Methodology

How We Ranked the Schools


To identify the top undergraduate business programs, Bloomberg BusinessWeek uses a methodology that includes nine measures of student satisfaction, postgraduation outcomes, and academic quality.

This year we started with 139 programs that were eligible for ranking, including virtually all of the schools from our 2009 ranking plus six new schools that met our eligibility requirements. In November, with the help of Cambria Consulting in Boston, we asked nearly 88,000 graduating seniors at those schools to complete a 50-question survey on everything from the quality of teaching to recreational facilities. Overall, 27,317 students responded to the survey, a response rate of 31%.

The results of the 2010 student survey are then combined with the results of two previous student surveys, from 2009 and 2008, to arrive at a student survey score for each school. The 2010 survey supplies 50% of the score; the two previous surveys supply 25% each.

In addition to surveying students, Bloomberg BusinessWeek polled 718 corporate recruiters for companies that hire thousands of business majors each year. We asked them to tell us which programs turn out the best graduates, and which schools have the most innovative curricula and most effective career services. In the end, 236 recruiters responded, a response rate of about 33%.

The results of the 2010 recruiter survey are then combined with the results of two previous recruiter surveys, from 2009 and 2008, to calculate a recruiter survey score for each school. The 2010 survey supplies 50% of the score; the two previous surveys supply 25% each.

Academic Quality Gauge

To learn which schools' students land the best-paying jobs, we asked each institution to tell us the median starting salary for their most recent graduating class. In addition, we drew on our 2004, 2006, and 2008 MBA surveys to create a "feeder school" measure showing which schools send the most grads to the 35 top MBA programs identified in previous Bloomberg BusinessWeek rankings.

Finally, we created an academic quality gauge of five equally weighted measures. From the schools themselves, we obtained average SAT scores, the ratio of full-time faculty to students, and average class size. The student survey supplied the percentage of business majors with internships and the hours students spend every week on schoolwork.

Before determining the final ranking, we first had to review each school's response rates on the 2010 student and recruiter surveys. Of the 139 programs that were eligible for ranking, a total of 28 were eliminated. Thirteen were eliminated for low response rates in the student survey: Auburn University, East Tennessee State University, Fairfield University, Georgia State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, University of Alabama, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of Vermont, Washington State University, West Virginia University, and York College of Pennsylvania.

A further 10 were cut for low response rates in the recruiter survey: American University, Belmont University, Chapman University, Duquesne University, Elon University, Samford University, St. Louis University, State University of New York at Geneseo, University of California-Riverside, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. An additional five schools were eliminated because of low response rates on both surveys: Creighton University, Iona College, University of Massachusetts-Boston, University of the Pacific, and the University of Tulsa.

For the 111 schools remaining, the student survey score counts for 30% of the final ranking, with the recruiter survey score contributing 20%. Starting salaries and the MBA feeder school measure contribute 10% each. The academic quality measure supplies the remaining 30%.

Louis_lavelle
Lavelle is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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