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What US News ranking system is more useful/reliable?

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Replies to: What US News ranking system is more useful/reliable?

  • philbegasphilbegas 2924 replies73 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2016
    I think it was brave of Bloomberg to stand up and say "Ivies aren't the only top schools out there". There's no doubt that Wharton is a great school and that employers value the name but Bloomberg simply used different parameters to measure the rankings. Their list is also multi-faceted allowing you to rank the schools by the different parameters as well. For salary, Wharton moves up to #1 if you rank it by that factor!

    It's worth it to note the new rankings which have their own thread as well:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/10/20/heres-a-new-college-ranking-based-entirely-on-other-college-rankings/?utm_term=.41874111b9a5
    edited November 2016
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  • juilletjuillet 12724 replies162 threads Super Moderator
    I think the Bloomberg undergrad business ranking is kind of a joke. They have Penn (Wharton) at #16, and Villanova, ND and Boston College top 3. This just does not make sense no matter how one looks at it.

    Pretty much what @insanedreamer said. This is why US News sells so many magazines every year - their ranking scales largely conform to what people are expecting to hear about universities and colleges. US News' rankings are very reliant on inputs - the perceived quality of the students who go to the school. Bloomberg very clearly laid out their methodology and their criteria are all outputs - where students end up after college, and how they feel about the college once they are already there. Depending on your values, you may value one ranking over the other. Personally I think it's better to evaluate a university in terms of where it places you in your career than what you looked like when you got there. But that's just me.
    i student interested in a specific field will be much better served at a college that has a strong department in that field.

    Why do you think that? I'd be interested in your reasoning. (Genuinely.)
    Yes most department rankings are about grad school, but they do measure departmental quality and this is something that trickles down to undergrad in terms of the quality of the professors teaching the courses, the quality of research opportunities, alumni network in that specific field etc.

    Graduate departmental rankings don't indicate anything about the undergrad alumni network in a specific field. The graduate alumni network may not matter as much, either, if most grad students end up in academia.

    Graduate departmental rankings do allude to the quality of professors, but the quality is related to the professors' research output and ability to get grants. That has, in my opinion, a net neutral effect on undergrads. On the one hand, additional grant money flowing into the department increases the resources available and may create paid research positions for undergrads; also, having experts in the field teaching you in class is great. On the other hand, a lot of those hotshot experts only teach graduate seminars (or don't teach at all!), and more grant funding also means that adjuncts and teaching assistants are hired to replace the professors who are now doing research to sustain their grants. Also, having to concentrate on grant funding means that professors spend less time concentrating on teaching and mentoring. That doesn't mean that they are bad at it, or don't care about it - a lot of professors do like it. But it does mean that on average they are far more occupied by their research agendas than teaching undergrads.

    In my prestigious graduate department, lower-level introductory classes were taught by adjuncts and lecturers who were hired specifically for that purpose. Mid-level classes (sophomore and junior level) were taught by new assistant professors who were on the tenure-track - great researchers, but early career. Upper-level seminars were taught by new assistant professors and a few of the tenured professors, who sometimes taught one upper-level undergraduate seminar. The real famous experts in the field mostly taught one graduate seminar a year. (There was one very famous professor emeritus who did teach a mixed undergrad-grad class.)

    I also think the research opportunities are a net neutral. On the one hand, there's cutting edge work going on, and undergrads may have the opportunity to work on something really cool! On the other hand, scads of grad students and postdocs mean that undergrads are lower on the pecking order, and the tasks that they do may be more routine than actually fully participatory.

    That also doesn't address the fact that many college students will change their major anyway, or that most of the classes you take are not in your department.

    Still, I will revise my original statement. You're right - it's not that they're not important at all. That's too strong. Rather, I think they should be pretty low priority in any college-bound senior's criteria for a university.
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  • insanedreamerinsanedreamer 1533 replies3 threads Senior Member
    One more point about Bloomberg's rankings. Its graduate (MBA) rankings reflect the commonly held reputation of "prestigious" business schools - Wharton, Sloan, Kellogg, Harvard, etc. But those aren't necessarily the best at undergrad. And why should they be? An MBA course is a completely different animal than undergrad biz.
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  • philbegasphilbegas 2924 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Wait US News rankings are based on inputs? That seems significantly less useful the Bloomberg ones.
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3360 replies12 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2016
    I would go by the undergrad rankings, at least for business. Only one Ivy offers an undergrad business degree - Wharton so the grad rankings are mostly irrelevant. The rest are filled in by large publics like Michigan, Indiana, etc and a few privates like Notre Dame. That may change in the next few years, however.
    edited December 2016
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  • knights99knights99 24 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I don't trust Bloomberg. It places Duquesne 55th for undergrad business. I looked at there post grad surveys and only 60% are employed in 6 momths. Also I was under the impression that Bloomberg is going to stop ranking colleges next year.
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  • ThankYouforHelpThankYouforHelp 1294 replies1 threads Senior Member
    The most reliable ranking system is the one that ranks my college and my childrens' colleges the highest.

    We all can find a rationalization to support that conclusion that we all want to reach. However, some of us don't realize how much we are rationalizing.
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  • IsaacTheFutureIsaacTheFuture 169 replies39 threads Junior Member
    If you are utterly sure that you will stick to your major, than the Business ranking. After all, you won't be taking every major offered at the school, so why would the overall school rank take more president over major specific rankings?
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  • insanedreamerinsanedreamer 1533 replies3 threads Senior Member
    The most reliable ranking system is the one that ranks my college and my childrens' colleges the highest.

    CC gold :)
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  • knights99knights99 24 replies1 threads Junior Member
    What I did is look up the post grad surveys of schools I already had interest in and ranked them myself based on my major.
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  • Penn95Penn95 2283 replies79 threads Senior Member
    @insanedreamer @juillet I do believe there is something wrong with their methodology and/or data, probably with their employer survey. If you compare the job outcomes of a place like Wharton vs say Villanova or BC, there is a very big difference. There is no way that employers around the country place Wharton grads at #66 in terms of how the school prepares them for the job. If that was the case then Wharton grads would not have the kind of job and salary outcomes that they have. They would have a much harder time getting top jobs since business employers would not want them as much. So there is probably something fishy with the group of employers they selected. Maybe they do not select many elite firms? I do not know. But these figures kind of defy logic based on hard salary and employment facts.
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  • philbegasphilbegas 2924 replies73 threads Senior Member
    @Penn95 I take it you're a Penn Alum?

    What if Wharton really doesn't prepare you as well as other schools do? In the past when there was less access to information like all of these different college lists, it was a lot easier to say : The best schools in the US are Ivies, Stanford, etc and just be done with it. But now that data collection is more efficient and in depth, maybe Wharton isn't top dog anymore. Maybe, employers have really high expectations for it because it's been a top school for so long but their grads don't end up being more impressive than a school like Villanova or BC or Fordham or whatever.
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  • universityjoeuniversityjoe 16 replies0 threads New Member
    None. Trust your own judgement. The rankings are flawed and biased. Nobody looks at them after high school.
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  • juilletjuillet 12724 replies162 threads Super Moderator
    Bloomberg gives a more detailed look at their employer survey methodology.

    To assess how well undergraduate business programs prepare graduates for the jobs they want, we surveyed recruiters from companies that hire undergraduate business majors. We asked schools to identify individuals recently involved in recruiting their graduates. We surveyed 1,079 recruiters at 582 firms that completed the survey....We asked recruiters to identify as many as 10 schools at which they had significant recruiting experience in the past five years. We then asked the recruiters to assess how well these schools’ graduates performed on specific qualities important to them when they recruit business students....Because the best business programs are well-regarded by a wide array of recruiters, the employer score was based equally on two components: its average rating by employers (a measure of the school’s quality in the eyes of recruiters); and the sum of ratings it received (a measure of the school’s reach).

    There's more that I edited for length, but another important point is that alumni ratings are excluded from the assessment, since alumni on average rate their own school more favorably.

    It wouldn't make sense that Bloomberg would exclude elite employers and recruiters. First of all, elite, high-paying firms are the ones who can afford to send recruiters all over the country to have a presence at universities every year, so if they excluded them, they wouldn't get data reflecting what they wanted. Second, if the point of the magazine article was to rank business schools - it would make the most sense to get evaluations from the employers students most want to work at. Nevertheless, they don't release the names of their employers, so that's a possibility - although I maintain it's unlikely.

    If we wanted to look for potentially valid reasons to discount Bloomberg's rankings, one thing that could (hypothetically) drive Wharton's and other elite schools' lower rankings is recruiters' gap between expectation and actuality. When you rank-order the schools by salary, the usual suspects come out on top. (Salaries are adjusted for region of the job.) One of the first things I noticed is that schools that did really well with the salary and internship ranks did not do so well in the employer surveys. In fact, there are only 5 schools that are in the top 20 for salary and also in the top 20 for employer ratings: Boston College, NYU, Indiana (Kelley), UT-Austin (McCombs), and Notre Dame.

    So one potential, very hypothetical example is that recruiters might be expecting amazing, off-the-charts performance from Wharton et al. because they are elite schools. Then when they actually get the new employees, they realize that they are like any other new business employee - they need training, to learn professional norms, etc. On the other hand, maybe they aren't expecting the Bentley, John Carroll or Bradley students to be as excellent as they truly are, so they rate a lot more favorably than they rate Wharton, Cornell and CMU et al.
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  • philbegasphilbegas 2924 replies73 threads Senior Member
    @juillet I said exactly the same thing earlier today in a different thread. These days, there's no reason for Wharton students to be incredibly better than students from other nearly as good schools.
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  • insanedreamerinsanedreamer 1533 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2016
    @Penn95 you could be right about their employee survey methodology/data being wrong. I don't know enough to say either way. My point was simply that we'd have to pinpoint a flaw in that rather than just assume it's wrong because Wharton is so low. Remember we're talking about undergrad here, not MBA. Maybe people from Wharton expect higher salaries or come in to the company with an "I went to Wharton" attitude that turns companies off? I honestly might be inclined to choose someone from Villanova over a Wharton graduate for that very reason. If the education is roughly the same, then the only thing I'm getting from a Wharton grad is "attitude" which I'd rather not deal with. This attitude may be more of a problem in business than other majors like CompSci that rely on provable skills (you might have graduated from MIT but if others in the company code better than you, you get cut down to size pretty quick). So from that perspective, it's not surprising so-called "elite" schools would be lower ranked by employers.
    edited December 2016
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  • juilletjuillet 12724 replies162 threads Super Moderator
    This attitude may be more of a problem in business than other majors like CompSci that rely on provable skills (you might have graduated from MIT but if others in the company code better than you, you get cut down to size pretty quick).

    Hmm, maybe not. People tend to assume that there are single, concrete "answers" in STEM fields that make it easier to differentiate between people based on some idea of "merit" and not on personal characteristics. But there really aren't. Even in something as basic as coding, there are a lot of different ways to solve computer programming problems. Some solutions may be more elegant than others, but there can be a lot of different ways to be "right" depending on how complex the problem is. And that's only basic skills - that's not accounting for creativity, leadership, fit with the team, prior experience, references, etc. Software developers can be as easily swayed by these things as people who work in business. (There are tons of thinkpieces on the lack of diversity in computer science.)

    There are also provable skills in business, like quantitative facility or logical reasoning. There's usually a mix of hard and soft skills in every field.
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