U.S. News Ranking Due March 16

rankingU.S. News & World Report will publish its new ranking of the best 100 MBA programs in the U.S. on March 16th, a week later than last year. The heavily anticipated ranking, now regarded as the most-watched list of U.S. programs, also unleashes a wealth of statistics on the programs, from the latest admissions data to salary and placement outcomes.

The new date was announced today (Feb. 29) by Bob Morse, U.S. News’ long-time rankings guru, in a blog post. This would be the second major business school ranking to be released this year, following the Jan. 24 publication of The Financial Times’ annual global list, which had INSEAD in first place for the first time.

Last year, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business broke last year’s three-way tie as the nation’s best MBA program to become the undisputed winner in U.S. News’ ranking. It was the first time since 2011 that Stanford’s MBA program stood alone atop the list. It had been in a tie with Harvard in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Harvard Business School in 2015 slipped to second place, while the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School slid two places to third.

Those who read rankings’ tea leaves will be watching to see if Stanford can repeats its No. 1 position, but also whether there will be any new entrants to the Top 10 (see below). The most likely schools to push their way into the Top 10 would be NYU Stern and the University’s of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, both tied at No. 11 last year. It’s also possible for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business or Yale University’s School of Management, both tied at 13th last year, to displace a current Top 10 player.

A METHOLODOLOGY THAT IS CONTROVERSIAL FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS

Like all rankings of business schools, the U.S. News list often engenders much controversy and debate. Detractors particularly take aim at the magazine’s survey of deans whose opinions, critics say, merely reflect the previous year’s ranking. Observers also criticize the ranking because small changes in some of the metrics can have an outsized impact on an MBA program’s status.

But the U.S. News list is among the most influential and most followed of several prominent rankings. The magazine only ranks U.S.-based schools, unlike Bloomberg Businessweek, The Financial Times, or The Economist which publish global rankings, either combined or separate.  And the results can differ markedly from other rankings. As a marketing ploy, U.S. News will claim this is a 2017 ranking to give it greater shelf life, even though it is based on 2015 data and released in 2016.

U.S. News’ methodology takes into account a wealth of proprietary and school-supplied data to crank out its annual ranking of the best business schools and is bases on seven core metrics. The magazine does its own survey of B-school deans and MBA directors (25% of the score). It also does its own survey of corporate recruiters (accounting for 15% of the overall ranking).

Other metrics included in the ranking are starting salaries and bonuses (14%), employment rates at and three months after graduation (7% to 14%, respectively), student GMATs and GREs scores (about 16%), undergrad GPAs (about 8%), and the percentage of applicants who are accepted to a school (a little over 1%). This will be the fourth year U.S. News includes GRE scores in its ranking methodology.

Last Year’s Top Ten Business Schools On Core Metrics

SchoolGMATGPAAccept RatePayJobs at GradJobs Later
  1. Stanford7323.747.1%$142,83473.6%91.1%
  2. Harvard7263.6711.0%$144,75076.9%89.4%
  3. Wharton7283.6020.7%$142,57484.3%95.6%
  4. Booth7243.6023.5%$137,61587.4%97.2%
  5. MIT7133.5813.8%$142,93679.6%92.8%
  6. Kellogg7133.6023.2%$136,35780.7%88.6%
  7. Haas7173.6213.2%$140,93572.9%86.7%
  8. Columbia7163.5018.2%$139,00675.7%91.1%
  9. Tuck7163.5422.1%$142,48983.8%93.8%
10. Darden7063.5026.0%$136,47486.8%93.4%

Source: Schools reporting to U.S. News & World Report

DON’T MISS: U.S. NEWS’ BIG WINNERS & LOSERS OF 2015

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.