U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 MBA Ranking

To rank the best graduate business schools, U.S. News and World Report pretty much throws nearly everything into the mix except the kitchen sink. We’re not kidding: The methodology takes into account its own survey of b-school deans and MBA directors (25% of the score), corporate recruiters (15%), starting salaries and bonuses (14%), employment rates at and shortly after graduation (14% to 7%), student GMATs (about 16%), undergrad GPAs (about 8%), and the percentage of applicants who are accepted to a school (a little over 1%). U.S. News ranks 97 schools in the 2010 ranking.


U.S. News puts Harvard Business School (above) in a direct tie for first with Stanford.

Pro: U.S. News puts a good deal of effort into the ranking, cranks it out on an annual basis, and measures a lot of different factors that are clear indicators of quality. There are a lot of ties in its ranking of schools (four schools, for example, are tied at rank 33, while another four are tied at rank 40). That’s to be applauded because U.S. News is acknowledging that the differences are so small among these schools that it would be intellectually dishonest to say one is better than the other. On the other hand, it would be even better if U.S. News provided readers with index numbers that show in more detail how close these ranks actually are.

Con: About 60% of the ranking is based on data supplied by schools who therefore have plenty of reason to present the information in the best possible light to get a better ranking. There’s no way to independently check or audit the data provided by business schools. Unlike the Financial Times, there is no audit of school-provided information. The ranking also is completely U.S.-centric when there are many non-U.S. schools with better programs not listed at all. Finally, some of the ingredients in this ranking stew seem a bit silly: Why even bother to include the percentage of applicants accepted when you weight it at little more than one percent? U.S. News also rates business schools in an overall survey of graduate education so its reported information on individual business programs is fairly skimpy.

Here’s U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 ranking and how it compares to the other major rankings.

U.S. News Rank & SchoolP&QBWForbesFTEconomist
1.  Harvard Business School12335
1.  Stanford School of Business26147
3.  MIT (Sloan)8914819
4.  Northwestern (Kellogg)7382215
5.  Chicago (Booth)31494
5.  Pennsylvania (Wharton)44529
7.  Dartmouth College (Tuck)5122146
7.  California-Berkeley (Haas)91012283
9.  Columbia Business School676620
9. New York (Stern)1013171313
11. Yale School of Management1524101627
12. Michigan (Ross)125182825
13. Virginia (Darden)131693124
14. Duke (Fuqua)118132028
15. UCLA (Anderson)1614193350
16. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)1719233433
16. University of Texas-Austin1921115249
18. Cornell (Johnson)141173632
19. Washington Univ. (Olin)2628415065
20. Southern California (Marshall)2325325736
21. Ohio State (Fisher)34ST396745
21. North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)1817154639
23. Indiana-Bloomington (Kelley)2015255746
24. Georgetown (McDonough)24ST313848
24. Minnesota (Carlson)31ST267562
26. Georgia Institute of Technology322944NRNR
27. Arizona State ((Carey)42ST5689NR
27. Emory (Goizueta)2123223452
27. Univ. of Rochester (Simon)36ST3748NR
27. Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison39NR356754
31. Boston University40ST6161NR
31. Notre Dame (Mendoza)2520387134
33. Brigham Young (Marriott)22221683NR
33. Texas A&M (Mays)37NR2454NR
33. Univ. of Washington (Foster)2827407831
36. Purdue (Krannert)41ST4554NR
36. California-Irvine (Merage)44ST5872NR
36. Vanderbilt (Owen)3030305764
39. Boston College (Carroll)47NR4647NR
39. Rice University (Jones)46NR474477
39. Florida (Hough)NRNRNR77NR
42. Univ. of California-DavisNRNRNRNRNR
42. Illinois-Urbana Champaign48ST635287
42. Univ. of Iowa (Tippie)33ST206461
45. Univ. of Maryland (Smith)2726294351
46. Michigan State (Broad)35ST2165NR
46. Wake Forest (Babcock)45NR34NR77
48. Penn State (Smeal)43NR28NR58
49. Southern Methodist (Cox)2918339688
50. Univ. of Arkansas (Walton)NRNRNRNRNR
50. Univ. of Texas-DallasNRNRNRNRNR


Footnotes: NR means not rated by the publication. ST means “second tier,” the rating given to 15 schools by BusinessWeek after it ranks the top 30.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2010 ranking