NEARLY TWO DOZEN MBA PROGRAMS HAD DOUBLE-DIGIT CHANGES IN THEIR RANKS
As is often the case in business school rankings, many schools experienced double-digit declines or gains. In fact, 22 of the 81 MBA programs in the U.S. ranked by Businessweek saw their ranks jump or plunge by double digits this year, which hardly inspires much confidence in the list. After all, precious few of these programs would undergo substantive changes in a single year to warrant those kind of rank changes.
Among the biggest winners in this ranking are Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and American University’s Kogod of Business. The MBA programs at these two schools both soared 23 places to finish 32nd and 47th, respectively. The University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business jumped 19 spots to place 56th from 75th a year earlier, while Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business improved 18 places to rank 62nd from 80th last year.
On the other hand, ten schools plunged in double digits, with the biggest fall suffered by UC-Davis Graduate School of Management which declined by 21 places to rank 57th from 36th a year ago. The full-time MBA program at the University of Tennessee dropped 18 spots to finish in 66th place from 48th last year, while Rutgers Business School lost 15 positions to rank 52nd after finishing in 37th place a year ago.
It's often difficult to decipher exactly why a school would rise or drop so substantially in one year. One explanation for this is that the actual raw scores for most schools are so closely clustered together that small, inconsequential and statistically meaningless changes cause outsized results on the ranking. So while one school can be ahead of another by ten or more places in the ranking, there really is no difference that the methodology can cite among them.
But most readers pay little mind to the fine print or the footnotes and that's when a ranking organization comes clean on the obvious limitations of publishing a list. You won't find any misgivings in Businessweek's explanation of how it ranks business schools nor any comment on why an applicant should not rely on this or any other ranking to decide where to go for an MBA program.
(See full U.S. ranking on the next pages)