Businessweek MBA Rankings for 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek has just released its business school rankings for 2012. While it’s debatable as to whether the Businessweek MBA ranking system or the U.S. News ranking system (the other most popular U.S.-based ranking for American programs) is more valid, the fact that BW’s rankings only come out every two years always creates a little more buildup for this moment.

Here are the top 25 U.S. business schools, according to Bloomberg Businessweek:

1. University of Chicago (Booth)
2. Harvard Business School
3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
4. Stanford Graduate School of Business
5. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
6. Duke University (Fuqua)
7. Cornell University (Johnson)
8. University of Michigan (Ross)
9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
10. University of Virginia (Darden)
11. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
12. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
13. University of California at Berkeley (Haas)
14. Columbia Business School
15. University of Indiana (Kelley)
16. New York University (Stern)
17. University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)
18. UCLA (Anderson)
19. University of Texas at Austin (McCombs)
20. University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)
21. Yale School of Management
22. Emory University (Goizueta)
23. Georgia Tech (Scheller)
24. University of Maryland (Smith)
25. Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Big changes? Cornell’s Johnson School jumped six spots, from 13th in 2010 to 7th this year. Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School jumped four spots, from 15th to 11th. Indiana’s Kelley School also jumped four spots, from 19th to 15th. Haas and Columbia suffered two of the largest drops, falling from 8th and 9th to 13th and 14th this year, respectively.

While each of these moves is nothing to get too excited about, it’s interesting to think about the underlying drivers. It’s not hard to imagine that, in Columbia’s case, continued softness in hiring by banks contributed to its own students only ranking Columbia 20th best among all schools. That’s just one example of knowing he “why” behind the rankings — and not just the rankings themselves — is critical as you research MBA programs

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