May 03, 2001
Dean Willison Responds to Wall Street Journal Report
Los Angeles — On April 30, the Wall Street Journal brought out its first-ever B-School rankings. The long-awaited report sought to differentiate itself from other B-School rankings by focusing solely on input from some 1600 recruiters, who have recruited on at least one graduate business school campus (fewer than 26 of the respondents recruited at UCLA Anderson). Having improved our standing among recruiters in the recent BusinessWeek and U.S. News & World Report rankings to 13th and 10th, respectively, we were cautiously optimistic. So you can imagine our disappointment in learning we were ranked 36th out of 242 schools and frankly, our surprise to see Columbia University just ahead of us and the likes of MIT (38th), Duke (44th) and Stanford (45th) well below us.
The rankings were based on recruiters' input on 27 weighted attributes. We will request our data to further analyze our scores. Although our Career Management Center has continually been ranked in other surveys among the nation's top five, we have already been investing in the Center's intranet services, adding additional advisory services. We have also invited national recruiters to our School for a two-day discussion about UCLA Anderson, our faculty and students (being held May 3-4). No doubt we can learn from the recruiters' perceptions of us and use the knowledge to help us help them.
The WSJ article pointed out that recruiters generally prefer graduates with lower salary expectations, a willingness to relocate (they noted that no California school ranked in the top 20 for this reason), and schools where they can yield a goodly number of hires for the recruiting expenses invested. With over 240 companies here to recruit our 330 graduates, we are probably never going to compare well to any of those particular attributes. We'll need to balance the new WSJ input with the more traditional measures of recruiters' opinions, particularly the number of job offers received and starting salaries — criteria by which our students are much more highly regarded.
As I have said with each ranking's release, we value the feedback and seek to learn and improve from it. In doing so, we'll take into account how the WSJ survey's criteria fits with our own objectives of providing an ever-improving level of educational excellence.
Bruce G. Willison