If one really thinks U of Chicago as an undergrad is among
the top 5 in the US, that person is living in a dream world
no matter what a ranking says (ignoring blatantly the very
fact that there are more than five ties).
What happened to H/Y/P/Stanford/Caltech/MIT/Columbia/
Upenn? (not necessarily in this order)
I already count 8. And there are also Brown, Cornell and
Dartmouth. Plus there are Berkeley, Michigan, and small
ivies, Cooper Union and many others many people would
favor over U of Chicago. If you ask your friends about
Berkeley, albeit ranked low for its undergrad and MBA,
I'm sure they know (rightfully so IMO).
Rankings can be deceiving in that it doesn't
measure selectivity only but faculty research in terms of
# of publications they produce no matter what quality,
library size, etc. I don't believe they measure reputation
or tradition or # of prominent alumni and other "soft"
advantages (because there is no quantitative measure
of these things, despite that a lot of people recognize
Perception is reality. U of Chicago maxed out in its
current ranking for its mba program for sure (current
students should know it and those with a good head on
their shoulder can predict that) and will undoubtedly
fall from its current status sooner than later. No way
in hell it deserves to be #3 or 4 or 1 in the world albeit
its economics being very influential. Its research is
ass-kicking in many areas but it's only a matter of time
the rankings reflect its decline (I bet ya, a lot of Booth
or U of Chicago alumni, fans, admits, applicants, students
etc will attempt to say otherwise and take this as an offence).
It's unbelievable how Columbia is ranked so low while
with all due respect really it should be above Chicago
Take the rankings with a grain of salt. (But I'm surprised
your friends know Kellogg but not U of Chicago. If they
haven't heard of Booth, Kellogg must just be a cereal
to them, which indeed is the case for the majority of
Having said that though, Duke is not "hotter" than
Chicago. I'd choose Chicago Booth over Duke. Both are
coming down no matter what. Only a matter of time.
P.S. I never applied to Booth or Kellogg. I'm not at all
affiliated with Columbia (except that my aunt studied
at Columbia more than 30 years ago). However, I
do have mad respect to Booth ph.d. Ph.d's are a
completely different story. Posted from my mobile device
Not to derail the conversation in debating the merits of U of C undergrad, but I give rankings are subjective. When I was there it was ranked 9th so maybe there are 8 schools ahead of it. I also studied Econ there, which is undeniably among the top in the world (with Stanford, Princeton, MIT, and Harvard in the mix). As someone that went there, and had friends that transferred into U of C from 3 of "clearly better" 8 schools you list, the ranking at 5 is justified, but certainly debatable. And yes, tied for 5th, is still 5th. I will not give you that Cornell, Dartmouth, or Brown for undergrad are anywhere close to any of the 8 schools or U of C. People have heard of Cal and Michigan (besides the fact that they are large states) because they have very large alumni bases and Division I sports. Both are great schools, but because a guy on the street has heard of them doesn't mean much. Hell, more people have heard of George Mason than U of C or CalTech because of the Final Four run a couple years ago. That really doesn't mean much. Currently, U of C has the most Nobel prizes of any US school, one behind Cambridge. That's sort of relevant when ranking schools.
Still, to be more on point, I don't know why you see the imminent decline of Booth. It has the third largest endowment of any business school, with a huge grant to name the school, has a main building that is six years old, is in a the second largest financial center in the U.S., and has one of the strongest alumni networks going. What exactly points to its certain downfall? Yes it may fall in the rankings but will be solidly in the top 7 or 8 for a long, long time. Peaking in its ranking (at 1, 3, or 4) is nothing to be ashamed of. Booth has its flaws and the culture is certainly not for everyone, but the same can be said for any business school.
Stanford and HBS are number 1 and 2, clearly. 3 through 10 are up for debate. But still, what does it really matter? If you are at a top 10 (or 20) school all major firms recruit there. It then becomes about the individual.
To get back to the question on Duke or Booth, it comes down to fit and goals. If the same company recruits at Duke and Booth, they will hire the best candidate, regardless of school.