Businessweek’s 2014 MBA Ranking Winners & Losers

Yale's incoming MBA students in the Class of 2016

Yale’s incoming MBA students in the Class of 2016

While Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is rightly drawing the spotlight for capturing first place in this week’s new Bloomberg Businessweek MBA ranking, the biggest winners on the 2014 list are nearly a dozen other business schools whose full-time MBA program made big leaps.

The most prominent and noteworthy: Yale University’s School of Management, which climbed 15 positions to sixth place, the highest rank ever achieved by the school in any major ranking. The jump is a huge triumph for both the school and its leader, Dean Edward ‘Ted” Snyder, who came to Yale in 2011 after working his magic at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. It was under Snyder that Booth began and continued its run as Businessweek’s No. 1 school for four consecutive rankings.

It’s hard not to note that the person responsible for Chicago’s ascendance, Dean Snyder, has been busy reinventing Yale’s business school in the past few years. Since Snyder’s arrival in New Haven, CT. only three years ago, Yale has gone from 37th place in Businessweek’s employer survey to eighth, and from 18 in the magazine’s student survey to seventh. Meantime, Chicago has made the opposite trip, falling to third in the employer survey from first, and to 15th in the student survey from second. The result: Chicago, once first, is now third overall in this year’s ranking. Yale, ranked 21st overall, is now sixth.

Such jumps in a single survey are especially unusual among Top 10 or 20 schools. And in the history of Businessweek’s ranking, dating back to 1988 when it debuted, Yale has never done better than 14th place, which it achieved in 2002, and was often outside the top 20 business schools. Making a solid entrance at No. 6 is a very big deal for the school.

The underlying index scores that determine a school’s actual rank show that SOM missed out on fifth place by a mere .08 difference with Columbia Business School. No. 5 Columbia had an index score of 95.39 vs. Yale’s 95.31, essentially a statistical tie. No. 4 Stanford is now just 1.31 index points away from Snyder’s grasp. His old stomping ground–Chicago Booth–has an index score of 98.3, which gave it a lock on third place.

THE BIG WINNERS INCLUDE YALE, COLUMBIA, UCLA & SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

This was a topsy-turvy year in the Businessweek ranking, which can largely be attributed to major changes in the magazine’s methodology. Of the 85 U.S. schools given numerical ranks this year–up from 63 schools two years ago–21 experienced double-digit advances or falls. Out of the 27 international programs ranked, six had double-digit gains or drops.

Two dozen MBA programs, which were not on Businessweek’s radar in 2012–made this year’s list, including the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School, which popped up at a rank of 35 and the University of Texas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management in Dallas, which placed 41st. Their arrival implies increases of 29 and 23 places, respectively, for schools that failed to make the cut the last time Businessweek ranked full-time MBA programs. Two business schools–Howard University and Fordham–fell off the list entirely from two year’s ago.

While Yale was the elite school with the biggest gain this year, another school actually did even better. The business school at the University of Buffalo rose 18 places–more than any other institution–to a rank of 39, from 57th two years ago, when Businessweek last ranked full-time MBA programs.

THE BIG LOSERS INCLUDE IOWA, NORTHEASTERN, ARIZONA STATE & BOSTON UNIVERSITY

Other impressive double-digit gains were scored by UC-Irvine’s Merage School of Business and by the Simon School at the University of Rochester. Both MBA programs picked up a dozen positions each, with Merage rising to a rank of 31st from 43rd and Simon going to 38th from 50th.

Other big brand schools with positive news include Columbia Business School, up eight spots from 13th to fifth, UCLA’s Anderson School, up seven places to 11th from 18th, and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School, which also gained seven positions to land at 21st, up from 28th in 2013.

The Biggest Gainers On Businessweek’s 2014 MBA Ranking

School Gain 2014 Rank 2012 Rank 2014 Index 2012 Index
University of Buffalo +18 39 57 61.51 35.41
Yale School of Management +15 6 21 95.31 75.65
UC-Irvine (Merage) +12 31 43 69.02 53.79
Rochester (Simon) +12 38 50 61.61 45.25
Rice (Jones) +9 25 34 73.97 64.44
North Carolina State (Poole) +9 54 63 52.58 22.60
Columbia Business School +8 5 13 95.39 88.09
UCLA (Anderson) +7 11 18 89.38 79.63
Maryland (Smith) +7 17 24 84.53 71.80
Southern California (Marshall) +7 21 28 81.17 69.52

Source: P&Q analysis of Bloomberg Businessweek rankings