BusinessWeek’s 2012 Business School Ranking

For the fourth consecutive time, the Unversity of Chicago’s Booth School of Business hit the rankings jackpot, retaining its number one title for having the best full-time MBA program in the U.S., according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Following Chicago Booth is a familiar cast of elite business schools. Harvard Business School retained its No. 2 rank from 2010 in the biennial MBA sweepstakes by BusinessWeek. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School was No. 3 again, while Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management played musical chairs for the No. 4 and No. 5 positions.

The magazine’s 2012 ranking, published today (Nov. 15), contains many surprises, however. The Johnson Graduate School at Cornell University, for example, jumped six places to rank seven from 13th in 2010. Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School rose four spots to 11th from 15th, and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business also saw a four-place gain to rank 15th from 19th. The University of Texas’ McCombs School rose six places to finish 19th from 25th in 2010.

In a separate ranking of the best MBA programs at non-U.S. business schools, BusinessWeek ranked London Business School No. 1, moving aside INSEAD which fell to second place. IE Business School in Spain was third, followed by Queen’s College in Canada and Oxford University’s Said School in fifth. For Oxford, the rank of fifth represented a 11-place climb from 2010 when it was ranked 16th. IIn an online chat earlier today, editor Geoff Gloeckler explained the reason for Oxford’s big move forward. “Oxford has seen steady improvement in their student satisfaction score over the past three rankings cycles,” he said. “Also, the school’s employer score jumped quite a bit after a less-than-stellar 2010. Oxford is one of only three schools in the ranking that finished in the top ten of all three rankings categories. The other two schools are LBS and INSEAD” (see London Tops BW’s Non-U.S. School Ranking).


The losers? Columbia Business School and UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business both fell by five places to 14th from 9th and 13th from eight, respectively.  “Columbia’s drop was mostly due to student satisfaction,” Gloeckler said. “In 2010, they were 10th in the student rank, this year they fell to 20th. A lot of the student complaints were about the core curriculum, which is going to be changed starting next year. Columbia did move up one spot in the employer rank, though.”

In fact, it’s the worst showing by Columbia in the BusinessWeek survey since it began in 1988 when the magazine ranked the school 14th. Some MBA students are pointing a finger at Dean Glenn Hubbard who had been former Governor Romney’s economic advisor during his losing Presidential campaign. He had been embarrassed and ridiculed in the Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job, something that hardly lent him credibility has a leader of the institution. Columbia’s fall is largely due to a ten-point drop in the school’s student satisfaction portion of the BusinessWeek analysis to a lowly 20 from 10 two years ago (See Winners & Losers in the 2012 BW Ranking).

The BusinessWeek ranking, the first regularly published MBA ranking and often considered the most influential in the U.S., is based on three core measurements: a student satisfaction poll, an MBA recruiter poll, and a measure of a school’s intellectual capital. Polls of students and recruiters are each given a weight of 45% in the overall methodology, while the remaining 10% comes from the magazine’s measurement of published articles by a school’s professors in key academic and practitioner journals. This year BusinessWeek received 10,439 responses for a response rate of 56% on its student Web-based survey. The magazine also surveyed 566 corporate recruiters and received 206 responses for a response rate of 36%.

The BusinessWeek ranking is like no other. Most other rankings include such things as average GMATs, grade point averages, starting salaries, and percentage of graduates employed at graduation and three months later. Instead, the BW listing is the closest one can get to a “customer satisfaction” ranking.


Like any other ranking of business schools, it is not flawless. Though BusinessWeek employs statisticians to comb through the data to verify its integrity, students come to each of these schools with very different expectations that can result in significantly different grades they award their institutions. There is also concern of widespread cheerleading by students who want to push their schools ahead in the rankings so their degrees have more prestige. These issues alone are in all probability what has kept Harvard and Stanford from ever placing first in the BusinessWeek survey.

Those students come to campus with high expectations and are less likely to care about how a ranking impacts the status of their degree. So they are prone to be more demanding and more honest in their answers to BusinessWeek’s questions. They graduate with the highest starting pay packages and know that a Harvard or Stanford MBA can pretty much open any door in the world.

  • MBA Prospect

    When will BusinessWeek publish their new ranking?

    Does anyone have the publishing dates for all ranking?

  • avivalasvegas

    Fuqua is a serious competitor to Yale and Stern. That makes them a top 10 program (i.e among the top 12 business schools) and no more. Stern’s and Yale’s (relative) proximity to New York give those schools a significant edge that Fuqua may never really be able to overcome.

  • WhatI SayisTru

    I actually went through B-week’s methodologies a couple of years ago, but forgot most of it. I don’t really understand how Harvard (I don’t actually go there) is not at least number 1 or 2 in Intellectual Capital Ranking. Most of business school (at least top 10 that I know of) use HBS cases. HBS also have the most professors.

    How is Duke of all schools in the list number 1 in Intellectual Capital Rank, then followed by Cornell? By sheer size Harvard, Wharton (UPenn) should be near the top. ?

  • ottenbaum

    Louis, your study is a total fallacy and you coming here to answer questions with such attitude proves that you suck.

    Here are 3 reasons why you should change your job:

    1/ You assume that applicants choose schools based on the marketing of the school! Breaking news: the average applicant is smarter than you are and take into account much more/relevent parameters than you can even think of.

    2/ You compare schools based on the number of MBB hires (!!!). Ohh crap, turns out some schools have 3 times more MBA students then some others on the list you just gave us. Turns out INSEAD has a huge pool of students who go back to their sponsors, MAINLY because it takes 1yr hence, costs less to the sponsor, not necessarily because it is better.

    3/ Your methodology smells like crap. Almost every point of your methodology is as subjective as one could imagine. Do I really care that Indiana’s student are supposedly more satisfied then HBS students? What the heck does that mean anyways??

    Why would anyone do such as stupid ranking without questionning himself? You are a total sell-out, and you obviously get money from Booth/INSEAD to advertise for them. Luckily no one gets fooled by your crap.

  • HBStimes

    + how do you even start comparing 2 year and 1 year programs…

  • Jay Dee

    Actually it makes a BIG difference to potential students. Most want to know if they can get the MBA degree to transition to a new job/company, such as MBB. If they majority of FT hires at INSEAD are simply sponsored employees, that significantly changes the desirability.

  • FlyingSq

    There are some inaccuracies in your comment which I figured I would point out.

    1) I haven’t seen any information stating that Google is a major contributor to the school, and I am a Cornell alumni. Where did you hear that?

    2) The new school is an engineering school, and that too an applied engineering school. It has nothing to do with the MBA program. The amount of interaction between engineering and MBA students in most schools is about zero, even for schools with very strong engineering programs like Stanford.

    3) As a NYer I can tell you no one from NYC would think of Roosevelt Island as a part of Manhattan. Not that it matters. But, it’s known to people variously as either “Welfare Island” or the place where there was a big insane asylum 🙂

  • Dumbass

    Liberation, get liberated from your malfunctioning brain, no matter what program, usually close to half of the students going to consulting are sponsored. Yes, I am talking about CBS or HBS or INSEAD. Go look at their career reports and dig around poetsandquants.

  • liberation26

    Louis! These numbers are misleading. It may be true that McKinsey picked up 107 people from Insead. But it’s also true that Insead is the No.1 choice for “company sponsored” students who are just returning back to the same company. The 107 includes those students..

  • Strauss II

    Truth is that many people desire to attend HSW because of their prestige. Part of that prestige comes from the fact that HSW have a higher proportion of kids coming from HYP and their kin. We are all guilty of perpetuating the Ivy League’s (myth of) desirability by adcoms. Booth is a great school but it would be perceived (yes, perceived) to have lower quality of students (compared to HSW) because it is not an automatic choice for many ivy leaguers. Maybe that will change one day…maybe not. Fact is, people apply to HSW because thy want to be part of an elite network (for future employment, favors, connections, etc) …and to maintain that network adcoms look to fill their classes from other elite networks aka Ivy League, top companies, etc.

    Clearly, you can see that this is a self perpetuating cycle. So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em…

  • Notice how most of MBA Over 30’s criteria for ranking b-schools are tied to some measure of entrepreneurship. Hahaha. The point is what makes a school the best is going to differ from person to person. BW is just giving it’s criteria for what makes a bschool the best.

  • Why do so many people assume that Ivy League = rich family? I am not naive enough to not acknowledge that the Ivy Leagues probably have a higher percentage of students from wealthy families than other schools. However, that does not mean that the majority of Ivy League students and alums come from wealth. The vast majority of Ivy League students are on financial aid. When discussions of prestige in regard to undergrad institution come up for some reason the Ivies are either overly reveered as the end all and be all or unnecessarily devalued as a bastion of undeserving rich kids. I think the truth is much closer to the middle.

  • GO BIG RED!!

  • In the 90s Stanford and Booth (GSB back then) weren’t even in the conversation when talking about, “What’s the #1 business school.” Back then it was Harvard, Wharton, and Kellogg. InterestedParty is definitely right in the fact that history is what really builds the perception of what the rankings should be and it takes perception a while to catch up with recent history. At the same time that same perception also forgets older history. Based on the rankings across the board it would show that right now Booth is significantly and consistently chipping away at the HSW trifecta, but people are still stuck on the common knowledge from 2005 that the top three are HSW and have completely forgotten the 90s when it was HWK. It will be interesting to see what the “common knowledge” on rankings is in 2020. I have a feeling it will be HBS/B/Stanford (in some order) while the rankings consistently show another combination of three.

  • INSEADer

    I can assure you that Mckinsey, Bain, BCG, Booz, AT Kearney, Goldman Sachs, and many elite firms, do sponsor students at the top US schools as well. I partially do agree that most of the Mckinsey hires at INSEAD is for international offices, but many top american consulting and banking firms generate revenue from abroad higher than from inside US, so being in an international office is an advantageous just to mention, 70% of GE revenue come from international operation. 50+% of mckinsey and bain revenue come from global operation. in fact, we have seen some INSEAD alumni who lead the offices of one of MBB in Chicago and LA I guess! we should admit that in consulting world, INSEAD is the ruler, no doubt! to be elite and leader in consulting business, you need to deeply understand people, cultures, politics, trends, …etc, from a global prospective, I believe no school on the planet could give such a horizon but INSEAD.. just my thought though..

  • DCA

    Louis – While I agree that INSEAD is a strong school, INSEAD’s employment statistics are biased. The vast majority of those students going to McKinsey were sponsored by McKinsey to attend business school. Additionally, most of them are non-US students that will work in non-US McKinsey offices following graduation. McKinsey only sponsors students to attend a couple international schools (LBS/INSEAD). So given the limited number of choices and INSEAD’s one-year program (McKinsey gets its employee’s back quicker), INSEAD “places” best at McKinsey.

    Otherwise – Too much emphasis is placed on rankings (especially BW’s ranking). Booth over Harvard and Stanford? Come on.

    The strong brands will remain strong brands. In the end, recruiting and placement dictate which school is best. I attended one of the “top” schools referenced, I can say that regardless of rankings, I saw candidates from the same 5 schools at every final round interview I went on. This list was not representative.

  • NNW32

    John, when should we expect?

  • justsaying

    As a student at Johnson, I have classmates who did in fact choose Johnson over Columbia and Tuck….

  • Hi Lewis,

    I’m not sure what the grounds are for your comment, really, or to which “facts” you refer. Instead, I am alluding to a comment made by John Byrne ( @jbyrne ), who is the mastermind behind Poets&Quants and very likely the most well-versed man in the universe with regard to b-school rankings. About a year ago, he made the following comment in a separate thread:

    “For many years, there was a trio of U.S. schools at the very top: Harvard, Stanford, and Chicago. In the 1990s and 2000s, Wharton shoved aside Chicago and effectively replaced it. Now, after Chicago’s first place finish in three consecutive BusinessWeek polls in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and Wharton’s fall in the FT rankings in recent years, I would say it’s pretty much neck and neck. You may prefer Wharton and that’s fine. It’s a terrific school. But it’s simply not true that Chicago Booth is a safety school.”

    Chicago is hardly a newcomer here. Again, my previous post intended folks to not let your preconceptions misguide you into thinking what you know is necessarily fact. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if you assume that what you think you know is actually the truth.

    In a separate note, Forbes has taken a stab at doing what John Byrnes does with the aggregate rankings, without applying the thoughtful weights which John does for each ranking:

    Warm regards,

  • llavelle

    My point exactly. I’m not sure how many of the consulting hires at top b-schools were people returning to the firms that sponsored them, but when we did a few mini-rankings of the “go-to” schools for top mba employers we did exactly what you suggested…correcting for the size of the class. Here’s the ranking of go-to schools for McKinsey:

  • carioca

    Stupid way to rank schools among themselves. How can you say a school is better than another by taking a look at the number of people hired by top 3 consulting firms??

    That depends so much on the size of the class. Easier to put 50 people at McK from a class of 900 people (Harvard or Insead – 5.5% of the class) than from a class of hardly 300 people (Haas or MIT – 16% of the class)

    And I don’t even mention than most of these new consultants were already sponsored by their consulting companies which means that they didn’t even go through any recruiting process, and thus does not prove that the school is better than another to make these guys be hired by top 3 consulting firms…

  • InterestedParty

    I understand and appreciate your points – but if you go in that direction, than I think all rankings publications have the same risk profile – right? Because the publication in question is reporting admissions stats, or placement stats, or average GMATs, or average GPAs, depending on which ranking one is questioning. The rankings organizations take the reported data and apply it to their respective models. Any data that lies way above or below average should be suspect, but the assumption is made that the reporting schools are providing reasonably accurate data – which I believe by and large they are…but I agree there is risk that schools try and “game” data to their advantage…
    All rankings are flawed – none are perfect, nor can be – but they are nevertheless very useful and interesting and I think by and large do a decent job of capturing important information….Thx!

  • Josh

    Thanks for your reply. I made a similar point to John Byrne and I will reiterate the same again. I understand it did not factor into the rankings. But that said, if BW did not question this number before publishing the results, then I question the rigorousness and attention to detail of the BW MBA rankings team. If they did not “smell” something here and do some digging before reporting it, I wonder how many other mistakes went unnoticed. These mistakes are in the realm of schools trying to “game” the rankings by having kids report stuff. This makes me question the vigilance of the BW team. But that said, I applaud the fact that they came out and admitted as much. Kudos to them for that.

  • InterestedParty

    I hear what you are saying – but BW reported the data as reported by the School. The school caught the mistake and corrected the error – I think this was unintentional. In any normal distribution of data, any number that is way above or below the mean should be questioned – this was no different, but it does not mean the ranking is flawed – far from it actually IMO.
    In fact, I believe the BW rankings are very likely the most useful rankings – becuase they better measure the things I am more concerned about – satisfaction and future prospects. I really do not care or believe that one school is better or worse than another school because its average GMAT is 10 points higher or lower. I think the better school is unequivally (100%), the one whose students/graduates reported the best outcome in placements (relative to my interests) and overall satisfaction of the experience. I already know which schools are regarded as prestigious – I do not need USN to tell me that. Just because MBS made an error in reporting a salary to BW, this does not call into question the many benefits of their ranking. HBS has had a few notable people recently charged with crimes – does this mean that HBS is now not worth attending? Far from it obviously. USN is fine and I respect it – but admission rates and GMAT scores are too simple to properly judge a business school IMO – that is the easy part – BW gets to the real deal far better than any other ranking IMO.

  • MercerGrad

    We have been saying this for ages now. Just imagine how much other “data” are tampered and manipulated. If they got something like this wrong — i.e, the highest paid 2012 MBA grad – just imagine how many more landmines are in those rankings. I think we should completely disregard all of the tainted data. Would you drink a glass of milk knowing there is a drop of feces in it?

  • InterestedParty

    Great question – and the answer is yes without question, IMO! NYC has the scale, scope, and perhaps most importantly, the demand, to do so, more than nearly any city in the world. More importantly though, competition is a good thing – the status quo is orderly but does not necessarily breed excellence. Having another Ivy League business school in town will compel all three schools to improve their game – in the end benefit accrue, I believe. Boston has Harvard, MIT Sloan, and Dartmouth Tuck (by a couple of hours extension anyway) – so certainly, at many times larger, NYC can handle Columbia, Cornell, and NYU…and I think happily will.
    Again, nothing is overnight, and Cornell has always been a great business school, typically within the top 15, with some years being slightly better and some slightly worse – I just think this NYC campus has the potential to re-orient it to being considered more a top 10 player going forward. It will be an evolution and not a revolution in my IMO – but momentum is a powerful tool and gets into the psyche of potential applicants and employers quickly. With growing applications, stronger placement stats, very satisfied students, a new dean, a new campus coming on-line in NYC, and a very strong and globally recognized Ivy League brand to leverage – I just think this is one to watch and is an exciting prospect in the BSchool world. Good Execution by the Johnson School will be key…but the raw materials are coming together…thx

  • Josh

    Huge hit to the credibility of the BW Rankings — they made a huge blunder in reporting the highest salary paid to an MBA grad. It was a million dollar mistake. See the story on P&Q and Mr. Lavalle’s comments in the section below. They have issued a full retraction. This should give good support to the critics of this ranking — the underlying data is flawed and questionable. This is a huge “gotchya” moment. Critics 1 — BW 0

  • Orange1

    But can NYC support three top 10 or 15-type B schools?

  • InterestedParty

    I understand and agree with your points about Cornell and Dartmouth in terms of perceived locational disadvantages, but it is an issue for some and has been used as a criticism over the years, again unfairly IMO. So unfortunately, I do believe a presence in a major business centre/city has some real long term advantages – if only for perception and demand by prospective applicants.
    To that end, I think the campus in NYC for Cornell is a potential game changer. Cornell already offers two MBA granting programs in ithe NYC area, both for executives – one at the Cornell Club in Manhattan, and one outside of the City at IBMs Palisades Campus. Also, Cornell’s new Dean Dutta, from INSEAD, is an expert on the commercialization of innovation/technology into the marketplace. Interestingly, Google is a major supporter of this effort and has donated office space and resources to be associated – a great partner to be sure. The Johnson School at Cornell has also dedicated substantial resources into the long term planning on the new NYC campus.
    I agree that in the short term the NYC Campus will be oriented towards science and engineering – innovation really, however over the intermediate and long term Cornell Johnson will begin granting MBA degrees there – it is not a leap for them, as they already have two MBA degree programs in the NYC area and Johnson faculty are involved at every level of planning on this new campus.
    I think this is a positioning for Cornell for a major long term competitive advantage and marries some of the University’s great strengths in engineering with business.

  • Boss

    Tuck is the golden school offers only full time MBA. whatever rankings say, I find it very hard to turn down Tuck for any school but Harvard or Stanford. It is very very strong program and has very special reputation of prestige and quality. there you will get a solid education and join unparalleled alumni network.

  • Orange1

    What’s with the Cornell love-in? I remember years ago that Fuqua got the same treatment when BW boosted them. And since Snyder joined Yale I heard it would rank with the best of the best in no time. I did look at Cornell and think Ithaca is fantastic but as I mentioned before, big jumps up and down lose their validity with me. Do think it is a very good school but if the NYC campus on Roosevelt Island is for engineering/computer science, how does that give the business school momentum?
    I also looked at Tuck and this whole thing about the two schools being in the middle of nowhere just doesn’t ring in terms of the rankings. Trust me, companies looking for solid candidates would scour the middle of Maine if the quality is there.

  • LongHornJoe

    @0f68a43601f548120a8fe9b87c0305f0:disqus Thanks for clarifying that. I only looked at the numbers but not the details on that list. I think 8th is a fair ranking and I would personally rank Duke around that number as well. Great school but there are a few more that are slightly better. But can’t go wrong either way. Rank 8 is correct..with MIT and Tuck at 6 and 7. H/S/W and the 2 Chi town schools making the top 5.

  • Somo

    Yes 15th globally, BUT 8th in US!

  • InterestedParty

    Glad about the agreement – I know other schools deserve much of the attention on these boards but I am a little surprised at how little props Cornell receives and especially at how little positive attention it has received given its strong moves on the NYC campus, # 7 BW ranking, one of the few schools with growing applications – seems like exciting momentum…one to keep an eye on!

  • Phil

    What a waste of time! and yes..I’m wasting some of mine responding to this drivel.

  • Arun V

    These are composite rankings and personal opinions of the author do not hold weight (at least I don’t think so). These are professionals and I’m sure their personal biases will not come into play. I don’t think Yale will make the top 10….at least not this year.

  • Roger

    Totally agree with your take about Cornell. You beat me to it.

  • Roger

    My take:
    Booth might pip Stanford for number 2 based, but John might not want to risk damaging the status quo and will keep Stanford 2.
    There will not be too much movement in the rankings; nothing dramatic. I think Columbia might drop a few and others might jump a couple of slots.
    If you guys pay attention to John’s posts, it’s clear that schools such as Tuck and Yale are his personal favorites; so look for these two to be in the top 10.
    Bold Predictions: Columbia and Duke will be out of the top 10 — Columbia at 11 and Duke at 13. Cornell will be in the top 10.

  • InterestedParty

    I think this is a good stab at it, but Cornell will weight higher than you have, and should. If I am not mistaken, In P&Q last year, Cornell ranked # 13 – and BW had them ranked 13 last year. This year BW moved them up to # 7 – so I do not see how P&Q would pull them lower than they were? They should move higher by a couple of spots, I would think. Also, I believe P&Q weights BW fairly high in its index? Like the recognition that Duke has received on this Board, and props to Darden, Cornell has made impressive gains and should be a top ten contender instead of a top 15 player IMO. The new campus commencing in NYC is a potential game changer when combined with its new dean (Dutta) from Insead, an underutilized, but globally powerful Ivy League brand, top professors, and strongly performing and satisfied students – Cornell is one to keep your eye on IMO.

  • LongHornJoe

    Emory out of the top 20? They have had excellent placements and stats. I think they will easily be in the top 20, if not top 15. UTA as well is on the rise. Yale should be lower down. Cornell is also on the rise. Darden has to drop down.

  • Josh

    Enough of the BW Rankings…Let’s make some predictions for the P&Q rankings that will come out next week.

    Here is my prediction:

    1) HBS

    2) GSB

    3) Booth

    4) Wharton

    5) Kellogg

    6) Tuck

    7) MIT

    8) Duke

    9) Hass

    10) Columbia

    11) UVA

    12) Ross

    13) Yale

    14) Cornell

    15) Stern

    16) CMU

    17) UNC

    18) UCLA

    19) Kelley

    20) McCombs UT

    21) Emory


    Big Changes:

    a) Columbia falls slightly

    b) Kellogg in the top 5

    c) Stern falls a bit as well

    d) Kelley makes the top 20

    e) Emory out of the top 20

  • LongHornJoe

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but in FT Duke is 15, right? Maybe Duke is number 1 in healthcare, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near where you make it out to be when it comes to finance, strategy and operations. The marketing program is in the top 5. I don’t see how Duke beats MIT, Tuck and Booth. I really don’t. Yes, Fuqua is only 40 years old, but you don’t get brownie points for youth. I’m not saying it’s not a great school; it’s a fantastic school. But I don’t agree with your characterization. I think H/S/W/Booth/MIT/Kellogg are a step ahead. I will grant you that Columbia has lost ground based on recruitment and wall st. placements.

  • JDMBA33

    Sir, don’t you think this is a better approach to split schools up into tiers. This way we don’t have to split hairs. I think there isn’t a whole lot of separation between many of the schools and I find the tier approach works best. Of course none of the rankings are static; it’s dynamic. But I don’t anticipate schools jumping multiple tiers in a single year. The tier system gives more stability.

  • JDMBA33

    Not really. Beyond Tier 7 – we go into schools outside the top 25-30. We can just rank them in blocks or clusters. No need to specify a rank.

  • JDMBA33

    Why do you ask?

  • Steven

    are you accountant?

  • pla pla

    ummm. 3 to 4 schools per tier! thats mean there will be tier 15 tier 20 tier 39 and tier 127 and so on!!!

  • Rama

    I am not biased. But, truth is Duke did a fantastic job despite its youth compared to other monsters. in only 40 years, it succeeded to put itself one of the core schools for the elite employers. It has been ranked by many publications as top 10 particularly BW and FT. Yes, it dropped dramatically in economist this year, but to be honest, economist ranking is less credible and unreliable. I see the BW and FT as the best ranking followed closely by us news. and to eliminate the flaws of all rankings just follow the P&Q ranking. When combine all factors together, it very clear that Duke is only second to Harvard and Stanford, and very slightly Wharton, but on par and head to head with other schools. in healthcare, it may be the best overall. The only concern about Duke is its offering so many forms of MBA, executive, cross Continent, global, …., this in someways affect the value of the full time program.

  • Rama

    you have so many tiers my friend. I hope that multi-tiering system isn’t applied to other aspects of your life!. I wonder whether you allow schools to switch between tiers?!

  • LongHornJoe

    And you’re not biased? Sorry, but don’t agree with you.

  • JDMBA33

    Kind of agree with you.

    Tier 1: H/S/W

    Tier 2: Booth/Kellogg/MIT

    Tier 3: Tuck/Duke/Hass/Columbia

    Tier 4: Ross/NYU/Yale/Darden

    Tier 5: Cornell/UCLA/CMU

    Tier 6: UTA/Emory/UNC

    Tier 7: USC/Kelley IU/Olin Wash U/Gerorgetown

  • Rama

    Duke is top tier way above haas and columbia. the order you stated is obsolete and history. Things changed since last time you updated your system. Don’t mislead people by your own perception. the ranking is reflection of the current situation and the school’s position which is dynamic and not static. it is about businesses. Therefore, the current order is what BW. Duke is only next to harvard and stanford and will overcome them in the near future. , UCLA is far better than Yale, and you didn’t include it here!!!

  • llavelle

    Sorry, no. The data comes from the schools–our survey asks them to list the 15 biggest MBA employers and the number each employer hired, it doesn’t ask for a breakdown like the one you suggested. You make a good point. But even if most of the INSEAD consulting hires are just returning to the companies that sponsored them, it says something about the value-added by these programs, doesn’t it? If nothing else, it tells me that McKinsey thinks it gets more bang for its buck (in terms of cash, and in terms of time) at INSEAD than it does at other top schools. Interesting thought.

    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Orange1

    Ladies an5-7d gentleman, I can spare you the drama regarding rankings. First off, as Disraeli reminds us, there are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics. Within reason, data can say pretty much anything you want it to say.
    OK, here’s my point. There are three schools considered the best of the best – H/S/W. Maybe Booth is included, maybe not. Then about 5-7 in the next tier (MIT, Northwestern, Tuck, Columbia, Haas). Then there is a third tier that includes Duke/Virginia/Stern/Michigan/Cornell/Ross/Yale. There are probably 18-19 schools in the top 15. The ones in the third tier probably have less than a hair width of difference between them. If I want the case study, I go to Virginia. Operations? Ross. Wall Street? Stern. All of them have students with the same basic qualifications and in fact, teachers and administrators move among them. Do some of these schools surge and drop in cycles? Absolutely. Kind of like college football teams. One stays on top for a while and then another gets to advance.
    But let’s be real here. Virginia or NYU or Tuck or Columbia is not all of a sudden going to turn into a bad institution or attract people with GMATs 50 points lower. These are all damn good schools.
    I also question the validity of BW because schools move around so much. How can a school gaining or losing 4-6 places in one year actually operate so differently in a 24 month period? So they fired half the administration, pumped in better students, and all of a sudden employers thought graduates where the greatest thing since sliced bread. Most schools operate by osmosis and change does not occur rapidly.

  • theKomodo

    Thanks, Simo. I just read the report. Very commendable of INSEAD to provide the breakdown. If only the other schools do the same in their career reports…

  • Simo

    Good point. INSEAD mention that in their employment report, they put the sponsored students within brackets and make it clear to show them as sponsored students. However, even if you exclude them from the calculation, INSEAD still far ahead of all top US school including HSW. for example, last year mckinsey hired 107, 50 are sponsored means 57 are new hires. previous year, Mckinsey hired 127, 52 are sponsored, 75 are new hires. Even, Bain, hire big numbers there. Please, note Mckinsey, Bain, BCG are also sponsor students at the top US schools, but far less than INSEAD. It is very clear that in consulting world, INSEAD without doubt the golden place.

  • theKomodo

    Louis, thank you for the fantastic work. With regards to the number of students hired by McK, BCG and Bain from each school, do you have the breakdown between those originally from those companies pre-MBA vs new hires/career switchers? I understand that these firms love to sponsor their consultants to INSEAD since it’s shorter than most of other MBA programs. These returning and sponsored employees skew the numbers, and make INSEAD look like the best place if you want to switch to consulting.

    I believe the number of post-MBA new hires at these firms for each school will be more meaningful for those who wants to know which school delivers the most value in terms of opening the doors for these tier-1 consulting jobs.

  • Dario

    I think that the BW ranking just lost it’s common sense.

    That’s why less and less people look at rankings when applying than 10 years ago…

    Columbia at #14 next to Indiana haha no data can support this, sorry. Cornell, Duke and Ross are great schools but clearly way ahead of actual performance

    I work with data on a daily basis and there are so many ways to arrange it, one can use it to show whatever they want.

  • Another guest

    John, can you consider adding QS as another source for your ranking metrics? Thanks.

  • Parsi

    everywhere, there are talk about insead. This is annoying school. I’ve a suggestion, giving the vast resources and money with Yale University, I suggest them to stop investing in their dead school (SOM), and try to buy insead! You will be in the top in the next ranking, and you will do us a favor of stopping insead students from talking about their school everywhere!

  • llavelle

    Thanks. My point is that I don’t have time to do a two year survey just to find out some information that does not even remotely matter to anyone. I have extremely limited resources. If I’m going to spend two years studying something it better be something hugely important, not to satisfy the idle curiosity of a few folks who left comments on a story. This just doesn’t make the cut.

    I don’t know why there’s so much criticism of BW’s rankings–you’ll have to ask the critics. If you tell people you’re a brain surgeon nobody pretends to know the best way to do brain surgery (except maybe other brain surgeons). You tell people you’re a journalist and everybody thinks they can do it better. That’s just the way it is. Now excuse me…I’ve got some brain surgery to perform.

    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Louis Lavelle

  • llavelle

    Who says I don’t like INSEAD? I think INSEAD is a terrific program. There are people here who think a ranking based on the hiring preferences of a handful of companies is a good idea. I’m just showing what a ranking like that might look like.

    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • CH3DD

    Thank you for your time and response. I particularly enjoy your online b-schools channel; it’s fantastic.

    The reason I suggested a tracking survey was to use that as a data point for “customer” satisfaction; it’s not to reward any of the higher ranked schools. Many of the critics (not me) have suggested that students have higher expectations at the big schools, and students at lower ranked schools have considerably lower expectations. Moreover, these expectations color the ultimate results of the surveys. My point was — if we can somehow baseline the “expectation” — it might help provide a much better overall landscape of the b-schools.

    On a related note, why do you think there is so much criticism for BW’s b-school rankings, when you are the only ones that use surveys from employers and students themselves? I would love to hear your take on this.

  • Lama

    Oh godness!, why don’t you like INSEAD?!!! am sorry but thats very sad.

  • llavelle

    And what would you have us do if we discovered that H/W/S students have higher expectations? Give them a few extra points on the student survey, another advantage for schools that already have many? I don’t believe that we need to adjust for “higher expectations”–nobody forced schools to recruit students with high expectations–so I have no intention of conducting a study to find out. If I’m going to track students over time, I’d much rather know if they learned anything during their time in b-school–a test before their first day and a test two years later.

    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • llavelle

    So let me make sure I got this right. You’re solution for creating a “more credible” ranking is to place it in the hands of applicants, people who by definition know virtually nothing about the school except for what the marketing department wants them to know? What that measures is the marketing budgets of the schools, not quality. I’m also not sure how you would normalize the data for the different applicant pools at the different schools. A lot of people here seem to think we should normalize the student survey scores because students come to different schools with different expectations–surely the same thing goes for applicants.

    As for the recruiters, I can tell you who the top employers are. These are in order of the numbers of MBAs hired from the class of 2012; slash denotes a tie; not all schools (including Harvard, Stanford, and LBS) supplied information:

    McKinsey: INSEAD, Tuck, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth
    Goldman: Wharton, Columbia, Booth, Duke, Yale/UCLA
    Google: INSEAD, Ross, Haas/Booth, UCLA, Tuck/IE Business School
    Bain: INSEAD, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia
    BCG: INSEAD, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Ross

    If you eliminate INSEAD, which is not directly ranked against the rest of these schools, then the top five for each employer is pretty close to BW’s top 5 (minus Harvard and Stanford). The three big consulting outfits all have Chicago (1) Wharton (3) and Kellogg (5) in their top five. Columbia is in the top 5 for Goldman and Bain, but ranked 14 by BW; Tuck is in the top five for McKinsey and Google, but ranked 12 by BW. So it’s not perfect, but then I don’t think the hiring preferences for a handful of companies should determine any ranking.

    And did anybody notice the pattern? The best of the best U.S. schools can’t hold a candle to INSEAD in the eyes of the most coveted MBA employers. McKinsey hired 107 people from INSEAD. Wharton? 53. Bain hired 52 at INSEAD, 25 at Wharton. BCG hired 61 at INSEAD, 45 at Wharton. NK, if you really think employer hiring preferences should determine which schools are the best, then I guess you’d support a global ranking that puts INSEAD at the top, right? Not Harvard. Not Wharton. Not Stanford. Still think that’s a good idea?

    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Sim

    I did not rank. I just composed (put them together) the ranking indexes of both US and International schools and came up with the top ten. IMD, HEC, St Gallen are excellent schools no doubt. But, I was trying to create my own global ranking since BW do not offer a composed global ranking like FT, but they offer the ranking Index, which I assume it should based on the same standards.

  • mk80

    good insights, thanks

  • Pila

    Thank you. and this leads to the conclusion that the standards of the recruiting companies at say HBS, Wharton, or INSEAD, are different than the standards of the recruiting companies at less ranked schools, and hence, it is easier to satisfy the less standards. Therefore, I would expect that recruiting index would be higher at lower ranked school. this in fact misleading. The same principle applied to student satisfaction index. at top schools students come with high expectations.

  • NK

    Hi Louis, thanks for your response. Just two points:

    1. You mentioned that we can argue about the merits of your definition. That’s largely what we are doing but also rejecting the idea that a survey is an effective way of evaluating true student satisfaction given the conflict of interest involved. It’s surprising that you don’t see how flawed a student satisfaction survey approach can be considering the huge variance in students’ expectations across schools, variance in inclination to be honest given the incentive, etc.

    2. Regarding your comment on Forbes and its ranking name, please note that the Forbes ranking is a widely discredited ranking that very few people take seriously. That should not be BW’s benchmark.

    You acknowledged the flaw when you talked about SMU Cox’s ranking not passing the “smell test”. The reality is that many of ranks in your top 15 also miserably fail the smell test in exactly the same way.

  • CH3D33

    Dear Mr. Louis Lavelle,

    I posed this comment earlier but you might have not had a chance to reply to this. I would really like to know what you think about my suggestions.

    First off, I believe that BW’s rankings have a lot of credibility because of
    your methodology, which uses feedback from both students and recruiters.
    If I may pitch an idea — it would be to do a “tracking” type of a
    survey. For instance, when a student joins the MBA program — you should
    ask him / her a few questions (about expectations with regard to jobs,
    learning, team, fellow students, etc). Then at the end of the MBA
    program — you should survey those very same students and see how
    everything actually turned out. This would give you a very clear picture
    with regard to the expectations gap, and whether students in top
    schools expect even more; whether some of their disappointment maybe a
    result of much higher (unrealistic??) expectations. I think a tracking
    survey would be a useful addition and provide you with some very
    interesting data points that can help address some of the concerns.

    Thank you for your time,

  • LongHornJoe

    If it’s energy and you want to work in Texas — it’s UTA and Rice all the way. I don’t know too much about Cox, but I would think they would be OK as well. To the best of my knowledge — Rice has an “Energy Management” concentration and around 11 or 12 MBA courses
    on that subject. McCombs has a Financial Energy concentration as well as a Green / Clean engergy concentration. I would also suggest you look at Stanford, Tepper (CMU), Hass and Ross — all three are also well known for energy. Stanford recently invested some 100 million in its energy / infrastructure program — its called energy policy and something (you can look it up). Hass has also really ramped up this alternate energy focus. Energy is going to be huge..HUGE in the US in the coming years, and much sooner if we can get Washington to adopt some common sense with regard to regulations and taxes. But that aside, there is a huge upside to the Energy MBA and terrific opportunities around the world as well.

    Programs like Rice (..and maybe Cox???) are also very strong, though this
    isn’t a school at the top of the list. It’s still a very solid school that will do the trick for you. If you want to stay in Texas (it’s not for everyone!) after you
    graduate, then a school like that could be ideal (lots of local
    recruiting opportunities and a solid reputation within the energy
    industry). So, it depends on your profile, in terms of what type of
    school you’re targeting, as well as where you see yourself ending up
    after you graduate. Don’t keep your options too narrow because the energy sector is one where you have some terrific opportunities in the developing markets as well. Good luck! Hook ’em!!

  • llavelle

    I think everybody’s getting caught up in semantics. Any time you do a ranking you’re putting forward a definition of “best” (or “worst”). BW believes the “Best B-Schools” are those that do the best job of satisfying their two main constituencies: students and recruiters. So we rely on satisfaction surveys. You can argue all you’d like about the merits of that definition; it’s certainly not the only one out there. Forbes also calls its ranking “Best Business Schools,” but it has much narrower definition: pay. (I don’t hear anyone arguing that Forbes should rename its ranking franchise “B-Schools With Highest Paid Alumni.”) I don’t accept this idea that “best” is something that can’t be measured when it comes to b-schools–that B-schools are somehow unrankable. The fact is, best can be measured in any number of ways. It all depends on how you define it.

    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • SaintsFanLSUGrad

    Thanks for your reply! Keep up the great work and don’t mind the haters. As you well know, there is a significant segment in our population that abhors math, logic, science, polls, surveys, data, etc.

  • mk80

    Thanks Longhorn, a little background, I am looking to pursue a career in oil/gas or energy. I have been doing my research on said schools. I think when it comes to getting a break in a establishment like ExxonMobil or Chevron you cannot go wrong with Rice or UTA. Not sure about Cox. What are your thoughts about Cox? School visit at these places is due but I am very certain I will be applying to Rice and UTA

  • LongHornJoe

    The McCombs program costs 70k in tuition (BW website). The only issue with this direct ROI analogy is that it really depends on what you want to do. If you want to get into Energy — UTA is a great program. It’s also good for operations. But if you want to break into private equity or VC or even the big IB firms — then Texas might not give you the best options. You are better off at a school more focused in those areas. An MBA for the sake of an MBA without knowing how you are going to use it — really puts you in a non-ideal situation because you might not pick the best program that meets your needs. Also, the details with regard to starting salary etc. often come down to prior experience, academics (do you already have another masters or other professional qualifications such as CFA, CPA, etc) and willingness to relocate etc.

  • llavelle

    These were college ranking submissions, not B-school ranking submissions, and none of the inaccurate data had an impact on BW rankings. The schools have already been outted…and in some cases actually outted themselves, to their credit. The three schools were Emory, Claremont McKenna, and George Washington University. Here’s GWU’s statement on this issue:

  • llavelle

    We ask schools for a list of top recruiters, eliminate the duplicates, find the top person responsible for MBA recruiting at each recruiting company, and survey that person. There’s some overlap between schools in terms of the recruiters we survey, but we also survey employers who are listed as top recruiters by just one school. Hope that helps.
    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • mk80

    Interesting Texas discussion going on here. I have been following Cox, Rice and UTA. I realized that the tuition for a 2nd year UTA (a state school) MBA student would be much lesser compared to his/her counterpart from Cox or Rice because of the option of paying instate tuition. Is that a correct assumption? In that regard, assuming all graduates in Texas start with a salary of 90K, wouldn’t UTA be the best ROI?

  • ORa

    You (don’t) know, IMD, Uni Saint-Gall & HEC Paris are better than INSEAD.

  • Palima

    This is exactly what makes Booth students by far better than others. Because Booth has less Ivy undergrad, it makes it better place for learning and experience the mix and poll at booth are far rich and diverse, open minds, and extremely friendly, in opposite to those come with an Ivy mentality. Ivy was before a mine of talents, but now, no, things changed, and people more aware that the quality isn’t reserved in certain places and certain institutions. most of Ivy students come from rich families, and this fact implies negative perception and not good stereotypes.

  • Reggie

    The underlying implication that somehow an undergraduate degree from an ivy is a definitive mark of prestige? Listen, I’m quite confident that i had the grades to get into an ivy but attended a public school in my home state (considered a public ivy) because of financial reasons. Both my parents are school teachers, and with two other siblings,there is no way they could have afforded it. I did not want to be in debt when I graduated either. This is by means a knock on ivy schools or schools like Stanford, NW, Duke, etc. But folks don’t always know (understand) the financial realities behind many decisions students like me make. Some are born with a silver spoon and I don’t begrudge that. Moreover, if you really want diversity (not just racial but one based on life experiences), then it’s good to have students who went to public schools and other colleges. It will add to the overall experience.

  • Garibaldi

    “If you subtract students who earned their undergrad degrees at international schools, only 15.3% of the incoming Booth students have an Ivy League degree, versus 38% at Harvard and 44% at Wharton.” –Poets&Quants.

    Looks like Booth still has a bit of way to go in terms of prestige it seems. Booth is not yet an automatic preferred destination for Ivy League kids, who would rather do HSW… Truth hurts

  • booth

    Don’t feed the troll. He was probably rejected from Fuqua. Let him vent his frustration.

  • Phil

    Listen to yourself Joe! So are you saying they got lucky in 2010? Or in 2000 when they were ranked 5? Or did they get “unlucky” in 2008 when they were ranked 13?? Logic is a funny thing, isn’t it?

  • Roger

    I don’t think we are getting anywhere with this debate; you are making one sweeping statement after another, none of which are based on facts. The rankings don’t swing wildly. You can go to their website and look at the trends. They do modify and tinker with their methodology to make improvements. Obviously, you have no use for BW and that’s your prerogative. Let’s just leave it at that. And if you take price out of the equation — still not everyone will pick S550 over a Camry. Don’t be deluded into thinking the world is ruled by people who will always pick things like you would. Have you ever wondered why even the most well educated scientists and researchers always hedge their statements. They rarely over-reach or make sweeping statements. It’s because they know that knowledge is something we all strive for..and humility is something we need in order to move forward. On the other hand, the bluster and all assuming blanket statements are often made by our politicians. Peace,

  • mattymaxxx

    Well sad. IU is an excellent marketing school with serious recruiting from CPG, Manufacturing, and Retail companies. IU attracts students who want to work in these industries, and it delivers. IU is more of a niche program, but it is very good at what it does.

  • NK

    We can come up with all kinds of methodologies that yield all kinds of results. They are not all equally credible or valid if the purpose is a “best” MBA ranking. We don’t have to respect them all equally. The point is no sane human being would choose a Camry over a S550 if price is removed from the equation. If there are exceptions they would constitute less than 1% of all buyers.

    If some ranking suggests you should by the Camry, then it is a useless ranking. Now if you want a highest bang-for-your-buck MBA, there are ROI-based rankings whose top 10 is populated by mostly unknown schools. That is not what BW is trying to achieve – it is trying to achieve a “best” MBA ranking. If that is the objective then this output is just silly and invalid. I also disagree with your comment about “credible science”…a ranking that changes wildly year after year with enormous volatility is obviously not based on credible science.

  • InterestedParty

    I appreciate your post and you make a very astute observation beyond the Booth praise. BTW Chicago Booth has undeniably and deservedly had a very impressive surge in momentum and certainly competes very well at the top – opinions will always vary depending on who you speak with. I take it you either went to Booth, are currently attending, or would like to/will be – in any case that is great and and congrats!
    As i mentioned, your post brings up a great point though – that rankings are Not static – nothing competitive. Their is a pervasive (and stale) attitude within the rankings world that certain schools are AUTOMATICALLY better – just because they always have been – that is BS! Booth has Risen because it has out competed some competitors – nothing unusual there. Certain brands like H/S/W are naturally advantaged but I believe that nothing is certain – complacency breeds failure. H and S have brands that may be nearly fail proof IMO – Wharton has an amazing brand, but is not fail proof – and I (only my opinion not a challenge to your assertion which is entirely defensible) for one would put Booth ahead of Wharton or at least on par.
    My point is that schools change – I wrote earlier in another post about Cornell Johnson and Darden – two schools that I think are on the rise. Cornell for example is addressing a long standing negative complaint about its location outside of a major city (even though it is a relatively short ride to NYC and Tuck is Hanover, NH which seems to get a pass) by building a campus in NYC. Cornell has an exciting new Dean (Dutta) from Insead, faculty that are stars in their fields, applications soaring (when others are falling), and a great Ivy League brand to leverage.
    Why shouldn’t it and Duke, or Darden challenge to be in the top 10 andchallenge previously higher ranked schools? Makes no sense to me – only answer you really see is – that’s just the way it has always been? How has that worked out historically? Competition is a good thing – it makes all of these schools better.

  • papa

    it was #5 some years ago…

  • I thought there were already in it (to the degree that “it” even exists. Its a made up term).

  • How so? I thought it was defined by 7 schools whose deans meet annually (NOTE: no one in the actual MBA world uses the term “M7” outside the guy at Columbia who coined it).

  • Satisfaction is relative to expectations. IU has a solid reputation for over-delivering. Who do you think might be more satisfied, a student who “settled” for IU and ended up with a $105,000 MBB position to offset their $40k of debt, or a Columbia grad who got paid $110,000 for the same position to offset their $100k of debt? That’s just one simplistic scenario, but it makes sense to me tha IU would score high in satisfaction.

    Even current students at many of the top 5-15 business schools view pre-MBA applicants as wanton idealists. Idealism will almost always set you up for disappointment.

  • Joe

    that’s only 2 rankings since 2010…

  • TA

    Empathy and respect !!!well said

  • theKomodo

    +1. I don’t think I’ve seen this anywhere. Anyone with further info care to share?

  • Lewis

    You are terribly wrong about Wharton. Wharton has been ranked higher for a much longer period, while Booth is considered a newcomer that is on the rise. Wharton has a longer history of being a top school, get your fact right.

  • John

    The fact that Indiana is ranked 1st in student satisfaction alone undermines these rankings. I highly doubt that the students in Bloomington, IN are genuinely the most satisfied with their degree..unless they came in with extremely low expectations.

    The two primary criteria don’t even measure on the same scale. While the recruiters rankings are based on head-to-head comparisons of all schools, the student satisfaction score is only a comparison of itself (did the school exceed students’ expectations). Not sure how BW can justify combining these two scores to come up with a final ranking.

  • RR

    You are right. They are moving away from that system. Joe is just trolling in case you haven’t noticed his other posts. Please read this article about Hass on the WSJ (I hope P&Q allows me to post the link). It’s an interview with Rich Lyons, dean of University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

  • Joey

    It’s held steady since 2010..look at the rankings again.

  • Ricck


    “methodology is unquestionably producing a nonsensical output”

    The results are what they are. If you don’t like the outcome, that doesn’t mean it’s nonsensical. And I don’t agree with your earlier statement because someone might choose to attend Tepper if they want to focus on technology or operations even though they might get into Tuck or Columbia. It’s not as straight forward as you are making it out to be. To be honest, there is not really a lot of difference among the top schools. You can see this in the salary data, the job opportunities,etc. Certainly, HBS, Wharton or Stanford will open more doors.But they are a cut above the rest. Among the other top schools, it’s not as clear cut. I personally know people who picked Kellogg over HBS, and Tuck over Wharton (money was not the biggest factor in those decisions). People make decisions not just based on selectivity or perception. Moreover, there isn’t that big a difference. It comes down to what you are interested in doing and how that aligns with what the school can do for you.

  • Roger

    The problem is — what is the reasonable measure of superiority? Is it that a 20k Camry can provide you with good comfort and car safety considering the investment vs. the 150k S550. If you just assume that superiority is equal to raw horse power or price tag or brand value — then yes, you are right. But this ranking system looks at different parameters and normalizes that data to reflect the top programs based on those parameters. You have to look at the rankings in that context. Without context, nothing will make sense. If I simply ranked schools based on “prestige” or “perception” — this is how it would go — HBS, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Tuck, MIT, Columbia, Hass, Fuqua, Ross, NYU, Yale, Darden, Cornell….Of course this is the P&Q list (or very close to it). Most people agree with these rankings (except slight shifts up or down depending on their point of view, biases, experiences, etc). But this is the overall picture. But that is not what BW is doing — they have determined some criteria that are relevant to ranking schools such as feedback. I would suggest that you keep an open mind and use it as an additional data point. You don’t have to entirely accept it — but don’t reject it just because it does not match with your worldview. There is some credible science behind this; but it doesn’t mean that you have to pick Booth over Stanford. That’s a very narrow and incorrect way of interpreting these types of surveys. Respectfully,

  • Good point actually. Satisfaction, after all, is something that is relative to your level of expectation. And “satisfaction ranking” or “employer opinion ranking” would be a good name if that is what it measures. Still, I’m not totally poo-poo on the BW rankings. It has its place just like the others. None of them are perfect and all have flaws. “Best” is not an easy thing to measure with something that has so much nuance and is largely driven by unique individual needs and experiences.

  • Charles


  • NK

    I’m sorry but this is not a great defense of the rankings. This is a very silly way of ranking schools or cars. It should be renamed the “Businessweek MBA Student Satisfaction Rankings”.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Toyota Camry owners are more satisfied with their purchase than Mercedes Benz S550 owners are. If so, would that mean the Camry is a superior car? By any reasonable measure of superiority, the answer is a resounding “No”. But that’s what this ranking tries to convince us of.

  • NK

    I certainly understand their methodology. My point is simply that this methodology is unquestionably producing a nonsensical output. When the output is so out of sync with such obvious metrics (as listed in my original comment) it is not a useful or usable list. By the way, I don’t see anything ridiculous about the statement you objected to. I would be surprised if you truly disagree with it.

    In contrast, the US News/P&Q rankings are a far more accurate reflection of how both applicants and recruiters view the hierarchy.

  • Joe

    I predict B will overtake S in the next ranking since B is now number 1 in both BW and Economist

  • Joe

    Definitely Booth over HBS. Have you seen HBS’ alums? A bunch of crooks.

  • Joe

    The California state schools are losing funding. Their main selling point vs their peers – in-state tuition is getting less and less relevant every year and will soon pretty much go away

  • Joe

    lol. Duke got kucky in this ranking. It is a fluke.

  • Joe

    The BW ranking looks more like tiers:

    B(Booth) – the undisputed number one

    then HWS – the runner ups, the only 3 who have a chance at getting to over throw B

    then K/Duke/Cornell/Ross – the up and comers because except K, they normally are viewed as second tier

    then MIT/Haas/Columbia – the decliners who are normally A8 material, but are now mingling with the second tier

  • Jimmy

    Interesting point Joe. But I thought Haas was managed (mostly, if not entirely) separate from the UC/Berkeley school systems’ budgets? Are they really that dependent on taxpayer money for their funding?

  • Aashish

    Think you need a course in basic logic and reading comprehension before starting your mba. Just more food for thought.

  • Roger


    “How on earth could BW be comfortable with the fact that this list bears no resemblance whatsoever to the general applicant pool’s preference list?”

    That’s not what BW is trying to achieve. It’s like ranking cars. You might not agree with BMW being ranked 6th. But if I survey a bunch of BMW owners, and they say — hmm..I’m happy but not elated with my BMW, then BMW’s ranking will suffer. On the other hand, if I interview a number of Audi owners, and they are thrilled with their experience, Audi’s ranking will rise. Although, you might consider BMW far superior to Audi based on history, reputation, brand etc., the owners of these cars have rated their experiences differently. You can’t them say — gee what do the owners know about those cars. I know I want a BMW over an Audi, so the survey should reflect that opinion. That’s not how this works. I hope you get the gist of my point. If not, I will be happy to provide more relevant examples to illustrate the above. Respectfully,

  • Ricck

    You should read the methodology first and take into account how BW conjured up these rankings. If you wanted a ranking system based on how many students applied to a program or a program’s selectivity — you can find that out yourself based on publicly available data. But to make blanket statements such as –” Is there a single applicant in the world who would choose Cornell Johnson and Carnegie Mellon over Columbia and Tuck? Obviously not. Not even one.” — is simply ridiculous. Before you criticize something — understand what BW is trying to do. Understand their criteria. I hope you won’t be offended if I suggest that, next time, before you comment — please take a moment to think about what you are saying.

  • NK

    John – I am stunned by the fact that this ranking is taken seriously instead of laughed at. How on earth could BW be comfortable with the fact that this list bears no resemblance whatsoever to the general applicant pool’s preference list? I am surprised that P&Q is analyzing and commenting on this as though it isn’t a farce instead of calling it out as a joke.

    Is there a single applicant in the world who would choose Booth over HSW unless it’s due to a full-ride or some personal circumstance? Obviously not.

    Is there a single applicant in the world who would choose Cornell Johnson and Carnegie Mellon over Columbia and Tuck? Obviously not. Not even one.

    Would the hiring numbers of the most prestigious recruiters in the world (McKinsey, Goldman, Google, etc.) yield a ranking that looks anything like this one? Not even slightly.

    These are enormous flaws that totally discredit the ranking. Again, surprising to see P&Q barely acknowledging how ludicrous this is. In treating this as a credible ranking, P&Q risks discrediting itself and its own trustworthiness as a B-school expert. Just some food for thought.

  • Joe

    Yeah but Columbia is apparently out of the M7

  • Joe

    Public school with drying up funds. California was bankrupt in the past few years…

  • Joe

    Undoubtedly? Methinks not. Salaries are comparable. Stats of students are comparable. But recruiters love Booth more than any other. The increase in salary going out of Booth is higher than the other 3 too.

    Long live the King 🙂

  • Joe

    Finance industry is down and so the likes of Col and NYU are down but C is not – which means C is strong even when Finance is down.

    Now, imagine if Finance bounces back… what will happen then?

  • Joe

    C is King! HSW is dead. You read it here first. 🙂

  • Rami

    Well, as I kept watching many ranking publications for long time, I would say confidently that P&Q is _without question, the most credible ranking out there.

  • Sami

    I’ve a question regarding to the recruiters satisfaction index: do you target the same recruiters for all schools? we know recruiting companies at School X are different than Recruiting companies at School Y!

  • Dan

    More trolls out of the woodwork.

  • Dan

    Are you trolling?

  • Tomas

    HAAS natural place is somewhere between 18 to 25. they should be thankful for what BW gave them.

  • Paplion

    Tuck for sure..

  • Nimas

    Yale at 21 still overrated. this school is far beyond top 30 or 40.

  • Charles

    Fuqua should be in better place than 6. It is not a top 10 anymore. giving its strengths in many areas and its brand, it is absolutely top 5 or top 3 school worldwide not only in US.

  • CH3DD


    Dear Mr. Louis Lavelle,

    I believe that BW’s rankings have a lot of credibility because of your methodology, which uses feedback from both students and recruiters. If I may pitch an idea — it would be to do a “tracking” type of a survey. For instance, when a student joins the MBA program — you should ask him / her a few questions (about expectations with regard to jobs, learning, team, fellow students, etc). Then at the end of the MBA program — you should survey those very same students and see how everything actually turned out. This would give you a very clear picture with regard to the expectations gap, and whether students in top schools expect even more; whether some of their disappointment maybe a result of much higher (unrealistic??) expectations. I think a tracking survey would be a useful addition and provide you with some very interesting data points that can help address some of the concerns.

  • SaintsFanLSUGrad

    Mr. Lavelle,

    It’s good that you are posting here and thank you for all the excellent work. You mentioned that 3 schools were trying to game the rankings. My suggestion is that you mention this in public and shame those institutions. These MBA programs that purport to teach ethics and good business practices should be the last institutions engaging in these types of misleading practices. Students have a right to know. I hope you do consider releasing these names in public and make an example out of them.

  • sebastian

    Agreed. Fuqua is the bomb!

  • Strong and valid points Mr. Lavelle; thank you for the perspective.

  • Sim

    if you want a true international ranking, compose both US and International rankings based on the Ranking Index, then you get:

    1- Chicago + London

    2- INSEAD

    3- Harvard

    4- Wharton

    5- Stanford

    6 – Kellogg

    7- Duke

    8- Cornell

    9- Michigan

    10- IE

  • People have been conditioned to think “H/S/W” because that’s how the rankings have shaken out over the past 2 decades or so. Before that, it was always “H/S/C” (Chicago), and folks had a hard time getting used to Wharton being there and Chicago not. Given that most of the readers of this board are young, undoubtedly their context is to think that H/S/W are the top 3. That’s simply not the case anymore, though. If take a look across all rankings, Chicago comes in as the third highest ranking school on average, barely behind Stanford.

    It’s all about learning not to project what you think you know.

    Go Duke!

  • Slapcountdown

    I’m a current CBS student. BW reports our number one employer as McKinsey (true) and we send tons of students to consulting, CPG, retail and luxury goods, technology firms, media, social enterprise, and more. I would also add that the finance jobs are not “gone.” Finally, it may be “hard to have a community in NYC” but the CBS community is incredibly tight knit despite our challenges. I feared that many of my classmates would be obnoxious, entitled snobs but nothing could be further from the truth.

    There are a lot of misconceptions about CBS that are about fifteen years behind the times.

  • Jimmy

    Why on earth did Haas fall so much?? I mean, I kiiindd of get Columbia, but Haas’ drop wasn’t well explained in the article. Seems like they have been rising in other rankings, curious to hear people’s thoughts on this.

  • llavelle

    We actually used more than 27,000 student survey responses for this year’s ranking. In fact the only way to increase the number of responses substantially would be to survey more schools (which doesn’t make the results for any one school more valid); combine 4 or 5 surveys instead of the 3 we currently use (which would make some of the responses extremely dated) or dramatically increase the response rate. To get to 50K, we would need a 100% response rate from every school we survey. That’s virtually impossible.
    I support the use of objective criteria, but the problem with some of the objective data you mentioned is that it’s either not readily available, suffers from various reporting biases, or it can’t be trusted because it would necessarily have to come from the schools themselves, which gives them a big incentive and opportunity to game the system. In recent months we’ve had three colleges fess up to providing inaccurate data to ranking organizations, so this is no small concern.
    Every ranking is a compromise, and BW’s is no exception. But given the alternatives, I don’t think I would do our ranking any other way.
    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • There’s an M8 now? Who’s 8th? Pray tell.

  • SMU is a great school that anyone should be proud to come from. I also respect that you post here on your institution’s behalf. When I look at these figures, however, I’m concerned about the 75%+ staying in Texas and what impact that as on the strength and breadth of the alumni network. IMO, network should definitely be a part of rankings (definitely 10-15%), as that is what matters most post grad when you need to start making calls.

  • higwyre237

    Rankings aside, I love the updates to individual school pages. By far the best free source I’ve seen.

  • Tzeeentch99

    Sweet! Really want to hear an updat.e Bet you got the big stanford invite ;).

  • Solid points; see my post below for more detail on my perspective on this.

  • B-school Hopeful

    These rankings are such a joke! Booth before HBS and Johnson before Sloan? Not credible at all. Definitely would not be using these rankings to make my b-school decision

  • Harsh

    This is meant very respectfully, but I think a big problem for a great school like Columbia is Dean Hubbard. His reputation took a beating in that documentary about the financial crisis, when he chided the reporter by saying “take your best shot”. Hubbard has also been very active on the consulting trail and testifying as an expert witness in court cases. At best, he has been a part time administrator. Moreover, he has made some very strong political statements / support that has even made some faculty in Columbia very uncomfortable. Hubbard was behind some of Mr. Romney economic proposals and ideas; many of which have been criticized heavily by non-partisan groups and think-tanks. Columbia has all the ingredients to be a top 3 or 5 school..but it needs a full-time administrator who shows empathy, respect and dedication to his faculty, staff and students.

  • InterestedParty

    I understand people being passionate about rankings – makes sense, but I think that schools like Darden and Johnson, as just two examples, take way more shots than deserved. They are both incredible and top schools and have been consistent top 15 ranked programs since the 80’s. Cornell for example is developing a very intriguing campus on Roosevelt Island in Manhattan (with Google as a major contributor) that gives it a major foothold in NYC – i think it is a program to watch stay in the top 10. Ithaca, like Charlottesville has been criticized for being too far out of the way – but that seems not to bother those who like Hanover, NH??? I always find that one a bit strange.

    Outside of H/S/W, the schools generally have bounced around a bit over the years. Tuck is an incredible program and it will be back in the stack soon enough, as will Haas. Finance is down and so Columbia and Stern have fallen – they will be back too. Face it, polls should rank on alumni comments like BW. Alumni that are having a tough time finding a job are the very best info you can get – I don’t care if their GMAT was ten points higher if the job prospect stink! This iis why I favor this type of ranking over a USN that weights the quantitative numbers far more heavily.

  • Scott

    I would think it may be because, while Chicago, Penn, and Harvard have the absolute biggest rockstars within their faculty, they only consist of a small % of the total. And since these programs have 2-3x the enrollment of Cornell, they probably have a steeper drop off from top to bottom just from sheer numbers. Regardless, Cornell has some very legit faculty that are pumping out tons of academic papers, books, etc.

  • Kip

    Joe, I think she was just trying to make a point of jobs in Texas. It’s mostly facts with a bit of spin, and there is nothing wrong with that. Everyone knows what you are saying! No one is so gullible. These cost of living estimates are like salary calculators and lifetime earnings estimates — they are just very rough approximations based on some normalized economic data. No one takes all these calculations seriously. It’s like that unemployment number that miraculously went down from 8.1% to 7.8%! Relax…

  • LongHornJoe

    I will grant you the apples to apples comparison..But as I mentioned in my previous post, these direct cost of living comparisons can be misleading. Many young professionals live in places like Westchester and Hoboken and commute to the city. Moreover, some even live in much cheaper places like Jersey City and Newark. Yes renting a 1500 sq ft apartment in Manhattan can be more than 6k. And in rent alone you will be paying 75k a year. In Houston you will pay 18k/yr for that same apartment. I understand that. But…that’s not the full picture. I hope you get the spirit of what I’m trying to say. It’s too simplistic to suggest that a 90k salary is like a 208k salary in New York. Numbers can be misleading without the proper context.

  • LongHornJoe

    UT Grad here as well now live in Delaware and have lived in NYC. I think 100 in Houston / Dallas is about 145 to 150 in NYC. Yes, it’s cheaper to own a truck in Texas and we don’t have a million different taxes. But then in NYC, like you said, transportation is so much more accessible. 90k to 208K is just not a realistic comparison (although the cost of living indicator will say so). No one is going to get a 1500 sq. foot apartment in Manhattan for 1000 bucks a month (but you can find bigger and cheaper in nice parts of Houston). I would look at this more in terms of a tradeoff. If I’m making 100k in Houston, what’s it going to take for me to move to NYC? It’s not 208k! It’s more like 140 to 150k. I will live in a smaller apartment, but I will still be in NYC. Or perhaps, live in Westchester or Hoboken and commute. I just think Cox’s 90k to 208k (while factually accurate based on apples to apples cost of living calculations) — is a ridiculous comparison. I’m more in line with your estimate. BTW, I’m still recovering from that Oklahoma drubbing…

  • Lynda

    Boston: $128,068 (42%)
    Chicago: $106,738 (19%)
    Denver: $98,291 (9%)
    Durham/Chapel Hill, NC: $107,448 (19%)
    Eugene, OR: $101,880 (13%)
    Los Angeles: $122,371 (36%)
    Minneapolis-St. Paul: $104,368 (16%)
    NYC: $208,882 (132%)
    Philadelphia: $115,555 (28%)
    Portland, OR: $109,231 (21%)
    San Diego: $122,053 (36%)
    San Francisco: $150,514 (67%)
    Seattle: $107,529 (19%)
    Washington, D.C.: $137,663 (53%)

    Source: “Cost of Living Comparison Calculator”

  • TA

    MBA over 30. How did your interviews go I haven’t visited your blog in a while. How was Stanford.’s?When I saw your list that looked like the one touch cookie in there.
    All the best with the rest of the applications

  • TA

    Fuqua- Overrated a perfect rank 10 not 6
    Johnson – Good solid school .Deserves a rank of 15
    Darden – HIghly overrated. No way it can compete with M8 for top east coast jobs.
    Ross- Good program but wayyyy too many people. Class size is too big and its becoming difficult for them to maintain efficiency.
    Tepper- Good solid program. Great consulting placements.

  • TA

    Why is Columbia experiencing this saddening decline??? I mean its f’in columbia unversity. Yeahhh the buildings a lil sketchy but its in New York City for Christs sake. Its in Manhattan. It is such a powerful brand. People from silly schools like zicklin n em get MBA’s and end up in good jobs solely based on proxomity to Financial District.

  • TA

    uhmmm i’d say a 100k here( I live in Austin, goto UT) and ive lived in nyc = 150k in nyc. Dont f’get most young grad living in NYC or its suburbs usually have roommates and no one needs a car over there.

  • TA

    Fuqua is not a 6 no matter what way you look at it.Booth is a 1 .HSW patronize daddy’s lil princesses a lil too much. They re not meritocratic enough. BTW getting a 250k bachelors degree in “history” or “english” at a “yale” or a “harvard” and then sneaking into an MBB firm as an analyst qualifies you as a daddys lil princess

  • Dan

    You are 10 is more like a top 13 or 14. It all depends on what you are interested in and what you want to do post-MBA. Each school has a unique strength. It’s quite interesting to see so many passionate posts about the rankings; people seem to really take them to heart.

  • LongHornJoe

    $90K here = $208K in NYC?????

  • I agree; and I don’t even see them as a necessary shoe-in for the 10. They’d need to be decidedly better than Yale, NYU, Michigan and Darden year after year to be a “solid” 10. That being said, ALL of these schools are fantastic and are light years better than 95% of the MBA programs that exist on earth; so this is truly a mercedes/beemer/lexus/audi conversation

  • They went pretty well! I’m actually doing a bunch of blogging over the next 2-3 days. At least 2 posts.

  • Lynda Oliver, SMU Cox

    Thx. Placement is already better. We get it. And we certainly admire and
    respect our closest “rivals” like UT, TCU, Rice, A&M, etc. and wish
    them every success. Their win is our win. Also, good to know –
    particularly for Texas schools – that our grad’s salary increase from
    2010-2012 tied for 2nd with Emory, just after Booth. Sure, it’s lower
    than coastal schools but that’s b/c 75%+ of our grads decide to stay in
    TX for the jobs, cost of living, etc. $90K here = $208K in NYC. Alas, no
    ranking is perfect. All are scrutinized. That said, all prospects
    should VISIT the schools in their list of considerations. Visit as many
    as possible to get the true feel. Talk to people. Stats are stats, but students need to
    find their “home” in order to be successful. Cheers. Until next time…

  • Josh

    Mr. Byrne, it would be really appreciated if you address some of the issues that have come up. Several of the posts have called for your clarification. Thank you in advance,

  • Josh

    Mate, please don’t get upset over these things. The value of a school cannot be diminished by a ranking….please rest easy knowing that this is not a perfect process. You can’t go wrong by going to any of the schools like Darden,Ross Duke, HBS, Booth, Tuck etc. Don’t self limit yourself or get frustrated by online rankings. Be Strong!

  • Dreamer

    How in the hell is Duke, Cornell and indiana above Chicago, Penn and Harvard? Though thanks for claryfying

  • Scott

    The intellectual capital scores are normalized to account for different faculty sizes.

  • Dan

    Fuqua is a solid top 10 but not 6! I don’t think so at least. Fuqua is great for Marketing (top 5) and Healthcare (maybe number 1). But I don’t see it as a big finance school (top 15) or an entrepreneurship powerhouse (top 20). It’s social enterprise program is good (top 10) and I think its a solid top 10 general management program. Fuqua only makes the top 6 if you include the basketball program in the rankings and coach K as a part of the faculty.

  • Tzeentch99

    Hey dude, haven’t seen a blog post from you in awhile. How did the interviews go?

  • SMU Undergrad

    SMU’s rank seems justified simply considering its employment and salary figures. I suppose those figures aren’t a direct factor in the methodology, though.

    I hope they can improve upon the 61% at graduation figure within the next two years. Rival UT-McCombs pulling out a solid 89% at graduation has to send up some red flags. Time to re-think your strategy?

    I had a great time and learned a lot there; however, the school’s priorities are in all the wrong places, in my opinion. There doesn’t seem to be enough attention given to the career services / alumni outreach depts.

    Good luck SMU!

  • The Economist’s rankings are just downright absurd. There is credibility in BW; however, I think the data collected is a bit too subjective. I’d also like to see something more like 25-50k responses to achieve real statistical significance even in that. I think survey’s should account for no less than 1/3 of the score (all together). There is a lot of other more objective, measurable data such as: global diversity; industry diversity; % of graduates who’ve built companies in excess of $1M; $10M; $100M; $1B, % of graduates who own companies within 10 years; % of graduates who ascend to C-level status within 10 years; mean and median lifetime earnings, etc. There’s just so much missing to me, and that’s how a Johnson ends up on top of a Tuck.

  • sgz2001

    Totally agree! John please shred some light! I am truly AMAZED by Tuck’s Score!

  • Kip

    I have sent an email to Mr. Louis Lavelle at Business Week requesting clarification on several points including the ones you mentioned above. Tuck’s findings make no sense at all, given the A+ in every metric. Moreover, the intellectual capital should be per / student or per some other average. Otherwise, these rankings would be heavily biased in favor of bigger schools. That would be outrageous and poor science. Bottom line is — BW needs to explain these rankings. I also urge Mr. Bryne to take the lead on this issue and help us understand this.

  • Dreamer

    Yeah i am surprised about that. In alumni they are number 4 (which is still shocking as i never met a Tuckie that did not love the place). The recruiting one is fishy ut even more fishy is ho Cornell is number 1 in intellectual capital, even above research powerhouses like harvard and Chicago

  • Megxi

    Hello John, thank you much for this article. Can you help shed some light on how to interpret these rankings?

  • Dreamer

    Tuck’s low score in recruiting does not make sense to me. Intellectual capital does because of the relatively small size of the place. Similar to Dartmouth College, is not really a research university like Chicago and Penn.

    Columbia’s low score in student satisfaction is due to the financial crisis and its location in NYC. most people choose Columbia for NYC finance opportunities so if those are gone not much else. It is hard to have a community in NYC.

  • Fred

    Where can we find details on Columbia’s revamped, coming B-School curric?

  • JoeT

    This might be correct as a general matter and according to the methodology. I would add that the rankings flip depending on sector, industry, etc. metrics. For instance, Ross has a great operations reputation. Chicago and Columbia have top shelf financial services reputation. Stanford, Tepper (maybe Fuqua) have great IT, tech reputations (Fuqua is probably more marketing).

  • Kip

    I can see why Tuck is his favorite school; it’s simply a great school that has the best of different worlds. It’s indeed a travesty to rank Tuck anything below the top 6 or 7. These rankings are, for a lack of a better word, outrageous.

  • BigGreen4Life

    Fuqua has actually gotten a lot better over the past few years. I personally think it deserves its ranking. Booth at 1 is a joke though. HBS, Stanford and Wharton are undoubtedly better.

  • Your rankings are pretty transparent. Based upon available data, this is probably the subset of the highest ranked schools (scores are the weighted rank):

    Harvard 1.7

    Stanford 2.7

    Chicago 3.0

    Wharton 4.0

    Kellogg 6.7

    Sloan 7.2

    Columbia 7.9

    Tuck 8.5

    Haas 9.9

    Duke 10.6

    Cornell 10.7

    Darden 10.7

    Ross 12.3

    Stern 13.5

    Yale 13.9

  • SV

    Mr. John Byrne’s favorite bschool school is Tuck! He is not going to be happy at all with this ranking. I agree with you, this doesn’t seem right. Same is true of the Economist’s rankings. There is more information about the methodology if you visit BWeek’s website.

  • Tuck below Fuqua, Johnson, Darden, Ross, and Tepper? Doesn’t seen right; yet, it is a poll of actual alumni. Is there any detail that goes along with the broad rankings?

  • John A. Byrne

    Yes, it is. We’ll publish within two weeks.

  • Roger

    Dartmouth’s and Hass’ rankings are not credible at all. Columbia has seen a 20% drop in applications, so I can somewhat understand the drop in rankings. I can live with the top 5. MIT should be higher. Anderson at 18 is way too low. Stern needs to be higher as well. Kelley is higher than it should be. Fuqua is a top 10 school, but not a number 6.These rankings are not credible. US News has the best methodology and the most credible rankings.

  • Guest

    Is this the last 2012 Ranking needed before P&Q recalculates its Top 100?