Winners & Losers In The 2011 U.S. News MBA Ranking

Oklahoma State Spears School of Business is ranked 86th among the top 100 business schools in the U.S. by Poets&Quants.

Oklahoma State Spears School of Business

There were some very big losers in the new 2011 U.S. News ranking today (March 15). The University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business plunged 25 spots to 91st place from 66th in 2010; New York’s Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business fell 23 places to 105 from a rank of 82 last year.

How is it possible for an MBA program to fall by such large numbers in a single year? Frankly, it wouldn’t be very possible at all if the ranking had greater authority. More than a measure of the fall in quality of any school, these huge differences in a 12-month period are more indicative of the flaws in U.S. News’ methodology. In many cases, extreme volaility suggests that the differences among schools are so small as to be statistically insignificant. So very small changes in what U.S. News measures can cause wide swings in the year-over-year results.

U.S. News does not make it easy to do an analysis of winners and losers because the magazine does not include the previous year’s rank for any school in its latest survey. Neither does it include the previous year’s data upon which the ranking is based. (One other note: As a marketing ploy, U.S. News claims this is a 2012 ranking to give it greater shelf life. It is based on 2010 data and released in 2011 which is why we label it a 2011 ranking.)

In any case, there were at least 19 business schools on the new U.S. News list that fell by eight or more places in a single year (see table on the next page). The schools that lost ground in the survey showed far more dramatic movement than the schools that were able to rise in the U.S. News rankings.

The biggest winners this year? The University of California at Davis and Texas Christian’s Neeley School of Business, both of which gained 14 places. Davis’ B-school moved up to 28th place from 47th, while Neeley jumped to 80 from 94. Davis’ gains allowed it to pull ahead of rival California at Irvine’s Merage School of Business, which fell four spots to 40th place this year.



School 2011 Rank 2010 Rank Difference
Oklahoma (Price) 91 66 -25
Hofstra University (Zarb) 105 82 -23
Florida State 94 75 -19
Drexel University (LeBow) 107 89 -18
University of Rochester (Simon) 45 27 -18
North Carolina State (Jenkins) 83 66 -17
Purdue (Krannert) 49 36 -13
Thunderbird 75 62 -13
Oregon (Lundquist) 91 79 -12
St. Louis (Cook) 94 82 -12
Syracuse (Whitman) 69 59 -10
Fordham University 97 87 -10
Southern Methodist (Cox) 57 49 -8
William & Mary (Mason) 83 75 -8
Baylor (Hankamer) 60 52 -8
Arizona (Eller) 63 55 -8
Oklahoma State (Spears) 97 89 -8
Florida (Hough) 47 39 -8

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



School 2011 Rank 2010 Rank Difference
California-Davis 28 42 +14
Texas Christian (Neeley) 80 94 +14
Texas-Dallas 40 50 +10
Connecticut (Storrs) 69 79 +10
CUNY-Baruch 85 94 +9
Vanderbilt (Owen) 28 36 +8
Claremont (Drucker) 63 71 +8
Pepperdine (Graziado) 75 82 +7
California-Santa Clara (Leavey) 75 82 +7
Northeastern 56 62 +6

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

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business fell 50 places in this ranking from 57th to 107th. In fact, Rollins fell seven places from 100th to 107th. We regret the error.





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