In Cleveland today, champagne corks will pop. In Raleigh, there will be crying in the beer.
In U.S. News & World Report‘s just-released ranking of the best full-time MBA programs in the U.S., the biggest gainer of them all was Case Western University’s Weatherhead School of Management. After finishing a lowly 77th last year, the school rallied 22 places to rank 55th today. It was the single biggest year-over-year improvement for any school that was on U.S. News‘ list last year.
Things didn’t go nearly as well for North Carolina State’s Poole College of Management. NC State’s business school suffered a 35-place drop to end up at a rank of 92nd on the U.S. News‘ latest list, from 57th a year ago. It was the biggest plunge of any business school that was on last year’s list.
BIG DOUBLE-DIGIT SWINGS USUALLY CAUSED BY METRIC CHANGES
The schools that go up or down do so because they either show improvement or decline in the key metrics measured by U.S. News, in GMAT and GRE scores, GPAs, acceptance rates, starting salary and bonus, job placement, or on its surveys of deans and MBA recruiters.
Besides Case Western, the MBA programs that improved by double digits this year include Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management and Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business, both up 18 places. Syracuse ended up being ranked 70th, a big improvement from its 88th-place showing last year. Rochester Tech was ranked 73nd, a hefty jump from its 91st-place finish a year earlier (see table below).
NC State wasn’t the only school to suffer a big fall this year. The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management and the University of Connecticut’s School of Business both plummeted 20 places. Eller finished ranked 69th, while Connecticut fell to a rank of 85th (see table below).
Of course, some schools had it even worse, dropping off the list entirely this year, including DePaul University, Albany-SUNY, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the University of Colorado. The fallen were replaced by a new set of 11 schools who weren’t ranked at all last year.
The most impressive leap onto this year’s list was by the University of Kansas’ School of Business. Kansas found itself ranked 73rd, which meant that it would have had to climb at least 27 places to do that well from its unranked status last year. Howard University’s School of Business, also unranked last year, was ranked 78th, while both American University’s Kogod School of Business and Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics were both tied for 79th place. That translates into a rise of at least 22 places for Howard and 21 places each for American and Chapman.