So you’re saying you would attend Columbia over Harvard if you wanted to break into consulting (MBB)? Ch’mon now…

  • Shaniqua James

    Exactly. It’s Yale. Think of all the Wharton profs who’ve left Wharton for Yale. Doesn’t that tell you something?

  • P&Q Fan

    Fair enough. I shouldn’t lump Stern with Yale. I find SOM to be a bit of a joke in these rankings.

  • Bmac

    For consulting yes. Remember, the end game in going to b-school is about the job you plan on getting post experience. When you look at employers at consulting firms and other disciplines, there are other schools (Columbia) that have a better reputation in producing the type of talent they need at these firms. I always tell individuals that are thinking about going to b-school to do your due research on how employers view these schools for talent. People need to stop going off of the name recognition and “brand”. Just something to think about…

  • Andoverjon

    sample size of one. “most people” would pick based on USNews Rankings. HBS may not be known for finance but there is a reason why most hedge fund managers went to HBS, its the most selective school and therefore attracts the top talent.

  • hbsguru

    Bmac SAID: “If someone’s focus is to do banking they would choose Chicago 99% of the time (OVER Stanford or HBS).” I really don’ t think so, although I’d be happy to hear what others say. My advice is to go to the best school you can get into –by brand, in almost all cases. For one thing, you often don’t know where you will wind up in terms of career, and the brand is forever. I think Chicago is a great school, it is just not the same brand as HSW, especially for career switchers, or those who are unaware that they are changing careers, a lot of people, as it turns out. And even if you are right about the small subset of e.g. bankers who might prefer Chi over Stanford, just for the sake of argument, that does not change my bigger point, when it comes to rank a school for a national bake-off, it is no contest that most peeps wld choose HBS or Stanford over Chicago, and that settles this in my book. As noted, Chi is a great school, but school reps change very slowly, and HWS are not sitting on their laurels, and they all of plenty of $$$$ to stay current should the slip even a little, and serviceable administrators, it may be unfair, but this is not an even playing field, which is my point: HBS has the endowment, the facilities, the location (for profs) and the reputation, it is just hard to change that, as much as magazine writers would like to, so they can write a different ‘horse race’ story every year.

  • Orange1

    All of the top 20 are stocked with H/S/W professors. So does one school rank higher than the other because their H/W/S people are better than someone else’s H/S/W people?

  • JC

    Spoken like someone who got dinged by Harvard… Tuck and Kellogg are my favourite top 10 schools but the reason Harvard isn’t known for a particular strength isn’t that they’re just a name brand; it’s because they are good at pretty much everything. Schools with a bit of a one-trick pony reputation like Booth or Columbia are known for finance because that’s one of the few areas where they can punch with H/S and to a lesser extent Wharton. I’d be willing to bet that most finance MBA applicants would pick Harvard over Booth if accepted to both, assuming no scholarships at either. Some will pick Booth over Harvard but that’s a matter of fit, not because Harvard is sub-par in finance.

  • Justin

    “Most” would attend Harvard/Stanford over Booth if accepted by both. Sure, there are exceptions, but most (the key word) would still choose Stanford. Just look at Harvard’s yield, which is reportedly in the mid 80-percentile range. It’s very possible the stats supporting this value aren’t wholly revealing, but guru is correct when he says “most” people will choose Harvard over other offers, if given the opportunity. That may not be the choice you would make, but it is the choice the majority would make, and I think that is amply supported by the evidence. The difference in quality of education isn’t that significant among the top-5 b-schools (I would even say top-15ish), so essentially the difference between Harvard/Stanford/Booth/Wharton/etc. is brand/school reputation/network….I don’t think it gets much better than Harvard/Stanford in that metric. Right or wrong, people have opinions about certain schools, and it doesn’t matter if someone at Booth receives the same education as someone at Harvard…in general, people will still view the Harvard degree slightly different than the Booth degree. Perception is reality, regardless of the facts/data.

    **It should be noted, that I haven’t applied to b-school yet, and I have a minimal-to-zilch chance of getting into Harvard. Thus, I’m not cheering for the home team.**

  • JohnAByrne

    Here are the actual numbers for the Class of 2014: Only 11% of the applicants to Harvard who were accepted by the school chose not to go. Mostly because of personal reasons, having to do with their job situation (a promotion or a posting that they wanted to take on) or timing (marriage or pregnancy) or finance (they didn’t have as much money as they wanted to do it). Very few turn down Harvard to go to another school and when they do so they more often than not go to Stanford. Based on my reporting, this is about two or three percentage points of the 11%. So Harvard’s publicly reported yield number is 89%.

    Some 38% of the applicants accepted to Chicago Booth, meantime, do not go to that school. The vast majority of these applicants don’t turn down Booth for personal reasons but rather to go to another school, including Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, Tuck, etc. Booth’s publicly reported yield number is 62%.

    This is largely why Harvard accepts only 13% of its applicants, Stanford accepts 7% (due to its significantly smaller size and Silicon Valley location) and Chicago 23%.

  • giveMeaBreak

    I don’t know where you got the idea that USNews ranking is not influential as BW or FT. Of the three, FT is the least influential and credible. Some countries just go by USNews when they choose MBA programs. IMHO, USNews is the most accurate ranking and the one that reflects the general population’s perception of different MBA programs. Also, I think Booth is a great school but let’s not compare Booth with H/S. They are clearly in a different league. If you get admitted to either H/S, you should be thankful and honored to be a part of that institution. H/S is just a notch better than other top schools and they are just a notch harder to get in to. Congrats to Booth for finally climbing up the ranking, but comparing Booth to H/S and making a case that B is somewhat better is just straight out ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong – top schools are all great but the reputation of H/S is in a different league.

  • JC

    If Yale is getting a free ride because of undergrad and law, why do the likes of Georgetown and Vanderbilt struggle to make the top 25 every year? Based on undergraduate and law reputations, surely they belong in at least the top 20, if not top 15? Yale isn’t for everyone, but neither are Columbia or Kellogg. Yale has high-quality students who truly buy into the school culture, some very good professors, a new facility and a lot of great resources both inside and outside the business school. The distinction between schools in the group below Tuck/Haas is pretty thin.

  • Orange1

    @hbsguru. I agree with most of your points. Let’s face it, there are certain schools that have an advantage that is close to locked in. You can either watch paint dry or look for visible changes in B school rankings. As I have posted before, even if someone gave NYU $400 million and NYU then hired most of the Columbia faculty, Columbia would still be rated higher. If someone tossed Emory $1 billion and said do what you want, the school would still not be ranked with Duke and Virginia.
    HBS will always be looked at as the gold standard but I do not worship at the altar of whatever wisdom comes out of there. This is a good site and I respect John, but there can be too much Harvard-Stanford-Wharton-Chicago-Kellogg-Columbia = great, everyone else (except Tuck, Michigan, and Cornell sometimes) = meh broadcasted around here. All of us know people throughout the top 20 who have done fantastically in the marketplace.
    Also, I don’t think finance will ever lose its significance so on this we don’t have the same view.

  • DJ

    Judging a school on a few people is an “absurd conclusion” as well. Some of the best consultants I’ve worked with were from Darden, and people I worked with from Stern couldn’t carry their weight. Does this mean anything? Not really.

    Fuqua, Darden, Ross, and Stern are all peer schools. Stern may be in NYC but it’s way more competitive for finance jobs when that’s the main focus of the school and you’re expected to constantly network against Columbia kids.

    Also worth nothing that the businessweek rankings disagree with you and place all three of these schools in the top 10 (and above Stern).

  • hbsguru

    Just to follow one side-road here, which is parallel to this discussion, you said,

    “if someone gave NYU $400 million and NYU then hired most of the Columbia faculty, Columbia would still be rated higher.”

    Hmmmm, I get your point, and agree with the thinking behind it (e.g. if someone gave Darden a billion dollars it would not displace HSW, altho it would be interesting to see what they did with it). The actual example you use, however, Columbia vs. NYU is real, real interesting because I believe if any school could catch up to Columbia, with the help of a billion dollars, it could be NYU, altho that is not likey to happen soon, but just for the sake of discussion: 1. they are in the same city, a real important issue, 2. Columbia’s buildings etc. are real dumps, the worst in the top 10 by FAR (altho that may be changing) while NYU’s buildings are hip. 3. NYU is in a hipper part of town, closer to Silicon Alley etc. In the old days, when colleges and grad schools were supposed to be Ivy Redoubts, withdrawn from the world, this was an advantage to Columbia, but as the edu/industrial model has begun to merge, this could tip things in favor of NYU. NYU brand in general (college, law school, med school, arts schools etc and esp film school ) has really closed the gap w. Columbia (least so, the college!) over the past 20-40. While there still is a gap, in most cases, it has narrowed a lot, although opinions may differ how much. A school cannot change its location (well for the most part but see Cornell moving in part to NYC) but it can, over time, change everything else. The fact that NYU and Columbia are in NYC makes this a more fair fight than you might imagine.

  • hbsguru

    YOU SAID: “the metrics have to play into the equation to prevent top
    “name” schools from becoming content and using the name as a crutch . . .” Says who? Who said this is fair, that is my point. It would take dramatic mismanagement or a natural catastrophe for HSW to fall out of the top 3, sort of something on the order of a deadly virus (a real one!) causing the campus to shut down because it had become toxic. In the last years of Dean MacArthur’s tenure at HBS (sorta late 80s-early 90s), HBS had missed the Internet, kids were unhappy, and no one partic. liked the dean (when new dean Kim Clark arrived, he as much said so, in his own diplomatic way). Setbacks like that would have flooded a less stable and smaller craft, but HBS just sailed on, happy or sad, up to date, or one step behind, no one really cared.

    Improve classes? No one cares about that unless it goes on for years and years, and it becomes a cliche, and then,guess what, they improve, one way or the other. Improve job opportunities? that, I admit, is a more important issue, but after you do the first 8 things (invest in resources, be creative, etc. like Cornell has done w. banking internships by flying bankers to campus to recruit, there is only so much you can do).

    And whatever feisty upstart school X comes up with on that front, HSW will copy in due course.

    MEGA PREDICTION: the school that unseats HSW in the next ~20 years, if that happens, will not be located in the USA.

  • hbsguru

    Well, not related to this thread much, but I just love this story, and I DOUBT YOU COULD B SCHOOL KIDS TO DO IT VERSUS THE Computer Science MAJORS WHO DID.

    BRAVO!!!! Students boycott final to challenge professor’s grading policy (and get As) | Inside Higher Ed http://t.co/3Ij5yJbNP2

  • joe

    1) You missed the point. He wasn’t saying “Stern is better.” He was saying there are individual examples all over the place, and P&Q Fan, who said that Stern is below Darden, Ross, Fuqua, was jumping to an absurd conclusion. I had friends at Stern that didn’t even consider those schools because they wanted to be in a city. They would have easily been, or were, admitted (top-tier undergrad > 2 years IB > 2 years PE). I also know a guy who went to HBS because he had an acting Treasury Secretary call them on his behalf. He was not a genius. It’s random and these generalizations are idiotic.

    2) The point about it being way more competitive for finance jobs when “networking against Columbia kids” makes no sense. It’s not NYU vs. Columbia in recruiting, everyone is out for themselves. I worked in a PE shop during the semester because I went to Stern, Stern is in New York, many Stern alums work in New York. This helped me get a job and a lot more interviews. I ended up getting an offer but joining a startup instead. Guess what? The startup was in New York and connections I made outside of school while in New York for 2 years of business school helped me get that job too.

    3) BusinessWeek rankings, like most, are worthless. They have Stanford 5th, which is idiotic (I have many friends there, it’s clearly #1). They also have Cornell in the top 10. I went to Cornell undergrad and love the school. It’s not a top 10 business school yet.

  • http://www.mbaover30.com/ MBA Over 30

    I agree. BW seems to enjoy mixing up the rankings as much as possible for splash and intrigue. Yield is definitely something that speaks volumes and should be weighed somewhat heavily. These are all world-class, terrific schools, however. Schools like MIT,Harvard,Chicago,Stanford,Penn,Northwestern,Duke,Yale and several others tend to be tops in just about all of their major programs from undergrad to Medicine, Law and then business. I personally tend to lean towards USNews because they A) rely more on data than opinion polls, which are easily skewed and B) they are the standard ranking organization for all of the other degree programs. I don’t see why MBA programs should be sectioned off into a separate ranking with a divergent methodology.

  • Canada

    Jon, do you think if Duke had a higher GMAT, say 715, it could move up a point on the index and therefore the ranking? The GMAT number is about 16% of the overall number. If you look at the raw numbers it looks really close between those three schools (Duke, Stern and SOM) outside of the GMAT score.

  • mindbullet26

    Just wondering, have you attended HBS or CBS? Have you recruited for MBB? I’m a current CBS student, about to graduate in May, and I and many of my friends have had 0 problems recruiting for MBB while at CBS. We had 60/50/50 people interviewed for full-time associate roles (not even counting the scores of people who interned and received offers) at MBB. If you do a good job at case interviews, usually MBB will hire you out of a core school. The official McKinsey line is that for core schools like CBS and HBS yearly hiring numbers are merely a function of how many candidates are good fits for the company rather than a specific quota from that school.

  • Al

    I don’t understand people’s obsession with the argument of “would student’s choose x over y” when talking about rankings. These rankings are not meant to be a reflection of what students would choose, but are meant to be a reflection of whatever elements the authors believe to be important to an MBA. If Prestige is what is important to you, then look at a prestige ranking, don’t look at an FT/US news/Bus Week etc ranking that models salary, international student %, international faculty %, women to male balance etc. If you don’t think these elements add value to an MBA then just filter them out (you can custom rank the FT ranking) or have a look at prestige rankings.

    These are NOT “student choice rankings”, if they were, then I agree that they would look different.

    You accuse editors of being in love with metrics, but prestige and student choice are also metrics and it seems you are more in love with “prestige” (which is what seems to drive most students) than more varied metrics. Fair enough, but don’t bash rankings because they don’t reflect the metrics you personally find important.

  • AnalyzeThat

    I have interviewed with MBB but was denied due to lack of preperation. I am also attending hbs in 2015. I’m having a hard time figuring out what your point is. Are you saying that hbs and cbs students both have similar chances at receiving a job from MBB? If so, I can’t say that I disagree.

    My main point was simply that most students would choose hbs over cbs, even if they desired a lifetime career in consulting at mbb.

  • hbsguru

    sure, but we are getting into never-never land. Prestige itself is a summary of the issues you note and many more, so it is not like there are two universes, one based on some sui generis IDEA like “Prestige,” which is bling, and bold names and spreads in fashion magazines, and the other universe of MERIT based on scholarship, and international women in attendance, and I guess, salaries (altho that is beginning to sound like prestige). By your thinking, why make a list at all, just list schools alphabetically and break out for each school, many metrics: internationals, women, majors, areas of concentration, special programs, etc.? I agree that info is valuable, and also readily available–all over the internet at this point. The value of a list is to sort thru that, and help users gain some perspective about what most people think (including other students and employers, who are former students) which can get camouflaged by too much micro data. In the bad old days, when I was applying to college, the only data that existed was provided by the colleges themselves, and highly self-serving. There were no lists, just a book with a page describing each college. It was in alphabetical order. Sure you had some idea that Yale College was better than East Overshoe U, but there was a whole muddled middle. USNEWS arose, in the 1980s or so (not sure, anyone?) to solve that problem by adding perspective about student experience, dropout rates, costs, etc. etc. Yup, USNEWS itself has given birth to its own shortcomings, as do most successes, but overall it is a very good thing. Why not just add the USNEWS rankings to YOUR list, as another “metric” to consider?? Hard to fight with the notion of more information being better, and USNEWS list is valuable information, although for reasons you note, it might not be the one-stop cure to making a decision.

  • responsiblemanagers

    HBSGuru, I am one of those people who think that indeed HBS and Stanford have a very strong hold at the top, though I think Stanford has the lead over the HBS for being more exclusive (you may disagree). However, I think your “MACRO” reading is a little off regarding Chicago. Of the ones you listed (location/industry haven, academic heritage, brand, rich alumni and endowment), the only one that doesn’t really do much for Chicago is the location – cool city but not a hotspot for sexy industries. However, on all the others, the overall heritage in analytic business (McKinsey, economics discipline, quant finance – this last one I agree is going through a decline) is huge (I know you’re a lawyer so you don’t love that stuff, but everyone in that field has an opinion about Chicago – notoriety sells), the UChicago brand (Nobel Nobel Nobel), and most importantly, rich alumni and endowment. I don’t think Chicago outperforms Stanford on these fronts, but it is indeed competitive, in its own way. As you say, reputations change slowly, but I think that there have been small, consistent and incremental movements in this field. When I began researching MBAs back in 2008, it felt much more like 1. HBS 2. Wharton 3. Stanford and then several schools tied in the 4-7 range. 5 years later, not much has changed, except the broad consensus is that Wharton has slipped to 3rd and HBS has a very, very narrow lead over Stanford; in addition, you see Chicago being ‘thrown in’ to the HSW discussion more often than before (with plenty of people reacting with “no way!”). The macro metrics we just mentioned, settling over time (imagine another 5 years of this wave), depict Chicago as more of a competitive peer with HSW than with the ranked 4th-7th schools that were its peers in the last 25 years (arguably, the time period in which Stanford and Kellogg replaced Chicago high up as the MBA turned away from academics and more towards a 2-year “transformative experience”). The question is whether the Big 3 is giving way to a Big 4 (it just happened in men’s tennis), or whether this ’4th’ biggie is actually more of the frontrunner of that group of four schools OUTSIDE the big 3. Naturally you’ll have your own opinion on that, but I think that your “MACRO factors” reading is off; Chicago seems just as healthy as Wharton in those factors, which also translates to being competitive with HBS and Stanford but not winning against them.

  • Al

    I feel that we agree with each other on some core level. What I don’t agree with is the accusation that rankings do not reflect “reality”. Reality is subjective, and these rankings present one version of it based on selected metrics.

    By my thinking there most certainly still is a reason to do rankings, because it presents a ranking of schools based on what US news thinks is important to an MBA. This serves several purposes: a) may confirm the prestige of already good schools b) may call prestige into question where prestige does not seem to be a ‘summary’ of strong metrics c) may bring certain schools to light that may not yet have historical prestige but have strong metrics c) may generate new prestige for schools that remain in e.g. the top 10 for long enough, thus affecting ‘student choice’ in the long term.

    If rankings always and only reflected ‘current student choice’ and ‘current prestige’ there would be absolutely no room for movement, innovation, improvement and competition regarding the metrics in question. Prestige (i.e. good ranking performance) would essentially be based on prestige, and be a self perpetuating static definition. At least with rankings like the US News, schools can prove themselves via metrics and have a chance at generating new prestige for themselves. Likewise, existing schools are kept on their toes, and forced to ‘listen’ to the MBA market and aren’t allowed to rest on their laurels.

    As you say prestige is (ideally, although not always) a summary of strong metrics. But the metrics must clearly come first. Hence a ranking based on these various metrics to give an objective evaluation of the underlying performance of a school does make sense.

    These rankings may not be a one-stop-cure to making a decision as you note, and I fully agree, but I think they are essential as a long term tool to make sure prestige and student choice is actually justified. They are not meant to reflect what you would choose over what.

  • hbsguru

    Haha, that is a great piece of lawyering for Chcago and it might have elements of truth. Someone has to be number 4. As to your point that the new HSW is becoming HSWC, well, hmmmmm. Big 3 as a ratings meme is a durable trope, vs. Big 4, but even if we got over that, I think the issues holding Chicago back are several, altho happy to get feedback on this. 1. as you mention, Chi as a city is not Class A for our purposes, altho feel free to love it and the Cubbies; 2. Chi is, for better or worse, tagged as a finance school not a general management school, yeah Wharton too, but W is older and bigger and thus more easily pigeon-holed ; 3. Chi as an anchor school is similarly most famous for econ + finance and not liberal arts, and Liberal Arts + Sciences is still the Mother of All Prestige B.S. (Even Chi’s Great Book blah, blah is a niche and reactionary trope vs. hip and expansive Critical Studies and General Liberal Arts (whatever that means) at Harvard College and Stanford, etc. 4. Those storied Chicago Nobel prize winners are mostly at the college in the Economics Department (MIT too, but also science there), and among serious economists, business school, and by that I mean HBS, Stanford, Wharton etc. is the boobie prize to the full-time prof gig at the college Ec Department (this is changing a bit as economics as a profession becomes more corrupt and celebrity-crazed); 5. Finance is not so hot as a business major right now, and won’t be for, gee, several years (fewer deals, more regulation, banks are more limited, blah, blah ). 6, the Chicago school free enterprise model, again, as a trope, is contra to the International /Davos/mixed economy/social enterprise-friendly model which still dictates the ranking makers world view among magazine writers and the lapdogs who follow them (whoof, whoof, that would be me). This is an important point: I am basically saying that ranking have a PC element to them as well, especially amid the top-3 meme. IF finance/IB/PE came back as the MAJOR force in international business it was several years ago, and if Chicago cont. to get positive press, it might reorder the Big 3 into the Big 4, but I got my doubts, For one thing, such a sea change would also benefit MIT, and you might get a more likely formation of Big 3 and Little 2.

    OK, these remarks are highly speculative (as well as brilliant + staccato) so happy to hear what others think.

  • responsiblemanagers

    Good one Sandy. Seems to me that there are two broad themes here: 1) how b-school brands are constructed and whether a general management vs econ/finance dichotomy exists/what role it plays and 2) fact-check, if and when possible. Probably easier (though less interesting) to start with the facts, then enter the fun stuff. I don’t have any insider knowledge on scholarship and aid stats (though as you say P&Q put out good research on that), so I don’t know how much of the Booth gift goes towards student aid, but I DO know, from public info, that the money has NOT been devoted to the new building (internet research says the building is from 2004, with money from a different alumnus, and that one of the uses of the 2008 Booth gift is faculty recruiting).

    Now, onto the fun stuff: the “general management mixed-economy Davos man social enterprise” thing (you might be the only person to equate Davos and social enterprise, though I am sure those folks will be grateful for the free PR work you’ve done for them!) vs the finance, economics and quant thing. I’d agree that overall it’s the liberal arts and soft skills that are more correlated with prestige: see HBS/Stanford vs Wharton/Chicago, INSEAD vs LBS, HYP vs MIT/Caltech/Berkeley, etc. And given the relative decline of finance, it’s an interesting mini case study to observe how the finance trinity (Col/Chi/W) have fared post-crisis: Wharton seems to have made a successful pivot to being the most global and modern (strong ramp up of
    recruiting women and international folks, making the Lauder program a
    competitive advantage), Chicago somewhere between shift and pivot (move from finance to general analytics, consulting overtaking finance as the ‘it’
    industry), and Columbia seemingly stuck with the hot potato (21% drop in applications attributed by their own admin to overreliance on finance, finance still largest employer as % of student body).

    Seems to me that being ‘the school’ for whatever discipline really drives branding power, again seemingly with the soft skills coming at a premium. In that sense I see HBS clearly being the ‘leadership/charisma’ school, Stanford being the ‘do-gooder’, Wharton being the ‘type-A’ (don’t know how else to describe the on-paper duplicate of HBS/Stanford admit without the do-gooder/leadership stardust), Chicago being the ‘analytical’, Kellogg the ‘teamwork’, Tuck the ‘alumni loyalty’, INSEAD the ‘international’, and after that I’m not so clear whether there are that many ‘titles’ left. So aside from the endowment fact-check (and I agree money/resources is extremely important, that is where HBS has its biggest lead over other schools, including Stanford), my response was really more in broad agreement about how the general management stuff matches up with the Wall Street stuff and surveying that across all the major schools. And from what I can tell, Chicago has shifted its portfolio to more heavily weight the former and trim down the latter slightly (Wharton too, the two NYC schools not so sure).

    It’s interesting to consider the HBS proposition: ‘leadership/charisma’ as a
    defining trait that is applicable to all industries – not just GM but also HBS
    folks dominate PE, consulting. Probably what is different in 2013 vs 2008 is
    that Chicago has decided to extract the underlying skill that drove its Wall St
    success (analytics) and apply it HBS-style: ‘analytical edge’ applicable to all
    industries (probably why consulting and tech are on the up over there in Chi). Consistent with its legacy, but adapted to the PC times. Will this be successful, or is HBS the only one who can play this game? I gather you aren’t buying the Chi thing but I think it’s interesting to see how the game changes, who adapts, who doesn’t etc.

  • hbsguru

    !!!! Dude you deeply understand me, and taken it further, great post, Two great minds etc. :-)

  • Rahul Batra

    Hi There,

    I’m from India and have had ~ 7 years in the Internet Product / Business world.

    Really liked your ‘fun stuff’ analysis of schools and their widely accepted reputations. I’m looking to join B-School in 2014 and have a short-list based on similar analysis. Harvard (leadership, Univ. culture) / Stanford (do-good / Tech Entr) / Kellogg (marketing) are certain draws and personal matches, while INSEAD’s program length is a big negative for me as I’m looking for a solid academic stint and not just a stamp + job exp.

    Happened to notice that you’ve skipped LBS in your notes on ‘the school’ and branding. Do I assume it’s got no specific global specialization led recall but for it’s London Experience? I was chasing it for London / program duration / challenging market (Europe) etc. Would like to hear your thoughts.



  • Cornelius

    Why is “in order of which school an applicant would attend if admitted” the right order? Another metric may produce a list in order of which school adds the most value to an MBA student, or which does the best job at producing business leaders. Harvard and Stanford do a great job at attracting business leaders, but I’d bet money that they don’t do the best at transforming someone into a business leader. Most applicants choose a program based on brand, but someone seeking the best education may not blindly follow that strategy.

  • Krishna

    Yale SOM main problem is with its parent university. The parent university didn’t like the idea of “Business ” school from the beginning. If you notice, they started almost with Duke in seventies, they have much much more resources, excellent brand, location close to NYC, however Duke did it to become core school for top firms, Duke placed itself comparable to the M7 schools. I really don’t understand what is going on with Yale?! even outside america, great universities benefited from their brands to establish excellent business schools, for example, Said b school at Oxford, they are only 16 years old!!! yet, they achieved much much better than Yale in term of recognition and branding and ranking for their MBA!! Yale has, great dean, massive endowment, very prestigious brand, proximity to new york, yet, they couldn’t make it to be a core school!! I think one of main reasons is thier student body, if you look at them, you notice very high IQ but unfortunately very low EQ. the admission staff recruited from academia and mostly from Yale itself, they measure people as the standard of the undergrad, they miss the sense of a “business” school! plus they kept very small class compared to other schools. I see many applicants got admitted into MIT, Columbia, and wharton, yet they got rejected by Yale. this indicates negative sign about the selection of students at Yale SOM.

  • ussi

    I’d like to know as well. I came back to this post after a month to see if it was answered. Sandy can you please spill the beans

  • WLbyTuck

    Because Yale is part of the H/P/Y holy trinity – Georgetown and Vandy aren’t in the same league.

  • Bcs

    You’ve got to be shitting me. Have you met people from Fuqua, Ross and Darden? They are bright, but clearly above NYU, I think not my friend. I went to Columbia and spent much time with NYU counterparts, this is a losing argument.

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