BUFFALO’S REPUTATION AFFIRMED IN BOTH RANKINGS
In U.S. News’ 2015 recruiter rankings, the University of Buffalo was ranked #22…despite ranking #74 overall. No doubt, Poets&Quants was skeptical about how Buffalo could rank higher than stalwarts like USC, Emory, Georgetown, and Vanderbilt. Well, Bloomberg Businessweek’s rankings reaffirmed Buffalo’s outsized status among recruiters. Here, Buffalo ranked #19, behind Emory but ahead of programs like Texas, Cornell, and Notre Dame. The program, which draws employers like CapitalOne, Citi, and PwC, still suffers from low starting salaries ($63K or $56K, depending on whether you refer to Bloomberg Businessweek or U.S. News). Nevertheless, it is definitely an unappreciated gem…particularly for students heading into finance.
Another program requiring a second look: Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, which ranked #9 among recruiters (though #20 by recruiters in U.S. News’ polling). MIT Sloan’s recruiter score is another incongruity in the top 20, with U.S. News recruiters ranking it #4 for two consecutive years and Bloomberg Businessweek scoring it #12 and #10 in their last two rankings. Among top twenty programs, the University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flager) and Emory University (Goizueta) were each ranked seven spots higher by Bloomberg Businessweek. Conversely, the University of Texas (McCombs) was scored 10 points higher by U.S. News.
However, the biggest surprise may be Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business. Based in Hempstead, New York – and unranked by U.S. News – Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Hofstra #28 among recruiters, ahead of Berkeley Haas and Washington Olin. Obviously, that’s not a credible result and more likely a sign of significant flaws in Businessweek’ s methodology. The program, in fact, ranked last among the 85 schools listed by Bloomberg Businessweek in student surveys and intellectual capital. In other words, recruiters liked Hofstra far more than their graduates did, a serious red flag to consider.
MERAGE RISES AND BOSTON SCHOOLS PLUMMET IN BUSINESSWEEK’S RECRUITER RANKINGS
Of course, there were clear winners in Bloomberg Businessweek’s latest round of recruiter rankings. Over the past two years, the University of Tennessee gained the most, pole-vaulting from #61 to #32 among recruiters (and up to #55 overall). And it wasn’t an anomaly, with the school climbing 19 spots among recruiters in U.S. News’ poll.
The University of California-Irvine (Merage) and George Washington University also made big gains, each jumping 27 spots (with Merage nearly entering the top 30 overall on the heels of recruiter support and ranking #21 in intellectual capital). Other winners include Washington University (+16), Wake Forest (+15…despite plans to shut down its full-time MBA program), and Rice University (+12).
Bloomberg Businessweek’s rankings also exposed a startling truth: Recruiters hate Boston schools. And it goes far beyond the aforementioned Harvard Business School. In the 2014 rankings, Boston University fell 31 spots among recruiters, followed by Babson College (-28), Northeastern University (-16), and Boston College (-15). The real reason, however, probably stems from Bloomberg Businessweek’s change in methodology, where the previous two rankings accounted for 50 percent of the rank. With Bloomberg Businessweek now only factoring in one year’s results, these drops – like many others – may simply be corrections to previously overinflated rankings.
Other full-time programs that fall into this category include: The University of Illinois (-46), The University of Washington (-26), Thunderbird (-25), Texas A&M (-25), Ohio State (-22), the University of Minnesota (-17), Brigham Young University (-17), and Syracuse University (-16). U.S. News recruiter rankings indicated similar declines at Illinois (-51) and Syracuse (-17). In contrast, U.S. News showed increased satisfaction with Thunderbird (+46) and Northeastern (+18) over the previous year.
In addition, Bloomberg Businessweek’s recruiter rankings excluded several programs that scored relatively high in U.S. News rankings, including Binghamton, Rensselaier Polytech (Lally), West Virginia, and the University of St. Thomas, which all shared a #54 ranking. Similarly, Howard University, which ranked #55 among recruiters in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 ranking, wasn’t listed in its 2014 rankings.
HUGE DIFFERENCES OF OPINION AT MANY SCHOOLS
While the distinctions between the two ranking systems have shrunk, their results reveal serious discrepancies in how schools are perceived, particularly below the top 20 programs. Case in point: George Washington University, which U.S. News recruiters ranked #68 and Bloomberg Businessweek tabbed at #30. Tennessee is another example, with the school ranking 46 spots higher on Bloomberg BUsinessweek than U.S. News. (despite, as noted earlier, jumping 19 spots in the latter’s survey).
Other schools with significantly higher Bloomberg Businessweek rankings include: Rutgers (+33), Florida (+32), Rice (+23), Pepperdine (+21), Iowa (+20), and Miami (+19). Think of these schools as risers, whose previous rankings weren’t pulling them down thanks to Bloomberg Businessweek’s new methodology.
Alas, the inverse is true as well, with several schools ranking far higher on U.S. News. They include: Alabama (+50), Colorado (+37), Missouri (+32), Arizona State (+31), Washington Foster (+30), Texas Tech (+26), San Diego Rady (+25), Berkeley Haas (+25), Texas A&M (+23), Thunderbird (+23), Northeastern (+22), and Arizona (+22). In Berkeley’s case, their ranking tumbled 21 spots in Bloomberg Businessweek latest recruiter rankings.
And that brings up an interesting question: With Bloomberg Businessweek conducting their surveys six months before U.S. News, are Bloomberg Businessweek’s recruiter scores a harbinger for what we can expect from U.S. News’ recruiter surveys next March? We’ll have to wait-and-see.
FLAWED METHODOLOGIES UNDERCUT CREDIBILITY
Looking for another reason why there is a discrepancy between the rankings – or why your target school ranked lower than you’d expect. Well, each methodology has inherent flaws. U.S. News doesn’t filter out multiple contacts within the same company – or alumni evaluating their alma maters. Potentially, these practices could skew school scores higher or lower, along with giving greater weight to larger recruiters like Goldman Sachs or McKinsey. Conversely, Bloomberg Businessweek’s rankings lack transparency. By only sharing a numeric rank, readers can’t see how big the gaps are between schools.