Just six months ago, The Wall Street Journal provocatively asked “What’s Wrong With Wharton?”
The answer is absolutely nothing, according to U.S. News & World Report’s new ranking of the best MBA programs in the U.S. published today (March 11).
For the first time ever, Wharton muscled its way into a three-way tie for first place with Harvard Business School and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. It was highest rank ever achieved by Wharton in the U.S. News survey. The school had finished as high as second place and as low as fifth and last year it was third.
Yet, just last September, the Journal had written a negative take on the highly prominent business school, quoting admission consultants who claimed the school had lost momentum and stature. But record-high average GMAT scores of 725–just two points shy of HBS–and stellar compensation and placement stats helped Wharton improve its standing in the U.S. News ranking.
Wharton MBAs earned average salary and bonus last year of $141,243, beating every other surveyed school including Harvard ($138,346) and Stanford ($137,525). The reported comp numbers by Wharton to U.S. News were especially surprising because they represent something of a reversal of the normal pecking order for MBA pay. In 2012, for example, HBS grads had average salary and bonus of $142,501, while Stanford MBAs landed salary and bonus packages of $140,459. Wharton trailed both schools, as well as MIT Sloan and Dartmouth Tuck grads, with a $138,302 average.
A slightly higher percentage of Wharton MBAs also were employed at graduation and three months later. Some 93.4% of Wharton’s MBAs had jobs 90 days after commencement, the highest percentage of any Top 10 school, for example, compared with 89.7% at Stanford and 89.4% at Harvard. Those tiny fractions add up in a ranking, allowing Wharton to boast its best U.S. News finish ever. Pay and placement rates account for 35% of U.S. News’ ranking.
How The Top Ten Compare On U.S. News’ Ranking Metrics
|School||GMAT (16.25%||GPA (7.5%)||Accept Rate (1.25%||Average Pay (14%)||Jobs At Grad (7%)||Jobs Later (14%)||Peers (25%)||Recruiters (15%)|