Ross Cracks U.S. News’ Ranking Top Ten

Michigan’s Ross School of Business

For the first time in 14 years, the University of Michigan’ s Ross School of Business has cracked the top ten in U.S. News’ forthcoming ranking of the best full-time MBA programs. To gain its first top ten ranking since 2005, Ross had to edge out Yale University’s School of Management.

The news was published today (March 12) in a ‘sneak peak’ by U.S. News which expects to make public the full ranking on March 20th. For now, the magazine merely identied the top ten schools in alphabetical order.

While the business schools in the top ten may change positions from year-to-year, they typically remain a fairly stable set of institutions. But a small handful of schools generally vie for ninth or tenth place and they include NYU Stern, UVA Darden, Duke Fuqua, and Michigan Ross. In 2016, Yale jumped five places to rank eighth and has been in U.S. News’ top ten since then. The school’s slippage occurred in a year in which Dean Edward ‘Ted’ Snyder has been on a one-year sabbatical and after the magazine updated its methodology in some undisclosed way.


Ross Dean Scott DeRue

The news is a big win for Scott DeRue, a highly popular Ross professor who became dean in July of 2016. When DeRue succeeded Alison Davis-Blake, the school was ranked 12th by U.S. News. Last year, Ross gained one spot to place 11th. While U.S. News did not disclose the actual ranks in its ‘sneak peek,’ this year’s list would represent the second improvement in rankings for the school under DeRue. As recently as 2013, the school ranked 14th under Dean Davis-Blake.

The improvement, no doubt, was fueled by significant jumps in its admission stats, metrics that are heavily weighted by U.S. News’ methodology. The Class of 2019’s average GMAT came in at 716 – a full 14 points above the year-earlier number. At the same time, the incoming class’ 3.5 average undergraduate GPA is .1 of a point higher than Ross’ record-breaking class of 2016 (and .06 of a point higher than the last class).

During the 2016-2017 cycle, the school received 3485 applications, up 132 from the year previous. While that number may not impress on its face, just put it into context: Ross received just 2,436 applications five years ago. By the same token, the school accepted just 25% of all applicants, with the class size growing by 8 members to 423.


Yale SOM, which waa ranked in a tie for ninth place last year with Columbia Business School, has also shown dramatic improvements. During the 2016-2017 cycle, the school received 4,098 applications, an 11.2% jump over the previous year. In fact, Yale SOM receives 11.8 applications for every open seat, making it harder to get into the program than fellow Ivies like Harvard, Columbia, and Wharton. Even more, the program accepted just 17.3% of applications this time around, meaning the program is more exclusive than either Wharton or Chicago Booth.

Last year’s incoming class of 2019 also boasted a 727 GMAT average – a record for the school and a number that eclipses peer programs like Berkeley Haas, MIT Sloan, and Columbia. At the same time, the class’ 730 median average ties it with Harvard’s incoming class. Along with a 2 point rise in average GMATs, Yale also experienced a bump in GPAs averages, going from 3.63 to 3.67.

But the U.S. News list includes nine different metrics and also heavily weighs starting salary and bonus and placement rates. Ross did especially well on these measures this past year. Graduating MBAs at Ross last year scored record median starting salaries of $123,000, up from $120,000 a year earlier.


The magazine said that the top ten schools will be, in alphabetical order, Columbia Business School, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, Harvard Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Michigan Ross, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Last year, for only the second time in 28 years, the Wharton School fought its way into a tie for first place with Harvard Business School. Chicago’s Booth School of Business came in third, while Northwestern Kellogg, MIT Sloan and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business were in a three-way tie for fourth place. UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business placed seven last year, just ahead of No. 8 Dartmouth Tuck, and Yale and Columbia, tied for ninth place.

U.S. News says it surveyed 480 accredited master’s programs in business to come up with its new ranking of the top full-time MBA programs. As is customary, U.S. News will bill its new list as a 2019 ranking, even though it comes out in 2018 and is based on 2017 data to increase the shelf life of the list.