In its third annual business school rankings, released Sept. 17, The Wall Street Journal rated Yale’s School of Management ninth out of 183 American and 73 overseas business schools.

The SOM’s ninth-place ranking represents a steady decline since the newspaper’s inaugural survey in 2001. That year, Yale placed third behind the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, while it was ranked eighth last year. For the 2003 rankings, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School topped the survey after placing fifth last year. Rounding out the top five were the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, the University of Michigan Business School, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.

“It is not so much where we stand in one particular poll, but it is important that the collective impact of the things we are doing is being valued by the outside world,” SOM Deputy Dean Stan Garstka said.

Although the SOM fell one spot from last year, it fared well in a number of subcategories. Yale ranked first in The Wall Street Journal’s survey on schools that are best for hiring graduates with high ethical standards.

“We could not be ranked first for anything better than that,” Garstka said. “Since management seems to be crashing and burning on a lack of ethical standards, we are especially pleased.”

Yale also ranked second in Strategy, third in the Small School category, and fourth in Finance.

For The Wall Street Journal’s rankings, recruiters were asked to rank a maximum of three schools with which they had recruiting experience since September 2001. In addition, recruiters had to rate each school on 26 attributes considered important when making hiring decisions. The evaluated attributes included faculty expertise, core curriculum, and students’ leadership potential. This year, more than 2,000 recruiters responded.

But Angela Singleton SOM ’04 questioned The Wall Street Journal’s unique methodology, as it is the only survey based entirely on recruiters’ assessments.

“The WSJ was a particularly refreshing source for rankings when it was first released in 2001-02,” Singleton said in an e-mail. “At that time, recruiters were willing to reveal their true opinions without knowledge of the implications on the ratings.”

But, Singleton said, since then, recruiters have become more aware of their power to influence students’ school choices through rankings.

“The WSJ rankings certainly impacted my decision to apply to and attend Yale,” she said. “I preferred a smaller program, but also considered the potential disadvantage. The fact that recruiters consistently rank Yale in the top ten eliminates any concerns.”

In other rankings this year, the SOM ranked 14th in both BusinessWeek and U.S. News and World rankings.