Columbia | Mr. Worker Bee
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56
Yale | Mr. Environmental Sustainability
GRE 326, GPA 3.733
Wharton | Ms. Ultimate Frisbee
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Tuck | Mr. Recreational Pilot
GRE 326, GPA 3.99
MIT Sloan | Mr. Semiconductor Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.68
Kellogg | Mr. Sales Engineer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.00
Yale | Mr. Project Management
GRE 310, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Ms. JMZ
GMAT 750, GPA 3.47
Harvard | Mr. Renewable Energy Investing
GMAT 740, GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Kellogg | Mr. Boutique Consultant
GMAT 760, GPA 3.67
INSEAD | Ms. Startup Enthusiast
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Food & Beverage
GMAT 720, GPA 3.75
INSEAD | Ms. Humble Auditor
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56
Harvard | Mr. Markets Guy
GMAT 760, GPA 3.62
Kellogg | Mr. Hope-I-Get-In
GMAT 720, GPA 3.62
Yale | Mr. AI & Fitness
GMAT 720, GPA 3.88
Stanford GSB | Just Jim
GRE 335, GPA 3.99
Harvard | Mr. RIPKobe
GMAT 750, GPA 3.87
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Journalist
GMAT 690, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. Andrew
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Clean Tech
GMAT 690, GPA 3.96
Chicago Booth | Mr. Masters To MBA
GMAT 730, GPA 3.9
NYU Stern | Mr. Long Shot
GRE 303, GPA 2.75
Kellogg | Ms. Kellogg Bound Ideator
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Harvard | Mr. Amazon Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2

How Duke Achieved Its No. 1 Businessweek Ranking


Consider the real facts, not an embarrassingly biased survey of recruiters or an oddball attempt to rank the intellectual capital of the faculty. Harvard Business School is more than twice as selective as Fuqua, accepting 12% of its applicants vs. 25% at Duke. Just about half (51% to be exact) of the applicants who are invited to attend Fuqua turn the school down. That companies with one out of ten accepted candidates at HBS who say no (the highest yield of any business school in the U.S.). The average GMAT of an incoming MBA student at Harvard is 727, a full 30 points above the 697 average at Duke. Employers, moreover, willingly pay Harvard MBAs significantly more than they do those at Duke: an average $127,236 this year, versus $114,109.

Harvard beats Duke on applicants, acceptance rate, yield, GMAT and GPA scores, and starting salaries—all important and telling quality metrics not measured by Businessweek in its ranking. In fact, many of the schools ranked well below Duke have more impressive stats.

One obvious question: How come Duke benefitted from alumni recruiter votes and Harvard didn’t? While Duke did better than five times its historical average in the Businessweek employer survey, a 2 ranking vs. a 10.2 average, Harvard did more than twice as poorly, a seven against a 3.2 average in the past 26 years. How to explain that difference, especially when employers agree to pay Harvard MBAs more money?


One potential reason is HBS envy. Many of the alumni votes in this quirky election, after all, had been rejected by Harvard when they applied to business schools. Here was a chance to give some recognition to not only their alma maters but also to other HBS rivals. And Harvard alums were, in all likelihood, less willing to complete a survey—because they are confident enough in their own school and degree and don’t need additional recognition.

In contrast, as Businessweek pointed out, “Fuqua students got high marks from recruiters, particularly those from companies that hire large numbers of MBAs, and these were given additional weight in the ranking. In our survey, recruiters noted that Fuqua students are exceptionally good at working collaboratively…Students echoed the theme: The word “team” and its variants appeared 73 times in the 200 survey responses we received from Duke students, including one that read ‘Learning how to effectively work in a team has been priceless.’”

And, no doubt, this new No. 1 ranking will be priceless, too. Expect applicant volume to soar at Fuqua over the next year–until Businessweek comes out with its next ranking and yet another school finds itself on top.

Bloomberg Businessweek STUDENT Rankings From 2014 to 1996


2014 Rank & School’12’10’08’06’04’02’00’98’96
  1. Maryland (Smith)633282224152523NA
  2. Indiana (Kelley)1269211823202517
  3. UCLA (Anderson)21171815107612
  4. UC-Berkeley (Haas)10487131014146
  5. Cornell (Johnson)281514828420
  6. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)181917181718111714
  7. Yale SOM19181913218221122
  8. Southern California (Marshall)259251923161918NA
  9. Dartmouth (Tuck)4141112641277
10. Michigan (Ross)14161010913533
11. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)312202019221355
12. Brigham Young (Marriott)363127NANANANANANA
13. MIT (Sloan)935541171913
14. Emory (Goizueta)29221617201926NANA
15. Chicago (Booth)112115324923
16. Georgetown (McDonough)27232623263227NANA
17. Stanford GSB87231515811
18. Penn (Wharton)161134312324
19. Virginia (Darden)51146762151
20. Columbia Business School20107161517172116
21. Northwestern (Kellogg)1366221168
22. Duke (Fuqua)2215139129101010
23. NYU (Stern)72012111420162021
24, Georgia Tech (Scheller)232531NANANA39NANA
25. Harvard Business School1254811144139

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek rankings


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.