2011 U.S. News Ranking of the Best B-Schools

An “under the roof” analysis of U.S. News’ 2011 ranking shows how miniscule–and often inconsequential–differences in a single metric can have a major impact on the rank of a business school. We dug through the eight different pieces of data U.S. News uses to rank schools and organized it in a simple table for further scrutiny. (See the following page for the next 25 top schools in the U.S. News ranking).

THE 2010 U.S. NEWS MBA RANKING AND THE DATA USED TO CRANK IT OUT.

SchoolIndexPeersRecruitersSelectivityGPAGMATSalaryEmployedLater
1. Stanford1004.84.66.8%3.69728$131,94975.8%92.4%
2. Harvard984.84.511.2%3.67724$131,75978.6%90.1%
3, MIT934.74.413.0%3.57718$125,90575.6%88.9%
3. Wharton934.84.516.8%3.50718$132,57972.5%84.2%
5. Kellogg924.74.519.9%3.52714$123,99675.2%86.5%
5. Booth924.74.422.3%3.52715$126,77975.8%88.6%
7. Tuck884.24.220.3%3.50716$128,01380.0%93.3%
7. Berkeley884.54.111.6%3.63718$120,16464.9%87.0%
9. Columbia874.44.315.3%3.50712$123,48667.2%89.6%
10. NYU814.14.013.2%3.42715$121,86773.7%86.4%
10. Yale814.14.017.3%3.52722$113,22664.1%89.5%
12. Duke784.34.123.7%3.40697$118,92363.6%76.9%
13. Virginia774.04.126.3%3.41699$119,27869.0%82.7%
14. UCLA764.13.929.0%3.53710$108,80654.2%80.6%
14. Michigan764.34.025.4%3.40704$116,20159.8%72.1%
16. Cornell744.14.123.4%3.25687$112,03966.8%85.9%
17. Texas723.93.724.0%3.43684$108,88664.8%89.7%
18. Tepper693.93.627.5%3.23694$106,06669.7%88.9%
19. UNC683.83.936.1%3.30686$111,32760.3%78.6%
20. Olin673.63.528.6%3.48695$90,76761.0%92.7%
21. Carlson663.63.530.3%3.50694$97,29863.0%82.7%
21. USC663.83.522.0%3.30690$101,81053.6%87.7%
23. Emory653.73.533.3%3.34680$100,30057.2%87.3%
23. Indiana653.73.741.7%3.31664$101,20670.1%83.8%
25. Georgetown643.53.442.5%3.37684$103,67658.0%88.1%

SOURCE: U.S. News & World Report 2011 MBA Ranking

How to Read the Above Table:

School: To fit all the data in the table above, we used the shortest possible name of the school. That’s why some schools are identified by their university names and others by the name of the business school.

Index: The total score that U.S. News assigns to a school. U.S. News says the “data were standardized about their means, and school scores were weighted, totalled, and rescaled so that the top school received 100; others received their percentage of the top score.”

Peers: This is the peer assessment score (the highest possible score is a 5.0) that comes from U.S. News’ survey of “business school deans and directors” of accredited master’s programs in business. The magazine asks B-school officials to rate programs on a scale from “marginal” (1) to “outstanding” (5). A school’s score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. It accounts for the largest single weight in the survey, 25% of the final ranking.

Recruiters: This is the recruiter assessment score (the highest possible score is a 5.0) that comes from U.S. News’ survey of “corporate recruiters and company contacts” from MBA programs previously ranked by U.S. News. They are asked to rate full-time programs on a scale of “marginal” (1) to “outstanding” (5). A school’s score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. U.S. News averages the two most recent years of these results. It has a weight of 15% of the final ranking.

Selectivity: The percentage of applicants who are accepted for admission to the class that was entered in the fall of 2010. This metric is self-reported by the schools and has a weight of only 1.25% in the final ranking.

GPA: The average undergraduate grade-point average of students entering the full-time program in fall of 2010. This metric is self-reported by the schools and accounts for 7.5% of the final ranking.

GMAT: The average GMAT score of students entering the full-time program in the fall of 2010. Scores range from a low of 200 to a high of 800. This metric is self-reported by the schools and accounts for 16.25% of the final ranking.

Salary: The average starting salary and bonus of 2010 graduates of a full-time master’s program in business. U.S. News says that “salary figures are based on the number of graduates who reported data. The mean signing bonus is weighted by the proportion of those graduates who reported a bonus, because not everyone who reported a base salary figure reported a signing bonus.” This metric accounts for 14% of the final ranking.

Employed: Employment rate for 2010 graduates at graduation. Those not seeking jobs or for whom no job-seeking information is available are excluded. This metric accounts for 7% of the final ranking.

Later: Employment rate for 2010 graduates three months after graduation. This metric is given a weight of 14% of the final ranking.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.