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Monday, March 28, 2016

NYU B-School Did Not Provide GMAT Scores To U.S. News, Falls From #11 To #20 In Rankings

NYUUSNRobert Morse (Director of Data Research, U.S. News & World Report), Why New York University Fell in the Best Business Schools Rankings:

When U.S. News calculates our annual rankings of the Best Graduate Schools, we get all the statistical data we use from the schools themselves. This means U.S. News depends on those schools to provide accurate and complete data in response to our statistical surveys.

When a school does not provide data that are used in the rankings methodologies, that can have a significant effect on its position in the rankings.

During the statistical data collection process for the newly released 2017 edition of Best Business Schools, New York University's Stern School of Business did not submit its data for the number of new entrants to both its full-time and part-time MBA programs who provided GMAT scores. These data were for the fall 2015 entering class. ...

The data are used as part of the calculation to compute a value for a school's average GMAT and GRE scores. This measure is included in the rankings to determine the strength of a school's entering class relative to other full-time and part-time MBA programs. The average GMAT and GRE scores have a weight of 16.25 percent in the full-time MBA rankings and 15 percent in the part-time MBA rankings.

The Stern School of Business' position in both the full-time and part-time MBA rankings for the 2017 edition were negatively affected as a result of the data omission. The school is ranked at No. 20 in the full-time rankings and No. 10 in the part-time rankings. In the 2016 edition of the rankings, the school tied for No. 11 among full-time programs and ranked fourth among part-time programs.

Stern later provided U.S. News with the omitted data points, which are noted on its profile page on These data points are only visible to U.S. News Grad School Compass users, as is the case for all business schools.

U.S. News will not recalculate NYU’s rankings – or any other school’s rankings – because of nonreporting.

NYU Press Release, Why Stern’s Ranking Fell to 20, and Why You Shouldn’t Take it at Face Value:

US News and World Report published its rankings of full-time MBA programs today, and Stern dropped from 11 last year to 20 this year, we know why, and here’s why you shouldn’t accept it at face value.

US News shared the rankings with us last week. We were surprised, looked at the data, and found that Stern’s scores were higher than a number of other schools with higher ranks (see here for example.) So we challenged their ranking of Stern.

US News told us that Stern's drop was largely attributable to a single missing data point – one missing answer (concerning how many students submitted GMAT scores) out of over 300 questions. In its absence, US News had substituted an “estimated” number (we do not know how this estimate was derived.)

We promptly provided the correct information, but US News declined to adjust the rankings.

The failure to submit the data is ours; that said, it was wholly unintentional, it’s a question we’ve always answered in the past, US News never flagged the missing information, and the missing data was virtually identical to last year’s. Going forward, we will further tighten the procedures for data submissions so such lapses do not recur.

NYU Data

Law School Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink


What is most interesting in this story is the fact that US News seems to be using a punitive substitute if a school fails to submit data. This creates incentives to provide all requested data.

Posted by: Theodore Seto | Mar 28, 2016 6:20:37 AM

One would have hoped (incorrectly) that USN&WR would have preferred accuracy over formality. Sigh. Readers beware.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Mar 28, 2016 8:14:33 AM

You MBA fellers need not worry about rankings. If these rankings mattered to perspective students there would be at least 100, "Rank Not Published" law schools out of business. You guys are not close to being Trump University.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Mar 28, 2016 9:06:28 AM

@Ted Seto,

One suspects that USNWR is growing tired of all the gamesmanship and *accidental* misreporting from colleges, law and biz schools, and so forth. I recall the editor of USNWR writing an open letter to all law school deans about a year before the ABA new employment reporting regulations passed in which he exhorted them to stop sending them patently false information.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Mar 28, 2016 11:59:14 AM


That's giving a lot of credit to US News for integrity rather than more crass motives. Namely (a) laziness (hey, it's no skin off their back if the rankings are inaccurate: people are going to look at 'em anyway) and (b) their business model is actually advanced, rather than impeded, by volatility (whether based on inaccurate info or otherwise). That is, their business model depends upon volatility in the rankings: If the rankings stayed the same every year, then no one would fork over the cash for their stupid annual rankings magazine.

Posted by: anon | Mar 28, 2016 2:08:55 PM

Unemployed Northeastern:

Unfortunately, USN and World Distort is now the forth estate for the regulation of law schools. Law Schools ought to be ashamed. A crappy magazine that one reads and tosses away after pooping has to be the one to tell these law schools to act right.

Posted by: Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance King | Mar 28, 2016 2:28:20 PM


I trust neither law schools nor USNWR to voluntarily toe the line of morality or decency. That being said, that letter from the USNWR editor to law school deans is easily discoverable on Google. I am still waiting for the first law school to pull a Reed University and refuse to participate in the USNWR pageantry.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Mar 28, 2016 9:49:25 PM

If I remember correctly (doubtful) from when I applied (class of '87), it was common knowledge which law schools were good, better, best, etc. We didn't need no stinkin' USN rankings, right? Or am I forgetting some other published rankings?

Posted by: John Novack | Mar 29, 2016 7:38:58 AM

C'mon - take a look at the table data - the GMAT supplied by USNWR is 1 (one) point lower than the previous year and the same as in 2014. And 1 GMAT point dropped them 9 places - that's a load of hooey. The year (again, 2014) the GMAT went up one point it raised them 1 (one) place from 11 to 10. Punitive on USNWR's side for 2017? You betcha.

Posted by: Karlo | Mar 29, 2016 11:02:10 AM