Category Archives: MBA Rankings

Financial Times MBA Rankings for 2013

The Financial Times recently released its new global business school rankings for 2013. For the first time since 2005, Harvard Business School holds the top spot, passing last year’s #1, Stanford GSB. This is teh fourth time that HBS has topped the FT rankings.

Many credit Harvard’s push to improve its diversity with the school’s return to #1 in the FT rankings. One criterion on which FT ranks business schools is diversity, and in this area HBS has made some big strides in just the past year. While 34% of Harvard’s Class of 2013 comes from overseas, 43% of the Class of 2014 are international.

Here are the Financial Times’ top 20 global MBA programs for 2013:

1. Harvard Business School
2. Stanford GSB
3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
4. London Business School
5. Columbia Business School
7. IESE Business School
8. Hong Kong UST
9. MIT Sloan
10. Chicago Booth
11. IE Business School
12. UC Berkeley (Haas)
13. Northwestern (Kellogg)
14. Yale SOM
16. Dartmouth (Tuck)
16. Cambridge (Judge)
18. Duke (Fuqua)
19. IMD
19. NYU (Stern)

For more business school admissions advice, take a look at our book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!


2013 U.S. News Business School Rankings Just Released

Yesterday U.S. News & World Report released its 2013 business school rankings. Of course the rankings will have some impact on your school research, but using them as any more than a useful starting point can lead you to apply to schools which don’t fit you as well as they could. Use them, for sure, but use them with care!

Here are the top 20 American programs as defined by U.S. News. Each school’s 2012 rankings follows in parentheses:

2013 U.S. News Business School Rankings
1. Harvard (2)
1. Stanford (1)
3. Penn (Wharton) (3)
4. MIT (Sloan) (3)
4. Northwestern (Kellogg) (5)
4. Chicago (Booth) (5)
7. UC Berkeley (Haas) (7)
8. Columbia (9)
9. Dartmouth (Tuck) (7)
10. Yale (10)
11. NYU (Stern) (10)
12. Duke (Fuqua) (12)
13. Michigan (Ross) (14)
13. Virginia (Darden) (13)
15. UCLA (Anderson) (14)
16. Cornell (Johnson) (16)
17. Texas (McCombs) (17)
18. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) (18)
19. Emory (Goizueta) (23)
19. UNC (Kenan-Flagler) (19)

The biggest news starts at the top of the rankings, where Harvard moved into a tie with Stanford after being ranked #2 behind Stanford last year. Wharton, which had been tied with MIT Sloan for third place in the 2012 rankings, moved ahead of Sloan to take sole possession of the third spot this year. After that is a very tight cluster of schools, with Kellogg and Booth moving up from fifth place to tie Sloan for fourth place.

The rest of the top ten looks quite similar to what it was last year, with some minor shuffling among Columbia, Tuck, and Stern (with Stern landing at #11 this year). Looking at the rest of the top 20 schools, the most notable move came from Emory, which managed to break into the top 20 after sitting at #23 last year. Falling out of the top 20 was Washington University in St. Louis (Olin), which landed at the 22nd spot.

U.S. News uses a mix of qualitative and quantitative ratings to compile its scores. 40% of a school’s overall score comes from assessments by business school leaders and by corporate recruiters. So, in a sense, a large part of what they’re ranking is a school’s reputation, which can make the entire process a bit self-reinforcing. Even if a school were to dramatically improve every aspect of its program — from academics to job placement to alumni services — it might takes years for these results to have a significant impact on these qualitative ratings. Said another way, a large part of these rankings are essentially backward-looking… Their peer’s opinions of them are shaped by what the schools have done over the past few decades (or more), not necessarily by what the schools are doing right now.

The next 25% of an MBA program’s rating comes from other quantitative measures around the admissions process, including the mean GMAT score and undergraduate GPAs of the incoming class, and the school’s admissions rate. These stats are relatively straightforward, but keep in mind that schools are always trying to game the system and find ways to tweak these numbers to improve their rankings (e.g., accepting a student with a GRE score means that the school doesn’t need to include that student’s test score to U.S. News).

The last 35% of a school’s rating comes from more quantitative measures of the program’s success in placing job candidates, including mean starting salary and bonus data and the percentage of grads who have full-time jobs at graduation and three months after graduation. Even here, be aware of what’s being ranked: A school that sends many more grads into investment banking will likely report a higher average starting salary than a school that sends many grads into the non-profit sector. So, apple-to-apples comparisons aren’t so simple.

None of this means that the rankings are bogus. We all pay attention to them, and we will continue to do so as long as U.S. News and other publications keep ranking graduate schools. But know exactly what you’re looking at as you review these rankings!

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2012 U.S. News MBA Rankings

Recently U.S. News & Word Report released its annual business school rankings for 2012. While it’s easy for applicants to get too caught up in the rankings and obsess over every little change in the rankings, ignoring the rankings as you research business schools would be silly. Yes, you should pay attention to the rankings, but using them as any more than a useful starting point can only lead to trouble.

Still, it’s human nature: When someone ranks something — anything — we can’t help but take notice and pick apart the rankings at least a little. Without further ado, here’s a look at the top 20 U.S. programs as defined by U.S. News. Each school’s previous rankings follows in parentheses:

2012 Business School Rankings from U.S. News

1. Stanford (1)
2. Harvard (1)
3. MIT (Sloan) (3)
3. U. of Pennsylvania (Wharton) (5)
5. Northwestern (Kellogg) (4)
5. U. of Chicago (Booth) (5)
7. Dartmouth (Tuck) (7)
7. UC Berkeley (Haas) (7)
9. Columbia (9)
10. NYU (Stern) (9)
10. Yale (11)
12. Duke (Fuqua) (14)
13. U. of Virginia (Darden) (13)
14. UCLA (Anderson) (15)
14. U. of Michigan (Ross) (12)
16. Cornell (Johnson) (18)
17. U. of Texas (McCombs) (16)
18. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) (16)
19. U. of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) (21)
20. Washington U. in St. Louis (Olin) (19)

What Changed This Year?
The big headline is that Stanford edged out HBS to take sole possession of the top spot this year, gaining an advantage in most of the categories that U.S. News measures, including acceptance rate, average GMAT score, recruiter assessment scores, and undergraduate GPAs. All of these differences are quite small, however. After that, Wharton jumped two spots from #5 to #3, pushing down Kellogg to a tie with fellow Chicago-based school Booth. Yale crept into the top ten, Fuqua made a nice jump from #14 to #12 (trading places with Ross), and Johnson also rose two spots, to #16. Rounding out the list, Kenan-Flagler administrators must be very happy, as that school climbed back into the top 20, and Olin managed to just hang on to “Top 20 status” (for whatever that’s worth), while Marshall just missed making the Top 20 again, landing at #21.

GMAT Scores Keep Rising
Just a few years ago, only several schools boasted average GMAT scores at or above 710. Now, the top 11 schools (and 12 of the top 15 programs) boast average scores of 710 or higher. We’ll use this opportunity to once again issue the advice that we always give to business school applicants: A great GMAT score won’t get you into business school, but a bad one will indeed keep you out. Keep that in mind, especially at this time of year, when you have months before you need to start working on your applications in earnest.

To stay on top of all the news and trends in MBA admissions, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

2011 Financial Times Business School Rankings

The Financial Times recently released its new global MBA rankings for 2011. London Business School hangs on to the top spot, but Wharton has moved back into a tie for #1 after falling to #2 behind LBS last year.

Here are the Financial Times’ top ten global MBA programs for 2011:

1. London Business School
1. Wharton
3. Harvard Business School
4. Stanford GSB
6. Hong Kong UST Business School
7. Columbia Business School
8. IE Business School
9. Sloan School of Management (MIT)
9. IESE Business School

To stay on top of all the news and trends in MBA admissions, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

2010 Business School Rankings from The Economist

Recently The Economist released the 2010 edition of its global business school rankings. As the editors of The Economist noted in their introduction to this year’s rankings, “Usually, schools move up or down just a few places year on year. This time around, however, swings have been wilder.”

It looks like the rocky job market is to blame for that. Looking at The Economist’s rankings methodology, you’ll see that the “Open new career opportunities” and “Increase salary” categories together make up more than half of the overall score a school earns. Naturally, as the rough economy meant that some schools had an especially hard time placing grads in high-paying jobs (or, in some cases, in any jobs at all), those programs took a hit in the rankings.

Without further ado, here are the top 20 schools in the rankings:

The Economist MBA Rankings – 2010

  1. University of Chicago – Booth School of Business
  2. Dartmouth College – Tuck School of Business
  3. University of California at Berkeley – Haas School of Business
  4. Harvard Business School
  5. IESE Business School – University of Navarra
  6. IMD – International Institute for Management Development
  7. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  8. University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School
  9. HEC School of Management, Paris
  10. York University – Schulich School of Business
  11. University of Virginia – Darden Graduate School of Business
  12. Columbia Business School
  13. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Sloan School of Management
  14. New York University – Leonard N Stern School of Business
  15. Cranfield School of Management
  16. Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management
  17. Henley Business School
  18. University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business
  19. London Business School
  20. ESADE Business School

How to Use Business School Rankings
When you start researching your target MBA programs, of course it make sense to pay to the rankings. Simply by existing, the rankings influence other applicants, employers, faculty members, and other key people. However, trying to discern which is better of two programs when one program is ranked higher by U.S. News, and the other ranks higher in The Economist’s rankings, is a fool’s errand. Use the rankings to help determine what level of program (in terms of admissions competitiveness) you might be able to get into, and to spot programs with specific strengths you might otherwise have missed. After that, do your own research and decide what programs fit you best.

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2011 U.S. News MBA Rankings

Recently U.S. News & Word Report released its annual business school rankings for 2011. It’s easy to get too caught up in the rankings and let the tail wag the proverbial dog in choosing which schools to apply to or attend.

Still, it’s too much fun NOT to pick apart the new business school rankings a little. Without further ado, here’s our look at this year’s results:

U.S. News Business School Rankings for 2011
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. Harvard (1)
1. Stanford (2)
3. MIT (Sloan) (5)
4. Northwestern (Kellogg) (3)
5. U. of Chicago (Booth) (5)
5. U. of Pennsylvania (Wharton) (3)
7. Dartmouth (Tuck) (8)
7. UC Berkeley (Haas) (7)
9. Columbia (9)
9. NYU (Stern) (11)
11. Yale (10)
12. U. of Michigan (Ross) (13)
13. U. of Virginia (Darden) (15)
14. Duke (Fuqua) (12)
15. UCLA (Anderson) (14)
16. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) (15)
16. UT Austin (McCombs) (18)
18. Cornell (Johnson) (17)
19. Washington U. in St. Louis (Olin)
20. USC (Marshall) (20)

You can access the full rankings here.

Among top-10 and top-20 business schools, there weren’t many dramatic changes. While Harvard hangs in to the top slot, it now shares it with Stanford. MIT Sloan nabbed the #3 spot (passing Kellogg and Wharton) after sharing the fifth slot with Booth last year. Wharton can’t be happy about falling from #3 to #5, although we’re sure their answer would be (as it is for all top schools), “We don’t pay attention to the rankings.”

One of the more interesting stories that’s played out over the past few years is NYU Stern’s steady march up the rankings, to the point where it’s now tied with Columbia in the race to be New York City’s highest-ranked business school. We want to see what will happen in the next few years… Will Stern finally overtake Columbia in the rankings?

Rounding out the list, kudos to Wash. U. and USC for making it into the top 20 (bumping out Georgetown and UNC in the process). We always say that the happiest schools in the rankings are those at the very top and those who just made the “top ten,” the “top twenty,” etc.

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