Michigan’s Ross vs. Northwestern’s Kellogg

Alumni Network: You can’t go wrong by having an MBA degree stamped by either of these schools. That punched ticket allows you entree to very strong alumni networks that will help you throughout your career. Realistically, you can’t expect hese networks to boast the strength or support of the very best, which exist at Dartmouth, Harvard, and Stanford, but they are very good. Kellogg has an edge, given the extreme amount of bonding that goes on in its MBA experience. Kellogg claims about 50,000 alums (a number that includes everyone). Ross boasts more than 40,600 alums in 89 countries, and has more than 50 alumni clubs, in cities ranging from Boston and Hartford to Phoenix and Seattle, as well as in 25 countries. Kellogg has more than 90 alumni clubs spread across the U.S. and the world in some 50 countries. In Texas, Kellogg has three clubs in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, while the Ross club is centered in Austin alone. We can’t vouch for how active and engaged these clubs are, but Kellogg alums have shown a greater degree of support for hanging together in more places over the years. Kellogg alums even have their own Twitter feed.


In the latest rankings, Kellogg has beaten Ross fairly decisively across every major poll in recent years. BusinessWeek’s customer satisfaction methodology clearly favors Ross, which gets its best ranking of all at number five from BusinessWeek. That’s an important vote of confidence for students who want to insure that they come away with a blockbuster MBA experience. On the other hand, the school tends to trail on other quality indicators as seen by its showing especially in the U.S. News and Forbes polls. The P&Q rank–which factors into consideration all the major rankings weighted by their individual authority–puts Kellogg at number 7 and Ross at number 12, largely because the other rankings bring Michigan down a few pegs. These are the up-to-date rankings from each ranking organization.

MBA Rankings Kellogg Ross
Poets&Quants 7 12
BusinessWeek 3 5
Forbes 8 18
U.S. News & World Report 4 12
Financial Times 23 28
The Economist 15 25


Historical Rankings by BusinessWeek:

The Kellogg School has had an extraordinary good run over the 22-year period of BusinessWeek rankings as pointed out above. When BusinessWeek began ranking business schools, Kellogg debuted at number one. and held onto that spot for the following six years, regaining the number one title for two straight surveys in 2002 and 2004. Kellogg has bested Michigan in every single year with only one exception. In 1996, Michigan edged out Northwestern by just one spot when Ross was number two and Kellogg was number three. In any case, Michigan has done extraordinarily well in this survey. It’s the only public university to remain competitive with private business schools.

Historical Rankings by The Financial Times

Historical Rankings by The Financial Times:

Unlike BusinessWeek’s rankings, The Financial Times includes business schools from all over the world. So the FT is ranking both Michigan and Northwestern against such places as London Business School, which ranked number one in this survey in 2010 and 2009, and INSEAD, which ranked fifth these last two years. Neither U.S. school has fared all that well in the FT rankings, compared to how well these institutions tend to perform in BusinessWeek, U.S. News, and Forbes. Nonetheless, Kellogg has beaten Ross ten out of the last 11 surveys  by the Financial Times. Only once did Ross manage to tie Kellogg and that was in 2007. The worst performance ever turned in my Ross was in 2004 when the FT ranked the school 30th. It’s best showing? In 2006, when the school was ranked 14th. Kellogg has turned in very weak performances in recent years with its lowest FT rank ever in 2010 at number 22. We wouldn’t take this all too seriously: The FT survey has had some head-scratching results over the years. Instituto de Empresa in Spain, for example, is ranked the sixth best school in the world by the newspaper. Eight years earlier, it was ranked 35th. Meantime, Hong Kong’s UST, ranked 9th by the Financial Times in 2010, had a rank of 69 in 2004. These wild swings in the rankings undermine their credibility and authority.

Historical Rankings by The Financial Times



These are both highly selective business schools, with Kellogg accepting fewer than 20% of its applicants and Ross saying yes to fewer than 24% of those who apply.

Kellogg received 5,545 applications for the Class of 2011, while Ross got 2,697 applications. It’s worth noting that the average GMAT score for Kellogg’s entire applicant pool is an extraordinarily high 700. For admits to the Class of 2011 at Kellogg, it’s 706–just five points higher than Ross’ average. The GMAT ranges for each school is based on the 80th percentile which is how both schools report the data.

Admission Stats Kellogg Ross
Average GMAT 706 701
GMAT Range 650-760 640-760
Average GPA 3.59 3.40
Selectivity 19.5% 23.4%
Yield NA NA



Both Kellogg and Ross are major MBA schools with large enrollments. Of the top business schools, only Harvard, Wharton and Columbia have total full-time enrollments that exceed Northwestern. Those schools plus Chicago are the only business schools that have more full-time MBA students than Ross. Once you add the sizable part-time MBA programs that both Kellogg and Ross offer, as well as Ross’ undergraduate student population, these two institutions are even larger than Harvard, Wharton and Columbia. Kellogg enrolls slightly more full-timers than Ross, 1,241 vs. 910. The numbers below are for the Class of 2011.

Enrollment Stats Kellogg Ross
Total MBA Enrollment 1,241 910
Women 33% 34%
International 33% 30%
Minority 22% 24%

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