Yale Slips Out Of U.S. News’ Top Ten

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.


  • 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.

  • WLbyTuck

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.



  • hbsguru

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

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.