U.S. News’ Historical MBA Rankings

A historical look at U.S. News & World Report’s business school rankings is hard to come by. The magazine, which has been ranking business schools annually since 1990, does not publish anything other than the current annual list. In fact, U.S. News doesn’t even reveal what a school’s ranking was a year earlier for simple comparison purposes.

So putting together the table on the following page that tracks the last dozen years of U.S. News data was no easy task. For the top 20 schools, we were able to get a complete set of rankings from 2001 to 2012. It’s a bit more hit and miss for the schools that round out the top 50 (if you have some of the missing information, please let us know so we can fill in the gaps).

The undisputed winners over the past dozen years? The biggest surprise is arguably how stable the ranking has been, particularly for the schools at the very top. The first nine schools on U.S. News’ 2011 list (dated 2012 by U.S. News to extend its shelf life) are pretty much in the same positions as they would be if you factored in their standings over the 12-year period. Instead of a tie, however, Harvard Business School comes out on top, having captured first place in nine of the 12 reported years. Stanford comes next, with five first-place finishes in the past dozen years.

Then, it’s a familiar list of elite schools: No. 3 Wharton, No. 4 MIT Sloan, No. 5 Northwestern University’s Kellogg School, No. 6  the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, No. 7 UC-Berkeley’s Haas School, No. 8 Columbia Business School, and No. 9 Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.

CHICAGO AND YALE HAVE GAINED GROUND WHILE DUKE HAS LOST

Among the top ten schools, Chicago Booth and Yale University’s School of Management have done much better in recent years. Chicago, which had been ninth in 2001, finished in a three-way tie for fourth place this year with MIT and Kellogg. Yale, which was ranked 15th in 2006 and 2005, has placed tenth in three of the past four U.S. News’ rankings.

The most prominent school to lose significant ground over the past 12 years is Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Fuqua had been ranked as high as sixth place in 2002. It has now hovered between 12 and 14th in the past six years and was ranked 12th by U.S. News this year.

Here’s what the top 20 schools look like if you were to combine the rankings over the 12-year period.

A DOZEN YEARS WORTH OF U.S. NEWS’ RANKINGS FROM 2012 TO 2001

Rank & School                         Index   2011 Rank   Highest Rank   Lowest Rank
  1. Harvard Business School100.0112
  2. Stanford GSB99.7112
  3. Pennsylvania (Wharton)98.2325
  4. MIT (Sloan)97.2435
  5. Northwestern (Kellogg)97.1435
  6. Chicago (Booth)95.2449
  7. UC-Berkeley (Haas)93.97610
  8. Columbia 93.3869
  9. Dartmouth (Tuck)92.99610
10. Duke (Fuqua)90.412614
11. New York (Stern)89.711914
12. Michigan (Ross)89.6131014
13. Yale88.6101015
14. Virginia (Darden)88.3131015
15. UCLA (Anderson)87.9151116
16. Cornell (Johnson)85.5161417
17. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)84.2181518
18. Texas-Austin (McCombs)83.3171623
19. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)81.7191721
20. Emory (Goizueta)79.9191827

Source: U.S. News & World Report busines school rankings

(See next page for the full historical list of U.S. News’ MBA Rankings for the top 50 schools) 

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.