U.S. News & World Report will make public its annual rankings of full-time MBA programs on March 14th.
For U.S. business schools, the closely-followed U.S. News list is arguably the most influential of all the business school rankings. While the ranking fails to include schools outside the U.S. and, like all rankings, contains several significant flaws, a school’s standing on the list can deeply impact application volumes, alumni contributions, and faculty recruitment.
The new list from U.S. News, which has been ranking full-time MBA programs since 1989, follows the release of the Financial Times‘ MBA ranking in late January. That list put INSEAD on top for the second year in a row (see INSEAD Repeats As No. 1 In 2017 FT Ranking).
Last year, U.S. News assigned numerical ranks to 94 schools last year, ending the list with three schools tied at a rank of 92: the University of Houston, the University of Kentucky and the University of Mississippi. As many as ten MBA programs fell completely out of the ranking in 2016, including the the University of Oregon, Auburn University, Clemson, and Thunderbird.
THE BIG ISSUES TO WATCH FOR IN THE NEW U.S. NEWS RANKING
This year, the big looming questions are many:
- Will Harvard Business School repeat as the No. 1 MBA program? Last year, Stanford not only lost its No. 1 ranking to Harvard. Worse, the school shared second place with the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business which achieved its highest ranking ever on the list.
- Will NYU’s Stern School of Business recover from what many perceive as unfair treatment from U.S. News? Last year, Stern plummeted to 20th place from 11th, an unusual drop of nine places for a first-tier school because U.S. News said the school initially failed to submit the number of new MBA students who provided standardized test scores.
- How high will Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School rise in the new ranking? The school’s stats will include its first cohort taking advantage of an unprecedented free MBA program. The significantly improved statistics on GMAT and GPA scores and acceptance rates will, no doubt, boost the school. The only issue is by how much? Last year, the school dropped five places to finish 35th. It’s possible Carey could crack the Top 25 for the first time ever.
- Can Yale’s School of Management hold on to its Top Ten rank in U.S. News? Last year, SOM jumped five places to rank eighth, its highest ranking ever in U.S. News. But gaining that lofty spot meant that Yale pushed past Columbia Business School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, the University of Virginia’s Darden School, New York University’s Stern School of Business, the University of Michigan’s Ross School, and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business to enter the Top Ten.
HOW U.S. NEWS RANKS FULL-TIME MBA PROGRAMS
The methodology used by U.S. News 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). It also does its own survey of corporate recruiters (accounting for 15% of the overall ranking). U.S. News s averages the recruiter scores over the past three years for the ranking.
Other metrics included in the ranking are 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 fifth year U.S. News includes GRE scores in its ranking methodology.
While the metrics employed by U.S. News may appear to make sense, they yield very close results–in many cases the difference between an MBA program ranked 35 and 40 is statistically meaningless. Last year’s fall of NYU Stern in the ranking proves this point. The school’s peer and recruiter scores didn’t change at all year over year. The average GPA and GMAT for the incoming cohort was just about the same, 3.51 last year versus 3.52 a year earlier, and 720 this year compared to 721, respectively. The Class of 2015 actually had higher starting salaries and bonuses of $137,534, up from $135,933.
DON’T MISS: BIG CHANGES IN U.S. NEWS’ RANKING IN 2016