When MBA Rankings Lag The Facts

The Overperformers: Alabama, Iowa State Don’t Get The Love

Now, let’s move on to the “overperformers.” These are the business schools that are producing far better than the peer assessments suggest. You won’t find any Top 20 schools here, just those fundamentally-sound, meat-and-potatoes schools from the northeast and the plains states. They may not get the proper respect from the academics, but raw numbers rarely lie. And the campus recruiters know exactly who these schools are (and the caliber of talent who graduate from there).

Here are the top “overperforming” schools, whose overall rank exceeds their peer assessments:

Overall Rank   Peer Rank   School                                                Peer Score   Performance
58 93 University of Alabama (Manderson) 2.7 35
70 102 Iowa State University 2.6 32
37 69 University of Texas-Dallas (Jindal) 2.9 30
52 81 University of Missouri (Trulaske) 2.8 29
79 108 Binghamton SUNY 2.5 29
86 115 University of Albany SUNY 2.4 29
93 121 University of Tulsa (Collins) 2.3 28
58 81 University of Connecticut-Storrs 2.8 23
30 50 Brigham Young University (Marriott) 3.2 20
61 81 Rutgers University-New Brunswick 2.8 20
75 93 City University of New York (Zicklin) 2.7 18
75 93 Buffalo SUNY 2.7 18
51 67 University of Massachusetts (Isenberg) 2.9 16
67 81 University of Oklahoma (Price) 2.8 14
79 93 Texas Christian University 2.7 14
88 102 Oklahoma State University (Spears) 2.6 14
23 34 University of Washington (Foster) 3.4 11
104 115 University of West Virginia 2.4 11
40 50 Boston University 3.2 10
58 67 Temple University 2.9 9

Source: P&Q analysis based on U.S. News & World Report 2014 Business School Rankings

Here, the University of Alabama takes first prize. Best known for its powerhouse football program, this flagship rose 20 spots to 58 in the most recent U.S. News ranking. In fact, four top 50 schools made the “overperformer” list, including the University of Washington (23), Brigham Young University (30), the University of Texas at Dallas (37), and Boston University (40).

Please note that the University of Washington jumped 12 spots to 23rd in the U.S. News 2014 rankings, so it’s hardly surprising that peer assessments were slow to reflect that upward trend. That doesn’t explain the lack of love for the University of Texas at Dallas, which is among the most selective business schools in the United States (with a lower acceptance rate than Booth, Darden, Ross, or Fuqua). Although Brigham Young lacks the sizzle of private institutions on the east coast, its low tuition and top-notch education make it the best-kept secret among business schools. Strangely, two state universities in New York (Binghamton and Albany) had strikingly similar overall rankings and peer assessments, which make us wonder how informed some peer assessments really were.

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