At least at the top, there are few surprises in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Undergraduate Business Programs of 2023 ranking released today (September 12). The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is the No. 1 program in the country, just as it was in last year’s ranking and the year before that and the year before that. In fact, Wharton has topped U.S. News’ ranking for most of the last decade.
The ranking is essentially a popularity contest: Schools are ranked solely on responses of deans and senior faculty members from other schools on a peer assessment survey. Peers scored Wharton a 4.8 out of a possible 5 this year. Rounding out the top four are the big-brand programs of MIT Sloan School of Management and UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business tied for second with a score of 4.6, and University of Michigan Ross School of Business in fourth with a 4.5. That’s very similar to last year when the schools ranked No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively.
The only other change in the top five (or top six to be precise) is that Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business rose two spots to tie with NYU Stern for No. 5. The full list of schools ranked in U.S. News‘ “top 10” is presented in the table below.
A METHODOLOGY THAT MAKES FOR A LOT OF TIES
As you can see, the relatively loose methodology in U.S. News’ ranking makes for a lot of ties. The rankings magazine asked deans and senior faculty at 516 undergraduate business programs accredited by the AACSB International to rank schools on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). It determined average scores by computing a trimmed mean – eliminating the two highest and two lowest scores.
Because there are only 5 total points, and because it only asks for the opinions of people at peer schools, it makes it more difficult to create a lot of distance between programs. That’s why there are six schools in the top “five,” 12 schools in the top “10,” and 49 schools ranked No. 411. Another 56 schools are ranked “No. 460-561” and listed alphabetically because they scored less than 2 points on their peer assessments. This list does not take into account the quality of a school’s enrolled student base, the academic and extracurricular experience of the students, the quality of the faculty, or the career outcomes of a school’s graduates.
U.S. News formerly used the two most recent years’ responses to calculate weighted average scores of programs in undergraduate business — for example, a program that received 55% of its total ratings in 2020 and the remaining 45% in 2019 would have 55% of its overall score determined by its 2020 survey results and 45% by its 2019 survey results. The magazine changed its methodology last year to base the overall ranking solely on the year in which the survey was administered. So, the most recent ranking is all based on responses from spring and early summer of 2022.
The survey had a 47.7% response rate, down from 49.5% in last year’s survey. It continues a downward trend in survey responses that hit 51.7% in 2020 and 56.2% in 2019.
ANOTHER NO. 1 FOR WHARTON
In any universe, and on any ranking, The Wharton School is a top-notch program, it’s undergrad program is very often regarded as among the very best is the business. (It’s topped our annual ranking of best undergraduate business schools for five straight years.)
While U.S. News’ ranking of business programs is based solely on the opinions of the peer schools, Poets&Quants bases our ranking on admission standards, alumni experience, and career outcomes.
On our ranking, Wharton had the top composite score in career outcomes and admission data and the fifth highest in alumni experience. The school’s acceptance rate for its roughly 400 incoming undergraduates was 6.03% in 2021, down a full percentage point from its 2020 acceptance rate of 7.6%. The class had an average GPA of 3.88, an average SAT of 1,497 (down from 1,504 the year prior), and 90.48% reported being in the top-10% of their high school class, according to our survey.
Its graduates also posted a 96.74% employment rate within three months after graduation with an adjusted starting salary of $94,895. Meanwhile, 97% secured business-specific internships.
Schools in the Top 25 (29 total) are listed below, with schools ranked No. 30-64 (or 42 schools) listed on page 2. Go to page 3 for schools ranked in the top 100 and the list of the top five winners of U.S. News' specialization rankings.
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