SUNY Buffalo was another party crasher among the recruiter Top 20 list. Ranked 79th overall, SUNY Buffalo boasts relatively pedestrian inputs, including a 614 GMAT, 3.38 undergraduate GPA, and 47.8% acceptance rate. Despite a 3.6 recruiter average – higher than Notre Dame Mendoza, or Washington Olin, the school reports a 77.8% three-month placement rate and a $63,044 starting base salary (with a $9,455 average bonus). Other variables add little to understanding SUNY Buffalo’s appeal to recruiters. Overall, 61% of its 2014 graduates remained in New York, with a third entering finance and accounting and 21% and 16% starting in marketing and sales and supply chain management, respectively. In recent years, its top employers include Citi, PwC, Rich Products, and Capital One.
Chapman University also falls into the SUNY BUffalo category, ranking 25th among recruiters at 3.4 – higher than USC Marshall or Vanderbilt Owen. Based in Orange County, California, Chapman’s Argyros graduates make roughly $69,000 in salary and bonus to start, with an enviable 87.5% placement rate within three months of graduation.
RECRUITERS HEADING DOWNSTREAM FOR HIRES
Below the top 30, you’ll find plenty of surprises in the 2016 recruiter rankings. Based on their scoring, you can surmise that recruiters disagree with U.S. News’ methodology for what constitutes a Top 50 school. In particular, recruiter results remove the following schools from the upper echelon: Rice Jones (33rd overall vs. 54th among recruiters), Rochester Simon (37th vs. 54th), Florida Hough (37th vs. 79th), Maryland Smith (41st vs. 54th), Temple Fox (41st vs. 54th), Iowa Tippie (43rd vs. 79th), California-Davis (48th vs. 70th), Connecticut (48th vs. 79th), and Rutgers (48th vs. 79th).
Along with Buffalo SUNY and Chapman Argyros, you’ll find these lower-ranked programs among recruiters Top 50: Purdue Krannert (53rd to 27th), Thunderbird (91st to 27th), Alabama Manderson (58th to 37th), Arizona Eller (56th to 40th), Northeastern (57th to 40th), George Washington (58th to 40th), Babson Olin (62nd to 40th), North Carolina State Jenkins (70th to 40th), and St. Louis University Cook (88th to 40th). Thunderbird’s return is particularly impressive. After being dropped to a 2.6 by recruiters during a time of financial shortfalls and board bickering, the school has bounced back to score two consecutive 3.3 averages from recruiters.
In other words, don’t write the obituary for third-tier MBA programs just yet. In some cases, such as Alabama Manderson, a school’s rank is dragged down by a low peer assessment score (2.7 in Alabama’s case) – a score based more on a qualitative judgment that rarely budges and constitutes 25% of its U.S. News ranking. That said, these diamond-in-the-rough schools also benefit recruiters. By identifying full-time programs like Jenkins or Cook, top recruiters face less competition so they can pick-and-choose from the best talent without having to pay a premium for it.
MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN U.S. NEWS AND BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK
Alas, U.S. News isn’t the only ranking to gauge employer sentiments. Bloomberg Businessweek (BBW) also solicits recruiters to “rate up to 10 schools at which they had significant recruiting experience in the last five years.” Mind you, BBW’s instrument is vague; recruiters evaluate schools “on specific qualities important to them when they recruit MBAs.” In other words, recruiters use their own criteria, which can vary drastically between companies. Overall, BBW’s latest sample included 1,320 recruiters from 614 companies, many of them alumni of the schools they rated, with under a 16% response rate. Unlike U.S. News, however, these recruiters did not necessarily head their department. In addition, BBW only releases a recruiter ranking, not the underlying data averages.
In 2014, Wharton topped BBW’s recruiter poll, followed by Duke Fuqua, Chicago Booth, Stanford, and Northwestern Kellogg. MIT Sloan, which tied Stanford and Harvard for top honors in the U.S. News’ latest recruiter rankings, fell to 12th.
BBW’s ranking confirms some bits of conventional wisdom, while undermining others. For starters, SUNY Buffalo, ranked 20th by U.S. News, comes in at 19th with BBW, reinforcing employers’ love for this school. Conversely, Texas-Dallas Jindal, a Top 10 program among U.S. News recruiters, plummeted to 39th among recruiters who participated in BBW’s poll. At the same time, Chapman was conspicuously absent in BBW, whereas Hofstra Zarb (28th with BBW) scored just a 2.7 with U.S. News (where the school would’ve tied for 87th among recruiters).
Other surprises? Berkeley Haas, a top ten stalwart in nearly any category, ranked just 34th in BBW’s 2014 rankings, behind programs like Tennessee, U.C. Irvine Merage, and Cincinnati (which ranks 21st and 70th between recruiters surveyed in BBW and U.S. News, respectively). Carnegie Mellon Tepper squeaked into the Top 10 among BBW recruiters, while Thunderbird crash landed at 54th.
To see historical trends for the top schools over the past 5 years, go to the next page. Please note that data was only available for the top 20 schools in the 2013 U.S. News rankings.