Top 10 Secure In New U.S. News Ranking

rankingIf Fuqua, Darden or Yale’s School of Management had any hope of cracking the Top Ten in U.S. News & World Report’s forthcoming ranking of the best graduate schools of business, they will have to wait until next year.

In a sneek peek its ranking expected to come out on March 11th, of the best graduate schools of business, U.S. News disclosed that last year’s Top 10 schools firmly remain in its new Top 10. The magazine published an alphabetical list of the ten highest ranked full-time MBA programs without their numerical ranks.

Schools that had a chance of breaking into the Top 10 party include No. 11 Duke University’s Fuqua School, No. 11 the University of Virginia’s Darden School, No. 13 Yale University’s School of Management, and possibly UCLA’s Anderson School and Michigan’s Ross School of Business, both tied for 14th place.


Based on U.S. News‘ underlying index scores for the schools, all of them are within one to five points of last year’s No. 10 school, New York University’s Stern School of Business. According to U.S. News, Stern had an actual “ranking score” of  87 to achieve its numerical rank of tenth place. Duke was right on its heels with an index score of 86, with Darden at 85, and Yale at 84. Both UCLA and Michigan had a score of 82.

Last year Yale fell behind NYU, Duke and the University of Virginia to land in 13th place, from tenth a year earlier. Yale recently made good progress in The Financial Times’ latest ranking, climbing four places to finish tenth. But the improvement was largely due to performing better in several of the FT’s international metrics–things that are not measured by U.S. News.

The fact that Fuqua, Darden and Yale failed to to edge their way into U.S. News’ Top 10 shows how entrenched the top of the rankings have become. MBA programs that are widely recognized as the best have brands that are nearly unshakeable. That’s especially true at the top of a list where the core metrics, such as average GMAT and GPA scores, starting salaries and bonus, and placement rates, often change little from year to year.


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 will be the second year U.S. News will include GRE scores in its ranking methodology.

U.S. News said it surveyed 453 accredited master’s programs in business to come up with this year’s ranking. In alphabetical order, here are the Top 10 highest-ranked business schools with their rank from last year:

School (state)
8) Columbia University (NY)
9) Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH)
1) Harvard University (MA)
4) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
10) New York University (Stern)
4) Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL)
1) Stanford University (CA)
7) University of California—Berkeley (Haas)
6) University of Chicago (Booth)
3) University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

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 11.


  • JustCurious

    I honestly don’t know how Ross is ranked that high with a 40% admit rate last year.. and 33% this year. These admit rates are way above its considered peers (NYU, Darden, Cornell, Duke, etc)

  • Given my earlier observations regarding short-term versus long-term measurements, I thought I’d take a look at the BW rankings over time and see what they describe. There’s many ways to analyze this data ( but here are a few observations (US data only, 1988-2012, 13 rankings).

    In the history of the BW rankings there have only been 11 different schools that have ever been ranked in the Top 5 (the number of times in the Top 5 and average ranking shown):

    – Kellogg (13/13 times, average rank 2.23)
    – Wharton (13/13 times, average rank 2.62)
    – Harvard (13/13 times, average rank 3.31)
    – Booth (10/13 times, average rank 3.77)
    – Ross (5/13 times, average rank 5.77)
    – Stanford (6/13 times, average rank 6.23)
    – Fuqua (1/13 times, average rank 9.08)
    – MIT Sloan (1/13 times, average rank 9.77)
    – Tuck (1/13 times, average rank 10.23)
    – Darden (1/13 times, average rank 11.15)
    – Johnson (1/13 times, average rank 11.23)

    If we arbitrarily eliminate the schools that broke into the Top 5 only once, that means that there are only six US business schools that have managed to be ranked in the Top 5 by BW more than once. Moreover, the 60% of the schools ranked among the Top 5 in the US since 1988 have not changed! This means that only three schools have always been in the Top 5 (Kellogg, Wharton, Harvard) and generally three other schools have fought over the other two slots (Booth, Ross, Stanford) for 24 years.

    To be sure, there’s lots of ways to analyze this data (e.g., the variability of one school’s rankings over time; the direction of the trend of one school’s ranking over time). I think that the observations shared above, however, underscore how little new data really appear in any rankings.

  • avivalasvegas

    To be honest, the differences between Stern and the Fuquas and Dardens of the world are marginal. So no big loss to them and no big gain for Stern really.

  • marin

    The best and most reliable ranking- by far- is US news. Where is Stern and where is Fugua, Yale, and Darden. I know it hurts but its just a better school. Sorry.

  • castor

    Then Yale is 3rd + rate?