Wharton | Mr. Indian VC
GRE 333, GPA 3.61
MIT Sloan | Mr. Tech Enthusiast
GRE 325, GPA 6.61/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Midwest Dreamer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Young PM
GMAT 710, GPA 9.64/10
Foster School of Business | Ms. Diamond Dealer
GRE 308, GPA Merit
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Undergraduate GPA
GMAT 720 (Expected), GPA 2.49
Stanford GSB | Ms. Try Something New
GMAT 740, GPA 3.86
Darden | Mr. Military Missile Defense
GRE 317, GPA 3.26
Wharton | Mr. Army Bahasa
GRE 312, GPA 3.57
Harvard | Mr. Consulting To Public Service
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Strategy To Real Estate
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Standard Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. 1st Gen Brazilian LGBT
GMAT 720, GPA 3.2
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
NYU Stern | Mr. Customer Success
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Industrial Goods To MBB
GMAT 650, GPA 3.35
Stanford GSB | Mr. Family Biz From Chile
GMAT 710, GPA 5.5/7.0 (Ranked 6 out of 181 of class)
Tuck | Mr. Military Communications Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.45
Harvard | Dr. Harvard Biotech
GRE 322, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Global Connector
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
London Business School | Ms. Tech Researcher
GRE 331, GPA 3.17
Kellogg | Mr. Nigerian Engineer
GRE 310, GPA 3.5/5.0
Harvard | Ms. Indian Business Analyst
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. National Table Tennis
GMAT 720, GPA 4
INSEAD | Mr. Petroleum Engineer
GMAT 690, GPA 3.46
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Aspiring Consultant
GMAT 690, GPA 3.68

The Most ‘Popular’ B-Schools Among MBAs

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How do you measure an MBA program’s popularity? Do you look at the front end, with the volume of applications and the caliber of GMATs and undergrad GPAs? Or, do you focus on back-end metrics like starting salaries, placement rates, and recruiter opinions? Then again, there’s always a third way: ask graduates themselves for their opinions.

No doubt, all of these metrics are valid. When it comes to evaluating business schools, most applicants are asking themselves one question: “Will an MBA help me land the job I want in two years?”

It is basic human nature: Employers hire from schools where they’ve previously had success. According to a survey that was part of the Financial Times’ 2014 Global MBA Rankings, some graduates are more attractive than others. In the “Recommend” question, which accounts for 2% of a school’s overall ranking, alumni were asked for three schools where they’d recruit MBA graduates.

How The Financial Times Measures Popularity

Popular Vote

It is an intriguing premise, particularly when the sample is derived from “alumni who completed full-time MBAs in 2010.” In other words, they’ve had time to apply (and reflect on) their own education and to interact with graduates from other schools. In fact, this sample surely includes executives who’ll make hiring decisions in the coming years (if they haven’t already).

Bottom line: Their opinion matters.

The Financial Times’ survey includes 10,986 respondents from 153 schools and a 47% response rate. To be ranked, a school must have 20% of their target alumni fill out at least 20 complete surveys. The ranking includes two years of data, with a 60:40 weight given for 2014/2013 data and a 70:30 weight for 2014/2012 surveys. The data was collected in September and October of 2013.

Harvard Comes Out on Top (Again)

In the end, the survey measures a school’s global brand, reach, and final product. Here, Harvard Business School comes out on top, maintaining its No. 1 ranking on alumni recommendations from the previous year. That correlates with U.S. News & World Report’s recruiter rankings, which had Harvard tied with Wharton and Stanford as the top schools. Surprisingly, Harvard ranked No. 50 on the Financial Times’ aims achieved survey, possibly signaling that Harvard alum may not feel that their education helped them reach their goals.

Overall, the top 10 remained nearly identical from 2013 to 2014 when it comes to which schools B-school alumni would recommend. Stanford, Wharton, London Business School, and MIT Sloan rounded out the Financial Times’ top five (in that order). In fact, the only change came from INSEAD and Columbia University, which swapped the 7th and 8th spots, respectively.

American institutions comprised 19 of the 25 most recommended schools in 2014, with India boasting three schools. Among the top 100, the U.S. produced over half (51) of the recommended schools, followed by the United Kingdom (13), China (7), and Canada (5).