UPDATED: March 30, 2021

In the most authoritative ranking of faculty research at business schools worldwide, Boston College’s Carroll School of Management has maintained its position as one of the top schools globally—both just behind and ahead of some of the most prominent institutions of management education.

The Financial Times, which conducts the closely watched annual survey, placed the Carroll School at No. 26 in its findings for 2021. The rankings fluctuate from year to year, owing to an array of factors, including exactly when the research papers are published. In recent years, the Carroll School has climbed as high as 13th in these global tabulations. Its average ranking over the past five years is No. 19.

With this new ranking, the Carroll School remains in good company. It stands just behind schools of management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Cornell University, which rank 24th and 25th respectively in the 2021 survey. And, it arrives well ahead of prestigious business schools at institutions such as Carnegie Mellon (41st); University of Virginia (51st); Notre Dame (49th); Georgetown (38th); and University of Maryland (32nd).

Excluding universities abroad, the Carroll School also lands in the top 20 for faculty research among schools of management in the United States.

The FT survey is an empirically based assessment of research by business-school faculties, measuring how much they publish in the world’s leading academic journals of management studies. Altogether, 100 institutions are ranked for research each year by the Financial Times.

The showing by the Carroll School throws light on a long-running effort to bolster scholarly research at the school. As part of a strategic plan unveiled in 2006, the school declared research excellence as one of its highest priorities, on a level with teaching excellence.

“For a decade and a half, we’ve spent a lot of time building a research culture at the Carroll School, a culture that’s every bit as robust as the well-known teaching culture at our school and at Boston College generally,” said John and Linda Powers Family Dean Andy Boynton, who became dean in 2005. “Those efforts continue to bear fruit, in our departments and disciplines.”

U.S. News Releases Grad Rankings

In its annual survey of graduate schools, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Carroll School of Management’s full-time M.B.A. program 44th in the nation. That is four steps above its spot in the previous year—and the best showing in New England after Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Dartmouth. Meanwhile, the school’s part-time M.B.A. program reached no. 35 in that survey, eight rungs above its ranking last year. In its specialty rankings, U.S. News notched the Carroll School’s graduate finance program at 13th nationally (up from 31st last year), while the school’s graduate programs in accounting and information systems each stood at no. 18. The survey also pegged average starting salaries and bonuses for the full-time M.B.A. class of 2020 at $120,767. U.S. News released its 2022 Best Graduate Schools Rankings on March 30.

Among other highlights, the culture has included a weekly batch of research presentations and seminars hosted by the school and its departments, featuring both Carroll School faculty and outside experts across the spectrum of management disciplines, Boynton said. He also pointed to both financial and full-time data support for faculty research projects, in addition to refined metrics for tracking and evaluating faculty research performance. Vigorous recruitment of standout scholars worldwide has been another critical factor, and an increasingly challenging one, with growing competition for top-flight academic talent.

The Financial Times began ranking business schools for research in 1999; the Carroll School made its first appearance in these compilations seven years later, premiering at No. 52. The school’s average ranking for the past five years is 33 notches above that initial position.

Regarding the survey’s methodology, FT says: “The research rank is calculated according to the number of articles published by current full-time faculty members in 50 selected academic and practitioner journals between January 2017 and August 2019. The FT50 rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.”

Released Together with M.B.A. Rankings

The Financial Times carried out the survey in conjunction with its Global MBA 2021 rankings, although the findings apply to the entire Carroll School (which has the same faculty for both undergraduate and graduate programs). The research rankings can be viewed by selecting the "FT Research Rank" checkbox from the additional columns provided on the full table of FT’s survey data, and then sorting by that column.  

The M.B.A. survey focused on full-time programs, with the Carroll School’s program reaching No. 55 globally (12 notches above its two previous rankings). Notably, the school also ranked 14th in the world for “career progress,” which tracks professional advancement by alumni both before and after earning their degrees (using alumni surveys conducted by Financial Times).

— William Bole, Carroll School News