Yale Falls To 13th In U.S. News’ Ranking

by John A. Byrne on

USNewsshotYale University’s School of Management fell behind NYU, Duke and the University of Virginia to land in 13th place in the new U.S. News & World Report MBA ranking published today (March 12th). Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, meantime, moved out of last year’s tie with the University of Chicago’s Booth School which fell two places to sixth.

Those are just two of many changes in the new and always controversial U.S. News annual ranking of the best full-time MBA programs in the U.S. Harvard and Stanford maintained their grip of a first place tie, while Wharton held on to its third place ranking. MIT’s Sloan School and Kellogg remained in a fourth place tie.

The biggest gains among the top 25 schools were by the University of Washington’s Foster School and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School. Foster jumped 12 places to rise to a 23rd place with Carlson. Foster was 35th last year. Carlson rose seven places from 30th last year.


Yale’s drop out of the top ten, reported last week by Poets&Quants when U.S. News released a sneak preview of its top ten schools in alphabetical order, is a big surprise. A new and experienced dean, Edward Snyder, who had held the deanships at both Darden and Booth, has been making significant changes at the school in the past two years. So many observers would have expected the U.S. News survey to show a more positive result. It’s important to note, however, that the underlying data behind a numerical ranking is often bunched together, making changes in ranks appear more significant than they really are.

Interestingly enough, the underlying data for Yale did not change and U.S. News awarded the exact same score–an index number of 84–that Yale received last year. What made the difference was the improvement in the scores for Stern, Fuqua and Darden. Each of those three schools improved its index scores by four points in the latest survey to 87 for Stern, 86 for Fuqua, and 85 for Darden.

Just how tightly clustered many schools are can be seen by the number of MBA programs that are tied with others for the same rank. In the Top 50, more than half of the full-time MBA programs have the exact same rank as at least one other school for their numerical rank on the U.S. News list. Only 23 of the top 50 occupy a rank alone.

In numerous cases, three schools are tied for a single rank, such as Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Notre Dame, which all placed 27th. In one instance, four schools have the same rank: Arizona State, Brigham Young, Rice and Vanderbilt are all tied for 30th. And then, at a rank of 79, there are actually five tied schools: State University of New York at Binghamton, Fordham University, Syracuse, Texas Christian, and the University of Colorado.


The result: Peculiar and unexplainable swings in rank often occur in a single year even though no major changes were made to a school’s MBA program that could impact its true standing. Some of the more wild swings in this year’s survey affected the University of Arizona’s Eller School, which rose 13 places to a rank of 44th from 57th in 2012. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign dropped ten places to finish 47th from 37th a year earlier.

But there were even steeper tumbles and ascents. Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School in Troy, N.Y.  plummeted by 26 places to finish 96th from 70th a mere 12 months ago. The University of Utah’s Eccles School jumped 23 places to finish 61st, up from 84th a year earlier. (See Winners & Losers in U.S. News’ 2013 MBA Ranking)

Like all rankings of business schools, the U.S. News list often engenders much controversy and debate. But it is among the most influential and most followed of several prominent rankings. The magazine only ranks U.S.-based schools, unlike BusinessWeek, The Financial Times, or The Economist which publish global rankings, either combined or separate.  (One other note: As a marketing ploy, U.S. News claims this is a 2014 ranking to give it greater shelf life. It is based on 2012 data and released in 2013 which is why we label it a 2013 ranking.)

U.S. News’ methodology takes into account a wealth of proprietary and school-supplied data to crank out its annual ranking of the best business schools. The magazine does its own survey of B-school deans and MBA directors (25% of the score). This year, U.S. News said about 43% of those surveyed responded, but it did not reveal how many deans were actually surveyed or how many replied.  It also does its own survey of corporate recruiters (accounting for 15% of the overall ranking and for which 16% of those surveyed responded), starting salaries and bonuses (14%), employment rates at and three months after graduation (7% to 14%, respectively), student GMATs and GREs scores (about 16%), undergrad GPAs (about 8%), and the percentage of applicants who are accepted to a school (a little over 1%). This is the first year U.S. News included GRE scores in its ranking methodology.


Tulane University’s Freeman School, which admitted in January that it submitted inflated data to U.S. News for five consecutive years, 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.

(See following page for U.S. News’ 2013 rankings and changes)


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  • sevestus

    Prospective, honestly Stern is a far better school. Cornell is great but Stern is far better by all means and angles. Placements are far better, US news rankings are consistently better and admissions are insanely much more rigorous to get into Stern vs Cornell. This comparison between those 2 schools should never even be on the “table”.

  • ProspectiveStudent

    Respect the opinion completely but FULLY disagree – respectfully of course. We agree tat they are both fantastic schools but they are comparable on balance in terms of quality – on that we disagree and so be it!

  • AIG_Quant

    That is what makes Fuqua great. They look well beyond the GMAT and more into EQ – Emotional Intelligence and other aspects of an application. Would you rather have a classmate who has a 760 and is as exciting to talk to as a box of rocks, or would you rather have the charismatic 670 guy who has great leadership potential?

  • jmainel

    CBS>=Stern>Yale>Cornel. I am a CBS grad and I am very concerned of the fact that Stern is getting so close to CBS.

  • avivalasvegas

    I don’t believe its in the same realm at Booth and Kellogg. Not far but more along the lines of Columbia rival. There are just too many distinguishing factors working against Tuck for it to be a top 5 program.

  • agree

    completely agree with avivaLV. Tuck is a great school but definitely not in the same tier with Kellogg,Booth,Mit..


  • Guest


  • mbasshole

    Agree with the above – Anecdotally, I go to HWS, and if not here, I would have gone to Tuck. I also know a lot of people here that would have gone to Tuck, but did not even consider MIT/Booth.

  • Socrates

    Having just gone through applications and school visits I have to agree. I visited Duke 3 times and the interaction I had with the student body was noticeably lack-luster compared to the 7 other schools I visited. For example, nobody responded to my emails to coffee chat. When I met students on campus they did not carry themselves as well as other school’s students. And what shocked me at Duke is how many students went into “coasting” mode simply because they had fulfilled their credit requirements. One week prior at Penn the students were working their asses off, but at Duke they were golfing 4 hours a day and telling me how much “fun” they have. It felt like they were slacking off. I thought, is this school or is this high school? The truth is I was far more impressed with the prospective students than I was with the current students. I would have gone to Duke but it was clearly not my top choice. I know there are solid people at that program, but I felt the weight of the mediocre pulling a little too hard.

  • Ian

    You just convinced me to apply to Duke this year.

  • Ian

    Columbia isn’t really competing with Stern.

    Columbia competes with the rest of the M7. Stern competes with the entirety of the Top 15.

  • Ian

    (To be fair, Duke does not draw from the same set of highly qualified applicants as the top schools do.)

  • Ian

    Smaller schools can typically get away with this (YSOM comes to mind).

  • Fortherecord

    This is insane. If anything, Ross is less likely to get talent from overseas since neither Ross nor Michigan have much brand equity overseas compared to Ivys and other well known brands (UCLA, Stanford, etc.)

  • Canada

    Not sure what you mean here. UCLA has a mean GMAT of 704 almost 15 points higher than Duke. I doubt that UCLA draws from a different set of highly qualified applicants as compared to Duke.

  • avivalasvegas

    We have the same rivalry in Chicago albeit at the higher end of the ranking spectrum. Columbia’s position has fallen and Stern is pushing hard, so naturally the rivalry gets more intense. Take comfort in knowing that both are great schools and Columbia, atleast for now, remains M7.

  • TheGrandWizard

    Ross is the KKK of Business Schools

  • newguy1

    I recently got admitted to the full time MBA program at Yale SOM and Duke Fuqua. I am an international candidate and want to break into investment banking post my MBA. which school would you suggest?

  • Tyl

    Ya, it’s so hard to really compare schools. First, to the public, so much gets skewed, and it’s really hard to tell what is valuable information and what isn’t.

    Second, like you said James, is that it greatly depends on what you want to do. I’m going to apply to a handful of top 10 school, and like you said, I may end up picking Haas over almost anyone outside of the schools you mentioned.

    But that means nothing for someone interested in finance, and that is what makes it particularly difficult to come up with any hard and fast rules.

  • avivalasvegas

    Gotta love the Duka fanboys! Duke has never been a top 10 school. To compare it to schools like Kellogg and Columbia is just silly. Getting all Duke admits and alums to post on here won’t change that reality

  • Anna

    There is not a Wharton student who wouldn’t have taken Harvard if they had gotten in. Incredible inferiority complex. Stanford doesn’t enter into equation unless you want to work on the west coast.

  • rubicx

    It’s still Yale. Long-term reputations are much more important than year-to-year rankings.

  • rubicx

    I think you just demonstrated the subjective absurdity of tiering.

  • rubicx

    That would depend on the field. Columbia is by far much higher than Kellogg, MIT and Tuck in the field of Finance. 40% of MBA jobs are Finance jobs, most Finance jobs are in NYC and most of those finance employers rely on schools like Columbia, Wharton and Harvard over the other schools that you mentioned.

  • rubicx

    Really? What employers are you talking about? McKinsey only has open interviews at five schools, and Tuck is not one of them. If you don’t know what an open interview is it means the employer will meet with any student who wants to meet with them. Goldman Sachs doesn’t even visit Tuck or Haas. The laugh’s on you.

  • rubicx

    That may be the most revealing metric of all – yield. Tuck is a good second choice school, but most of the students go there because they didn’t get into Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Wharton.

  • rubicx


  • Tony

    Yale will always be an Ivy League School. My friends in other countries will always think Kellog is a cereal manufacturer and never even heard of Univ of Chicago

  • Tony


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