2014 U.S. News’ MBA Ranking

by John A. Byrne on

Locust Walk on a beautiful fall day  just outside the Wharton School of Business

Locust Walk on a beautiful fall day just outside the Wharton School of Business

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%)
1. Harvard 727 3.70 11.3% $138,346 78.7% 89.4% 4.8 4.6
1. Stanford 732 3.73 6.8% $137,525 71.7% 89.7% 4.8 4.6
1. Wharton 725 3.60 18.7% $141,243 79.7% 93.4% 4.8 4.6
4. Chicago 723 3.58 21.0% $135,982 82.1% 90.8% 4.8 4.4
5. MIT 713 3.58 13.1% $137,057 80.9% 87.4% 4.7 4.5
6. Kellogg 713 3.54 21.6% $135,838 78.8% 91.0% 4.7 4.4
7. Berkeley 714 3.60 14.3% $134,078 74.0% 91.6% 4.6 4.2
8. Columbia 716 3.50 18.1% $137,654 74.9% 90.3% 4.4 4.3
9. Dartmouth 718 3.53 20.8% $139,036 80.8% 90.8% 4.3 4.0
10. NYU 721 3.51 16.0% $131,975 77.8% 93.2% 4.2 4.0

Source: U.S. News & World Report 2014 MBA Ranking

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  • JP

    I wish everyone who visits P&Q would read this comment. By far the most sensible one available anywhere on this website. Well said mba20122013, I agree with everything you’ve said.

  • M7_aspirant

    Just wanted to post a neutral comment here. Isn’t this a classic case of confirmation bias? You only sought information that proved your argument but didn’t seek any that disproved it. Also at hand may be availability bias: as an example, let’s say I met 10 students who chose Sloan over Booth and I only met 10 Sloanies. Well, there may have been 90 Boothies who chose Booth over Sloan but I have a wrong impression because of my availability sample. Again, this is just an example that makes my case. I think both Sloan and Booth are terrific schools and anyone attending either will do just fine.

  • Charles84

    Dartmouth is no longer considered top tier school by many recruiters and students. Still good school but comparable to top 15 to 25 schools. It lacks brand, location, high salaries, and seems to be very original school rather than global. Diversity at tuck suffers. good for people living and targeting careers in upper valley area.

  • Wolfsbane11

    #9 is low? If you look at US News and World Report’s rankings over the years, Dartmouth has typically been ranked at or near that spot. Different rankings use different methodologies, and Tuck’s size and location has helped it in some, hindered it in others. I think the 8-9 spot probably undervalues it a little. You only need look at the list of employers, salary, and placement numbers to see that it remains an elite program.

    But any school in the top 10, really, should be considered elite and will likely offer the same value proposition. Your pre-MBA resume and experience will dictate your recruiting experience moreso than any rankings.

  • Wolfsbane11

    I’d disagree with that. It’s avg. salary even bests H and S. It’s recruiting certainly doesn’t suffer, as the most recent list of employers will indicate. It even manages to get ~3% of its classes PE gigs.

    It’s comparable to schools in the middle to bottom of the top 10. I’d pay little attention to ranking fluctuations though: the alarmists were all screaming about Wharton’s supposed drop in stature and continue to call Columbia (full disclosure: I’m a CBS grad) a school in “decline”; both claims have since proven ridiculous.

  • Wolfsbane11


  • Wolfsbane11

    I’m a CBS grad, and I completely agree with the ranking. I will step in and offer that the only reason our at grad placement is a bit lower is because so many of our students are vying for elite finance jobs and competition is fierce. But we do just fine on salary and we have such an extensive network that this gap quickly closes within a couple months.

  • Wolfsbane11

    Loved reading this post. I work with several Wharton grads and I’ve found most of them to be super competent and humble, which is quite a departure from the prevailing stereotype(s).

  • Charles84

    Have you looked into their latest employment report?! class of 2013! see the averages and medians, 115000 overall while most top 10 schools are 120000. What about its brand globally? Diversity in professional and personal background?! They have to do better. They are rich, no lack of money.

  • fuhrer

    Tuck is weird school.

  • Wolfsbane11

    The median salary stat is misleading because so many of their grads go into Management Consulting, so bonuses actually bring their total comp past the averages of all but 2 or 3 schools. I do agree they could use some more professional diversity as they’re mostly known as a consulting school, correct me if I’m wrong. But those are high quality MBA gigs so why would they change that?

  • Wolfsbane11

    They didn’t “fall” so much as they stayed consistent while Booth had a banner year. Not much separates them from the #5 spot. People tend to forget just how close the scores are (and subjective) within 2 or 3 spots in a ranking. Almost negligible.

  • Corp

    You should be writing this. Your point 1) is standard commentary (not meant with + or – connotation, just observation) and true.

    However your point 2) is more insightful than half the stuff you see on here, just looking at the absolute movements listed in a table somewhere by the ranker and filling in sentences around the absolute changes.

    What you say – peer assess is very hard to advance, and having moved it is a very real change – actually supports your speculation, which normally I would’ve dismissed out of hand.

    Also agree with last statement, sure. But really, the website could add value by figuring out more of the correlations between components and headline ranks, explaining the inside baseball. Because some of us, say, me, never dove far enough in the data to see the change you point out, and don’t have the knowledge of its import…I should caveat I don’t want the authors to make up causation and sometimes the articles seem pretty specious…but John being an insider could really put something unique out there with analysis like that.

  • MA

    Hey man, full disclosure, Wharton student. Stanford in percentage does place more students in PE, but I don’t think in HF, and not in absolute numbers. Stanford definitely does well (the best) in VC, but that is also a regional play. The opposite happens with HF: Wharton is a beast. There are 400 students in our IM club, and we won 3 of the top 4 MBA stock pitch competitions (btw, the judges don’t know which school you are from until after the competition).

    We got Viking, Soros, Bridgewater, and about 40+ other HF recruit on campus. In terms of IM we placed something like 100 students (about 12% of our class) on investment roles (IM), and i think about 12% in PE.

    In terms of competition for HF is Columbia and then HBS. Columbia has a great value investment program and they got home field advantage, being closer to other funds in the city. While I have yet to see any competition outside these two schools for NY/Greenwich HF, I have to say that as long as you are in a top 10 school, they’ll give you 3 minutes for you to pitch them a stock. Simply going to Wharton or HBS is not going to land you a job – mainly because your real competition are people who are already in the field. But the competition at Wharton in IM is so intense, that it will truly bring out the best in you.

    My 2 cents on the best business school topic: Go to the best school for you. Do your research. One thing I looked at was that I talked to funds and asked for their opinion. One interesting rating that has gone completely under the radar are the faculties ratings: In Finance, Marketing, Management, Operations and Accounting, Wharton ranks top 3 in each of them. In these fields HBS and Stanford have 1 and 2 top 3 rankings respectively. Take it for what it’s worth. Wharton is definitely not only a finance school.

    At the end of the day, I can guarantee you that a top 10ish school will take you wherever you want (provided you have the talent and the goods). It may take some a few more years and a lot of work, but by talking to funds I believe that MBA degrees are becoming more valuable in the eyes of recruiters, and that should be a win for everybody in this forum.

  • Subh

    I choose to go to Sloan where as my close friend went to Booth. There is remarkable difference between us, personality wise and talentwise ( we have almost identical scores on standardized tests yet we have our strengths and likings). I also took a number of courses at HBS. Every school has it own environment; however if you are a person like me who wants learning, rigor, fun, collaboration and accessibility to professors, Sloan wouldn’t disappoint you. It is not a big school but every person ( student, faculty, even admin staff) is unique and brings something of value to the table.

  • Vitor

    I was wondering about that… I wasn´t thinking about applying for Tuck, but now I probably will…

  • Vitor

    Do you know when the new campus will be ready?

  • Vitor

    I agree that MIT has a better reputation than UofC, but I think Booth and Sloan are too close to call…

  • fc876

    John, Wharton shows an 18.7% acceptance rate and you stated the class of 2015 had a 22% acceptance rate in your article “The B-School Class of 2015: By the numbers”. Which is really true? Please clarify.

  • JohnAByrne

    Not sure why the rate changed. The 18.7% rate is what Wharton reported to U.S. News several months later. I would accept the latter rate. Sometimes, early reports of stats can be off a bit.

  • fc1723

    John, I see a mistake in Wharton’s selectivity. You have mentioned in several articles that the selectivity for the class of 2015 ahas 22% and US News reports 18.7%. Please clarify. Thank you.

  • adera

    I’ve also seen that discrepancy.

  • true numbers


    Why are these messages being deleted? Your articles state that Wharton has 22% selectivity. US News states 18.7%.

    Why is there a difference?

  • true numbers

    P&Q states that Wharton has 22% selectivity. US News states 18.7%. Wonder where is the difference?

  • true numbers

    Wharton has a selectivity of 22% according to P&Q and 18.7 according to US News. John, please explain the difference.

  • fee

    Go Duke!

  • Paranoid

    Somebody is a bit defensive

  • yeah,but…

    How much scholarship money did they receive? lol

  • KDS

    I before E except after C…

  • Whataboutmyinfo

    Hi All, my daughter is looking into Wharton as an Entrepreneur. I am reading all of your comments and it seems Wharton is a top tier for Finance. mba20122013 briefly stated Entrepreneurship as an extremely solid reason to go there but that was the just of it. Any other takes? Personal experience? She is looking into business schools en route to Culinary school. I went to Culinary school and straight to work. Though I am familiar with the process of looking into colleges. I’d love some first hand insight.

  • whataboutmyinfo

    and thanks!

  • killa

    Lol, what is this dude smoking? He obviously doesn’t go to Wharton. Everyone at Wharton knows it’s a finance school… pretty much the only name in finance, to the point where Wharton is synonymous with Wall street.

  • killa

    All the banks, hedge funds and PE/VC shops look to Wharton first. Other MBA candidates simply don’t stack up, esp. in terms of quantitative skills and analytical ability. Even here at LSE, we all know Wharton’s the first place they look.

  • FYI

    FYI: Although labeled here as the 2014 MBA ranking, this is actually U.S. New’s 2015 ranking (released in March 2014).

  • JohnAByrne

    Sorry for the confusion. As the story notes, U.S. News puts a 2015 tag on these rankings even though they come out in early 2014 just so that they are less perishable. The rankings are based on 2013 data and published in 2014 so regardless of what U.S. News calls them, they are 2014 rankings.

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