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?

  • Bob Marley

    As to point 4, The University of Chicago is not “replacing” Wharton, it is taking its rightful place as the ‘father’ of modern finance … and making a run for leadership in marketing and strategy.

  • Bob Marley

    Who cares about those people?

  • Yale

    Stern is just second rate.

  • FutureSupplicant

    1. The question isn’t whats claimed by b-schools, its whats true…So I have no idea what your first point has to do with anything.

    2. The question I asked was with regards to Kellogg and MIT. I don’t see what about either program would lead you to rank Kellogg ahead of MIT. If anything the wider course offerings and more accomplished MIT (university wide) network would push MIT ahead.

    3. While the Entrepreneurship space leans strongly towards Stanford, the Technology space itself would lean towards MIT (If you surveyed people globally you’d overwhelmingly see that MIT is the bigger technology name (actually brand wise MIT would be second only to Harvard), and with the LGO program its hard to compete with in that area).

    4. I’m trying to not get caught up in the whole “Wharton is falling” hype of the last year. What matters is hiring stats, and if you look at them you’ll see that Wharton is doing just fine. The idea that Wharton is being “replaced” by Booth is actually laughable.

  • Brick

    Sorting the schools alphabetically instead of numerically has caused me great distress

  • avivalasvegas

    The truth according to you my friend

  • Dutch Ducre

    it’s the truth, sorry

  • avivalasvegas

    You realize that all 3 of your criteria are claimed to be offered by every single business school out there,right?

    Sloan is a great school, worthy of M7 status. But the whole Tech/ Entrepreneurship space is dominated by Stanford. Sloan plays second fiddle there. Booth appears to be replacing the space occupied by Wharton, if recent rankings and negative Wharton publicity are any indicators. And Kellogg is a pure strategy play with an overemphasis on Marketing and just plain nicer people than higher ranked Harvard.

  • avivalasvegas

    I have only one question for you Dutch. What have you been smoking?

  • fwr

    What are the reasons?

  • port

    If you factor in the cost of living in NY, Fuqua absolutely massacres Stern.

  • aerlajkf

    $3000? Big deal.

  • Ivy

    The Forbes ROI rankings place Duke way above Stern. What you’re saying seems to corroborate the fact that Duke students perform better once they graduate.

  • Results.Matter

    So in essence, what you’re saying is that Duke takes in worse students and delivers better results. That’s the mark of a better B-school in my opinion.

  • NYU_is_for_stupid_rich_kids


  • P&Q

    Yes, because your opinion matters more than P&Q’s weighted ranking of B-schools.

  • Renault

    Why? They still make the most money by far.

  • Dutch Ducre

    you can say that again. IBD is a dinosaur model that is going nowhere fast

  • Dutch Ducre

    Kellogg does not even enter the b-school discussion, that school was relevant like 2 decades ago. Many people think Booth is a city college.

  • AIG_Quant

    Another Stern Follies member.

  • AIG_Quant

    I’m guessing you are a member of Stern’s Follies group because you are pretty funny!

  • FutureSuplicant

    In your view what separates MIT Sloan from Kellogg. If I were choosing schools, i’d want to attend the ones that

    1. Offered great professors/ courses
    2. Had a great reputation globally variables that are me specific and irrelevant to anyone else.

    In my view MIT at least ties Kellogg in that regards. The MIT brand name, the amazing professors, the cross registration with all MIT graduate schools (not to mention HBS/HKS/HLS courses as well). Combine that with the intimate feel of a small school with a strong entrepreneurship culture (just a personal preference), and i’d rank them above Kellogg.

    Disclaimer: Wharton/Kellogg/Booth/MIT are amazing schools which I will 100% be applying to next year haha.

  • C L


  • While the last thing the work needs is another MBA ranking, there are some common shortcomings this discussion has highlighted that create an opportunity for something that can actually be more useful:

    1. Long-term vs Short-term: Ask anyone thinking about earning an MBA and they’ll talk about their career plans, not the first job they’ll get when they graduate. Sure, that job is a launching point for the decades of a career that follows, but wouldn’t it be more interesting to see how MBA graduates fare 10, or 20 years out of their MBA experience than 12 months? Long-term data are hard to collect; short-term data are easy to collect. The convenience sample of first salaries out of an MBA really don’t align with the career-based motivation to earn an MBA.

    2. Trend Analysis: In discussing ranking people sometimes refer to what they looked like last year, but all of the schools in these rankings have been in the MBA business for decades. There are years and years of data to look at. If School X has been in fifth place plus or minus two for the past 20 years then there’s likely very little new information in this year’s rankings. There’s far too much emphasis on this year’s rankings whenever they’re published.

    3. Compression = Noise: As noted below, many schools separated in the rank ordering of their scores have, in fact, very similar score. I am taller than you if I’m 6′ and you’re 5’11.5″ – who cares? All of this compression of scores suggests that much of what separates schools next to each other in ranking is noise.

    4. What’s Important to you?: The differences across so many ranking “systems” almost invalidates all of them as useful. The variance of the rank of some schools across rankings is so huge that it sometimes seems incredible. I’m not sure many consumers of MBA ranking data take the time to read the basis of the ranking and see if that publication weights MBA program characteristics the same way they would. Caveat emptor.

    I pass the soapbox to the next speaker.

  • Scott

    Yeah totally right except you know you want to get paid better…or get into consulting…or general management. But who really goes to b-school just to get paid better (for instance better than Stern grads) and get a job with MBB or a F500? Oh wait most people these days.

  • avivalasvegas

    Those days are gone. Wharton no longer stands in between the rest of the M7 and H/S.

    2) Wharton, Kellogg, Booth
    3) MIT, Columbia
    4) Tuck, Haas
    5) Everybody else

  • james

    You have to swallow it- Fugua is a great school. BUT lets face it it is not at the caliber of Stern.

  • james

    Top 10 IS top 10. There IS top 10 and then- there IS top 15 and then, IS the rest

  • james

    In fact much harder…

  • sara

    Stern is a way better school than Darden and Duke. Stern’s Dean is amazing and they make every single effort to improve and remain to the very top. In addition Stern has among the top 5 globaly most cut-throat admissions difficulty and is much harder to get into than other schools and even CBS.

  • avivalasvegas

    These rankings always get the Fuqua and Darden folks up in arms. Its a hard pill to swallow, so can’t say I blame them. Great schools..just not better than the 10 above them

  • jim

    you are right of course that there is no cutoff and little difference in the real world, but the arbitrary fact that we use the base 10 system makes it feel a little bit less prestigious. (although that feeling generally only applies to the people who actually went to that uni… hah).

    BTW this is coming from a proud blue devil…

  • Renault

    Not really.

    Anyone who knows about business school knows that there’s no real cutoff at the number ten — it’s H/S, then W, then the rest of the M7+Tuck (and maybe Haas if you’re a West Coaster), then the rest of the top ~15.

  • It’s Whatever

    Put it this way, 10-17 or 18 are one tier and Anderson is definitely in it. Just because the graduates want to stay in CA (and after this winter, maybe not a bad idea!) should not reduce it’s reputation. People have to get over this idea that there is this huge canyon between 9 and for example, 12.

  • devils0508

    I went to stern for undergrad, I was not impressed by the school at all, and no way was I going to apply to it for mba. Columbia is so much better than it (and Columbia is much weaker than Wharton/booth), I think Duke deserves the 10th spot also. I think Duke just needs to get their GMAT and GPA metrics up a bit, they seem to care about GMAT during admissions much less than other top schools for some reason.

  • andersonapplicant

    As an Anderson applicant (hoping to get admitted soon), I regard it as a Top 15. However, if you want to work in the West Coast and California especially (where it has a strong reputation in the tech industry), I think it soars near the top of the schools that you would want to apply to. It’s still a regional school compared to its peers in the Top 15, but partly b/c those interested in going to school in CA usually want to stick around in CA.

  • jim

    In opportunities, I agree. In prestige, of course there is a difference :).

  • Duke Alumnus

    Hence why I believe Stern is fine where it is (#10 spot) and not ranked above CBS. My comment was geared towards the people who think Yale and Duke deserve to be ranked above it.

  • Renault

    That’s only half of it (yes, Columbia University is far more prestigious than NYU as a whole).

    The other half is that, well, CBS beats Stern on pretty much every metric available (except location — NYU wins that fight handily). How could you argue that Stern is better than Columbia? (This is not meant to be a hostile question.)

  • Renault

    Ha, another error (you can delete my previous post): not the bulk of IBD pay, but it forms a substantial percentage of total comp versus other industries.

    I need a coffee.

  • Renault

    To add: the bulk of IBD pay is non-guaranteed bonus.

  • Renault

    I imagine the salary data gets skewed by the fact that Stern sends 30% of its class to IBD, while Fuqua usually only sends about 10%.

    Though they make far more in total compensation than all other non-elite (PE, VC, HF) MBA grads, bankers are only salaried at $100k to start (which definitely throws the numbers off a bit).

  • Renault

    Why is it a sad day? There is no real difference (in opportunities, in prestige, etc.) between #10 and #11.

  • Duke Alumnus

    I think NYU deserves it’s spot at #10 (not sure where it’ll move this year but any higher than that starts to become a little questionable). The school has world class faculty and the students and placement rates are top caliber. I get the sense that many of you don’t think Stern belongs because NYU as a whole isn’t as prestigious as the other Universities ranked ahead or below it.

  • Renault

    Stern is not in the same league as Columbia (or Tuck, for that matter).

  • WaitingOnWord

    Did Anderson really have a chance to get into the Top 10? Isn’t the gulf between Tuck or Stern and Anderson a little to big to bridge in one year?

  • bwanamia

    It’s usually not hard to spot the Harvard and Wharton grads, though for different reasons.

  • Matt

    This was well stated, and I agree.

  • bwanamia

    1) I would never rank Columbia ahead of Dartmouth and NYU.
    2) How does Bob Morse rank the ag schools? Yes, the ag schools, a/k/a the non-prestige sector. A glance at his top ten ag schools suggests he’s clueless when he can’t factor in prestige, whatever that is.

    Much of this is just preying on the pathetic status-anxiety of the applicant pool. And where does all that status anxiety come from in Obama’s America?

  • Orange 1

    Dear beloved co-posters, did any of you read the scores provided by John? 10 out to 15 are like the Olympic Men’s downhill where the finishes are within a few hundredths of a second. And John even points out that Fuqua grads earn more than NYU Stern. Any of five or six schools could fill the 10th spot. Don’t know why anyone is baffled by Stern’s ranking. They have some world class professors and students along with a dean who is innovative and interested in cooperative learning. Maybe they don’t market as much as other schools but so what? @KeeponTrucking hit it – graduating from one of the top 20 is something to be proud of. One person I know interviewed at a place where the list included Columbia, Wharton, NYU Stern, and I believe Cornell. Do you think any of the interviewers sat there and said, “I must only hire the Wharton guy because his school is ranked hire”? Take it from someone who has interviewed MBAs – if you hid the BSchool on the resume and just met with them, there is no way you could distinguish where they went.

  • JohnAByrne

    You raise a good point. All of these schools offer sensational MBA programs. But for what it’s worth, Duke MBAs make slightly more than Stern MBAs, even though Stern has the advantage of being in New York. Average salary and bonus for Fuqua MBAs is $136,461 vs. Stern’s $133,919. And that is a surprise. But Stern’s average GMAT score is 30 points higher than Duke’s (720 vs. 690), its average GPA is also higher (3.51 vs. 3.42), and its acceptance rate shows that it is harder to get into than Duke (15.7% vs. 27.5%). Just interesting data.

  • KeepOnTrucking

    When it comes right down to it, especially in the eyes of recruiters, there is almost no difference between 10 or 11. Hell it could come down to the simple math that NYU grads tend to have higher salaries because they tend to stay in the New York area where cost of living is higher.

    Point is, if you are going to any school in the top 20, you have something to be really proud of.

  • Peter

    Guys, all this talk about top something…don’t you know it’s all about the faculty/research and, therefore, about the area of expertise? Stern is a top 3 school for Finance/Banking, so I am not surprised to see it in the top 10 overall. MIT is one of the best places for Entrepreneurship/Innovation, Operations and Economics, so it gets is a top 5 spot overall. Makes sense to me!

  • telly12

    Stern ranked above Fuqua? Nah, sorry

  • Matt

    I’m a little surprised too. Just for me personally, I get a better impression from both Darden and Duke than NYU. Then again I am a southeast kinda guy, so maybe I’m biased.. 😉

  • Matt

    Seems unlikely, IMHO.

  • AIG_Quant

    I’m also surprised Fuqua didn’t crack the top 10 but there’s no reason to be sad about that. The program is ranked 9th on P&Q ranking which IMO is the most accurate ranking out there. I’m still baffled by Sterns high ranking though.

  • MBAapplicant2016

    So, will Ross fall out of the top 15?

  • Duke Alumnus

    Sad day for Fuqua alums.

  • Mike

    John, thanks for the post. I hope Wharton Bashing doesn’t continue this year as well.