U.S. News MBA Rankings for 2011

Last week U.S. News & Word Report released its annual business school rankings for 2011. As we wrote about the law school rankings the other day, it’s easy to get too caught up in the rankings and let the tail wag the proverbial dog in choosing which schools to apply to or attend. (Heck, we have one client right now who’s not sure he wants to attend Cornell — on a full ride! — because it “plunged” from 17 to 18 in the rankings this year! We pointed him to this post.)

Having said that, it’s too much fun NOT to pick apart the new business school rankings a little. Without further ado, here’s our look at this year’s results:

U.S. News Business School Rankings for 2011
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. Harvard (1)
1. Stanford (2)
3. MIT (Sloan) (5)
4. Northwestern (Kellogg) (3)
5. U. of Chicago (Booth) (5)
5. U. of Pennsylvania (Wharton) (3)
7. Dartmouth (Tuck) (8)
7. UC Berkeley (Haas) (7)
9. Columbia (9)
9. NYU (Stern) (11)
11. Yale (10)
12. U. of Michigan (Ross) (13)
13. U. of Virginia (Darden) (15)
14. Duke (Fuqua) (12)
15. UCLA (Anderson) (14)
16. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) (15)
16. UT Austin (McCombs) (18)
18. Cornell (Johnson) (17)
19. Washington U. in St. Louis (Olin)
20. USC (Marshall) (20)

What Changed in This Year’s MBA Rankings?
Among top-10 and top-20 business schools, you won’t see a lot of dramatic changes. While Harvard hangs in to the top slot, it now shares it with Stanford. MIT Sloan nabbed the #3 spot (passing Kellogg and Wharton) after sharing the fifth slot with Booth last year. Wharton can’t be happy about falling from #3 to #5, although we’re sure their answer would be (as it is for all top schools), “We don’t pay attention to the rankings.”

One of the more interesting stories that’s played out over the past few years is NYU Stern’s steady march up the rankings, to the point where it’s now tied with Columbia in the race to be New York City’s highest-ranked business school. What matters far more is the substance of each program, of course, but we’ve long considered Stern to be the more innovative of these two schools, and that view is somewhat confirmed by these results. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years… Will Stern finally overtake Columbia? Will its push to diversify away from being so finance-heavy allow it to boost its placement numbers and leapfrog its uptown competitor, or will that prove to be is undoing?

Rounding out the list, kudos to Wash. U. and USC for making it into the top 20 (bumping out Georgetown and UNC in the process). Around the office the other day we marveled at how Wash. U. has top-20 ranked undergraduate, business, law, and medicine programs… It’s a wonder that people don’t talk about this school more often.

Well, only 51 weeks to go until U.S. News’ 2012 business school rankings come out! While you’re waiting, give us a call at (800) 925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. We have specialized services built just for helping waitlisted applicants get admitted to business school. And, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!