Darden Jumps Back Into U.S. News’ Top Ten


The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business moved back into the top ten of U.S. News & World Report’s forthcoming ranking of the best MBA programs in the U.S. In a “sneak peak” preview published today (March 3), U.S. News listed the business schools that will appear in the top ten when the new ranking is released on March. 10.

That’s good news for Darden, which was ranked 11th last year by U.S. News, and not so good news for New York University’s Stern School of Business, which fell out of the top ten. Stern was just ahead of Darden last year in tenth place.

All ten schools were listed alphabetically and not ranked so it’s not possible to know whether the three-way tie for first last year among Harvard Business School, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School will be broken. The other ten schools are Columbia Business School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.


U.S. News said it surveyed 464​ accredited master’s programs in business to create its new list.

The publication of the new ranking by U.S. News follows the release in January of The Financial Times’ best list. Then, business school administrators will get something of a break. The next major rankings, by Forbes and The Economist, won’t be published until seven months later in October. Bloomberg Businessweek is expected to publish its new ranking–the first time it will be released on an annual rather than a biennial basis–in November.

U.S. News ranks U.S. schools annually, using a vast amount of information and data. The methodology takes into account its own survey of B-school deans and MBA directors (25% of the score), corporate recruiters (15%), starting salaries and bonuses (14%), employment rates at and three months after graduation (7% to 14%, respectively), student GMATs (about 16%), undergrad GPAs (about 8%), and the percentage of applicants who are accepted to a school (a little over 1%) (see table on next page to see how the top schools did in several of these categories last year).

How does U.S. News decide how much to weight each of these factors? Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News, once told a reporter that the weights are based on “our accumulated judgment.” Explains Morse: ”Our rankings aren’t social science in the sense that we’re not doing peer-reviewed rankings; we’re not submitting our conclusions and our weighting system to a group of academics and letting them decide if they are right or wrong. We do meet regularly with academic experts about the relative importance of the factors that we use.”

Last Year’s Top Ten According To U.S. News


School GMAT (16.25% GPA (7.5%) Accept Rate (1.25% Average Pay (14%) Jobs At Grad (7%) Jobs Later (14%) Peers (25%) Recruiters (15%)
1. Harvard 727 3.70 11.3% $138,346 78.7% 89.4% 4.8 4.6
1. Stanford 732 3.73 6.8% $137,525 71.7% 89.7% 4.8 4.6
1. Wharton 725 3.60 18.7% $141,243 79.7% 93.4% 4.8 4.6
4. Chicago 723 3.58 21.0% $135,982 82.1% 90.8% 4.8 4.4
5. MIT 713 3.58 13.1% $137,057 80.9% 87.4% 4.7 4.5
6. Kellogg 713 3.54 21.6% $135,838 78.8% 91.0% 4.7 4.4
7. Berkeley 714 3.60 14.3% $134,078 74.0% 91.6% 4.6 4.2
8. Columbia 716 3.50 18.1% $137,654 74.9% 90.3% 4.4 4.3
9. Dartmouth 718 3.53 20.8% $139,036 80.8% 90.8% 4.3 4.0
10. NYU 721 3.51 16.0% $131,975 77.8% 93.2% 4.2 4.0

Source: U.S. News & World Report 2014 MBA Ranking