Winners & Losers in U.S. News Ranking

by John A. Byrne on Print Print

USNewsshotThe deans at some 21 top business schools today felt as if they were on a roller coaster ride. Their schools either plunged or rose in double digits on U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 MBA ranking.

And that’s not accounting for the deans at seven business schools that fell off of the magazine’s list of the top 105 full-time MBA programs in the U.S. Or the leaders at ten business schools that broke onto the list who were not among the ranked only last year.

The biggest plunge of all was felt by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School in Troy, N.Y.  Lally, with just 78 full-time students enrolled in its MBA program, plummeted by 26 places to finish 96th from 70th a mere 12 months ago. Not far behind in the loss department was Claremont College’s Drucker School, which fell 25 places this year, to a rank of 101. A year ago, Drucker was 76th on the U.S. News’ list of the best business schools.


Those declines were even greater than the 24-place drop by Tulane University’s Freeman School, which admitted in January that it submitted inflated data to U.S. News for five consecutive years. Freeman tumbled 24 places this year to a rank of 67th based on the now accurate information it gave to U.S. News for the ranking.

The school had said it inflated average GMAT scores by an average 35 points for five straight years from 2007 through 2011. Freeman also conceded that it had falsely increased the number of completed applications it received by an average of 116 applications over the same time period. U.S. News tossed Tulane out of its ranking as a result of the admission, but the school was back in this year.

This year, Tulane said the average GMAT score for its just enrolled class of full-time MBA students was 629–some 41 points below its reported number of 670 last year. The school’s acceptance rate ballooned to 82.9%, up from the reported 56.7% number last year. The average grade point average also showed a slight decline to 3.24, from 3.30 last year, and the percentage of graduates who had job offers by commencement plummeted to 54.9%, from a reported 78.8% a year earlier.


On the other hand, there was cause for celebration today at a number of business schools. The biggest gain was experienced by the University of Utah’s Eccles School, which jumped 23 places to finish 61st, up from 84th a year earlier. City University of New York’s Zicklin School at Baruch College rose 22 spots to rank 75th, an improvement from its rank of 97 last year. And the University of Alabama’s business school found itself ranked at 58th, up 20 places, from 78th last year.

It’s often hard to isolate why a school would either jump or fall so much in only one year, but large moves are often the result of changes in data that are most heavily weighted by U.S. News which uses a wealth of data to crank out its annual ranking. The magazine does its own survey of B-school deans and MBA directors (25% of the score). It also does its own survey of corporate recruiters (accounting for 15% of the overall ranking), 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%).

Schools that fell out of U.S. News’ ranking this year include: Miami University (which ranked 78th last year), Howard University (91), Rochester Institute of Technology (94), Chapman (97), the University of California at Riverside (97), Rollins College (101), and the University of Santa Clara (101).

This year’s new entrants include the University of California at San Diego (ranked 73rd), the State University of New York at Binghamton (79), San Diego State (86), SUNY at Albany (86), Oklahoma State (Spears) (88), the University of Tulsa (Collins) (93), the University of Cincinnati (99), the University of San Diego (99), the University of Mississippi (101), and West Virginia University (104).

(See following page for tables of the biggest winners and losers in the U.S. News’ survey)

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  • bg1998

    Anyone have any comment or advice for choosing between Ross, Tepper, or Kenan-Flagler (admitted to all 3)? I am a career changer with less than defined career goals, so is there a glaring winner within this group? If I just choose based on fit, am I making a mistake? Any comments are appreciated…

  • TC

    I’m referring to the school head to heads. when I see them, I keep thinking it’s a new one, but in fact one that is several years old.

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