Recruiters dropped the University of Michigan Business School one spot to third in nationwide rankings of Master’s degree programs published in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

The Business School earned 70.80 points out of a possible 100 in the Journal’s third-annual rankings, a slight decline from the 71.64 score handed to the University last year. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business are ranked ahead at first and second, respectively.

“I think the way people will look at it is that there’s this absolute top tier of business schools and Michigan is still among them,” Business School Dean Robert Dolan said.

“There are a lot more numbers below two than above two,” Dolan added.

The Journal did not provide a specific reason for the drop from second to third, but recruiters participating in the survey said students’ weaknesses include their perspective and entrepreneurial skills, and they also pointed to the school’s career services office as a problem. Recruiters added that the quality of graduates is “inconsistent” and that the school enrolls “too many engineers.”

The Business School is still the highest-ranked public school in the nation, and recruiters singled out several programs as exemplary. The school is ranked first in the nation for consumer products, second for marketing and fourth for general management.

Despite the drop in rankings, students at the Business School said they are not extremely concerned about the school’s reputation. David Karpelowitz, a master’s-of-business-administration student, said he still believes the Business School offers quality teaching.

“We’re still seeing a lot of the same companies (recruiting on campus). … In that sense, I still feel really positive about the future,” he said. “Michigan is going to continue to be a top school.”

Karpelowitz added that the current economy is more of a concern to him in terms of finding employment than the school’s ranking.

Second-year MBA student Andy Atkinson said third place in the rankings is still respectable. “What’s the big difference between second and third? We’re still a very big school in recruiters’ eyes,” she said.

Additionally, recruiters praised Business School graduates for being “less demanding and arrogant” than students earning degrees from other schools. University graduates also received high marks for their analytical and problem-solving skills, teamwork orientation and personal ethics and integrity.

The Wall Street Journal’s ranking system is based on responses from a total of 2,191 recruiters on 26 student and school attributes. Other factors taken into consideration were the students’ communication and interpersonal skills, ability to work in teams, as well as the quality of schools’ past graduates.

Eighty percent of the total scores were based on recruiters’ perceptions of the schools and their students, and the other 20 percent was determined by the “mass appeal” of the schools, in this case how many of the survey’s participants recruited from each school.

Each school received ratings from at least 20 recruiters, who had to be familiar with the schools for which they provided scores.

Two other Big Ten rivals saw their business schools drop several places in the rankings. Michigan State University’s Broad School of Business fell from 13 to 21, while Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business declined from 18 to 25.

Among the top private schools nationwide, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business was ranked fourth, Harvard was eighth, Yale ninth and Stanford 30th.

The Business School enrolls 869 full-time MBA students and 944 part-time students. Students accepted into the school received an average 681 score on the GMATs, earned a 3.4 grade point average as undergraduates and worked for a 5.5 years before enrolling.

Graduates earn an average base salary of $84,922 upon being hired, and 74 percent receive job offers within three months of earning their degrees. Of those students, 34 percent work in the financial or banking sectors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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