Ignore business school rankings—they’ll be totally different by the time you graduate

A new business school now sits atop Bloomberg Businessweek’s biennial ranking of American MBA factories. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business leapt to the number one position on the list, up from sixth place in 2012.

It might be surprising to see a school jump several places to the top, but the rankings are actually very volatile. Yale skyrocketed into sixth place, all the way from 21st. Columbia also crept up several places and into the top 10. Here’s how the rankings for the current top eight US schools have changed in just two years:

How-business-school-rankings-have-changed-in-two-years-Duke-Pennsylvania-Chicago-Stanford-Columbia-Yale-Northwestern-Harvard_chartbuilder

Bloomberg goes into some detail on how the rankings were generated. And employers do apparently value business-school rankings when choosing where to recruit. But doesn’t it seem pretty arbitrary that, for example, a student who started at Harvard in 2012 and graduated two years later would find herself attending a school six spots less prestigious?

The Bloomberg rankings for the current top 15 have changed significantly in the past decade:

School 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014
Duke 11 9 8 6 6 1
Pennsylvania 3 2 4 3 3 2
Chicago 2 1 1 1 1 3
Stanford 4 6 6 5 4 4
Columbia 8 10 7 9 14 5
Yale 22 19 24 21 21 6
Northwestern 1 3 3 4 5 7
Harvard 5 4 2 2 2 8
Michigan 6 5 5 7 8 9
Carnegie Mellon 15 16 19 15 11 10
UCLA 14 12 14 17 18 11
North Carolina 16 17 17 16 17 12
Cornell 7 13 11 13 7 13
MIT 9 7 9 10 9 14
Dartmouth 10 11 12 14 12 15

In contrast, the top five law schools have remained more or less the same on US News’ rankings since 2009, only with University of Chicago and New York University occasionally trading the fifth spot.

Read this next: If you can’t get into a top-five MBA program, don’t even bother

home our picks popular latest obsessions search