Lucky Number 13

As you can imagine, many of us are GIDDY about the release of US News’ new rankings, especially as Ross tumbles another two spots (yes, despite the fact that our building is so nice, God uses it as a vacation home) to piggyback the one-slot drop from last year.

I’d like to take a stab at the score criteria US News applies and why Ross may be slipping in each:

Peer Assessment Score (.25) — USN explains that the survey is handed out to a variety of Deans and Directors of b-schools across the country with a “45 percent response rate”. A few questions:

  • Are respondents the same year-on-year? What perceived bias do they introduce when completing the survey?
  • Is the 1-5 scale sufficient enough? What distinguishes a “5” rating from a “4” or even a “3” rating?
  • And furthermore…are Deans being influenced by the economic woes in Detroit and projecting these problems on a school that shares the same name of the state in which Detroit is located?

Recruiter Assessment Score (.15) In my honest assessment, this may be the largest influencer of Ross’ declining ranking between 2007 and 2008. While the WSJ is written off as a shoddy rankings system, it corresponds exactly with this category: how the program is perceived by recruiters. It’s possible that the very same recruiters that completed the WSJ survey filled this one out last year (and this year).

Plus, there’s a slew of things that Ross’ career services organization does marginally compared to its peer schools, in my opinion, that I discussed in my previous post.

Mean Starting Salary and Bonus (.14) This hasn’t changed much. However, if anything — the fact that a majority of Ross alums end up in Chicago may have a continuously strong impact on this score, simply because cost of living adjustments in the midwest are not the same in the northeast corridor.

Employment Rates for Full-time Master’s Program in Business Graduates: Neither has this, but Ross will always be negatively affected by this ranking simply because they finish more than two weeks before every other program in the country. Either way, it’s a wash — it’s always been this way.

Mean GMAT Scores (.1625) Average GMAT score for admitted students has been increasing year on year. But so have the scores of other programs, so this is likely a wash.

Mean Undergraduate GPA (.075) Same here, if not slightly decreasing.

Acceptance Rate (.0125) …it’s been increasing.

——-

So, if anything — it’s the peers and recruiters likely driving this downturn; I think I threw some points of contention into the former, considering that most b-school deans are busy fixing their own problems. So, they may base their decision partially on 1) Detroit sucking it up at the moment and 2) Michigan having a horrible football season. Sounds shallow, but…hey. It’s business school.

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