U.S. News & World Report published its annual rankings of graduate business schools today, bringing the spring season of rankings to a close. Harvard Business School claimed the top spot from last year’s number-one school, the Stanford Graduate School of Business, leaving the latter tied for second place with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The only newcomer in this year’s top ten was the Yale School of Management, which climbed to eighth (tied with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College) from its spot at 13th last year and dropping the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business from tenth to 11th.
The survey’s release came with its fair share of drama. The dean of New York University’s Stern School of Business, Peter Henry, explained the program’s fall from 11th last year to 20th this year as the result of a missing data point. “[U.S. News & World Report] told us that Stern’s drop was largely attributable to a single missing data point—one missing answer,” Henry said in a press release. He added, “We promptly provided the correct information, but [the publication] declined to adjust the rankings.” Although unfortunate, this incident is a good reminder that prospective MBA students should approach business school rankings with a grain of salt. Mistakes happen, and rankings are often merely one small indicator of what a school has to offer. Our advice is this: follow the rankings if you find them of interest, but do not let them dictate your decision!