The McCombs School of Business upheld its top rank ever — No. 6 — in Bloomberg Businessweek’s (BBW) final survey of the best undergraduate business schools in the U.S.
The Texas BBA has garnered top-10 ranks in seven out of 10 years. BBW first started publishing undergraduate rankings in 2006.
McCombs was the only school in the top 20 to hold its rank from the 2014 survey (no ranking was published in 2015).
The top three spots in the 2016 ranking went, respectively, to Villanova, Notre Dame, and Boston College.
This triumvirate alone raises eyebrows since Notre Dame, Virginia, and Cornell had placed first, second, and third, respectively, for the three previous surveys. Virginia fell to fifth and Cornell to 11th this year.
But the rise in the rank of the top program, Villanova, up 23 spots from the last survey, and the drop in rank of programs like Wharton, down nine spots to No. 16, will likely strain the credulity of business program administrators.
Other volatile swings in rank include Berkeley, which tumbled from No. 15 to No. 36, Washington University in St. Louis, which plummeted from No. 5 to No. 25, and Michigan State, which soared from No. 42 to No. 20.
BBW took a reprieve from rankings last year in order to overhaul its methodology. The new methodology, debuting with the 2016 ranking, doubled the weight given to employer assessment and increased that for student assessment and salary. More importantly, BBW tossed out academic and program statistics, such as average SAT scores and faculty-to-student ratios, which previously had accounted for a quarter of the ranking’s weight.
In what may be a tacit sign of the magazine’s dissatisfaction with the new methodology, BBW announced to university administrators on April 15 that it would no longer publish undergraduate and part-time business program rankings.