U.S. News Ranking: The Deans Respond
S. Selcuk Erenguc (Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Programs), University of Florida (Hough) (Rose 1 Index Point)
“This ranking reflects the notable achievements of our first-rate students, talented faculty and devoted MBA staff.”
Our Take: Achievement? You dropped 5 spots! Don’t schools stop giving awards for participation after 8th grade? Then again, maybe he’s sending a message (or just trying to change the subject).
Sarah Neher (Associate Dean for Admissions) University of Virginia (Darden) (Rose 1 spot)
“What’s different for business schools is that there are five [important] rankings, and U.S. News is just one of them. When we put the five together it tells us something about how we compare…As long as we feel like we’re the best teaching school, we’re fine being 11. But in The Economist we’re number 4 in the world … [and] they use a lot of teaching metrics.”
Our Take: So there! Take that! Darden defends its turf: ‘We’re a teaching school, first-and-foremost. If you don’t value teaching, we could care less about your ranking. And if you do, we’ll be happy to cite your ranking.’ One thing: Comparing five rankings is like building the Tower of Babel. Trust us on that one.
Kerry Healey (President), Babson (Olin) (#65)
“This continued success reflects the commitment of the Babson community to educate and prepare entrepreneurial leaders who create economic and social value everywhere.”
Our Take: What else can she say? Babson has been the top entrepreneurship program for 21 straight years! When you’re the best, you don’t need to say much.
Rajeev Tyagi (Interim Dean), U.C.-Irvine (Merage), (Rose 4 Spots)
“The rise in GPA of our incoming students and the ability to be more selective in our acceptance rate are indicators of our momentum and the rigors of our programs. We are also receiving positive reinforcement from recruiter assessments which, along with rises in salary and bonus rates for our graduating students, is driving a continued positive impact on our rankings.”
Our Take: Tyagi takes a page from Cincinnati’s Symanski’s playbook: ‘Our rankings are rising because we’re enrolling less riff-raff than previous years. As a result, our program has grown more rigorous.’ Take heart, Merage alums. At least these new students are making your MBAs more valuable, in theory at least.
Edward Watson (MBA Program Director), Louisiana State (Dropped 6 Spots)
“We did not have the splash factor of the new Business Education Complex opening, like last year, to influence peer review factors. Given the nature of this market, we held up extremely well.”
Our Take: Just what any stakeholder wants to hear: ‘Last year was based off a gimmick’ and ‘It could be worse.’ Now, that’s salesmanship! Just one question: What’s in the pipeline to influence the peer review next year?
Dean M. Moshe Porat, Temple (Fox) (Rose 10 Spots)
“The Fox School’s continued ascent in national and international rankings is affirmation by the marketplace of our high-quality programs, but we will not rest on our laurels. As always, we want to keep Fox on the forefront of management training and are accomplishing this by focusing on competency-based education that emphasizes cross boundaries – in terms of disciplines, cultures and much more.”
Our Take: Top 50? Not too shabby. And the allusion to Adam Smith’s ‘hidden hand’ is a nice touch. You have to respect Porat’s emphasis on pushing onward and upward. As he’ll realize, getting into the top 50 is actually easier than staying there.
Dean Eli Jones, Arkansas (Walton) (#55)
“At a time when general public sentiment is that college graduates are struggling to get jobs, it is especially gratifying to know that Walton graduates are not only securing careers, they are getting a higher starting pay, on average, than past years. This reflects the powerful connectivity we have to corporations and is a testament to the work of our outstanding faculty, staff and students.”
Our Take: It’s all about jobs and pay. And Jones is hitting all the right notes, alluding to opportunities for internships and experience. Despite a 92% placement rate within three months of graduation, Walton still needs to work on that $64,664 starting salary though.