London Business School vs. UPenn’s Wharton

Historical Rankings by BusinessWeek:

Unfortunately, this is a little bit like comparing apples to oranges because BusinessWeek ranks non-U.S. business schools separately from its list of the best U.S. schools. As a result, the schools are not directly in competition with each other on these surveys. Nonetheless, London can’t hold a candle to Wharton which is the big winner here, having come in first in the BusinessWeek rankings on four separate occasions, from 1994 until 2002, when it fell to fifth, its lowest ranking by BW ever. Meantime, London has consistently been ranked fifth among the non-U.S. schools in the past three BusinessWeek biennial surveys over the last six years. Its best showing was in 2000, the first time BusinessWeek ranked schools outside the U.S. London was named the second best non-U.S. school.

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Historical Rankings by The Financial Times:

Unlike BusinessWeek’s rankings, The Financial Times includes business schools from all over the world. London Business School is now the FT’s undisputed number one school, after tying Wharton for that honor in 2009. Even so, no school has fared better than Wharton in The Financial Times’ surveys over the years. Wharton has been named the top business school in the world in nine out of the past ten years! The lowest rank awarded to London has been ninth place in 2002. The school has been ranked eighth twice, in 2000 and 2001, and fifth twice as well, in 2005 and 2006.

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Admissions:

Both London and Wharton attract some of the most talented young people in the world. They are both highly selective schools, with the barrier to entry at Wharton somewhat higher than it is at London. There are nine applicants to every seat in the class at Wharton; seven for every open seat at London. Though London appears to pay more attention to GMAT scores (notice that the lowest number it accepted is 600 vs. 540 at Wharton), its average GMATs are a full 24 points below Wharton.  * Estimate.

Admission StatsWhartonLondon
Average GMAT718694
GMAT Range540-790600-800
Average GPA3.50NA
Selectivity16.9%NA
Yield68%*NA

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Enrollment:

With entering classes that number not much more than 319 students, London is a much smaller school than Wharton which enrolls more than 800 full-timers a year. Although the number of “international” students at London far exceeds those at Wharton, the school is lacking in diversity in unusual ways. For one, only 25% of the students at London are female, vs. 40% at Wharton. For another, there are far fewer minority students, as they would be defined in the U.S. Our number for international students, moreover, at London excludes the Europeans because the school is a European school. It does include the 20% of London students from the U.S. The largest single international contingent at London is Asian, representing 22% of the latest entering class. The Wharton numbers for women, international and minority students are for the Class of 2011.

Enrollment StatsWhartonLondon
Total MBA Enrollment1,674660
Women40%25%
International37%66%
Minority29%NA

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About the Author...

John A. Byrne

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.