How Recruiters Rank MBA Programs

A number of Top 50 programs made the “overperformer” list, including Minnesota (23), Ohio State (27), Rice (30), Florida (36), Rochester (37), Boston College (40), Boston University (40), and Iowa (44). The University of Minnesota’s recruiter scores remain tepid, despite Carlson rising seven spots in the most recent U.S. News ranking. Ohio State’s inclusion is a head-scratcher, as it boasts a 97% percent placement rate, fourth best among the top 30-ranked business schools. Strangely, Boston College and Boston University share both the same rank and recruiter score (and nearly identical peer assessment scores). Perhaps branding campaigns are in order for those Beantown b-schools.

Unless you’re Bart Simpson, you probably don’t take pride in being labeled an underachiever. But this category contains a silver lining. “Underperformers” are schools where recruiter assessment scores are higher than the quantitative data collected by U.S. News suggests. In other words, recruiters emphasize results over rank with these schools. Take North Carolina State, for example. They may rank #88 overall, but recruiters peg their students higher than those from Top 40 programs like Minnesota, Ohio State, BYU, Rice, and Maryland. So what other surprises are out there? Here are the schools where recruiter perceptions may not match overall performance:

The Underperformers: New York Schools Dominate the List


Overall Rank & School             Recruiter Rank    Recruiter Score    Discrepancy
 88. NC State (Jenkins) 33 3.1 -55
 75. CUNY (Zicklin) 22 3.4 -53
 75. SUNY Buffalo 25 3.3 -50
 84. St. Louis (Cook) 37 3.0 -47
 79. Syracuse (Whitman) 37 3.0 -42
 79. SUNY Binghamton 37 3.0 -42
 99. Cincinnati (Lindner) 59 2.8 -40
 86. SUNY Albany 50 2.9 -36
104. American (Kogod) 69 2.7 -35
 70. William & Mary (Mason) 37 3.0 -33
 79. Fordham 50 2.9 -29
 91. Univ. of Miami (FL) 69 2.7 -22
 37. UT-Dallas (Jindal) 16 3.8 -21
 49. Penn State (Smeal) 29 3.2 -20
 52. Missouri (Trulaske) 33 3.1 -19
 67. Oklahoma (Price) 50 2.9 -17
 75. Virginia Tech (Pamplin) 59 2.8 -16
 93. Kentucky (Gatton) 77 2.6 -16
 52. SMU (Cox) 37 3.0 -15
 73. UC-San Diego (Rady) 59 2.8 -14

Source: P&Q analysis based on U.S. News & World Report top 20 business schools in 2014 ranking

There’s no shame in going to New York’s city college. Sure, Zicklin’s 3.4 recruiter score is well below the 4.2 and 3.9 numbers notched by Columbia and NYU respectively. However, its $13.970 in-state annual tuition is a fourth of what Columbia and NYU charge. Of course, positive recruiter sentiment doesn’t necessarily translate into hiring, as Zicklin ranks low in placement, with only 52.1% of students employed at graduation in 2013 (a much higher percentage than the 38.9% number it reported in 2011).

In fact, five New York schools – CUNY, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, and Fordham – ranked higher among recruiters than they did overall, with these five clustered among the top eleven underperformers. Two top 50 schools – the University of Texas at Dallas and Penn State, also made the list. While Jindal ranked lower among academics, recruiters graded them as highly as the University of Texas at Austin.  The same is true of plains powerhouses Missouri and Oklahoma, whose recruiter scores belie their overall rankings.

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