U.S. News & World Report will publish its newest ranking of the best business schools in the U.S. on March 11. Of the five most influential rankings of full-time MBA programs, U.S. News is one of the more valuable surveys–largely because of the wide array of comparable data the magazine collects from U.S. business schools.
Last year’s U.S. News list had Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business in a first-place tie, with Wharton third, and MIT Sloan and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management both tied for fourth place. The most watched part of the ranking, however, is not likely to be at the very top.
The big question is whether Yale University’s School of Management will wrestle its way back into U.S. News’ Top Ten. Last year Yale fell behind NYU, Duke and the University of Virginia to land in 13th place, from tenth a year earlier. Typically, U.S. News releases its Top Ten with schools listed alphabetically a week before the actual full ranking is published to generate new interest in the updated lists. So changes in the Top Ten are signaled earlier.
INCREASES IN A SCHOOL’S RANK OFTEN RESULTS IN HIGHER APPLICATION VOLUME
Last year, the biggest gains among the top 25 schools last year were by the University of Washington’s Foster School and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School. Foster jumped 12 places to rise to a 23rd place finish with Carlson. Foster was 35th a year earlier. Carlson rose seven places from 30th the previous year.
For many business school deans, the U.S. News ranking is something of a barometer of the progress their schools are making in the marketplace. Increases in a school’s rank often results in increased interest from applicants in that school and may also result in increased pay for its students. In fact, a Vanderbilt University professor recently found that every rank improvement toward the top on U.S. News yielded an additional $908.03 more on average for the school’s graduates in their first post-MBA job, significantly more than BusinessWeek‘s $605.27 or The Financial Times‘ $377.58.
The U.S. News survey also has broader appeal to school administrators because it gives numerical ranks to slightly more than 100 different schools and also publishes specialty business school rankings based on such disciplines as finance and marketing as well as on part-time MBA programs. Last year, U.S. News assigned numerical ranks to 105 schools, with American University’s Kogod School and West Virginia University’s business school tied at a rank of 104. Some academics who have studied rankings prefer U.S. News largely because they believe its ranking has shown greater reliability over the years (see Most Reliable & Valid MBA Ranking?)
NO CHANGES IN BUSINESS SCHOOL METHODOLOGY BY U.S. NEWS THIS YEAR
Nonetheless, the U.S. News survey is not as widely consulted by applicants as either Bloomberg BusinessWeek or The Financial Times, both of which rank MBA programs all over the world. A survey of MBA candidates last year by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) found that the most popularly consulted ranking was BW. Some 69% used the BusinessWeek rankings, while 61% consulted the rankings by the Financial Times. About 54% used the rankings by U.S. News & World Report.
Though less than three years old at the time, some 41% said they consulted Poets&Quants’ composite ranking which takes into account the five most influential MBA rankings published by BusinessWeek, The Financial Times, U.S. News, The Economist, and Forbes. About 40% used The Economist, while 31% consulted Forbes.
Robert Morse, who heads up U.S. News’ rankings, said in a blog post that there would be no changes in methodology for the business school list this year. The magazine typically surveys more than 400 master’s programs in the U.S. that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Last year a total of 380 responded, of which 140 provided enough data for U.S. News to calculate a full-time MBA ranking for the school.