Ranking Business School Reputations

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management

Sometimes, you lose by winning. In the 2015 rankings, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business jumped 2 spots from #6 to #4. Even more, their peer assessment score edged up from 4.7 to 4.8, making them an equal to Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. Their reward? Booth is technically categorized as an underachiever, as their peer assessment ranking (#1) is higher than their overall ranking (#4).

The same statistical anomaly occurred with the University of Michigan (Ross), which rose from #14 to #11 overall (while raising their peer assessment score to 4.4) and UCLA (Anderson), which climbed from #16 to #14 (while raising their cumulative peer assessment from 4.1 to 4.2). In fact, UCLA recently reported a 32% jump in applications, along with higher GMAT scores among applicants. Make no mistake: “Underachiever” is not a label that should be applied to either of these schools.

However, Duke University (Fuqua) and Emory University (Goizueta) were mild disappointments. Each dropped in the overall rankings, though Emory posted a modest gain in the average peer assessment score.

In Ross’ case, academics may have been railing against the school’s generous acceptance rate (33.7%) and lower undergraduate GPA (3.4) among entrants. However, Ross still ranks among the pre-eminent graduate business programs for entrepreneurship and research.

And Emory’s slight dip to #20 should be viewed in context, as it was ranked #27 just five years ago. What’s more, it maintained its tradition of high placement, with 96.2 percent of students landing jobs within three months of graduation. When you factor in higher marks in their peer assessments, you could argue that their so-called underperformer status iss proof that their academic reputation is finally catching up to their sound reputation among employers.

Overperformers: Texas-Dallas Remains Grossly Underrated

Last year, the University of Alabama (Manderson), Iowa State University, and the University of Texas-Dallas (Jindal) ranked as the most underrated programs. And all three made the list again this year. Still, the big question hasn’t changed from last year: What does the University of Texas-Dallas need to do to earn respect from their peers?

Just take a look at these numbers: Jindal holds a 20.7 percent acceptance rate (Lower than Booth or Kellogg), an average undergrad GPA of 3.5 (Equal to Columbia), and a 672 GMAT average (Higher than Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business), Despite this, they carry a #37 ranking with a peer assessment score of 2.7 (0.2 points lower than the previous year). To top it off, the university maintains a 5:1 salary-to-debt ratio for new grades, third best among American MBA programs (with an 89.2 percent placement rate to boot). What gives?

While the University of Texas-Dallas may be the Rodney Dangerfield of business schools, there are plenty of other schools whose ‘reputations’ don’t accurately reflect their recent progress. Here are the top “overperforming” schools, whose overall rank exceeds their peer assessments:

(Check out the next page for a list of the “overperformers”)