When it comes to cranking out academic research in leading journals, the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School are in a league of their own. For the tenth consecutive year, Wharton topped a research ranking that tracks professors’ articles in 24 peer-reviewed journals. Since the business schools in academic research ranking was launched in 2005, no school has been able to dislodge Wharton from the top spot.
The latest 2014 ranking–published today (March 25) by UT Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management–measures faculty research productivity over the past five years from 2008 to 2013. Rounding out this year’s global top five were No. 2 Harvard Business School, No. 3 New York University’s Stern School of Business, No. 4 University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and No. 5 UT-Austin’s McCombs School of Business.
UT-Dallas said the rankings document a significant increase in business faculty research in the past nine years. The 100 ranked schools produced 9,174 articles in the 24 leading journals during the most recent ranking period. That number has risen from 5,879 articles in the first period used in the rankings, from 2000 to 2004.
AN ALTERNATIVE TO MORE INFLUENTIAL RANKINGS BY MAJOR MEDIA OUTLETS
Hasan Pirkul, dean of the Jindal School, began producing the list as an alternative source of information on business schools to offset the attention given the more influential rankings published by major media outlets. The research ranking tracks article contributions by a school’s faculty and creates separate U.S. and worldwide rankings. The scoring system measures single and multiple authors of articles, as well as multiple university affiliations.
An obvious drawback to this ranking is that it does not adjust for the size of a school’s faculty so smaller institutions are at a disadvantage in competing with their larger rivals. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, for example, fails to make the Top 10, largely because the size of its faculty is not as large as some of the public universities that cater to large undergraduate populations. Users can input a school’s name and number of faculty to extract that information from the database, but it’s often difficult if not impossible to say with total certainty how large the faculty at any given school is during the five-year period measured.
For MBA applicants and students, moreover, rankings based on published faculty research could very well be a red rather than green light. Schools overly focused on the publication of theory with little real world application are often populated by faculty who are mediocre teachers who openly show disdain for the classroom. PhD bound students, on the other hand, would find these rankings especially important.
Two non-U.S. schools made the Top 20 worldwide: INSEAD, based in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, was ranked 14th, while Hong Kong University of Science and Technology captured the 20th spot, losing four places from the previous year when it was 16th.
TORONTO’S ROTMAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT PLACES IN TOP 20 FOR FIRST TIME
The largest advances in the Top 50 this year were by non-U.S. schools. City University of Hong Kong rose 17 places to finish 46th, while McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management in Canada jumped 11 spots to claim a rank of 49th. The business school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign gained six places to a rank of 23rd, while Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business improved by five places to rank 25th.
Several other business school registered consequential gains: Raising four places this year were No. 5 UT-Texas at Austin, No. 6 the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, and No. 19 University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, which made its entry into the Top 20 for the very first time.
Every ranking has schools that also lose ground and this one is certainly no exception. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business fell eight places this year to a rank of 13th from fifth in 2012, perhaps the most consequential decline of a top business school. The list showed that Fuqua faculty were credited with 209 articles in the five-year period, down from 235. Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School also lost eight spots, falling to a rank of 33 from 25 a year earlier.
(See following page for the ranking of the top 50 business schools in academic research)