Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Reform
GRE 331 (Practice), GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Investment Associate
GMAT 700, GPA 3.67
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Italian In Tokyo
GMAT (710-740), GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. IDF Commander
GRE Waved, GPA 3.0
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
Yale | Mr. Healthcare Geek
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
USC Marshall | Mr. Low GPA High GMAT
GMAT 740, GPA 2.44
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Against All Odds
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Consulting Hopeful
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Wharton | Mr. Senior Analyst
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Stanford GSB | Ms. Access To Opportunities
GRE 318, GPA 2.9
Tuck | Mr. Product Marketer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Ms. Finance For Good
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
London Business School | Mr. Midwest Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.69

Winners & Losers in The Economist’s 2010 MBA Ranking

When The Economist unveiled its 2010 MBA ranking recently, the magazine made clear that there were some dramatic changes in the results. As the magazine put it,  “Our latest ranking is probably the most turbulent in that short history. Usually, schools move up or down just a few places year on year. This time around, however, swings have been wilder.”

Just how wild, however, wasn’t easy to discern because users were not able to access the full global ranking of 100 schools on The Economist’s website. The problem was fixed over the weekend to allow us to more clearly examine what we had earlier dubbed a “roller-coaster ranking.” (Also see our earlier analysis comparing the new ranking to the Poets&Quants ranking).

Our analysis shows that the single biggest loser in the ranking was Vierick Leuven, the Belgium-based business school, which plummeted 37 places in a single year, down to a rank of 47th from a rank of 10 in 2009. Britain-based Ashridge dropped 32 spots, to a rank of 67 from 35 a year earlier. Obviously, such massive changes in a ranking over only 12 months raises significant questions about the credibility of The Economist’s ranking methodology. How can a school that The Economist says is the 10th best in the world fall to a rank of 47th within a single year?

The biggest losers were all non-U.S. schools, with five of them based in Britain. Oxford University’s Said business school fell 24 places, while Cambridge University’s Judge School of Business dropped 19 spots. With only one exception, the biggest winners in The Economist’s 2010 ranking were U.S. schools, led by Washington University’s Olin School of Business in St. Louis which jumped 20 places to a rank of 45th. The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Vanderbilt’s Owen School both rose 18 spots. Marshall jumped to a rank of 16 this year from 36 in 2009. Owen leapfrogged to 46th from 64th a year earlier. Hult International, the renamed Arthur D. Little Institute of Management, jumped 17 places. The one exception to a U.S. rout was ESADE in Barcelona. ESADE rose nine places to finish with a rank of 20, versus 29th in 2009.

The Economist attributed most declines by non-U.S. schools to falling career opportunities and starting compensation for graduates of the best European schools. The Economist places 55% of the weight of its ranking on pay and employment rates at graduation. The data The Economist used, moreover, was not for the latest graduating class, but instead for the Class of 2009, a particularly difficult time for the economy and for the MBA market. If the magazine waited just a few more weeks, it would have been able to crank out its ranking with the most recent numbers for the Class of 2010. BusinessWeek’s new ranking will be disclosed on Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. That latter date allows BW to report up-to-date information rather than year-old data. (For a list of The Economist’s top 50 schools and how the ranking compares with others see The Economist 2010 Ranking.)

At 19th-ranked London Business School, for example, average salaries of new MBAs dropped from $117,000 for the Class of 2008 to $100,600 for the Class of 2009. The Economist also reported that percentage of students employed within three months of graduation plummeted a full ten percentage points, to 81% from 91% for the Class of 2008. At IMD in Switzerland, average salaries fell to $114,415, from $127,200. “This compares badly with many of the American schools where the drop has not been as dramatic,” The Economist said. The publication cited salaries at Berkeley which essentially remained stable at a $108,400 average.


SchoolDifference in Ranks2010 Rank2009 Rank
Vierick Leuven (Belgium)-374710
Ashridge (Britain)-326735
University of Melbourne-274417
Oxford University (Britain)-247147
Hong Kong — UST-225230
Cambridge (Britain)-193011
Rotterdam (Netherlands)-165741
Warwick (Britain)-123422
London Business School-11198
Univ. of Hong Kong-104838
Int’l Univ. of Monaco-95142
IE Business School (Spain)-62216



SchoolDifference in Ranks2010 Rank2009 Rank
Washington Univ. (Olin)+204565
Vanderbilt (Owen)+184664
USC (Marshall)+181836
Hult International+172744
Emory (Goizueta)+163652
Univ. of Virginia (Darden)+131124
UCLA (Anderson)+133750
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)+122133
Indiana (Kelley)+113546
ESADE (Spain)+92029
Columbia Business School+81220
MIT (Sloan)+61319


About The Author

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.