Ranking Business School Reputations

BYU

Brigham Young’s Marriott School of Management

Brigham Young (Marriott) is another diamond in the rough. Consider this: Annual tuition for non-LDS members is just $22,560, nearly a third of the cost for a year at MIT (Sloan). Couple that with a 95.4% placement rate and an average starting salary (with bonus) o f $110,216 and you have a real bargain. And here’s another tidbit. For applicants, BYU is a destination, not a fallback, with nearly three quarters of accepted students ultimately enrolling in the program. Obviously, prospective students know something that academics have obviously missed.

For years, North Carolina State (Jenkins) was a recruiter’s dream, an unheralded program with a tech-driven, hands-on, multidisciplinary curriculum. While the program is no secret to companies like IBM, it has seemingly been stuck in neutral among academics, posting its second consecutive 2.7 score (despite soaring 23 spots overall from #88 to #65). With the school continuing to build partnerships within the nearby Research Triangle Park to complement its STEM roots, Jenkins is definitely a school to watch for innovation.

Temple University (Fox) enjoyed a banner year. The school jumped 10 spots, to crack the Top 50 at #48. What’s more, the school welcomed a 0.8 point boost in its recruiter score. Unfortunately, their peer assessment score remained at 2.9 again this year. Although the school has been steadily scampering up rankings at Forbes and The Economist in recent years, it just isn’t garnering much attention among academics. And that’s unfortunate…for everyone.

While it is tempting to refer to some school assessments as out of touch, a few reflected larger shifts. For example, the University of Cincinnati (Lindner) jumped 39 spots to #60 in the latest U.S. News rankings, pumped up by an increase in incoming GMATs and GPAs and a lower acceptance rate. Coincidently, the school’s peer assessment score rose from 2.6 to 2.8. In short, academics don’t always lag behind. For example, peer assessment scores also reflected a 16 spot decline at the University of Alabama (Manderson) and a six spot rise at the University of Connecticut. Question is, were these scores a cause or an effect?

Underperformers: Is Colorado Really a Top 50 School?

Last year, the Thunderbird School of Global Management topped the list of underperformers. This year, Thunderbird only ranks #6 among underperforming schools. But don’t think the school has bottomed out just yet, especially now that its potential partnership with Laureate Education Inc. has been put on ice. Thunderbird, which lost $8.7 million dollars in fiscal 2013 and experienced a 75 percent drop in applications over the past 15 years, has other issues to contend with. For starters, the school’s graduate placement rate has tumbled to 61.4%, among the worst in the top 100. And their acceptance rate is a hefty 63.4%. The most damning number? Enrollment is down to 353 students, a far cry from its 1500 student hayday in the early 90s.

Although Thunderbird only dropped three spots, from #85 to #88, in the latest U.S. News rankings, its peer assessment scores plummeted from 3.5 to 3.0, which now ranks them #58 among academics. In short, the consistently bleak news has taken its toll on the Thunderbird brand, which has withered into the Sears or Blackberry of graduate business education.

Underperformers: Is Colorado Really a Top 50 School?

Underperformers, defined as schools whose peer assessment scores are higher than the quantitative data collected by U.S. News suggests, come in many shapes and sizes, though most reside in the bottom 50 of U.S. News’ rankings. Here are some of the biggest underperformers from the latest rankings:

(Check out the next page for a listing of the “underperformers”)