Overall, recruiters were plenty generous with their scoring for 2015. In fact, only four schools experienced a smaller score from recruiters. And many made huge jumps in the eyes of recruiters. The biggest increase came from Temple (Fox) and the University of California-Irvine, which each vaulted 0.8 points among recruiters. This coincided with Temple entering U.S. News’ Top 50 and Merage moving into the top 50 in the Financial Times’ 2014 Global MBA Rankings. However, Temple fared slightly better in placement and starting salaries, at $93,694 and 92.7% respectively (though Merage’s reputation among academics was 0.4 points higher according to U.S. News).
Like Thunderbird, the University of Alabama (Manderson), and the University of West Virginia also boosted their recruiter score by 0.7 points over the previous year. The University of Connecticut, The University of Colorado (Leeds), and Rensselaer Polytechnic (Lally)rose by 0.6 points, while a 0.5 increase was also enjoyed by the University of Pittsburgh (Katz), the University of Tennessee, Texas Christian University, Pepperdine (Graziadio), DePaul, and Claremont (Drucker). In fact, Tennessee grads averaged $100,451 to start, placing their earnings above graduates from higher-ranked schools like Boston College (Carroll), and the University of Maryland.
Some schools also experienced trade-offs. Despite dropping 10 spots overall, the University of Minnesota (Carlson) actually rose by 0.4 points among recruiters in 2015. On one hand, UM grads landed plush starting salaries of $117,972. However, the school also produced a lackluster placement rate of 83.8%, nearly ten points below Big 10 rival Michigan State (Broad). Similarly, Wake Forest (Babcock) tumbled by 11 spots overall, yet increased their recruiter score by 0.3 points over the previous year.
AMONG BIGGEST LOSERS THIS YEAR WAS CUNY’S ZICKLIN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
However, a few school rankings were handcuffed by lower recruiter scores. The biggest loser was CUNY (Zicklin), which dropped 0.6 points in the cumulative recruiter score over the previous year. Increasing that score (and improving its traditionally poor placement) will be among the first orders of business for H. Fenwick Huss, the new dean. Other schools experiencing nominal drops among recruiters included the University of Illinois (-0.2), the University of Miami (-0.1), and North Carolina State (Jenkins) (-0.1).
Last year, Poets&Quants used a methodology developed for by Bob Morse, the director of research at U.S. News, to measure how well a school’s reputation among recruiters matches its actual performance. As part of his formula, Morse broke schools into two categories: “Overperformers” and “underperformers.”
Here’s how it works: Morse takes the average recruiter scores by school and ranks them from highest to lowest. From there, he subtracts a school’s overall rank from its recruiter rank. A positive number indicates that a school is an “overperformer,” while a negative number reflects an “underperformer.” In Morse’s methodology, an overperforming school carries a higher overall ranking than its recruiter ranking would indicate. Conversely, an underperforming school maintains a higher recruiter ranking than an overall ranking.
What does this tell us? For starters, it provides a benchmark for how business schools’ ultimate consumers – employers – think of their service. To a lesser extent, it shows schools exactly how they compare with their peers.
TOP 20: EMORY TOPS THE LIST OF OVERACHIEVERS
As you’d expect, the top 20 business schools generally scored the highest marks from recruiters. But recruiter ratings are a classic double-edged sword. Scoring high with recruiters and lower overall is a pyrrhic victory. In the end, an overall ranking is what everyone remembers. Conversely, top schools are supposed to have the highest recruiter rankings, as these schools also attract the best-and-the-brightest students. In other words, a lower recruiter score might actually reflect ills like poor teaching and networking. So which schools score best in each category? Check out our results on the following page for the answer.