Live Chat: 2011 Undergraduate B-School Ranking

Bloomberg Businessweek editors field questions from an online audience about the magazine's sixth annual ranking of top college business programs

Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business (Mendoza Undergraduate Business Profile) ranked No.1 for the second year in a row, according to Bloomberg Businessweek's sixth annual ranking of the nation's best undergraduate business programs.At a recent live chat event, Bloomberg Businessweek editors Louis Lavelle (LouisBW) and Geoff Gloeckler (GeoffBW) counted down the list and answered questions from reporter Francesca Di Meglio (FrancescaBW) and the public about Mendoza's success, the methodology, and the surprises in their research. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation:

Welcome to today's chat. I'm your moderator for today's event. I'd like to welcome our guests, Bloomberg Businessweek editors Louis Lavelle and Geoff Gloeckler. They will be revealing the 2011 top undergraduate business programs, and then they will take your questions about everything from methodology to the surprises on the list.

AlexaF: Why the significant drop in rank at Bentley University's (Bentley Undergraduate Business Profile) rank?

GeoffBW: Bentley fell because of a decline in recruiter score. The school actually went up in student satisfaction, to No. 18 overall.

WilliamUT: How many schools were ranked this year?

LouisBW: One hundred and thirteen, which is a few more than last year.

davidatterry: What schools are new to the list this year?

GeoffBW: There are 15 schools ranked this year that were not ranked last year. Two of those schools, Kansas and Quinnipiac (Quinnipiac Undergraduate Business Profile), are new to the ranking in general.

mikegray09: Why the huge drop for schools such as Boston College (Carroll Undergraduate Business Profile)?

GeoffBW: BC fell seven spots because of a drop in recruiter score. Student score was actually quite good (No. 15 overall).

DCon: Did you do specialty rankings again this year?

GeoffBW: We haven't decided if we'll be doing those again.

shenfu: Has there been any change in the methodology this year?

LouisBW: There hasn't been any change at all.

tnzhao: What makes Emory (Goizueta Undergraduate Business Profile) rank ahead of even Wharton (Wharton Undergraduate Business Profile)?

GeoffBW: Emory jumped up to No. 3, thanks to a very strong student satisfaction score (fourth overall) and an even stronger recruiter score (second overall). Goizueta has a strong student/faculty ratio (9.1/1), and nearly 90 percent of senior business students have had at least one business-related internship.

SKyleXC: Why did Villanova (Villanova Undergraduate Business Profile) rise to No. 7?

GeoffBW: Villanova moved up to No. 7 because of a strong recruiter score this year. The school also ranked second in academic quality and No. 12 overall in student satisfaction.

AMGF1: What is the academic index, and how was it determined?

LouisBW: The academic quality score is a combination of SAT scores, faculty-student ratio, class size, internships, and the hours students spend on class work each week. All the factors are equally weighted.

fdjr11: Fordham (Fordham Undergraduate Business Profile)?

GeoffBW: Fordham is ranked No. 52.

LKline: Can you please provide the list of schools not ranked based on low recruiter or low student response?

GeoffBW: Out for low recruiter score: University of Texas at Dallas (Texas-Dallas Undergraduate Business Profile), John Carroll University (John Carroll Undergraduate Business Profile), University of Miami (Miami Undergraduate Business Profile), Seattle University (Seattle Undergraduate Business Profile), Clarkson University (Clarkson Undergraduate Business Profile), Samford University (Samford Undergraduate Business Profile), Chapman University (Chapman Undergraduate Business Profile), Hofstra University (Hofstra Undergraduate Business Profile), Loyola Marymount University (Loyola Marymount Undergraduate Business Profile), Ohio Northern University (Ohio Northern Undergraduate Business Profile), St.Louis University (St.Louis Undergraduate Business Profile), the University of Hawaii (Hawaii Undergraduate Business Profile), and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester Polytechnic Undergraduate Business Profile).

GeoffBW: Out for low student score: Auburn University (Auburn Undergraduate Business Profile), Florida International University, Florida State University (FSU Undergraduate Business Profile), Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Connecticut (Connecticut Undergraduate Business Profile).

Out for both: Creighton University (Creighton Undergraduate Business Profile), Iona College (Iona Undergraduate Business Profile), SUNY Geneseo (Geneseo Undergraduate Business Profile), University of Massachusetts – Boston (U.Mass.Boston Undergraduate Business Profile), University of the Pacific (Pacific Undergraduate Business Profile), University of Utah (Utah Undergraduate Business Profile), Washington State, and East Tennessee State University (East Tennessee Undergraduate Business Profile).

crivas88: Which of the top 20 has the cheapest tuition?

LouisBW: That would be Brigham Young (Marriott Undergraduate Business Profile): $4,420.

Edlyn: Why are most Florida schools marked NR?

GeoffBW: That means they did not have sufficient response rates in either the recruiter or student surveys.

GLC: Are the recruiter and student satisfaction scores posted on the website?

LouisBW: The scores aren't, but the ranks are, so you can see how each school did on those measures relative to other schools.

WilliamUT: Why did Texas (McCombs Undergraduate Business Profile) drop from the top 10?

GeoffBW: McCombs dropped seven places due to lower scores in both student and recruiter satisfaction. This year, UT was No. 10 overall in student satisfaction, compared with No. 5 last year. On the recruiter side, McCombs is No. 33 overall this year.

quantman07: How does a school like Villanova go from 20 to seven in one year? It makes no sense. This is not a school that is big with very many recruiters. So, I have to question exactly the kinds of recruiters who responded in your [survey].

GeoffBW: It's actually big with a lot of recruiters. They benefit from their location.

halopower015: How does [Indiana University's] Kelley School of Business (Kelley Undergraduate Business Profile) fare in job placement?

LouisBW: The Kelley School reached 83 percent at three months post-graduation, which is about average for a top 20 school.

Juanmoran: Which school jumped the most spots?

GeoffBW: Villanova and Georgetown (McDonough Undergraduate Business Profile) both jumped 13 spots into the top 10.A bit further down the list, Tulsa (Collins Undergraduate Business Profile) jumped into the ranking at No.33, and Loyola Chicago (Loyola Chicago Undergraduate Business Profile) jumped 24 spots, to No.79.Arizona (Arizona Undergraduate Business Profile) jumped 21 spots, to 49.

GLC: Which schools make up the top five in student satisfaction?

GeoffBW: Top five in student satisfaction: Notre Dame, Virginia (McIntire Undergraduate Business Profile), Cornell (Cornell Undergraduate Business Profile ), Emory, and Richmond (Robins Undergraduate Business Profile).

park11: Was the cost of attending taken into account?

LouisBW: The cost of attendance was included in our tables and slide show, but it is not a factor in the methodology.

Lndsy1812: University of Oklahoma (Oklahoma Undergraduate Business Profile)?

GeoffBW: No. 83.

onimusle: Seton Hall (Seton Hall Undergraduate Business Profile)?

GeoffBW: No. 88.

feihjai: Which schools had the highest recruiter scores?

GeoffBW: Top five in recruiter satisfaction: Penn State (Smeal Undergraduate Business Profile), Emory, Notre Dame, Michigan (Ross Undergraduate Business Profile), and Michigan State (Broad Undergraduate Business Profile).

jxh12: What was the response rate for the recruiter survey?

GeoffBW: Two hundred forty-six recruiters responded to our survey, which is 32 percent.

park11: Is the ranking for a smaller school such as Miami disadvantaged in your methodology?

LouisBW: You run the risk of having an inadequate response rate, which would preclude you from the ranking. But assuming an adequate response rate in all the surveys, there's no disadvantage. In fact, there may be an advantage, if a small school gives students more personalized attention.

Nick27: How big is the advantage of going to a top-10 school vs. a top-20, vs. a top-30, and so on?

GeoffBW: It depends on what kind of job you're looking for and where you want to work.

quantman07: What was the sample of the responding recruiters this year?

GeoffBW: Each school provides us with a list of their top 25 recruiters. We contact each one and then send out the survey if we feel we have reached the correct contact at the company.

DennisA: Where did Arizona State University (Carey Undergraduate Business Profile) rank?

GeoffBW: No. 77, which is the same as last year.

LKline: American (Kogod Undergraduate Business Profile)?

GeoffBW: No. 63.

tweedy3: In such a competitive academic business school market, what differentiators do you notice in student satisfaction?

LouisBW: I think the biggest one has to be placement. Across the board, student satisfaction went up 8 percent, exactly the same as the percentage of students reporting a job offer. But when a rising tide lifts all boats, it doesn't really help one school over another.

GLC: What made the difference for the jump by Southern Methodist (Cox Undergraduate Business Profile)?

GeoffBW: Student satisfaction jumped quite a bit at Cox, going from No. 27 last year to No. 14 this year. Recruiter score, though, fell quite a bit.

LizJ: What school is No. 1 in internships?

LouisBW: That would be Northeastern (Northeastern Undergraduate Business Profile): 96.5 percent. Northeastern has a terrific co-op program that accounts for that high number.

quantman07: You've got to agree that there is something questionable in your recruiter survey population this year. Compared with previous years, it really stands out like a sore thumb. You cannot be confident that the recruiter rankings are not indicative of a somewhat different geographically statistical sample this year?

GeoffBW: The difference is that companies are actually hiring again. Last year and the year before was difficult for recruiters, and it didn't seem like they were as willing to respond to our survey. We had a pretty good response rate from each region.

tmannix: Are the numbers for the student and recruiter survey rank the 2011 number or the three-year composite average?

GeoffBW: Three-year composite.

montmadness: Where did the Farmer School of Business at Miami University (Farmer Undergraduate Business Profile) rank?

GeoffBW: No. 22. Happy Green Beer Day!

magowan01: Elon (Elon Undergraduate Business Profile)?

GeoffBW: No. 60 … pretty good for not being ranked last year.

halopower015: What distinguishes these business school rankings from the U.S. News college rankings?

LouisBW: The U.S. News ranking of business programs is based entirely on surveys of deans and senior faculty, who in many cases don't know much about the programs they're being asked to rank. So it's entirely reputational. Our ranking is based on real facts: which schools have satisfied students, have satisfied recruiters, get high salaries for grads, get grads into top MBA programs, and have all the attributes of a quality program. The two can't be compared.

AMGF1: Student satisfaction rate for Wharton and Georgetown?

GeoffBW: Georgetown, 41. Wharton, 9. (Those are ranks.)

curtis420: Will you release details on internship and study hours? I notice they're not included in the table.

LouisBW: Go to the slide show. Those numbers are listed there.

park11: Which schools had the best job placement and/or placement into an MBA program?

LouisBW: Three schools had 100 percent job placement at three months post-graduation: Richmond, Texas, and Penn State. Hard to top 100 percent.

JP001: Why is NYU (Stern Undergraduate Business Profile) ranked No. 15 despite having one of the best finance programs?

GeoffBW: Stern struggles with student satisfaction (No. 37 overall).

Powers: What about the schools not in the top 50?

GeoffBW: If you have schools in mind, send me an e-mail, and I'll let you know.

SKR: If a company has multiple recruiters working various regions of the country, does it get multiple surveys, or only one?

GeoffBW: We target regional recruiting heads, so we could survey a handful of individuals at any given company.

jxh12: Isn't there an inherent bias against small schools in the recruiter survey, given your methodology? Small schools will simply never get as many "Top Target School" mentions by recruiters.

GeoffBW: Each company is treated the same, regardless of size or location, when it comes to sending out the survey. I think location plays more of a factor than size, but because each school provides us with its own list of top recruiters, everyone has the same chance to get "mentioned."

Kroll: Just to clarify, the ranking, with regard to student and recruiter survey scores, features a three-year average. But on the ranking chart, it shows the actual rank. Is that correct?

GeoffBW: Both represent a three-year composite.

mlambdin: In terms of the recruiter survey, is it a negative if you didn't include 25 recruiters?

GeoffBW: Not necessarily, but I would suggest providing 25, unless you don't have 25 (which is O.K.).

dang590: Babson (Babson Undergraduate Business Profile) has been focusing on social entrepreneurship, which is not a traditional discipline. How do the rankings in general, and in this case specifically, adjust the numbers for unique programs that may not fit directly into one of the categories?

LouisBW: We don't make any kinds of adjustments because things like student satisfaction really don't require an adjustment; happy students are happy students. Lots of schools have been focusing on social entrepreneurship. It doesn't really make Babson, or any other school, unique enough to warrant an adjustment in the salary figures, for example.

Powers: But what are the sample sizes? Do UT and Penn State get all graduates to respond?

GeoffBW: The overall student response rate was 33 percent. No school gets every student to respond.

jxh12: Two of the largest U.S. business schools report 100 percent job placement at three months post-graduation. This data doesn't seem plausible.

GeoffBW: It's pretty amazing, isn't it?

Usha: Why are both private and state schools included in your rankings? Why not rank them separately?

GeoffBW: If you use the interactive table, you can sort by private and public.

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