10 Business Schools To Watch In 2017

University of Washington Foster School of Management

University of Washington (Foster): Think an MBA from a top 25 MBA program will lead to a hermit lifestyle and ramen noodle diet after graduation? What if I told you that there was a top 25 MBA program where graduates leave with $45,000 debt…and $111K starting salaries (and average $29k bonuses to boot)? Does that sound too good to be true? Well, if you can stand the rain, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value that the Foster School of Business.  Located in the heart of Seattle —home to a thriving startup scene and such Fortune 500 jewels as Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Boeing — Foster bridges high tech leadership with global know-how for a truly transformative MBA experience.

A small program squeezed inside a resource-rich public university, Foster is slowly coming of age. The Class of 2018, for example, attracted a student body of 43% women, the second highest rate among top MBA programs. Being a Foster MBA student is rather exclusive company too, with just 24% of applicants being accepted into the program.

It’s also a program that’s very comfortable with who they are and where they stand. How comfortable? In 2016, Foster created the first “Do It Yourself” ranking, where students can weigh the value of various metrics in an automated “MBA rankings calculator” to spit out a list of programs that best suit their preferences. Think of it like the Progressive Insurance model “Name Your Price” tool. Foster may not always be the top choice, but the school is confident enough in their proposition to know they’ll make it into a lot of the conversations.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business

University of Illinois: Speaking of debt, what if you could earn an MBA for just $22,000? Pretty tempting, right? That’s the bet being made by the University of Illinois through its iMBA program. Partnering with Coursera, the school has taken its MBA program online, with a few nifty twists. For one, students enjoy the flexibility to take one course, earn a specialization certificate, or run the gauntlet for an MBA. Thanks to Coursera, Illinois can focus on the content end, passing the savings along to students. How much can they save? Well, an online MBA can run anywhere from $50,000 (Temple) to $118,000 (Carnegie Mellon), making the iMBA a steal!

Isn’t the curriculum just a glorified MOOC, you ask? Ha! If it were, the iMBA program wouldn’t have retained 265 of the 270 students from its first year class. While admissions standards are lax and the network negligible — it doesn’t require a GMAT or GRE, just three years of professional experience — it can act as a quick-and-dirty way to earn the credential. “We did not just take a face-to-face MBA degree and put it online,” explains Raj Echambadi, the school’s senior associate dean, in a 2016 interview with Poets&Quants. “We created a degree with online experiences that are new and unique. At a broader level, we have created a new definition of what a global MBA means. We have redefined who an MBA student is.”

IE Business School

IESE and IE Business School: Why combine the two? Simple: They produced similar, albeit sterling, results over the past year. At IESE, enrollment shot up by 22%, as its average GMATs surged from 680 to 690. In contrast, IE Business School rode a 17% increase in applications to 57 additional students, a 13% bump. At the same time, GMAT scores also climbed 10 points to 680. You can also give IE Business School extra credit points after Santiago Iñiguez walked away with Poets&Quants’ “Dean of the Year” honor in 2016.

Alas, these weren’t the only schools posting lofty numbers in 2016. Applications to the University of Rochester (Simon) swelled by 22%. The University of Toronto (Rotman) and Columbia Business School fared nearly as well, with applications rising by 17% and 14% clips respectively.

University of Oxford (Saïd): Calling 2016 a smashing success at Saïd would be an understatement. Looking for a diverse cohort? Saïd’s 2017 Class enrolled 36% women and 94% international students, the highest rate of any top tier international MBA program in either category. At the same time, the school climbed to third in Poets&Quants’ international MBA ranking, leapfrogging esteemed programs like Cambridge, IESE , and IMD in the process.

BYU (Marriott): Afraid of drowning in debt after graduation? Head west…as in Provo, Utah. At Marriott, MBAs came away with just a $54,704, while earning nearly $110,000 within three years of graduation.  Talk about a strong selling point! It’ll become even more compelling as it continues its steady climb in the rankings, shooting up nine spots to 34th in the Poets&Quants ranking (a placement that would’ve been even better had it been ranked by The Economist.





  • Alexey Postnov

    Spain has 18% unemployment. In fact it was the fastest growing economy in the Eurozone in 2007.

  • Koichi Fuyumi

    Sounds like you are an insider. What you share here is not accessible in public source. Or there is one possible way to get above information is if you have a paid LinkedIn account and you search IMD graduates’ name one by one which is time consuming but would be a nice piece of analysis to share. Of course some can argue not everybody updates LinkedIn so frequently. Can you share more insider information to us?

  • Tesla

    IMD MBA is declining so fast. Many of its graduates struggle to get decent jobs. just check over the web. Many still unemployed.. or got back to same employers with similar jobs. Many top professors left the school, the rank is going down.. it is no longer a target for top elite recruiters.. It is at best comparable to Cranfield or RSM..

  • Yaniv

    IMD is a failing school and declining program, all indicators tell so.

  • ulin

    I am sorry to remind you of the recent struggle of IMD graduates in the marketplace. IMD removed its employment report from its website, and keeps the outdated 2014 report. They intent to return to the three or five year average report to further cover up their failure.. This school is no longer belong to the top, it is by most comparable to RSM, Bocconi, or Cranfield.

  • Tesla

    HEC prominent alumni are graduates of its master of management program NOT the MBA. The alumni of HEC look down to the MBA and don’t recognize it as elite as the grade Master program..same apply to most european schools..

  • C. Taylor

    I like how you think. There are two factors you should also consider. I’ll get to those below.

    I hear banks love IMD guys. Main thing is the two factors listed below. As for your Asia comment, it’s entirely off base. You’ve got two
    recruiters on campus for every student, if you end up in Asia, it’s
    because the offer was even sweeter than the other recruiters’ offers. Same companies, different locations. And with 9000+ execs coming through the campus every year, your Rolodex is huge.

    As I see it, you can’t get more elite than IMD; so I’m not sure where you wanted to go with your third bullet. Whether IMD is the best program for you depends entirely on your background and goals. Google, Amazon, Uber, MBB do on-campus recruiting for those who need flashy companies to jump-start their post-MBA careers.

    1) A one year program is generally not the best choice for someone targeting an uphill career move, post-MBA. (Anything else to banking is an uphill move.) INSEAD’s copious data suggests that almost all INSEAD guys who end up in banking were either already in banking or in a closely related position. And January starts even have a an off-hand chance at a summer internship while at INSEAD.

    IMD’s or INSEAD’s one year program would make a lot of sense for someone being sponsored by his bank or who’s background+network is already sufficient to obtain a banking position, post-MBA.

    2) How PE and IB guys hire. Banks often hire around 50-80% of post-MBA hires from their summer internship pool. Summer banking internships also often require 80-hour (or more) work weeks. Difficult to manage while studying at IMD full time. PE guys often prefer to know you well before hiring–as they don’t always hire as many (this process also requires more time).

    For someone making an uphill career move, you also often get your banking internships/jobs through networking in the school year. A one year program doesn’t provide as much time for this so that is an additional barrier for anyone who isn’t already plugged into the industry. The first half of IMD’s program is intensive.

  • Unlocking Value

    In terms of admissions stats (not employment salary data), which largely guide USN rankings, Yes Yale has solidified itself within or at the Top 10 spot – we agree. My point and those of others here is that it took a few years worth of effort/investment to get Yale to earn that spot. Cornell’s investments are very bold and large – way more than just a new building, and they are very long-term and their payoff should start coming in the next few years, and not this year or next as you rightly point out. However, for those looking for a smart play with future upside, I think that Cornell is probably the most dynamic and bold risk taker of the top 20 at this time. Kudos to Yale for showing that it is possible to move from top 15-20 to the top 10! I think Cornell is next…