Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the Stanford Law School (SLS) continue to excel in the U.S. News and World Report’s (USNWR) rankings. The GSB tied with Harvard University for first place among business schools in the publication’s 2013 rankings, while the Law School was ranked second in the nation.
The tie for first place between the GSB and the Harvard School of Business is the third-such occurrence in the past five years. The Law School moved into sole possession of second place, behind Yale Law School, for the first time since 2007.
While expressing satisfaction with their placement, both Law School and GSB representatives played down the rankings’ significance while emphasizing alternate means of measuring the programs’ successes.
Garth Saloner ‘81 M.S. ‘82 Ph.D. ‘82, dean of the GSB, stated that — although he is very proud of the GSB’s top ranking — he would rather focus on measuring how the GSB prepares students to succeed after graduation.
Saloner emphasized that the GSB prefers to focus on “preparing our students…so they can make significant impact in the world.”
“We are obviously delighted when we receive external recognition…but we keep a balanced perspective and recognize that these measurements are, at best, imprecise and incomplete,” added Madhav Rajan, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the GSB.
Although the rankings assess graduate programs through a range of criteria — such as peer and corporate assessments, graduates’ starting salaries and the program’s acceptance rate — Saloner argued that “rankings tend to put [schools] into a single dimension.”
Judith Romero, a Law School spokesperson, stated that the law school does not normally comment on rankings as a matter of policy because “what’s important is that students find the right school for them.”
Saloner agreed that, while students may naturally judge an institution primarily by its ranking, it is more important to judge whether a school is a good match for that particular student.
In addition to the overall category, the U.S. News and World Report also ranked business and law schools in several specialized categories.
The GSB attained top-five rankings in accounting, entrepreneurship, management, marketing, nonprofit, production/operations and supply chain/logistics.
“The underlying reasons for the [business] school’s success in these rankings has to do with the differentiated education we supply to our MBA students,” Saloner said.
Rajan conceded that Stanford scored relatively poorly in the percentage of students employed three months after graduation, but linked this apparent shortcoming to the quality and type of education afforded to GSB graduates.
“Our students have the luxury of being able to take time and sort through a variety of career options,” Rajan said. “We also have by far the greatest proportion of graduates who choose to strike out on their own in entrepreneurial ventures.”
The Law School excelled in specific areas, ranking in the top-five law schools in the country for intellectual property law and in the list of best law schools ranked solely by top law firms.
The Law School recently announced the completion of a five-year reform to its second- and third-year curriculum. The new program incorporates a more interdisciplinary and international approach, emphasizing clinical training and team-oriented problem solving and allowing students greater flexibility to tailor joint degrees.
“We are playing a critical role in training the next generation of leaders through innovative interdisciplinary and international programs,” Romero said.