MBA Programs

Business School Rankings

As any MBA graduate will tell you, it is very hard (if not impossible) to determine the "quality" of an MBA program in some "objective" fashion.

Subjective factors such as "the intensity of the interactions between classmates" may well have a greater influence on students' satisfaction with a program, than objective factors such as the average GMAT score of a given class.

Nevertheless, many prospective MBA students seek some sort of guidance as they create a shortlist of schools to apply to. Therefore, a number of well-known publications have tried to come up with "rankings" that express the "quality" of business schools using a single, overall score.

These overall scores are the weighted average of several "underlying" scores; for example, the percentage of international students (as an indicator of a school's diversity), or the average grade, on a scale from 1 to 5, given by recruiters to the school's graduates. In other words, the rankings typically try to take both objective and subjective factors into account.

It is important to note that these rankings cannot be compared directly. Some of them look at business schools worldwide, while others only consider U.S. MBA programs; and each publication uses its own set of criteria, with its own set of weightings.

Nevertheless, it can be useful to compare the different rankings, as you may see some "patterns" emerge. (You will likely find the same set of schools occupying the top 10 or 20 places in each ranking, albeit perhaps in a slightly different order.) However, it is very important to look at the criteria used for each ranking, and their relative weighting, to see if the criteria considered most important for the ranking are also the ones that matter the most to you.

Three of the best-known MBA rankings are published by Business Week, the Financial Times, and U.S. News & World Report:

Business Week

  • Full-Time MBA Rankings
    Lists the top 30 schools in the U.S. plus the top 7 non-U.S. schools.
    Rankings are based on surveys of 247 corporate recruiters and 10,039 students at 82 B-schools worldwide.

  • Executive MBA Rankings
    Lists the top 35 programs worldwide.
    Rankings are based on surveys of over 3,000 graduates of 82 B-schools, as well as a poll of EMBA directors at those 82 schools.

Financial Times

  • MBA Rankings
    Lists the top 100 programs worldwide.
    Rankings are based on surveys of 6,147 students at 149 B-schools worldwide.

U.S. News & World Report

  • Top Business Schools
    Lists the top 50 schools in the U.S. (only limited information shown; unlimited access requires payment).

  • Part-Time MBA Rankings
    Lists the top 21 schools in the U.S. (only limited information about top 6 schools shown; unlimited access requires payment).

  • Executive MBA Rankings
    Lists the top 23 programs in the U.S. (only limited information about top 5 programs shown; unlimited access requires payment).

 


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