Poets&Quants’ Top 100 U.S. MBA Programs Of 2013

by John A. Byrne on

Harvard

This year’s Poets&Quants ranking of the best full-time MBA programs in the U.S. proves that the best business schools tend to stay put: There is not a single difference between the top eight MBA programs in our new 2013 composite ranking and the top eight in 2012. What’s more, all top 10 schools remained firmly in the top 10 this year.

The steadiest institution is still Harvard Business School, which took the very first spot for the fourth year in a row. Despite less-than-flattering publicity generated by a New York Times’ front page story on gender inequality at Harvard, an MBA from the school remains the quintessential credential in business. No rival beats Harvard in the formidable resources it brings to the game: the outsized number of superstar professors, the diversity of its course offerings, the stellar quality of its students, the size and scope of its campus, and the career achievements of its alumni spread all over the world.

This year’s entering class at Harvard, moreover, is one of the most impressive ever. Drawing from an applicant pool that was up 3.9% last year to 9,315 hopefuls, Harvard welcomed just 941 incoming MBA students, with the highest percentage of women ever at 41% of the class. The median GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) score was a hefty 720, while the average undergraduate grade point average for the newest crop of MBA students was an impressive 3.67.

IT’S A WIN-BY-A-NOSE FINISH FOR THE TOP FOUR BUSINESS SCHOOLS

Yet, it’s worth noting that the underlying index scores in our composite ranking–which annually weighs the five most influential MBA rankings ranging from BusinessWeek to U.S. News & World Report–are especially close. The scores of No. 1 Harvard, No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Chicago, and No. 4 University of Pennsylvania are fractions away from each other; a mere 0.35 separates No. 1 Harvard and its perennial West Coast rival No. 2 Stanford.

This is also the fourth time in a row that Chicago has ranked ahead of Wharton on the Poets&Quants list, giving slightly more credence to the view that it is no longer H/S/W at the top, but rather H/S/C. Wharton was the only Top 10 school that saw a decline in applications for the Class of 2015. It’s applicant pool shrunk by 5.8% this past year, while Chicago Booth reported the biggest percentage boost in applications of any Top 10 school–a healthy 9.9% that actually made Chicago slightly more selective than Wharton for the first time.

The immovable top eight differ in many ways—size, region, culture, and so on. But the schools do have one feature in common: They’re all private, pricey, highly prestigious institutions with powerful global brands.

This is business school, after all.

RELATIVELY MINOR SHIFTS AMONG THE TOP 20 MBA PROGRAMS

In a separate ranking of the best schools outside the U.S., London Business School again topped our list, followed by INSEAD. IMD took third place, moving up from fifth last year.  Two business schools based in Spain rounded out the top five, with the University of Navarra’s IESE Business School in Barcelona fourth, while IE Business School in Madrid was fifth (See Top 50 Non-U.S. MBA Programs of 2013).

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  • bob

    H/S/B

  • Chris

    Hi John,

    I believe there might be an error concerning the index values of Cornell and Ross.

  • euromba

    Hey John….big fan of your site for the last one year since I discovered it.

    U mentioned in an older article that you’d do a smackdown between Oxford Said and Cambridge Judge. Can we expect that any time soon?

  • Matt

    Yep I see that too, either there is an error or they just need to be switched.

    Lighter note – thanks so much John for putting this together!

  • Matt

    John, are you going to be updated the individual profile pages for each school? I am looking at UNC specifically and there are 2011 & 2012 pages floating around, but no 2013 version that I can see. Thanks!

  • interesting

    How come Johnson’s index is 90.8 below Ross but ranked higher?

  • JohnAByrne

    Yes, we’re updating every profile this week.

  • JohnAByrne

    Thanks for the catch. It was a typo in the table that is now corrected.

  • JohnAByrne

    It was a typo in the table that has since been corrected. Thanks for bringing my attention to it.

  • JohnAByrne

    Yes. We will.

  • Matt

    Great, thanks so much.

  • Orange1

    I don’t know. Did a weighted average using only BW, USN, & FT and came up very similiar to P&Q (personally consider Forbes and Economist not as valid). Consider this close to where people would choose the schools if offered admisssion to more than one. My conclusions:
    Tier 1 – H/S/W/Chicago (W & Chicago fighting for the 3rd spot but both awesome)
    Tier 2 – 5-9 on this list (1-9 are locks with a bunch of schools fighting for #10 or “top 15 sometimes top 10″ institutions)
    Tier 3 – 10-17 on this list (interchangeable with no great difference in students, teaching quality, or opportunity. All look good on a resume.)
    I think of UNC, Texas & Emory as more regional.

    1 Stanford University 1.8
    2 Harvard University 2.0 (0.3)
    3 University of Chicago (Booth) 3.3 (1.3)
    4 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 3.8 (0.5)
    5 Northwestern University (Kellogg) 5.5 (1.8)
    6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) 7.5 (2.0)
    7 University of California–Berkeley (Haas) 8.3 (0.8)
    8 Dartmouth College (Tuck) 9.0 (0.8)
    9 Columbia University 9.3 (0.3)
    10 Duke University (Fuqua) 10.3 (1.0)
    11 Cornell University (Johnson) 11.5 (1.3)
    12 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross) 11.8 (0.3)
    13 University of Virginia (Darden) 13.3 (1.5)
    13 New York University (Stern) 14.8 (1.5)
    15 Yale University 15.3 (0.5)
    16 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) 15.3 –
    17 University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson) 16.3 (1.0)
    18 University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler) 17.3 (1.0)
    19 University of Texas–Austin (McCombs) 19.8 (2.5)
    20 Emory University (Goizueta) 21.8 (2.0)

  • Paul

    What is your reason for excluding Forbes ranking? Isn’t Forbes ranking based purely on ROI? Returns are a big factor why many choose a MBA program. I mean sure there are other factors such as making a bigger difference or impact, take on leadership roles…etc. But most MBA applicants/graduates look for a positive return for leaving their job, 2 years of their time and 200K.

  • euromba

    awesome…look forward to it! Keep up the great work with P&Q!!

  • Ryan S.

    Hult was ranked by the Financial Times, but it’s not indicated on the chart…. Not that any one cares about Hult but… yeah… It seems a few numbers/figures were miscalculated/missing.

  • EuroMBA

    John, what about non US schools? when will you be releasing it?

  • Jimmy

    UCLA Anderson only program of the Top 15 to win 3 ranks this year, yeay !!

  • Orange1

    Because it is totally dependent on what graduates state and where/what the students are doing before business school. The HSWB group is always going to do well no matter where the student lived before but those schools are the outliers. Look in my Tier 2 & 3. Does anyone really believe MIT is not a top 10 school? Probably a lot of their students live in expense areas at very good jobs before they went back to B-school. Virginia at 15? NYU at 23?

  • JohnAByrne

    Momentarily. Will publish within next hour or so.

  • John’s Father

    Stop it with your typos; pathetic man, pathetic.

  • John’s Father

    For 3 years you still rush to publish your articles and findings, as if they’re God Send— why can’t you afford to check for typos, spelling mistakes and other gross mistakes? PROOF READ JOHN!!

  • John’s Father

    Because John is a midget

  • John’s Father

    Faggot bastard, stop lying.

  • John’s Father

    Yes you will swallow

  • John’s Father

    John frequently publishes gay stuff

  • John’s Father

    John is a faggot

  • John’s Father

    Johhny has a smallpenis

  • John’s Father

    LOL

  • Curious

    John, what’s the range used when creating “stretch, peer and safety” comparisons for each school? Looked back to 2012 program descriptions and was curious how they were categorized.

  • John’s Father

    John why’re you so gay

  • John’s Father

    Why do you have a problem with admitting to your typos and why did you delete previous messages?

  • John’s Father

    Why do you have a problem with admitting to your typos and the fact you don’t proofread, even though as your father I have asked you to spellcheck and proof read multiple times; why did you delete previous messages from your father?

  • Mark Twain

    Poets and Quants appears to construct a narrative in lots of it’s articles that it’s HS and not HSW. Not sure why John goes to such length to promote this narrative; given the spread of blogs and internets, sometimes the narrative can start to drive reality. I like some of the work John does, but he creates these storylines mostly for reader effect. “also the fourth time in a row that Chicago has ranked ahead of Wharton on the Poets&Quants list, giving slightly more credence to the view that it is no longer H/S/W at the top, but rather H/S/C”. How does that lend credence to that it’s no longer HSW? If anything, wouldn’t this imply that nothing has changed in the past four years? The Poets and Quants ranking is silly – take a bunch of silly rankings and average them together and somehow create a better one. I’m sorry but this isn’t like Nate Silver at NYT. And then to throw in a fact of ONE YEAR of app declines at Wharton relative to other schools. Certainly interesting, but ONE YEAR! If I remember correctly Wharton’s didn’t fall nearly as much a Columbia’s after the crises. There is also the Poets and Quants article about how W is now focused more on GMAT and data with NO evidence to support it, but a few consultants whose clients didn’t get an interview! First there was an article on W’s GMAT going up and Poet’s and Quants claimed that W was more focused on GMAT and not holistic. THEN Stanford’s median GMAT came out even HIGHER than W’s! Why didn’t John say after this S is now more focused on GMAT and not holistic? Most people I know would choose W over B; I certainly have a biased sample based on personal experience, but I don’t buy that brands change that much over the course of a few years with years of entrenched alumni from these schools. The people who write these stories are doing so to create readership and excitement when there isn’t that much to report on

  • YouPickIt

    Put it this way. The idea is that combining flawed rankings removes the flaws on an overall basis. What would your boss say if you took three flawed data points and said that adding them together and then weighing them would produce a valid result?

  • Booth=joke

    *H>S>W>>>>>>>>B

  • Ryan S.

    How much longer?

  • International_Applicant

    Can Fuqua leapfrog CBS, Tuck and Kellogg in the coming decades?

  • AIG_Quant

    Where is Duke Fuqua getting all this momentum from? Wasn’t long ago it was considered a top 15 school now its a pretty solid top 10.

  • Michael

    Seems this is
    H – S > Chicago – Wharton > Kellogg > MIT-Columbia-Tuck > Duke-Darden >UCLA-Kelley > the rest…

  • Ryan S.

    Sometimes I wonder how people that type like this could even get into B-School.

  • AS

    My opinion is
    Top: H-S
    Great: Chicago-W-K-MIT-Col
    Very Good: Tuck-Berkeley-Duke-Darden-Yale-UCLA-other top 15

    I think Harvard and Stanford are in their own league and all the other schools have their strong areas and weak areas. All Great schools are also pretty much all in the ~20% selection rate. Location also plays a huge factor.

  • Jimmy

    Because I support an institution? Try to go out a bit and be open-minded sir. And yeah I did get into a Business School and I would even say to a pretty decent one! Have a good day!

  • Orange1

    Just another comment. Of course only a dummy would go to business school and not expect a positive ROI. But look at the Forbes list. If #7 Columbia has a 5 year gain of $70K and NYU at #23 is at about $59K, we are talking about an $11K difference over 16 places! Isn’t that splitting hairs? I agree with the concept but there is so little difference between the major schools outside 1-4, including payback period, that this ranking doesn’t really tell us anything.

  • JohnAByrne

    As you know, there is no such thing as a “perfect ranking.” And if you read P&Q, you’ll see fairly rigorous critiques of each of the major rankings and several of the minor ones. The point here is simple: To the extent that the five most influential rankings do impact reputation and image, each one tells us something worthwhile about the business education market. Our composite ranking takes that information into account but also helps to dampen the anomalies that inevitably occur in any one ranking.

  • The Truth Is Out There

    Good post. I would throw Tuck into the Great mix along with Berkeley. In the very good, drop in NYU Stern and Michigan Ross with maybe Carnegie Mellon and Texas.

  • DJ

    Probably because banking sector had a lull and Stanford is shoring up grip on the Valley (Haas). NYU, Tuck, etc was good for NYC banking. Ross is a fixture in logistics, but that area seems to be going to consultants.

  • guest

    sorry, that’s highly unlikely… mba ranking history says that it is extremely tough to break into M7… none of the M7 schools have done it in the past…

  • guest

    sorry for the confusion. i meant none of the non m7 schools have done it in the past.

  • Paul

    These rankings influence a lot of the readers out there as well as potential employers. Public perception is important and evidences have shown that when these rankings reveal weaknesses and issues of business schools, their deans do try to address the issues and try to improve. Overall, these rankings have had positive effects on MBA programs. They’re not perfect because not everything about a business school can be quantitatively measured.

    With that being said, applicants, school admins and employers care about the rankings. P&Q ranking shows how a school is doing across all rankings (applying different weight based on how trustworthy each publications are). It is 4th straight time Booth is doing better than Wharton in terms of overall rankings from these publishers. These results will influence Wharton and its administration, as well as employers who are constantly looking for most qualified students.

    If you browse around the GmatClub forum, there are plenty who chose Booth over Wharton. I remember someone who turned down Wharton to delay a year to apply to Haas due to fit. Wharton is still an amazing school, but to stay on top sometimes amazing is not enough just like how an amazing applicant can get rejected by a top school.

  • Paul

    Believe it or not, not all MBA programs generate a positive return. There are tons of press out there discussing this issue. So this ranking is important to applicants. Sometimes we don’t appreciate it because top programs often results in positive ROI. It’s only when these programs are not worth it we cry for someone to research ROI. Also, I don’t know about you, but $11,000 is not a small amount. You can almost buy a car with that :)

    Now, is the Forbes ranking perfect? absolutely not! No ranking is without controversy. But it’s soooo bad that Forbes ranking is not even discussion anymore. Let’s face it, people care about the rankings especially from a renowned magazine such as Forbes which is read by not just the average joes like me but by CEOs and top executives.

    If you persist to exclude it, it is your opinion and I respect your opinion. I just simply asked why you did it and you answered my question so thank you for that!

  • AS

    Agreed. In my opinion,

    Top: H/S. At this level, an admitted student would generally only choose either H or S. Not any other schools. Both schools are incredible, and extremely selective.

    Great: Chicago, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Tuck, Berkeley.

    At this level, an admitted student is likely to choose whatever school fits him/her the best, based on his/hers experience, industry, location preference, etc. Not necessarily on rankings. example 1: student wants to have more tech experience will choose MIT/Berkeley over Wharton/Chicago. example 2: student wants to be in New York but not mid-west will choose Columbia over Kellogg. Schools at this level are also within the ~20% selection rate. Berkeley I think has a much smaller class/lower acceptance rate.

    Very Good: NYU, Ross, Duke, Darden, Yale, UCLA, other top 15 schools that I missed.

    Schools in this level generally are a little bit more ‘regional’ than the Great schools. They are still very, very good schools! And will open doors for you if you have the right resume.

    I was fortunate enough to have been admitted by 2 Great schools and rejected by H and S.

  • AS

    Also, I think scholarship will play a role among schools within the same category. So you’ll see a lot of questions like ” got $$ from Columbia but $ from Wharton, where should I go?”, but very rarely see ” got $$$ from Wharton but nothing from Harvard, where should I go?”

  • Albert

    In my experience talking to recent admits, I would agree except that now it should be: S > H > W >> B. Shocking that Stanford is so much more preferred than Harvard now for elite candidates. Wharton also still trumps Booth.

  • AS

    good post, Paul!

  • John’s Father

    Douche

  • John’s Father

    John is a midget faggot who doesnt know how to spell

  • H/S/B=W

    I am not sure why some people are so afraid of Chicago Booth excelling in the rankings for the 4th year in a row. The numbers speak for themselves but it’s not like there is a huge gap between Chicago and Wharton. There are way more similarities than there are differences. I met plenty of Chicago Booth students who chose Booth over Wharton and I met plenty of Wharton students who did the opposite. It all came down to fit and location.

    I have done over 10 informationals with either school and was impressed with the caliber of the candidates. Chicago Booth students were incredibly humble without attitude, and none of the students at either program really cared where Booth or Wharton got ranked that year on P&Q or BW or USN. They had way more important things to care about, like landing a great internship or making long lasting connections at school. The truth is, most of the people who are being rude, bitter and obnoxious on forums have never been enrolled in either program and, probably, will never be, obsessing over some imaginary status symbol that a top MBA program would give them. I went to a closed PE reception a few months ago (open to alums of HSWBK) and grads from both schools were present, roasting each other in a light, humorous way.

    I do not want to debate why Chicago Booth has a superior model over Wharton, I am a big fan of the program and I hope to see it perform well in the rankings and in student placements. The truth is, both Chicago and Wharton have its strong supporters who sincerely believe that the other program is “way better” or just “better” than the other. Embrace the change and welcome the competition. Cheers!

  • EmbraceB=W

    I am not sure why some people are so afraid of Chicago Booth excelling in the rankings for the 4th year in a row. The numbers speak for themselves but it’s not like there is a huge gap between Chicago and Wharton. There are way more similarities than there are differences. I met plenty of Chicago Booth students who chose Booth over Wharton and I met plenty of Wharton students who did the opposite. It all came down to fit and location.

    I have done over 10 informationals with either school and was impressed with the caliber of the candidates. Chicago Booth students were incredibly humble without attitude, and none of the students at either program really cared where Booth or Wharton got ranked that year on P&Q or BW or USN. They had way more important things to care about, like landing a great internship or making long lasting connections at school. The truth is, most of the people who are being rude, bitter and obnoxious on forums have never been enrolled in either program and, probably, will never be, obsessing over some imaginary status symbol that a top MBA program would give them. I went to a closed PE reception a few months ago (open to alums of HSWBK) and grads from both schools were present, roasting each other in a light, humorous way.

    I do not want to debate why Chicago Booth has a superior model over Wharton, I am a big fan of the program and I hope to see it perform well in the rankings and in student placements. The truth is, both Chicago and Wharton have its strong supporters who sincerely believe that the other program is “way better” or just “better” than the other. Embrace the change and welcome the competition. Cheers!

  • Bruce

    Hmm, not sure what data supports this. Pretty sure Wharton wins the cross admit battle versus the the other “great” schools in your list. Of course there are people who choose the others based on lots of reasons (fit, location, etc.), but by and large the applicant pool is stronger at Wharton versus your other great. The reason Wharton yield is similar to those others is there is huge applicant overlap between Wharton and Harvard and Wharton tends to lose that cross admit battle and it kills their yield. Lots of applicants only apply HSW. Also a lot only apply HS. Sandy Kreisberg who is on this board a lot has clients pay to get consulting advice to go to B school. He has stated he continues to see clients pay up to get an edge to get into HSW, less so the other schools. Your great list is way too wide and reflective of the view of someone who was admitted to two great schools not called Wharton.

  • EmbraceB=W

    I am an applicant to Chicago Booth and was wondering if anyone has heard about “The Circle” at Chicago Booth? Apparently there is a small group of students that is being selected each year through an informal application process. Any current Boothies can comment on that?

  • cups

    I heard this as well while visiting the school. My host wasn’t a member and didn’t seem to want to talk about it so I didn’t push it. Can anyone else fill in details?

  • Charlie

    I’m not sure that people disagreeing would necessarily mean that they’re scared, it might just mean they disagree! I personally completely disagree with you. I’m applying now but have a lot of friends at all these schools. These numbers don’t speak for themselves at all. There is probably one ranking which has historically most reflected the views of applicants and peers- US News. US News has Harvard and Stanford #1 and #2, then Wharton #3 and Booth at 6th. US News ranking hasn’t changed much for 20 years, similar to reality. Businessweek has a funky way of rating schools that puts Stanford at #4; are we really supposed to believe Stanford is #4? Businessweek is the ranking that has Booth at #1 along with Economist (which has Stanford at #10!). Now we’re going to add in a bunch of other rankings that are probably even more flawed and average them and say “Booth is excelling in rankings for 4 years”? I’m sure you found people that chose Booth over Wharton no doubt, but I have lots of friends who have gone and go to both and most of my Booth friends privately say that they would have chosen Wharton if they gotten in. And then they go and make posts similar to yours to make them feel better. Unscientific data for sure, but more scientific than the ranking of poop where “the numbers speak for themselves”. Yes the US News numbers do speak for themselves.

  • Meow

    Is it like Harvard’s Section X? I’m assuming hopefully less pretentious, since this is Booth?

  • EmbraceB=W

    Exactly. I have heard it is entirely merit and fit based. Sort of a social club or an unofficial fraternity.

  • meow

    how hard is it to get in?

  • EmbraceB=W

    I really hope you get in, Charlie! And I really hope you are not applying to Booth, I am a recent admit and I don’t want to see a disgruntled Wharton hopeful around.

    PS If you actually believe that MIT Sloan and Kellogg are better, more diversified or prestigious than Booth – you should definitely go to Wharton. They need that application boost after all :)

  • S

    Sorry, misread original post. Either way, not aware of anything of the sort that exists.

  • Orange1

    Paul, understand what you are saying but here is another point. When I look at Forbes, it makes no sense, no matter what they say about methodology. Most people would consider Michigan, Virginia, and NYU peer schools, yet they are ranked 10, 15, and 23, respectively. And if you look at there tuition it is almost the same and the gap between pre-MBA and 2012 are just about identical (in fact NYU is the highest at $102K.). So why the difference in rankings? Is it the cost of living in NYC? Ann Arbor and Charlottesvile aren’t exactly cheap. And if it is COL, how in the wrold does that affect the quality of a school.
    Just my opinion, always appreciate yours and everyone elses.

  • imfguy

    How are you a recent admit already?

  • AS

    I was in fact admitted by Wharton and Columbia. But I see your point.

  • John’s Father

    when douchebag?

  • Paul

    People just can’t accept the fact that the World is changing and evolving. What is the point of competition if these publications are bound to rank HSW at the top to have credibility? It is exactly these type of ignorance and arrogance that leads to downfall.

    You should make your own decisions based on your fit and why you think the school is best for you. Dont completely reply on your friends or rankings. Wharton’s yield is around 60% which means almost half of the admits did not choose Wharton. Not saying Booth is perfect either. It only shows that the competition is so fierce at the top which is a good thing because competition drives innovation and improvement.

    I don’t know what’s worse, completely blinded by traditional prestige or discredit four major publications in favor of USN.

  • Thomas Paine

    Not sure the world has changed that much. The reason people discredit four major publications is that they realize them for what they are – an attempt to gain readership and sell magazines. The rankings outside USN have been off for a long time and ebb and flow in favor/disfavor of different schools; this is nothing new. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Business Week used to have Kellogg #1. Kellogg wasn’t really gaining on Harvard, Wharton and Stanford in those years, but it was ahead in the Business Week ranking. That wasn’t a changing of the world; it was a changing in how Business Week ranked schools. Stanford used to be #10 in business week; was that a changing of the world away from Stanford? It’s an attempt to gain readership. It’s the same thing with other grad schools. Would it make sense that Yale Law would be #1 in one year and then drop to #4 in another year? Of course not. If there is a ranking that doesn’t have Yale Law at #1 then it would be wrong and wouldn’t have credibility; it wouldn’t be ignorant, arrogant and blinded by prestige to claim as such. It would actually be ignorant to believe the new magazine ranking. I’d find it ignorant to give any credibility to a Business Week ranking that had Kellogg #1 for years or the current ranking that has Booth #1 and Stanford #4 when almost 100% would choose Stanford over Booth, not the other way around. These schools have been around for decades with tens of thousands of established alumni working in industry. Blogs like Poets and Quants need to create readership as well and create these story lines. I’d be careful to read too much into these changes.

  • Paul

    Like I said again, you believe USN is the best one and i respect that opinion. P&Q actually weights USN more heavily than the Economist ranking due to this fact in its composite ranking. But in my opinion, one shouldn’t completely disregard the other four rankings. Forbes, BW, FT and the Economists have a large following including executives and many applicants. They do have a considerable influences, probably more than USN in many ways.

    Keep in mind, ranking MBA programs are very very subjective. Some believe the best MBA results in the best ROI (Forbes), some believe MBA programs should be ranked more heavily on the caliber of the incoming class (USN which place emphasis on GMAT/GPA), some believe MBA programs should be ranked based on opportunities created post MBA or the improvements the students have accomplished throughout the programs let alone people place different emphasis on the facility, faculty, location, school culture….etc USN has its method and Forbes has its own method. Some rankings are not as creditable based on the method of data collection and we understand that as readers. But the some facts don’t change: 1. Rankings are published. 2. These rankings are being read and have influences. The validation of the rankings are opinions and everyone’s entitled to their own.

    You’re right, most would not pick Wharton/Booth over H/S right now. But that alone should not warrant top places in ranking. Or else, what’s the point of looking at curriculum, campus life, fit, career outlook…etc. I like the fact that Harvard and Stanford are being challenged. We know schools such as Duke and Booth are improving, international schools such as LBS and INSEAD are making noises.

  • JohnAByrne

    This is a “rule of thumb” notion but one that can be helpful to applicants. Generally, your stretch schools should be the three to five schools that rank above your five peer schools. And your safety schools would be the three to five schools that rank below your peer schools. For example, if your peer school is UT-Austin, your safety schools would be Georgetown, Washington University, University of Washington, and Vanderbilt. You could, of course, reach lower. Your stretch schools would be Michigan, UVA, UCLA, NYU and Carnegie Mellon. “Stretch” and “safety” schools are relative terms so you could, of course, stretch higher and also choose schools that are really safe bets given their GMAT and GPA scores and acceptance rates.

  • EmbraceB=W

    Ranking is an objective way to measure “measurable” performance, alumni, student satisfaction etc Why is it so difficult to accept that Chicago Booth, Stanford, Wharton has been getting star rankings using some methodologies and loosing ground in others? What you are trying to comment on is a subjective personal preference – you like W over B, so be it. I personally do think that you would get a better educational experience at B over H/S but I also think that W educational value is > than H/S. Keep in mind that Stanford’s prestige increased dramatically after gaining significant alumni base in a hot new post-industrial (tech) economy in the 90s.

    I did not even apply to Stanford – I did apply to Chicago Booth, Wharton and HBS. Stanford’s educational proposition did not appeal to me – I am more interested in analytic finance and Booth offers the best platform for investment management. People have different goals in life, different priorities while at school. And yes, Chicago Booth has been executing well on its strategic initiatives and will continue to do so. The world is evolving and you should embrace change and welcome the competition. Or you can continue being stuck in the 90s, driving a Chevy Malibu and using that amazing Compaq PC to type bitter posts. Cheers.

  • Thomas Paine

    That’s where we disagree. Not sure these rankings have the influences you speak of. These stupid rankings have been going on for decades…always changing and mostly talked about just by applicants, not people in industry, while the real life rankings seldom change. Do you really think people who work in most corporations read the Economist or Forbes b school rankings? Or would take seriously Stanford being ranked #10 in Economist? Harvard and Stanford are not being challenged any more today than they were 20 to 30 years ago. Wharton isn’t any less #3 than it was 20 years ago. These other rankings haven’t had Harvard and Stanford as #1 and #2 for over 20 years! Nothing new here. Reality still hasn’t changed over that time period. You can talk all you want about campus life, curriculum, fit etc but it’s mainly different ways for schools to brand and sell themselves. The only thing that has changed is the number of rankings out there as more magazines start realizing it can help increase sales.

  • Paul

    The fact that applicants talk about it is showing influences. Alums who care about their schools do also care about the ranking but not to a certain degree as applicants do. School admins also care and Yale SOM is a prime example of school too focused on stats to try to climb the ranking.

    Sure, Harvard and Stanford are still the top dogs. But today, without a doubt, many applicants have a strong belief that they can be just as if not more successful than H/S graduates while attending a lesser M7 school or even a T16 school.

    The fact is we are discussing Wharton vs. Booth today is evidences that these rankings do have influences. Wharton is no longer dominating the cross admits with Booth/CBS/Kellogg it used back 10-20 years ago.

    Also, USN did not have Harvard as 1 or 2 for three years in a row from 94-96. In fact, MIT was ranked number 1 once ahead of H/S. If MIT could do it, why can’t Booth with a recent nobel prize winner, a 300 million dollar donation to build a brand new facility, and increasing global reputation.

  • nyc

    A colleague of mine that graduated from Chicago GSB in 2004 said that it didn’t exist while she was there. So I guess this is somewhat new? This sounds like something that would exist at a top bschool.

  • Dee

    Graduated from Booth in 2012: what an amazing two years and down-to-earth student body. Never once in my life heard of this Circle nonsense. I’d chalk it up to rumor.

  • Bill

    This x1000. It is just such an insult to everyone’s intelligence to keep putting Booth ahead of Wharton and in the conversation with H/S. Please, for the love of god, just look at what candidates actually do (cross-admit). Also look at the percentage of candidates getting the very most selective jobs post b-school (i.e. PE and hedge fund). Booth is not in the top 3 conversation. Period.

  • Bill

    Absolutely. This point needs to be shouted from the rooftops on this site. The Booth emperor has no clothes. It is a great school, but it is simply outclassed by Wharton. Cross-admit statistics please, or your ranking is fraudulent John.

  • Bill

    Charlie – Absolutely. Please do this site a service and re-post this every week when we have to read yet another junk-science ranking that pretends Booth is in the top 3 conversation. Wharton >>>> Booth. Period.

  • Bill

    Booth being #3 in your composite ranking is an anomaly John. It does not reflect reality. You need to go back and re-calibrate something in your “model”. Better yet, ask Sandy to compile the list based on his own clients’ preferences and cross-admit statistics.

  • Slap

    I am a current Boothie and yes, I can confirm that it exists. It’s a really small group – 30-40 people and they seem to be really tight. I have heard you can only get in in your first year and it has been a reference-only process so far but they might make a one-two exceptions a year. Make sure you find the right contacts once you get the call!

  • NewAge

    Did you mean Booth>Wharton?

    Nevermind, Billie is a little bitter. But yes, you are right – we should only use the ranking that confirms our personal agenda. That’s true science?

    I strongly recommend you take some critical reasoning classes. ASAP.

  • Parent

    Chicago is the most pretentious school in the country. Don’t apply to Booth if you don’t like being around pretentious people.

  • wi11iedigital

    I think there would be value (both for MBA’ers and P&Q) in developing this into a more robust tool. Perhaps throw in additional fields (region, class size, Avg GMAT, percent employed, salary data, etc. etc.), develop some additional ways of calculating core variables (5-year running ranking averages), and perhaps conduct a supplemental survey with P&Q-only inputs developed by you and Sandy. Given how much it’s in the news, how about student perception of inclusiveness, funding support, etc. How about provide users with the opportunity to apply custom weights to different input variables. For example, many international students weight the availability of financial support very highly. In short, why don’t you guys become the kings of the rankings game by pulling the valuable parts from all the existing models, adding your own mojo, and providing it in a meaningful format for applicants/alumni?

  • MBA_prospective

    Duke is a powerful brand. Could that be it? Also, I’ve noticed that Duke alums tend to be very loyal to the school. Furthermore, Fuqua was perennially in the top 7 according to US News before it increased its class size.

  • Techie

    That’s a big jump–and Berkeley fell a notch, interesting. Tech industry is hot and 25% of Anderson grads went there last year. Silicone beach is a nice destination too?

  • DukeYale

    Will you do one between Duke and Yale as well?

  • Trojan Man

    What happened to USC?! UCLA jumped 3 spots to 14 and USC is not even in the top 25? Suspect.

  • wi11iedigital

    Problems with ROI are obvious. One, returns are based as much on input as output. Two, there is no way to measure opportunity cost (what someone would have made without attending the school or when attending a different school). The classes at schools are so diverse and frankly non-meritocratic that it’s really difficult to look at just beginning–>ending salary and make any sort of conclusion.

    Consider three cases.

    1) The legacy admit in my program who came in with $30k salary and one year work experience at a fluff job who’s already secured a prized internship and is well on-pace to a $100k starting salary and a rocket under their butt per father’s influence.

    2) The international student who comes in with a $30k salary after moving up the ladder through steady hard work in his home country. Due to the difficulty in securing visas at many firms, he’ll have a smaller pool of employers and as he wants to stay in the US, a tendency to be less risky in his career pursuits. He accepts an $80k starting salary but with visa security, brings his wife over, and pursues the American dream.

    3) The non-profit manger who came in making $40K. She’s got a liberal arts background and frankly few transferable skills. She works hard in the program and builds up baseline competencies and learns how to parlay her managerial skills. She stays in the non-profit world, moving to a leadership role in a much larger org. and 100% job satisfaction, at $70k starting salary.

    Not only is it hard to estimate the purely monetary “what would have been” salaries if they had chosen to skip B-school, it’s REALLY hard to come up with a quantitative way of measuring the “changed my life” and achieved my goals part of the ROI, which I think is what a huge percentage of students are really looking for (and which B-schools market).

  • worthy

    USC is not ranked as a top 25 program across any of the publications included in the analysis. Nothing suspect about it.

  • Jimmy

    True. USC is clearly not in a good momentum when it comes to its Full-Time MBA program right now. I heard it is largely due to a lack of satisfaction from MBA students with their carreer services (which is a decisive argument when you talk about MBA’s). As far as I am concerned, I traveled from Paris to go on campus to have my interview last year and was finally not admitted but they did not take the time to just answer my email asking for feedbacks (not even to just let me know, they would not give me any). I really think it is not a good attitude revealing of a certain lack of implication of the whole MBA staff program.

  • EmbraceB=W

    Chicago is pretentious? Have you ever visited or spoken to current students? I had numerous touchpoints before applying – Chicago is the LEAST pretentious school with the most down-to earth student body. I am sorry if they made you feel inferior – I understand that meeting someone accomplished can be devastating for the ego.

  • Tone it down man

    Man, you have been all over the comments here raving about Booth. It’s pretty funny for someone to brag about a school being unpretentious and then tell someone else he is inferior. Icing on the cake is that you haven’t even been admitted to Chicago yet.

    tl;dr — You sound like a tool.

  • MBA-Go-For-It

    I think Duke and also Cornell Johnson to a slightly lesser degree, have both done a fantastic job of establishing themselves as schools that are legitimately +/- 10 to 15 ranked versus top 15 to 20. I think also that both serve as interesting reference points to a fantastic brand and school like Yale SOM that more than GPA and GMAT makes a business school propel forward in the rankings. Duke and Cornell’s averages are comparable with each other and both are below Yale SOM, but both are ranked in general higher despite this fact. Momentum, community, energy, and alumni/current student enthusiasm count and ultimately are valued by prospective candidates. Duke and Cornell have seen this…

  • newage

    I don’t think he called you inferior: he actually apologized “if” the accomplished students made you feel inferior. Besides, what’s up with the insults? “The most pretentious school”, “you sound like a tool” – it’s immature and silly and doesn’t belong to a serious discussion.

  • boothabovew

    Why so seriously angry? What kind of agenda are trying to promote – either 1. you went/ go to W and can’t take the fact that another school took the crown or 2. you did not get admitted.

    Enjoy Phoenix MBA! (not that there is anything wrong with taking classes online)

  • John’s Father

    johnny boy is a cocksucker

  • Wow

    I’m appalled by the immaturity and thoughtlessness demonstrated by many of the users below. This is something I would expect from the comments section of Fox News, not from an ostensibly high achieving group that is applying to my business school.

    Are you people sheep, or are you human beings capable of critical thinking? These rankings are about as objective as an NFL power rankings in a sports column. Who can definitively say that School A is “better” than School B when it comes down to splitting hairs among the best educational institutions in the world?

    You’ve heard “HSW, HSW, HSW” since you aspired to attend business school, and now you think that any deviation from that is the unadulterated gospel. Give me a break. You’re the ones who mention cross-admit offers as the “sole evidence” why one school is better than another. Seriously? So, does that imply that Coke is a superior product to Pepsi because more people prefer Coke? Does that mean that BMW is better than Benz because it achieved high global sales? Does that not create a self-fulfilling prophecy that no school will ever be able to break into the top tier if “cross-admit yield” was the primary differentiating factor that separates the schools?

    When somebody chooses to attend a business school, does she think: “well, golly, more people I know have chosen School B, so it must mean that School B is superior”, or does she take into account factors that actually matter – such as the methodology of instruction, the cultural fit, and the ROI for her desired industry/function?

    Another person mentioned placement in Private Equity as evidence that one school is better than another. Seriously? Is this a joke? Because I’m fairly certain that 90% of the student body at my school are not interested in Private Equity; in addition, to break into Private Equity, they usually require you to have a strong finance background. Should schools start recruiting classes that are 50% I-Bankers who want to work PE to fit your definition of what constitutes a strong program?

    Please learn to read between the lines, analyze data, and form your own conclusions; or else you will fail miserably at business school.

    – Author is a student at a M7, Top 3, Top 5, whatever-you-wanna-call-it business school.

  • Hmm

    While I generally agree with your opinion, I disagree with your analogies and I definitely disagree with your delivery. Notwithstanding, you made a few strong points that should be considered when deciding “what school is best.”

  • Paul

    I’d tend to agree with Bill here as well. Sandy Kreisberg who has been in this business a long tell tells people to look to US News rankings to get a sense for where schools are generally perceived by applicants. He didn’t go to any business school to have a personal agenda; he actually worked at MIT, so you’d think he’d have a bias towards favoring them. He’s also mentioned many times he sees the most interest for clients willing to pay to get into HSW. I don’t think people pointing out that the other rankings appear flawed is necessarily reflecting a personal agenda. This view seems to reflect what a lot of unbiased people have pointed out as well.

  • Orange1

    Private equity? Oh no! I thought the number of people who go to McKinsey, Boston Consulting, and Bain is the TRUE MEASURE of all business schools. HSW? Funny, when I was growing up, my father always mentioned Harvard/Stanford/Chicago is the best.
    And thank you @Wow for the NFL analogy. I follow college football and there is more trash talking on this site than some of the sports ones. Personally believe that anyone in the top 15 or 17/18 should be proud of getting into the school. These schools have low acceptance rates and the application pool is narrower than the one for undergrad.
    Also, just because a school is better in the rankings does not mean it is better for a particular INDIVIDUAL. I was looking at Cornell because having lived in large US cities my entire life, wanted a change of pace. And thought that being in a smaller town would be more of a bonding experience with classmates. I didn’t care if a peer school was a place or two up on the rankings vs. them – I was interested in a particular atmosphere. It’s like someone arguing Tuck vs. Columbia – polar opposites in terms of location.
    Appreciate the wisdom.

  • John

    You’re proving the above poster’s point with your ego-driven response.

  • Matt

    Orange1, generally I have agreed with your posts on this page, but I do want to make one point.

    In your other post you make the cutoff at top 17, why? You said UNC, Texas, and Emory are “more regional.” What brings you to this conclusion? Is it recruiting or some other factor?

    In this post above you say, “anyone in the top 15 or 17/18 should be proud of getting into the school.” Well as a UNC student (#18) I am just going to consider myself outside of this list, and so I don’t very much appreciate the implication that I should not be proud of my placement.

    I get the idea that the line has to be drawn somewhere, and I have definitely noticed that people usually draw the line at the level of their own school (so Harvards say top 2, Booths say top 5, Dardens say top 15, UNCs say top 20, and on down the line). It is also true that if you are looking at MBB recruiting or some factor like that, there is indeed a cutoff in the upper echelons.

    But there are a lot of reasons people go to business school, and there are a lot of great schools that can fit the various needs that people have. I work with MBAs from Kellogg, Duke, Darden, Indiana, and Maryland (among others more broadly) and I wouldn’t say any school’s graduates stand out more than any other.

    I guess I am just saying, be careful at drawing these hard lines in the sand. I am very proud to be a Kenan-Flagler MBA candidate, and I am sure there must be other people on here from other schools outside the top ~ 15 who feel the same way. :)

  • booth2013

    The Circle is nothing like section X. Section X is for people who were successful because mom and dad is rich. The Circle only selects smarter people who will be examples to follow by fellow students. Booth is the MBA with the highest IQ people, The Circle is simply a gathering of the smarters among the smartests, and a way to ensure that Booth doesn’t miss its own unique culture.

  • admissionsecret

    I heard that some admission consultants such as HBSGURU will put you in touch with members of The Circle. Did you know that more than half of The Circle’s members were clients of admission expert Sandy Kreisberg!

  • justastudent

    I go to Booth and got into Wharton and chose Booth because of location. I did not get into HBS but would have chosen HBS over Booth and Wharton. I can repeat this over and over and over but A LOT of my classmates chose Booth over Wharton and a lot of my friends chose Wharton over Booth. The cross-admit statistics are getting closer and closer between W and B and I would argue that with Booth’s current momentum and Wharton’s problems, it will favor Booth soon enough. I think a big different between Wharton and Booth is that a lot of Americans at Wharton are more east coast/prep school kids while most people Americans at Booth are west coast/midwest kids. That makes a big difference in culture. Booth students are very humble and hard working but Wharton students seem to be more put together, dress nicer, be better smooth talkers, etc…

  • FStratford

    Is it not the 4th or 5th year that W’s applicants have declined while B’s applicants have increased for the past 15 years? This switch in ranking has been a long time coming. Its nothing new. B kept rising for the past 15 years and W kept it at bay in the past by being stable. HOWEVER this past 5 years has not been kind to W. They bungled their career services, then they bungled their admissions office. Its just one big mess after another. W can still keep B at bay (or regain its spot) but if W continues its applications decline and stumble into another horrible mistake, then it wont be staring at B’s behind…. it will find itself jostling with Columbia at the bottom of the M7. It would still be a good school but it wont be the same. I give it 2 years to go big, or go home.

  • FStratford

    Except that….. USN is biased for MIT. Its the only ranking that consistently puts it in the top 5. So yes, Sandy’s link to MIT could be seen as infecting his opinion about USN.

  • Polarized

    Yet, there are some people dare to compare Yale with Duke!

  • Orange1

    Matt, total apology for drawing a line at 17 or 18. I was just trying to say that while some people are battling over who is 2 or 3, there are plenty of students at schools ranked lower who accomplished a lot and should be recognized for getting admitted and finishing the coursework. The 17 or 18 was a “quick number” I dropped in. Check any of my posts and I have never dissed a school. Like you, I work with MBAs from various schools (Harvard down to way lower in the rankings) and there is no way you can spot the difference in performance from meetings, projects, etc. I have seen super people from Indiana, University at Buffalo, and Wake Forest who can deliver as well as anybody. Not everyone has the background to get into a top 5, but it doesn’t mean they don’t excel in the workforce and shouldnn’t appreciate what the school provided wherever they went.
    Why do I look at UNC, Texas, or Emory as more regional? Maybe its me, and regrets again if that is not the case, but while they are solid programs, it seems they attract students from that particular geography who generally remain there vs. other schools where more people come from a wider area. For example, I spend time in Chicago and will bump into UVA and Columbia graduates, but not as many from Texas – sure some are up there but not as prevelant. Could be wrong on this perception…..

  • Matt

    I’m not suggesting you are wrong, was just interested in hearing your reasoning. Thanks for sharing and I appreciate the thoughtful response!

  • Matt

    I’m not suggesting you are wrong, was just interested in hearing your opinion. Thanks for sharing and I appreciate the thoughtful response!

  • Dean

    You seem just as bitter as the other posters. I wouldn’t take people’s posts so seriously; they’re just venting their opinions. Business school is a unique graduate degree in which a lot of its value is derived from the perception of other people in business. It’s more of a branding exercise as the educational value can be learned in picking up a few books from the bookstore (or Amazon). I think the reason people would reference Private Equity is that this does tend to be one of the more difficult fields to break into where prestige and brand means a lot to getting in. No offense, but the reason people at your school likely aren’t as interested in private equity is because they already know they’re unlikely to break into it or haven’t been exposed to it, so no reason to think about it. Demand for private equity is way down, but still when that option is presented (less hours and more pay which is often the case in private equity) a lot of people jump at it. In the business school world, if people thought Coke was a better product than Pepsi, it would in a way make it better because of that perceived value. Perception in many ways is reality:) Are all the paintings worth millions better painted than the unknowns? As in any product, the more people want it, the more it’s worth. For some products, just because people want it doesn’t make it actually better. However in the case of business school where brand is actually part of what you’re buying, it does make a big difference. Of course these are all great institutions but if you’re going to say why argue about the reputation of great places, then why not say perception and brand doesn’t matter at all and why not go to any top 100 b school? If a school is great for you and you like the weather why not?! Of course brand matters. Why say you’re a student of M7, top 3, top 5 as if it doesn’t matter between them? Why not say student of top 100? Where does your limit stop? Of course brand matters to a certain degree. Just because two things are good doesn’t mean you can debate which has a better brand?

  • AS

    nice post, Dean.

  • tiers

    I agree with the tiered analysis you put together. I think that applicants should choose a program based on a tiered system such as the one you propose, and perform any “tie-breakers” by analysis of personal considerations (geography, scholarship, etc.).

    To argue the rankings of HSWB is splitting hairs in my opinion. Generally speaking, any student of the Tier 1 caliber will do just as well at any of the four schools, and should really base their decision on personal preference. I personally would pick H or S because of prestige factor, and would pick W over B but I am from Phila so I may be biased. To a large extent the same goes for the Tier 2 and Tier 3 programs. It’s splitting hairs to really analyze the schools in those groups against one another.

    I am a student at NYU and for me it was the best I could do within Tier 3 and made the most sense personally. I think my career will end up relatively the same with an NYU MBA as it would with say a Cornell MBA. A difference could have resulted if I was accepted to a T2 or T1 obviously.

    I tried to make a point here but may just be rambling.

  • “Wow”

    Your arguments have more holes than the Oakland Raiders Defense.

    – You say that business school is a degree that’s driven by brand value. Okay, I can somewhat buy that to a certain extent. However, all of the top schools have a very strong brand value. At what point does splitting hairs between each school’s brand while overlooking other much more dynamic aspects of the graduate business education deliver negative marginal returns? I’m not here to bash one school or favor another. I just find this prestige-snobbery here rather disgusting; and this is coming from someone who attends a “prestige school” (I think I just threw up a little using that word twice in two sentences).

    – Don’t ever say “no offense” when you know something you’re about to say is plenty offensive. For the record, my school placed plenty of people in Private Equity. I don’t know about the numbers, but it doesn’t really matter. You basing the reputation of a school based on the placement of graduates in one single function is a slap in the face to everyone else who wants to be general managers, marketers, consultants, entrepreneurs, wealth managers, and social entrepreneurs. So, for the rest of us – (something like 90+%), we should embrace your distorted view that PE Placement = Best Business School? Excuse me while I go and barf for a second time.

    – You compared paintings worth millions to the unknowns. That’s like comparing Harvard Business School to University of Phoenix MBA Online. It’s easy to make a judgement call there. I’m talking about comparing Picasso with Monet with Rembrandt. In the end, who cares? They are all great painters who have created some of the most breathtaking paintings in the history of art. If 35% of people “prefer” Picasso while 27% prefer Rembrandt, does that imply that Rembrandt is inferior to Picasso?

    Why can’t we just appreciate that each of the top business schools has its unique strengths, and each does a remarkable job at educating and mentoring students who will become the future leaders of the business world?

    Why do we have to remain fixated on some immature garbage like School A >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> School B because Magazine A, B, and C says so; and Magazine D, E, and F are not credible because they don’t subscribe to my pre-existing idea of the business school hierarchy.

    – Author is a student at an amazing business school, and he is very happy to be there; but he will never cram the idea down someone’s throat that his institution is somehow “superior” to someone else’s.

  • Guest

    Hey current Boothie, I’m a current Boothie too – how about I start a tight Square tomorrow with only 10 people – even more selective than the Circle, right? I call BS on this Circle nonsense.

  • Slap

    I am actually not in the group, but they seem to be having a lot of fun (I have a friend who is in the Circle). I think you should start a tight square and see how many people join.

    Let’s be friends.

  • Rob

    Agreed, throughout my conversations with admits last year, the recurring theme was that Stanford GSB is REALLY on the rise, consistent with the rise of tech/startups. HBS is so last decade. Booth has gained popularity and Wharton slipped over the years, but won’t think Booth is at Wharton level yet. I would think it’s now more like S > H >> W > B.

  • ice

    How is Umass only ranked 79? How many Stern graduates where able to drop their payroll by 32 million dollars, in one year, and still win the world series?

  • Cool Eddie

    Frankly I think if one of the schools relative to the other were as resistant as Paul states, that would explain the overall drop in acceptance rates across all GTR schools. According to Steinburg & Stossal, the famous Swedish educational statisticians, the correlation between acceptance rates and starting median salary has a correlation coefficient of 0.098. Very high!

  • avivalasvegas

    You’re coming across as way too defensive and insecure about your school. I like Booth…but you’re being a Boothie on this forum!

    Instead, why not celebrate the fact that you attend a top 3 program like the other 4 schools on that list!

  • avivalasvegas

    Its not that Fuqua is doing anything well as much as how poorly Ross, Berkeley and Stern have been faring off late.

  • FStratford

    I’m actually sympathetic to Wharton, despite my post. I think that if they just get their act together… its not a lost cause. Wharton determines its own fate.

  • FStratford

    Your numbers make sense in the current environment but not sure how “permanent” these are. But H/S=2, B/W=4, K=5, MIT/Haas/Tuck/Col=9 is pretty much the defacto M7 bracketing. Those brackets can flip (H over S or S over H, B over W or W over B, and the other 4 can rearrange) and no one would be surprised. (Except maybe older people)

  • Randal

    Someone needs to write a good expose of the whole ranking and MBA world. Honestly the degree in many cases is so 90’s and done and programs will say and do anything to attract students. Ever been to a Hult presentation ( great drinks and food ) ? That program came out of nowhere in ten years and just makes stuff up, it is owned by Kaplan and has a gross disregard for facts and reality. The FT favours UK and European programs and Della Bradshaw is clueless and has run their rankings for over a decade. The Economist ranking is just kooky and should retire, Bloomberg BW and Forbes do not care how they rank. The guy at Forbes who handles it Kurt Badenhausen mainly writes sports articles most of the year.

    Programs game rankings, cheat on reporting of GMAT and salaries and spin new programs out if demand changes or shorten to suit needs. The degree has become so abbreviated to suit the market, employers no longer take it seriously. People like yourself have made a nice career spinning the degree to the point it is now irrelevant.

    The AACSB which is supposed to be the gold standard is a farce, look at the programs and list of them they accredit, they just make money accrediting and re-accrediting programs. Their standards are porous and insincere given what is required to be accredited of a decent school. Waiting for the ultimate insult of them accrediting HULT.

    The reality of b school is that it is now for 21 year olds without no experience. It used to be to be accepted into a real MBA programs experience was required. Heck Insead’s MBA used to be an executive program. The degree thru lack of a real governing body has become a farce and sunked in terms of image. It used to be relevant but every Tom Dick and Harry school joined and the AACSB were waiting to accredit them.

  • Willie Keith

    the crown… lol. Didn’t know 3rd place paid so royally 😉

  • GDI

    OMG, I’m in the Boy’s Club – we’re similarly a small group of more “senior” students who select new applicants each year through an informal application process. (Did you get that? “Senior” students? We’re seniors! hehe I’m so clever.) Anywayz…I hope I grow up to be a confident adult who doesn’t need to use an application process to filter those I associate with so I can feel better than other people. TTYL!

  • Blue

    You are missing the Forbes ranking for Berkeley. That’s the only reason it’s below Duke.

  • orocue

    You lost all credibility on what would have been a well expressed response, by your biased and unnecessary comment regarding Fox News. Have you seen the garbage spewing forth from CNBC lately? It was a silly comment. If we examine viewership profiles, those viewing Fox News are more highly educated, politically aware and more charitable, than viewers of CNN, CNBC or network news outlets. Before making misstatements and over generalizations in the future, check your facts.

  • JP

    Including the Financial Times really does not make sense. It’s a composite ranking of three of the other four that are included in this. It’s like including the average of a group of numbers in calculating the average of the same group of numbers.

  • I actually work

    He probably would say I’m diminishing standard error, just like wise valuation professionals would do with bottom-up betas if they want a measure of systematic risk. 3 is better than 1, and 5 is better than 3. None of this is statistically reliable, but it easily beats a sample of zero.

  • roger gretz

    I think it’s silly to argue strongly about which school is best.

    Rankings don’t make much of a difference for any single individual. It depends on what you want – a more challenging school, better employment opportunities in a specific field, etc.

    Your MBA is supposed to be a low accomplishment in your life. It is a start for you to really do something nice. A person that think the MBA reflects their identity or self worth gets more pathetic every year.

    Employers don’t care. Many tech companies would prefer Stanford no matter what those publications say. Most PE will prefer HBS or Wharton anyway. And in both cases this is mainly because you have more people from the school already working and able to influence hiring in specific lines of work. More than that, it only makes a difference at the margins.

    Of course HBS vs Tulsa may make a meaningful difference. But arguing on Wharton vs Booth or even Stanford vs Columbia is pretty much a waste of time.

  • RossR@cism

    Michigan Ross is full of r@cist!!! Michigan Ross is full of r@cist!!! Michigan Ross is full of r@cist!!! Michigan Ross is full of r@cist!!! Michigan Ross is full of r@cist!!!

  • Lucky

    People discussing below must have too much free time. Short posts make effective messages.

  • HBS

    What kind of moron ranks Booth and S over Wharton and HBS?

  • avivalasvegas

    Rankings only reaffirm tiers. These are how most see them

    Top Business School – Harvard/ Stanford
    Top 5 Business School – Wharton, Booth, Kellogg, Sloan, Columbia, LBS, INSEAD
    Top 10 Business School – Tuck, Haas,Ross, Stern, Yale, Said (Oxford)
    Top 15 Business School – Fuqua, Darden, Johnson, UCLA

    The rest don’t really matter.

  • Alex

    I agree. The ranking here tells me that Wharton is no longer the best. It is so much to students in the best school.

  • mastafari

    can anyone explain why June Kinney seems to be the sole gatekeeper for the Wharton health care management program? Is that healthy? It seems like everyone has to pay homage to her to get into the program…it is really weird…

  • j

    so you are saying that because they are poor, they are smarter? Based on what up bringing? LOL

  • Guest

    How come your friend didn’t invite you in the Circle, does he think you’re inferior to him? A nice friend to have indeed.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    She’s the director.

  • 88manu

    What about the placements for international students after MBA from the universities are below 50 in above rankings?

  • John

    How did you arrive at your Top 15 list? By magic?

  • John

    If there is no “perfect” ranking, then:
    why did you write this article?
    why did you get it so wrong: Averaging the average, really?
    John A Byrne, you should do a basic stats course. In fact, I dare you to do one.

  • Kevin

    They are perhaps also successful because “mom and dad is well educated.’

  • avivalasvegas

    Look at the US News rankings coming next week. You should find some of that magic there.

  • Bob Savino

    They should rank the elite MBA you can obtain from all these schools on Coursera for free. It would be ranked #1.

  • Cody, Mr. NCO

    Its not all about what you learn, its about the network you build, and the contacts you make.

  • Bob Savino

    Yes, $100,000 and 30% travel overhead for a network I can build on LinkedIn and at real work is really worth it! :)

  • Ferdea

    or take short executive course at the target school, thats direct and stronger connection to the students and alumni.

  • psk

    John & Sandy, When will you be updating your rankings to reflect the US News 2014 results?

  • Robert

    Hey money counts, at least when it comes to these phony rankings. I see a lot of schools that advertise in the Economist conveniently got Economist rankings. UC San Diego, really? Are they even accredited?

  • Robert

    People know which schools are good schools, but it’s impossible for someone to actually rank them without having attended every single one. Anytime someone pretends to be able to rank schools they immediately lose all credibility.

  • Peter Koeppel

    When will you be updating your rankings to reflect the US News 2014 results?

  • JohnAByrne

    Rather than update after each ranking, we wait until all the relevant rankings are released in a year and then update usually in early November. So we’ll wait until The Economist and BusinessWeek update their rankings this year.

  • Reader

    19 schools in your top 15? funny. And US News had H/S/W at the top… pretty good magic

  • Opp

    What happened to Claremont-Drucker?

  • Soumya Roy

    Hi Everyone,

    I have heard about Poets and Quants from an acquaintance. I needed some help as I am planning for MBA in Fall 2015. I have been working since May’13 and plan to do so till April’15. I have studied from National Institute of Technology Silchar, India. I have a GRE score of 323/340 (Quant – 170, Verbal – 153). Having studied a little about the B-Schools, I am really scared about my chances to get accepted in a good school. Can you please enlighten me with your thoughts Guys?

    Thanks,
    Soumya
    doremifa.nits@gmail.com

  • spindoc

    Stanford 1 lowest admission rate by far of any biz school.
    Harvard 2
    Wharton, Booth, Haas 3

  • Sam Iam

    Yes, and that is hilarious… the academic institutions are telling people that the content is secondary, it is about schmoozing. Think about a medical school that represented themselves that way. They would be a laughing stock.

  • WhartonLover

    Wharton>Harvard?Standford>Booth #letsbehonst

  • guest

    I mean, it is HS. Nobody picks W over H or S.

  • Zabbosko

    What’s your problem, you idiots? The top 25 are not displaying!!!!!

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