Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Three
GRE 310, GPA 2.7
Kenan-Flagler | Ms. Big Pharma
GRE 318, GPA 3.3
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Tepper | Mr. Tech Strategist
GRE 313, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Harvard | Mr. Bangladeshi Analyst
GMAT 690, GPA 3.31
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Darden | Mr. Military Vet
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. ELS
GRE 318, GPA 3.8
Wharton | Mr. Investment Banking
GMAT 750, GPA 3.1
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Ms. Product Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Indian O&G EPC
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. US Army Veteran
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Ross | Mr. Operational Finance
GMAT 710, taking again, GPA 3
Stanford GSB | Ms. S & H
GMAT 750, GPA 3.47
Columbia | Ms. Cybersecurity
GRE 322, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Multinational Strategy
GRE 305, GPA 3.80
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Contractor
GMAT 730, GPA 3.2
Duke Fuqua | Mr. O&G Geoscientist
GRE 327, GPA 2.9
GMAT 770, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. 911 System
GMAT 690, GPA 3.02
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Agribusiness
GRE 308, GPA 3.04

New Forbes Ranking Out Wednesday

Forbes magazine’s seventh biennial ranking of the best business schools will be published Wednesday (Aug 3). Perhaps more important than whether Stanford repeats its first place showing of 2009 is whether the return on investment for MBA grads has suffered yet another decline.

In the previous survey, Forbes had found that the financial payback of going to business school had fallen as post-MBA salaries lagged behind the rise in tuition and pre-MBA salaries. The median five-year gain for graduates of the top 50 U.S. programs was $29,000 two years ago, compared with $64,000 for the class two years earlier.

The Forbes ranking is based entirely on return on investment five years after graduation and nothing more–no GMAT or GPA scores, no student or recruiter polls, and no data on the percentage of grads with jobs at graduation or shortly after. To get the compensation numbers of MBAs five years out, Forbes surveys thousands of MBA alumni from more than 100 business schools.

Last time around, the magazine’s results were based on a survey of 4,080 responding alums from 103 schools. The data showed that alumni of the top five MBA programs–Stanford, Tuck, Harvard, Chicago and Wharton, respectively–typically earn more than $200,000 five years out of school.

Stanford topped that ranking because the median salary of an MBA from the class of 2004 was $225,000, highest among all U.S. rivals. Forbes figures that the typical Stanford student graduating in 2004 paid $235,000 for the MBA, a sum including two years of forgone salary (at Stanford the average MBA had a median salary of $82,000 before entering school).

Here’s the top ten schools in the last ranking and how they then compared to other major rankings:

Forbes Rank & SchoolP&QBWU.S. NewsFTEconomist
1.  Stanford School of Business26147
2.  Dartmouth College (Tuck)5127146
3.  Harvard Business School12135
4.  Chicago (Booth)31594
5.  Pennsylvania (Wharton)44529
6.  Columbia Business School679620
7.  Cornell (Johnson)1411183632
8.  Northwestern (Kellogg)7342215
9.  Univ of Virginia (Darden)1316133124
10. Yale School of Management1524111627


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.