When it comes to marketing, no undergraduate school has a better reputation than the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. While it’s hardly the only place to major in the subject, Wharton consistently tops the list of the best undergraduate programs in marketing put together by U.S. News & World Report each year.
The schools that dominate the top of the marketing ranking are well-known players in business education. Right behind Wharton on the 2017 list, published in September, are the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, New York University’s Stern School of Business, UT-Austin’s McCombs School of Business, and UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. That is heady company.
On its latest ranking, U.S. News places numerical ranks on 27 business schools that offer the best marketing majors. Even though this ranking is flawed (we’ll explain why below), the top of the U.S. News list is a pretty reliable ranking of the best. We think the programs ranked first to 15th are pretty solid.
|U.S. News’ 2017 Ranking Of The Best Undergraduate Marketing Programs|
|1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School)|
|2. University of Michigan (Ross School of Business)|
|3. New York University (Stern School of Business)|
|4. University of Texas-Austin (McCombs School of Business)|
|5. University of California-Berkeley (Haas School of Business|
|6. Indiana University (Kelley School of Business)|
|7. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler Business School)|
|8. University of Virginia (McIntire School of Commerce)|
|9. St. Joseph University (Haub School of Business)|
|10. University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business|
|11. University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business)|
|12. University of Florida/|
|12. University of Notre Dame (Mendoza College of Business)|
|14. Cornell University (Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management)|
|15. Massachusetts Institue of Technology (Sloan School of Management)|
Source: U.S. News & World Report 2017 specialty rankings
WHAT DOES BEST IN A RANKING REALLY MEAN?
In this case, best typically means that the professors are at the leading edge of knowlege in their fields, that a school boasts an expansive portfolio of marketing courses taught by a good number of marketing experts, and that the major corporations recruit heavily from these programs for marketing talent.
The ranking is solely based on U.S. News’ peer assessment poll of deans and senior faculty, which often turns it into more of a popularity contest that rewards well-known school brands more than the actual quality of the program. These deans and professors – two at each AACSB-accredited business program – are asked to nominate the 10 best programs in marketing.
For this marketing list, U.S. News ranks schools in descending order simply by the number of mentions each school receives from the responding deans and professors. But at the top of the list, where there is greater consensus among deans and faculty, you can trust that these schools are truly exceptional in teaching marketing. The bottom half of the list is less trustworthy, largely because it only takes seven votes to make the list and it’s known that some schools have collaborated with each other to land on the ranking.