STANFORD HELD ONTO ITS NO. 1 STANDING BY IMPROVING ITS POSITION IN U.S. NEWS’ RANKING
Stanford held on to its number one ranking by earning a first-place finish in this year’s U.S. News rankig, rising from second place last year and fourth two years ago. Stanford’s rise is a reflection of the school’s overall quality along with its prime location in the most dynamic economy in the world. The school accepts fewer applicants–just 6%–than any other prestige business school and its graduates typically land the highest starting compensation packages of any full-time MBAs.
Stanford also has done a superb job of managing itself through the pandemic. Like most universities that suspended face-to-face classes due to the outbreak of COVID in the spring, Stanford did it abruptly with little advance notice. On a Friday evening, March 6th, University Provost Persis Drell canceled all in-person class meetings, declared that all exams be taken remotely, suspended all spring quarter international programs and shut down Admit Weekend. That gave the school’s staff and faculty an extended weekend–roughly 60 hours–to put 125 class sections online for the final two weeks of the quarter. The school pulled it off.
And when Stanford resumed classes in the fall, it had to go with mostly remote instruction, with just a couple of exceptions for a few outdoor class sessions. At the GSB, the pandemic has inspired a wave of new programs, courses, and events. The end of fall quarter, just before Thanksgiving, saw hundreds of students, alumni and faculty engaged in a virtual with a wonderful Executive Challenge at which first-year MBA candidates made case presentations before alumni and faculty who served as judges.
As part of the school’s Action Plan for Racial Equity, Stanford debuted a new class, Leadership for Society: Race and Power, led by Professor Brian Lowery. More than 4,000 people registered to attend the webinar and listen to edited podcast episodes. The school also ran the first Stanford GSB Rising Scholars Conference for diverse Ph.D. students from across the country. A new update on the GSB’s diversity and inclusion initiative will be released shortly.
VOLATILITY IN THE RANKING WAS DIMINISHED THIS YEAR DUE TO THE LACK OF BUSINESSWEEK AND ECONOMIST RANKINGS
This year saw far less volatility in the ranking than in previous years. That’s largely because of the lack of updates to both the Businessweek and The Economist rankings. As a result, only five business schools registered double-digit improvements this year and only five experienced double-digit declines (see tables on this page). There also were several newcomers to the 2020-2021 list, including Temple University’s Fox School of Business which made a return after suspending its participation in rankings due to a major rankings scandal at the school, the University of Kansas, and Clarkson University.
The P&Q methodology rewards schools for subjecting themselves to an analysis by all five of the most influential rankings. Some 41 out of the 100 ranked MBA programs were ranked on every major list. The approach penalizes schools that deliberately refuse to participate in rankings where they may be at a disadvantage or that fail to gain a rank because the institution’s MBA program isn’t good enough to make every list.
The methodology also favors more fact-based ranking systems that depend on qualitative data that measures the quality of incoming students, their career outcomes as graduates and the return-on-the-investment given MBA tuition costs and scholarships. Rankings heavily based on opinion in surveys completed by students who know their answers will be used to rank their alma maters are given less weight.