Can These B-Schools Create Another Jobs or Zuckerberg?

Entrepreneurial studies at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management did a swan dive yesterday (March 15) in U.S. News & World Report’s new 2011 specialty ranking for entrepreneurship. Kellogg plummeted 11 full places to a rank of 22nd from 11th last year, the deepest fall of any of the 28 schools on U.S. News’ specialty ranking for entrepreneurship.

Not surprisingly, Babson College again held on to the top spot in entrepreneurship, followed by Stanford, MIT’s Sloan School, Harvard Business School and Wharton–exactly the same top five on U.S. News’ 2010 list. Harvard failed to gain ground despite major efforts to both increase and more aggressively promote its entrepreneurship activity on the Boston campus.

Entrepreneurship is one of the hottest areas of study at many top business schools. A higher percentage of graduates are now pursuing startups today than at any other time with the sole exception of the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. So which schools have the best programs in entrepreneurship have taken on greater meaning than ever before. That’s why U.S. News’ take is likely to get more attention than it has in the past.

Besides Kellogg’s 11-point plunge, North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School lost ground, dropping eight places to 20th from 12th last year, and Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business also fell eight spots to 24th from 16th.

The U.S. News specialty ranking in entrepreneurship–released along with the magazine’s overall ratings of the best business schools–is based entirely on a poll of deans and MBA program directors. U.S. News asks B-school administrators to name and rank the finance departments of the schools, even though they are likely to have no direct knowledge of these programs. Respondents then are largely selecting schools on the basis of their overall reputations in a given field–and they will likely name their own schools on the survey even if they don’t deserve to be there.

This flaw was highlighted recently by New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell in a scathing critique of the U.S. News methodology for its overall ranking of colleges.

Nonetheless, the U.S. News poll is a proxy for the general reputation and image of a school in a core teaching area and worth some bragging rights.

The biggest year-over-year gainers were Rice University’s Jones School of Business, which moved up seven places to 14th from 21st, and St. Louis University’s Cook School of Business, which rose eight spots to a rank of 13th from 21st. The increase by St. Louis University, the largest one-year gain of any school in entrepreneurship, now means that the school is ranked much higher than Northwestern–a highly improbable result that will only go to increase the controversy surrounding these rankings.

U.S. News put four new schools on its entrepreneurship list: No. 20 Maryland, and three schools tied for 24th, Brigham Young, Marquette, and Rensselaer Polytechnic’s Lally School of Business. One business school fell off the ranking list: DePaul University’s Kellstadt School, which was ranked 24th last year.

School & 2011 U.S. News Rank 2010 Rank Difference
1. Babson College (Olin) Babson Park, MA 1 ——
2. Stanford Graduate School of Business Palo Alto, CA 2 ——
3. MIT (Sloan) Cambridge, MA 3 ——
4. Harvard Business School Boston, MA 4 ——
5. Pennsylvania (Wharton) Philadelphia, PA 5 ——
6. California-Berkeley (Haas) Berkeley, CA 7 +1
7. Texas-Austin (McCombs) Austin, TX 9 +2
8. Southern California (Marshall) Los Angeles, CA 7 -1
9. Indiana-Bloomington (Kelley) Bloomington, IN 6 -3
10. University of Arizona (Eller) Tucson, AZ 10 ——
11. Michigan (Ross) Ann Arbor, MI 12 +1
11. California-Los Angeles (Anderson) Los Angeles, CA 16 +5
13. St. Louis University (Cook) St. Louis, MO 21 +8
14. Chicago (Booth) Chicago, IL 14 ——
14. Virginia (Darden) Charlottesville, VA 16 +2
14. University of Washington (Foster) Seattle, WA 16 +2
14. Rice University (Jones) Houston, TX 21 +7
14. Syracuse University (Whitman) Syracuse, NY 16 +2
19. Columbia Business School New York, NY 14 -5
20. University of Maryland (Smith) College Park, MD NR New on list
20. North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) Chapel Hill, NC 20 -8
22. Northwestern University (Kellogg) Evanston, IL 11 -11
23. New York University (Stern) New York, NY 21 -2
24. Brigham Young (Marriott) Provo, UT NR New on list
24. Marquette University Milwaukee, WI NR New on list
24. Rensselaer Polytechnic (Lally) Troy, NY NR New on list
24. Santa Clara University (Leavey) Santa Clara, CA 24 -8

SOURCE: 2011 and 2010 U.S. News specialty ranking for best schools in entrepreneurship.


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