U.S. News Kicks Temple Out Of Its Online MBA Ranking

Temple University, Fox School of Business

U.S. News & World Report yesterday (Jan. 24) tossed Temple University’s Fox School of Business No. 1 ranked online MBA program off its newest ranking after finding out that the school misreported critical data on its program.

Temple had reported that all 255 of the program’s latest incoming class submitted GMAT scores to get into the program. In fact, the school acknowledged that only 50 students, or 19.6%, submitted GMAT scores.

As a result, Temple’s online MBA program, ranked first in the nation by U.S. News, for four consecutive years, has been moved to unranked status. The decision by U.S. News is a major embarrassment to the school and casts a shadow on Temple’s year-earlier online rankings which have signficantly helped the school increase enrollment in its online MBA offering. In fact, in the past year alone, Temple was able to increase its online MBA enrollment by an impressive 57% to 546 students from 351.


The change also means that Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business and Indiana University’s Kelley School, previously tied for second place, now share top honors on the U.S. News list of best online MBA programs. At Carnegie Mellon, 100% of the incoming class had taken standardized tests. At Indiana’s KelleyDirect program, some 82% of the students reported a GMAT or GRE score. The cost between those two top online offerings is massive: The Tepper program boasts the highest price tag of any online MBA offering in the world at $128,000. IU’s KelleyDirect program is priced at nearly half that cost at $67,830.

In the newly updated rankings, Carnegie and IU would be followed by No. 3 University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flager Business School and No. 4 Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, and a tie at No. 5 between the online offerings from University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business and the University of Texas at Dallas’ Jindal School of Management.

U.S. News also removed the school from its list of the best online MBA programs for Veterans. The announcement was made by Robert Morse, chief data strategist for U.S. News. “The school’s unranked status will last until the 2019 publication of the Best Online MBA Programs rankings, conditional upon the Fox School of Business confirming the accuracy of its next data submission in accordance with U.S. News’ requirements,” he wrote. “U.S. News has not modified the ranks of any other programs on usnews.com in the Best Online MBA Programs and Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans rankings.”

U.S. News’ methodology penalizes online MBA programs in its rankings if less than 75% of new entrants submit either a GMAT or GRE score. U.S. News says that is because the lack of data for 25% of students or more “likely means the standardized test score is not representative of the entire class.” Standardized test scores, of course, are also a sign of the quality of a school’s class. Not requiring the test for admission signals that the overall quality of an incoming class could be suspect. These scores have a weight of 10% in U.S. News’ rankings formula.


U.S. News said it was contacted by the Fox School shortly after the release of its 2018 online rankings published on Jan. 8th. Fox told the publication that it misrepresented the GMAT data. “The business school significantly overstated the number of new entrants for its 2016-2017 entering class who submitted GMAT scores,” Morse said. “The misreported data resulted in the school’s numerical rank being higher than it otherwise would have been in the overall Best Online MBA Programs rankings and the Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans rankings.”

Temple was not the only highly ranked school on the U.S. News list with a minority of students submitting a test score for admission. At the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, only 16% of the incoming students submitted a GMAT or GRE score. At the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, only 15% of the incoming students to its online MBA program provided GMAT or GRE scores.

Temple University President Richard M. Englert said the school would undertake an independent review of the data reporting processes for U.S. News rankings. “The integrity of our data and reporting are paramount. After consultation with Provost JoAnne Epps and Fox School of Business Dean Moshe Porat, I have decided to bring in an outside independent analyst to review our data reporting processes, including what occurred in this instance,” said Englert. “The Fox School takes great pride in making ethics a part of every program. We need to assure our students and alumni that we practice what we teach.”


In a statement released today, Dean Porat emphasized that the school had reported the error to U.S. News. “Once we discovered the error, we took the proactive approach to promptly correct a mistake. We accept the U.S. News & World Report decision to revise the 2018 ranking,” he said. “We are doubling efforts to verify our data before it is submitted for rankings purposes, and we have every expectation that the Fox Online MBA program will return to its rightful place among the nation’s top programs of its kind in 2019 and beyond. Rankings are a byproduct of quality, and our focus will remain where it always has—on delivering high-quality programs and service to our students.”

The new numbers submitted by Temple also will severely impact the school’s performance in a new forthcoming ranking from Poets&Quants for online MBA programs. The P&Q rankings, based on alumni and school surveys, place significant weight on the percentage of incoming students who submitted GMAT or GRE scores to gain admission into a program.



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