The U.S. News & World report rankings of colleges is pretty controversial, but it turns out that, at least in some cases, it really does measure something pretty meaningful.
Specifically, it seems the publication’s rankings of American business schools really does reflect the earnings of graduates. According to a study performed by Vanderbilt University Professor of Management Dawn Iacobucci, graduates from higher-ranked business schools earned higher average salaries than graduates of lower-ranked schools:
For each higher U.S. News rank, a school’s graduates earned $908.03 more in yearly salary, on average, at their first jobs following business school for the most recent year of data.
The paper also looked at the salary data for the ranking systems produced by Businessweek and the Financial Times. Iacobucci found a relationship there, too, though they were less robust: “Every rank improvement for a school in the Financial Times rankings translated to, on average, $377.58 more, and in the Businessweek rankings, $605.27 more.”