McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Duke Fuqua | Mr. National Security Advisor
GMAT 670, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Mr. Inclusive Consultant
GMAT 650, GPA 6.7
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Midwest Startup
GRE 328, GPA 3.51
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Harvard | Mr. Investment Banker
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Consulting Analyst
GMAT 700, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Hopeful CXO
GMAT 750, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
Yale | Mr. Fencer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48
INSEAD | Mr. Indian In Cambodia
GMAT 730, GPA 3.33
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Tuck | Mr. South African FinTech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.08
London Business School | Mr. Green Energy
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
IU Kelley | Ms. Marketing Manager
GRE 294, GPA 2.5
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Nonprofit Admin
GMAT 620, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Class President
GRE 319.5, GPA 3.76
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Tuck | Mr. Metamorphosis
GRE 324, GPA 3.15
IMD | Mr. Future Large Corp
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Government Consultant
GMAT 600, GPA 3

Who’s the B-School King of Finance?

The finance departments of both Cornell University’s Johnson School and the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business tumbled six places today (March 15) in U.S. News & World Report’s new 2011 ranking of the best B-schools for finance. It was the steepest fall of any of the 28 schools on U.S. News’ specialty ranking for finance.

Cornell dropped to 24th from 18th place last year, while Texas fell to 21st from 15th in the finance discipline ranking. Yale’s School of Management also lost ground in finance, down four places to a rank of 17th from 13th in 2010. Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business also fell four spots to 24th from 20th last year.

Wharton, Chicago and New York University retained their No. 1, 2 and 3 places, respectively. No. 4 Stanford slipped ahead of No. 5 Columbia Business School, which had the four spot in 2010. Harvard Business School, according to U.S. News, fell two places to a rank of 9th in finance, from 7th last year.

The U.S. News specialty ranking in finance–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 (see story on overall rankings biggest winners and losers.)

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.The longer the list, the thinner this data gets–leading to some odd results. The finance ranking points up the problem: Tied for 24th place are two of three business schools–Seattle University in Seattle and St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia–that never make more credible lists of the best business schools.

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. And of all the disciplines taught at graduate business schools, finance usually reigns supreme. It’s where most schools put the single largest chunk of their resources, from faculty to the courses in the catalog. After all, finance is the language of business, and so even this flawed ranking of the best finance departments at U.S. business schools is worth a look.

The biggest year-over-year winners on the list? Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business had the largest gain, moving up six places to 17th from 23rd last year. Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School rose three spots to finish 13th, up from 16th a year earlier.

There are five new schools on the list: No. 14 Fordham University in New York, No. 17 Loyola University in Chicago, No. 21 Creighton University in Omaha, No. 24 Seattle University in Seattle, and the No. 24 University of Florida in Gainesville. Two schools dropped off the list from last year: No. 23 Xavier University’s Williams School of Business and No. 25 Loyola Marymount University (see next page for complete rankings and year-over-year comparisons).

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.