Winners & Losers In 2013 Forbes Ranking

by John A. Byrne on Print Print

UC-Davis Graduate School of Management

UC-Davis Graduate School of Management

The typical MBA student at UC-Davis Graduate School of Management is 28 years old, with five years of work experience on average, a median GMAT of 680 and an undergraduate grade point average of 3.19. Those stats wouldn’t boost UC-Davis in many rankings, but the school showed the single biggest improvement in Forbes’ new biennial 2013 ranking of the best MBA programs.

UC-Davis climbed 22 spots to place 50th out of 70 ranked schools, up from a rank of 72 in 2011. The jump made the school the biggest winner in the Forbes’ survey published today (Oct. 9). Other big gainers include Boston University School of Management, up 17 places to finish 44th, the University of South Carolina’s Moore School, also up 17 spots to place 53rd, and Temple University’s Fox School, which gained 14 places to reach a rank of 59th, from 73rd in 2011, the last time Forbes ranked MBA programs.

All told, only seven out of the 70 U.S. MBA programs ranked by Forbes moved up ten or more places, giving those schools a significant boost in buzz and prestige. “The movement is terrific,” said Hugh Courtney, dean of Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business, which jumped ten places to a rank of 55. “I always like to be higher but it is headed up in the right direction. It’s certainly indicative of significant improvements we’ve made in recent years.”


Schools that either gain or lose the most ground in Forbes’ biennial ranking of the best business schools are more often than not non-Top 25 MBA programs. That’s because the underlying return-on-investment numbers Forbes uses to rank schools tend to be closer to each other further down the list. So small changes in those numbers can cause fairly big swings. Of the 70 U.S. MBA programs ranked by Forbes this year (four fewer than 2011), ten schools moved up or down in double digits–none of them ranked in the Top 25 by Forbes. Forbes ranks one-year and two-year MBA programs at 24 non-U.S. schools separately.

For UC-Davis to climb 22 places since the last Forbes survey required some rather big changes in the five-year total gain number that Forbes uses for its ranking. The five-year gain is the cumulative additional earnings an MBA received after subtracting out forgone earnings, tuition and fees, and the presumed salary one would have had without the degree. At UC-Davis that number zoomed to $38,200, from only $7,000 in 2011. The payback period for an MBA at UC-Davis shrank to 4.0 years from 4.8 years, while the median annual salary of a Class of 2008 grad last year was $125,000, up from $114,00 in 2011.

The Top 25 U.S. schools showing the biggest gains were Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, which leapt eight places to finish 19th, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School and UCLA’s Anderson School, which both moved up seven spots to place 16th and 13th, respectively, and North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, which rose five places to finish 11th.

The Top 25 schools to suffer the biggest falls? Yale’s School of Management plunged seven spots to 18th this year from 11th in 2011. The University of Virginia’s Darden School dropped six places to finish 15th, while New York University’s Stern School of Business fell five spots to end up in 23rd place. In comparison, the school showing the biggest drop in the Forbes ranking this year plunged 16 places from 50 to 66th place.

Biggest Gainers on Forbes 2013 MBA Ranking


School                                        Change   2013 Rank   2011 Rank
UC-Davis` +22 50 72
South Carolina (Moore) +17 53 70
Boston University +17 44 61
Temple (Fox) +14 59 73
Washington Univ. (Olin) +13 34 47
Purdue (Krannert) +12 28 40
Northeastern (D’Amore-McKim) +10 55 65
San Diego State New 64 NR
Utah (Eccles) New 65 NR
Colorado (Leeds) New 70 NR

Source: Forbes 2013 & 2011 rankings

Of the five most influential MBA rankings, Forbes is the only one to base its entire methodology on one simple measure: return on investment. The magazine surveys alumni five years out of school and asks them what they are currently making. Forbes then compares the alumni income at each school to MBAs’ opportunity costs–two years of foregone compensation, tuition and required fees. It calculates a payback period for how long it takes the degree to earn out.

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  • Michael D. Mahon

    I took Prof. Yetman for Business Taxation in 2012. He never displayed anything like the behavior indicated above. To the contrary, he was warm, interested in student learning, and had a lesson plan very conducive to learning, including some math, but mostly examples of where knowledge of tax laws can benefit companies deft enough to take advantage of them.
    With regard to the actual subject material we covered in class, I thought he was one of the best teachers I have ever had in any subject.
    In my study group, I was with three students from other countries, Chile, Lithuania, and India, and I daresay they all liked Prof. Yetman as well. There was never a single racist, condescending, or otherwise abusive thing that came up in the entire class. He did not make fun of Chinese, Indians, or Americans [sic].
    If some student wanted gratuitous help for personal business and was refused, that is totally unrelated to the class. I asked Prof. Yetman if he wanted to be an expert witness in a case I was working on, and my client easily could have afforded him, but he indicated that he was too busy. I believed him, and that was that. He is probably very busy, and it would not surprise me if he charges $600 an hour or more. He certainly would be worth it.
    I will say that he changed the grading policy toward the end of the quarter, which was unfair to those of us with real jobs who might want to coast through two months, then crush the final, rather than keep up with weekly assignments and quizzes, but that is a quibble. His grading was fair.
    Whoever made the allegation above is likely fabricating it all.
    -Michael D. Mahon, Esq., UC Law ’98, UCD GSM ’14

  • UC Davis GSM Awful Teacher

    Professor Robert Yetman of UC Davis GSM was rude, demeaning and made unprofessional comments throughout his classes. He makes very inappropriate or clearly demeaning and unprofessional comments. Not only was he a bad teacher, but was demeaning, rude and acted superior to his students. He’s really belligerant and aggressive. Professor Robert Yetman makes offensive remarks about women, esp homeless women and children. DO NOT TAKE HIM! I was a favorite student and I STILL had a problem with his favoritism and lack of professionalism. You won’t learn anything except his prejudices.

  • Robert Yetman Bad Instructor

    Arrogant. Belittes you. Teaches with fear and intimidation. Motivated by conviction. Uses ugly, inappropriate language and underhanded measures. Unorganized, lazy, does not teach, reads info from slides. I do not recommend this class or this bad instructor. Do not take this class with this professor. Professor Robert Yetman teaches the class based on his personal opinions and prejudice. Exams consist of memorization. This is a mean professor who doesn’t have office hours. Very rude, will interrupt student’s presentation and uses disrespectful language. Should be fired.

  • Mike Mahon

    If you really have a personal beef, grow a pair and post your name.
    -Michael D. Mahon
    PS: Edit above, UCD Law ’98.

  • Bad Impression UC Davis MBA

    My first post after visiting the school, I had a bad impression with UC Davis’ MBA as it makes you feel unprofessional and people there are not very friendly. When you ask their admission, maybe the student I met is a special case, but he seemed don’t care what you were asking and responded you without any feeling. Their restroom were all dirty, I mean all, as I tried to find a clean one, I checked from one on first floor to the third floor, all were not maintained. This kind of giving you a feel the quality of the student body who seems lack of caring and response to others, and the school management is not good in watching out the small but important details as to maintain a nice and clean environment. You know how you feel when using a dirty restroom at a place which makes you judge the overall impression of that place. The impression is no good at all, in addition, the student I talked to seemed can’t explain why they favor this school and chose the school, no particular good reasons for them. Overall, not feel attracted to the school.

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