UT-Austin ranked No. 56 in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report National Universities ranking, dropping four spots from last year, with the McCombs School of Business rising one place to No. 6 in the nation.
The McCombs School of Business is one of several successful programs at UT, according to this year’s calculations.
Matt Turner, marketing researcher at McCombs, explained the methodology of the undergraduate business rankings and why they should theoretically matter to students.
“It’s 100 percent peer assessment,” Turner said. “Deans [and senior faculty members] have been asked at all AACSB accredited business schools to give a score by the schools that they think are best. You could argue that some of it is historic reputation, but these people are ideally the ones who should know.”
Finance junior Alexandra Cumberland said the rankings played a large role when she was applying to schools.
“I’m from Texas, so I would only go out of state if it was a school better than UT,” Cumberland said.
Cumberland said she thinks the rankings “are helpful, especially when looking for jobs and internships.”
David Platt, associate dean of the BBA program at UT, said McCombs’ reputation is representative of many positive aspects of their undergraduate business experience.
“I think it speaks to whether or not we’re doing a good job of getting the word out about all the quality of our faculty and students and staff and research,” Platt said.
Platt said that rankings are a small part of what students should be taking into account when looking for the business program that will best fit them.
“I think that rankings are something to be considered, absolutely, but they’re not the whole story,” Platt said. “It’s a rough indicator of quality, and it’s worth using it to start your search, but I would never take it as an absolute indicator of why one school is perfect for me as a student. [Students] should be looking at the environment of the school, what the school offers both within the business school [and without].”
Platt said students should also look for schools based on their individual interests.
“If you have a particular interest, you would look at offerings in the area of that particular interest,” Platt said. “For example, if you felt that it was important to study abroad, you would want to look at what the study abroad offerings look like. The degree is only a portion of what they are getting as an undergraduate.”
Outside of the business school, UT continues to perform well on paper in other categories in the U.S. News rankings, receiving ranks of No. 14 in most innovative schools and No. 11 in undergraduate engineering programs.