Ranking Business Schools On Research

by John A. Byrne on

rankings imageWhich business schools’ professors crank out the most research? According to a new ranking that takes into account the published work of profs between 2008 and 2012, it’s the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. A distant second is Harvard Business School, followed by the University of Michigan’s Ross School, New York University’s Stern School of Business, and Duke University’s Fuqua School.

The latest annual ranking, updated March 11, is compiled by the UT Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management, which tracks publication in 24 leading business journals that range from The Accounting Review to Strategic Management Journal. The school tracks more esoteric and academic journals, excluding such publications as The Harvard Business Review, the best-read management journal in the world. That is one reason why Harvard, a school whose professors do more research that is immediately useful to managers and executives, is significantly behind Wharton. Wharton professors, according to the ranking, were credited with 357 articles in the five-year period, versus 228 for Harvard (see table on following page).


The top 13 schools are all based in the U.S., according to the survey. The first non-U.S. school to pop up on the list is INSEAD which is ranked 14th in the world this year. Only two U.K. schools appear on the list of the top 100: London Business School, which is ranked 24th, and Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, which placed 100th. China, on the other hand, now has five business schools in the top 100, lead by No. 16 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. All told, the U.S. schools dominate the list with 71 of the top 100 schools.

Of course, much of what passes for research in business schools is seldom readable or very useful. Most of the academic journals that are measured on this database are read only by relatively few scholars in narrow disciplines. For years, critics have complained that only a small percentage of research done by business schools has any application in the real world. And this ranking, which coincidentally shows sponsor UT-Dallas ahead of such business schools as UC-Berkeley, UCLA, and London Business School, should be treated like all rankings: with a very large grain of salt.


Another significant drawback of this ranking is that it is not adjusted for the size of a school’s faculty. As a result, schools which have large faculties, tend to perform much better in the ranking. Users can search the database to get a per capita performance analysis of up to ten business schools, but you would have to input the faculty size of a school to adjust the rankings (see “Does The World Need Another Business School Ranking?“).

Nonetheless, the UT-Dallas survey is a more thorough effort to measure the research output of professors than the research component in either The Financial Times or Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s rankings. Another important benefit of the UT-Dallas list is that it is a searchable database, allowing users to see which school’s professors rank according to each of the 24 journals measured. So if you are primarily interested in marketing, a user can single out the four marketing journals (Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research and Marketing Science) out of the 24 publications and see how specific schools fare against each other.


In marketing, the top five schools are Wharton, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Duke, Chicago Booth, and Columbia Business School. In finance, where three journals are tracked (Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics and The Review of Financial Studies), the top schools are No. 1 Chicago Booth, No. 2 Wharton, No. 3 NYU Stern, No. 4 Harvard, and No. 5 Columbia Business School. In operations, where oddly four journals are measured (more than business disciplines that generally assume greater importance at business schools such as finance and marketing, the top winners are No. 1 Columbia, No. 2 UT-Dallas, No. 3 MIT Sloan, No. 4 Duke Fuqua, and No. 5 Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School.

(See following page for the worldwide ranking of the top 100 schools)

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  • Roger

    Europe is dead. Asia is rising.

    USA – we are still the rulers of the world!

    Let’s keep it real and not waste time focusing on Socialist Europe.

  • salma

    from professionalism prospective, why BusinessWeek publish another survey (so called ranking) for schools while they already have their own ranking (for non-us schools), why do they let another ranking intervene theirs !

  • Seema

    I register with Argosy University for MBA San Diego campus full time plz
    let me know about the program am tensed with shocking reviews. ……..

  • http://pages.iu.edu/~hz8/ Han

    I think this is a ranking for perspective PhD students and faculty members, instead of MBA students. Such a ranking is definitely needed, since more other business school rankings trivialize research. That said, I think the main shortcoming of the UTD ranking of PhD programs is that it does not include top economics journals, which publish some of the most influential business research ever conducted. Those include the likes of AER, Econometrica, JPE, and QJE. This is even more important for business schools with an applied economics program. I guess this oversight might be intentional, since Jindal is most strong in operations (which is obviously why more operations journals are featured.)

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