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B-School Takes Second In U.S. News Rankings

Only Stanford Tops Harvard in Annual Survey

By Michael T. Jalkut

Mitigating a long-standing gripe among students, U.S. News & World Report elevated the Harvard Business School (HBS) from No. 5 to No. 2 in its new graduate-school rankings.

HBS edged above the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan Business School, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Northwestern University's Kellogg School in the dramatic surge.

Stanford was rated No. 1 for the second year in a row.

The statistics used by U.S. News and World Report for ranking indicate that the rise is due to a jump in estimated General Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores at the school.

In previous years, Harvard has been the only top-ranked business school not to require GMAT scores from applicants, so U.S. News estimated an average score for HBS students.

Harvard now requires the GMAT of its applicants.

Last year, the estimated GMAT score at HBS was listed as 635 out of 800, which placed it as the second-lowest among the top ten schools. The score was more typical of schools ranked in the 15th to 20th range.

This year's estimated score is up 35 points to 670, tied for third on the list.

Students say the estimated scores in previous years have not been accurate.

As a matter of fact, many HBS students have "written letters every year to U.S. News," said Stephen M. Johnson, in his second year at the school. "We took straw polls that were repeatedly higher than what they said."

A representative from U.S. News said she could not explain the increase in estimated GMAT scores but pointed out that student selectivity and placement success at HBS also rose from last year. Although the issue of the magazine has already hit newsstands, the magazine said the rankings will not be formally announced until Monday.

The acceptance rate went down from 14.6 percent to 12.8 percent. The median starting salary rose by $10,000 to $80,000.

Students said HBS administration has been working to improve its ranking.

"Dean Clark is more interested in and more aware of P.R.," said Johnson.

Kim B. Clark '74, who was took office as dean of HBS last spring, was unavailable for comment yesterday, along with the top administrators of the school.

Many students linked the rise in the rankings to improved student satisfaction. However, U.S. News only considers academic and recruiting reputation, student placement and student selectivity in its assessments.

"There was a very strong initiative to end the student dissatisfaction with the school's non-response to student concerns," said HBS student Rosemary N. Li. "There has been a complete turnaround. They have improved a lot of little things to make it a pleasure to be here."

Patrice J. McDonald, a second-year student from Ireland, said the administration has also worked to attract more women and foreign applicants.

All the students interviewed agreed that no applicants or recruiters take the rankings too seriously.

"I can tell you that it doesn't make a difference [to recruiting companies]," said Li. "They all know the schools from the inside, so they don't pay attention to these superficial rankings."

In the rest of the U.S. News issue, other Harvard graduate school ratings remained largely unchanged.

The Medical School kept the top spot, and the Law School stayed at No. 2 behind the perennially first-ranked Yale.

Other top-finishing schools and Ph.D. departments include: School of Public Health, No. 2; Graduate School of Design, No. 1; Biology, No. 1; Chemistry, No. 2; Economics, No. 1; Mathematics, No. 1; Physics, No. 1, and English, No. 1

All the students interviewed agreed that no applicants or recruiters take the rankings too seriously.

"I can tell you that it doesn't make a difference [to recruiting companies]," said Li. "They all know the schools from the inside, so they don't pay attention to these superficial rankings."

In the rest of the U.S. News issue, other Harvard graduate school ratings remained largely unchanged.

The Medical School kept the top spot, and the Law School stayed at No. 2 behind the perennially first-ranked Yale.

Other top-finishing schools and Ph.D. departments include: School of Public Health, No. 2; Graduate School of Design, No. 1; Biology, No. 1; Chemistry, No. 2; Economics, No. 1; Mathematics, No. 1; Physics, No. 1, and English, No. 1

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