2013 The Economist’s MBA Ranking

Chicago's Booth School of Business

Chicago’s Booth School of Business

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business has topped the The Economist’s full-time MBA ranking for the second consecutive year. The new global ranking out today (Oct. 10) by the British magazine follows yesterday’s publication of Forbes’ biennial MBA ranking.

Dartmouth College’s Tuck School took second place again, while UC-Berkeley’s Haas School jumped into third from sixth place last year. Rounding out the top five were No. 4 University of Virginia Darden School and No. 5  IESE Business School in Spain, which rose four spots from ninth last year.

The big three–Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton–all suffered declines in the 12th MBA ranking published by The Economist (though the magazine incorrectly stated that it was the 11th survey). Harvard fell to sixth place from fourth. Stanford, declared the best business school in the U.S. by Forbes yesterday, slipped to ninth from eighth. And Wharton, which was ranked 13th in the world by The Economist last year, fell further behind–to 15th behind such schools as the University of Queensland in Australia, New York University’s Stern School, and HEC Paris.


Among the Top 25 schools providing the biggest boost in salaries are HEC Paris, which graduating MBAs saw their pre-MBA salary jump 149% to $123,964, IESE Business School, where pay rose 153% to $117,260, Hong Kong University, where pay jumped 154% to $94,371, and York University, where starting MBA salaries were 157% higher to $89,200, according to The Economist.

Only MBAs from two U.S. schools in the Top 25 delivered increases above 100% of pre-MBA pay: Emory University’s Goizueta School, where starting MBA salaries of $103,453 this year were 103% above pre-MBA pay, and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School, where starting MBA pay was 114% higher at $107,700.

 The Economist, however, may have made some errors in its calculations. According to the magazine, graduating Wharton MBAs experienced only a 21% increase over their pre-MBA salaries. Given the $120,702 average starting salary at Wharton, that is just not possible. It would mean that MBAs at Wharton quit jobs that already paid them an average above $90,000 a year to attend the school’s MBA program. Only yesterday, Forbes pegged the pre-MBA salary of a Wharton student at $80K.


Eight of the top ten spots on this year’s list belong to American universities. North America and Europe accounted for most of the schools in the top 25. The highest placed school from outside North America or Europe is the University of Queensland, which is ranked 14th. The University of Hong Kong tops the list of Asian schools, climbing from the 41st spot in 2012, to 24th in this year’s ranking.

The Economist’s methodology arguably produces the most peculiar results of the five most influential rankings of business schools. It takes into account new career opportunities (35%); personal development/educational experience (35%); increasing salary (20%); and the potential to network (10%). The figures are a mixture of hard data and the subjective marks given by the school’s students who are surveyed by the magazine.

Measuring MBA programs on those dimensions should insure that Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and London Business School do well. Yet surprisingly, year after year they tend to lag in The Economist ranking. In fact, Harvard, Stanford and Wharton have never topped this ranking even though it has been published every year since 2002. London Business School, ranked by Forbes yesterday as having the best two-year MBA program outside the U.S., was ranked 11th in the world this year by The Economist. Yale University’s School of Management, ranked 26th last year by The Economist, again failed to make the magazine’s top 25 list. It slipped to 28th place.


A further complication is that even among the top 25 schools this year, there are some massive–and unexplained–jumps in the rankings. For example, the University of Queensland rose 13 places in a single year to gain its 14th place finish. The University of Hong Kong jumped 17 spots to get to a rank of 24 on the list. On the other hand, IE Business School in Spain plunged 28 places to finish 50th from a rank of 22 only a year ago, and Hult International Business School also fell 28 positions to finish 59th (See The Topsy-Turvy Economist Ranking).

Columbia Business School and MIT Sloan both slid five places to rank 10th and 12th, respectively. York University’s Schulich School in Canada fell six spots to finish 22nd from 16th last year. Among the gainers were UCLA’s Anderson School, up five places to 18th, and New York University’s Stern School, up four spots to eighth.

  • kellogg

    There are too many indians applying to American schools, I do agree. This is taking spots away from worth Americans. We never take care of our own. And yes, I know about the Diversity of thought.. but not when 85% of your graduates are Indian

  • Equivocation

    So,you are blaming your MBA for being unemployed for 6 years???

  • Lefty

    And, I think that if Orange’s case were the case that it might be true. Would you rather have the Harvard MBA? Of course. But, it depends what you want to do with it.

  • Lefty

    It’s such a surprise that an East Coast MBA student is arrogant and doesn’t consider other people’s opinions. Maybe that’s why people would rather go to Booth.

  • Disappointed with IESE

    Folks who wish to work in the United States in their careers should NOT attend IESE Business School. IESE is not recognized as a prestigious or rigorous program by US companies located in the US. I graduated from IESE and was unemployed for basically six years, and it sucked, hard. Very few business people had even heard of IESE, and those who did know of the program wondered why I had not gone to LBS rather than some school in Spain. The most humiliating interactions when people thought I had gone to an “internet school” like Phoenix.

    The leadership at IESE tout their close relationship with Harvard. I have since been to Harvard and a close IESE-Harvard relationship is simply not true in any significant context. I realized that the professors and admissions people name dropped Harvard without any real connection or influence. At the Harvard Business School PhD program, for example, there is one current IESE MBA graduate in the program and she gained admission only because Pankaj Ghemawat – an expensive hire IESE made in 2007 – personally recommended her to the PhD program. Anecdotally, I have asked professors, students, and administration workers at Harvard if they have ever heard of IESE – I asked this specifically because IESE personal emphasized their Harvard connection so heavily during my MBA studies – and I found about a 1% name recognition.

    One other bad result of the IESE emphasis of a close relationship with Harvard is that any professor who teaches at IESE who has in fact a Harvard degree is untouchable. While I was actually at Harvard, two professors were fired out of ten that I had as they received low student ratings. IESE needs these Harvard professors to improve their name, and on the whole, these professors are worse than the mostly UCLA trained professors that populate the school. One particular professor who was trained at MIT, Harvard’s technical cousin in Boston, had the most arrogance that I have ever encountered in another human being. Rather than being demoted or fired, he has consistently been promoted since my MBA. He was not a good teacher – and teaching students is a necessity at a top MBA program. The point is, there is a certain class of people who are untouchable at IESE, and this makes for a weaker program. In IESE’s defense, many institutions have this weakness.

    If you are not religious and wish to work in Latin America for your career, and never wish to work in the United States, IESE might be a reasonable choice. By the way, the New York Center on 57th street is meant to be a marketing tool for Spanish companies that IESE has a prestigious New York address. The Spanish companies then in theory spend $12,000 per week to have their managers go to executive training program in New York. This is all fine, but I must emphasize again, IESE has no significant presence nor recognition in the United States.

    There is a more sinister aspect to IESE that only affected two people in my class that I know of – and I was one of these people.

    If you are religious, I recommend you stay far away from IESE and the 40% of professors who are Opus Dei. There is no “sense of privacy” at IESE like many Western students might normally expect. I am not claiming that IESE monitors students’ email or any other NSA type behavior, yet I experienced a continuous, systematic, organized, and strong attempt to recruit me to the Opus Dei movement. It was as if several professors were in on this effort together, and when I turned them down for the final time shortly before my graduation, I was completely cut off from the resources of the school.

    Was it Mark Twain who said we see events with more clarity the farther away we are from them? I realized later that early on in my MBA studies one of the professors had noticed that I would sit silently before lunch just outside the campus chapel – this was one of the few quiet places on the cramped campus and I used this time and place to meditate on my own thoughts. Specifically, several professors and a few other people at the school, one of whom is my best guess for the replacement for dean for Jordi Canals in a few years, took a systematic effort to “love bomb” me, and otherwise use manipulative techniques that are now widely spread on the internet vis-a-vis Opus Dei recruiting practices.

    Interestingly, due to my past training I was familiar with the manipulate techniques. I rejected to take the steps to join Opus Dei, and when I needed help in the following years I was completely cut off from the IESE community. There is no way to prove a particular intention, but until I sent a nastygram to the dean, IESE did not send my transcripts to Harvard. In other words, due to my suffering and not finding a decent job, I was able to see with utmost clarity that these professors had never really “loved” me or even were in any way my “friend”. When I needed help they turned their backs, completely, finally, and even brutally.

    OK, so no one should go to a MBA program and expect “love.” Who would think differently at Booth or Wharton. I am telling you that IESE is worse. In my experience they only respect power, and they use religion as a tool to trick the gullible. I imagined Jesus running through the classrooms turning over the desks and whipping the greedy Opus Dei members.

    Yes, I really imagined this in my fantasies. Some years later I told a priest, if I wanted to pursue the love of money at all costs, I would have gone to a pagan school, not a Catholic one with Jesus and Mary statues in every room.

    I need to also make a note that it might have been my expectations that were off. For example, Harvard still is a “Puritan Institution” but the puritans of 1630 Boston would only find the hard work ethic consistent. Likewise, IESE might be “Catholic” only in a historical sense. Yet, if that was the case, why did Opus Dei try so hard to recruit me?

    I want to emphasize that I only witnessed this recruiting effort practiced on one other student during my MBA. There were several gay classmates who had no problem fitting in to the classroom experience, many quite liberal people, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, and other diverse students who were not targeted by Opus Dei. Nor were these people harassed in any way that I could tell.

    Looking back with the clarity of time, I feel that the Opus Dei professors and administrators miscalculated my reasons for sitting outside the chapel every day. It was an unusual action for me to take, and just as I perceived IESE as a faithful Catholic institution, they may have thought that I was weak, vulnerable, or perhaps especially pious, and that their interpretation of my state of mind meant that I was susceptible to the recruitment efforts. The whole experience was quite distasteful.

    Speaking of faith, there is a crucified Jesus and Virgin Mary statue or painting in every room. Again, IESE was tolerant of all faiths and of those with none at all. However, I was offended when IESE openly taught about using peoples’ religion against them – to gain business contacts, or other business interests. This cynicism that the professors displayed was stomach churning. In one example, I sat in my chair crooked so that I could stare at Jesus’ suffering face while he suffered on the statue cross while listening to the finance professor tell us to make sure that all of our customers were up their necks in debt. Another speaker told us the advantages and disadvantages of certain religious traditions regarding making business contacts. I asked, “which religion should I then join?”

    It all disgusted me.

    IESE, the admission committee, and the Opus Die leadership would say, if they were to comment on my article, firstly that I am lying and probably mentally ill – Opus Dei tends to focus on the ad homonym attack first to destroy credibility of an opposition piece of data, and furthermore that I was a wrong fit for their program.

    I would agree on the wrong fit idea. Specifically, any student who is a conservative Catholic or Christian, or any monotheistic religious student who “Fears the Lord” should stay far away from IESE. There is a risk of learning the cynicism of Opus Dei – using religious terminology and practice for the purpose of avarice. This is surely a path to the darkest circles of hell.

  • Robert

    *and a troll.

  • Robert

    You are an idiot and troll. Get lost!

  • HBSaspirant

    Haas is better than Harvard – In your filthy dreams dumb guy!