Poets&Quants’ 2014 Top 100 MBA Programs In The U.S.

Stanford University's Graduate School of Business

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business


But at a time when one school after another is adding faculty and centers to support entrepreneurship, this was clearly Stanford’s year. With applications up 3.5% this past year, the school continues to boast the most highly selective MBA program in the U.S., accepting only 6.5% of its applicants. Stanford MBAs typically land among the highest first-year pay packages in the world. And MBA startups at Stanford have been at record levels in the past two years, making the school the place to incubate a business from scratch, search for capital from angel investors and VCs, and launch. This year, roughly 17% of the graduating MBAs—exactly 65 students—went the startup route. That’s about the same as last year when a record 18% chose to start new firms.

In fact, the startup mindset has become so dominant at the school that the dean of its MBA program now believes Stanford should try to somewhat discourage it. “From our standpoint, we don’t need to sell entrepreneurship here because we get it for free,” says Madhav Rajan, senior associate dean for academic affairs. He believes that the school’s location–in the heart of Silicon Valley–allows it to have a near hands-off approach to entrepreneurship because the startup bug strikes naturally given the surrounding ecosystem of angel investors, VC firms, and company founders.

“Students will automatically think Stanford is entrepreneurship,” he adds. “We don’t need to sell anybody on it. If anything, this is a trend we have to push against more than embrace. We have a completely different problem than anybody else. We don’t want to be the graduate school of entrepreneurship. We are a school of general management.”


Stanford’s latest incoming crop of MBAs is the largest class in the school’s history with record percentages of both female and international students. Out of a class of 410 newbies (vs. 406 last year), 42% are women, up six full percentage points from last year’s 36%, while 44% are from outside the U.S., up three percentage points from 41% last year. The international contingent at Stanford hails from 62 different countries, an all-time high. The average GMAT score for the class is also the highest of any U.S. business school yet again: 732.

The year’s single biggest improvement on the Top 100 was the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business, which rose 18 places to a rank of 43rd this year. Generally, dramatic rises or falls on the P&Q list are experienced by MBA programs that suddenly appear or disappear from one of the five major rankings. In Katz’s case, the school gained recognition this year from The Financial Times and Bloomberg Businessweek, surfacing this year when the school failed to make those lists previously. But Katz also gained ground at U.S. News, going from 61st to 52nd, and at The Economist, moving up from 47th to 43rd among U.S. programs.

Other big winners this year: Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management, up a dozen places to finish an impressive 31st; Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management, rising 14 spots to rank 69th; UT-Dallas’ Jindal School of Management, also up 14 places to finish 60th; and two University of California schools, UC-Davis’ Graduate School of Management and UC-San Diego’s Rady School of Management, both gaining 10 positions to rank 44th and 57th, respectively.


And the big losers? The school that did the longest swan dive of the year was Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business. Under interim dean Donna Rapaccioli, an accounting professor who has led the undergraduate program and who only got the graduate job in June of this year, Fordham plummeted 15 places to barely finish in the top 100 at a rank of 98. The school disappeared from Businessweek’s new list entirely after ranking 56th two years ago and also plunged 13 places in U.S. News‘ ranking to finish 93rd from 79 a year earlier.

Meantime, the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Business fell 14 places to a rank of 49th, while three other well-known schools each plunged 11 positions: Babson College went from 53rd to 64th, Thunderbird fell from 65th to 76th, and Syracuse University’s Whitman School dropped from 72nd to 83rd. Case Western University’s Weatherhead School of Management was the only other MBA program to drop in double digits, falling ten places to a rank of 62nd.

There also were a host of schools that fell off the list entirely this year. Those MBA programs typically were ranked in the fourth quartile of the Top 100 previously where their presence on our list may have resulted from gaining a ranking on only one of the five lists. Among the schools that disappeared this year: The University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Howard University, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Bentley, St. Louis University, the University of Oregon, the University of Kentucky, and Tulsa.

Climbing onto the list for either the first time or reappearing after last year’s absence were the University of Cincinnati at a rank of 69, Texas Tech (86), Florida International (89), the University of Kansas (90), the University of Houston (91), Rensselaer Polytechnic and Claremont (both tied at 93), Hofstra (97), the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of West Virginia (both tied for 98th place).

This year marks a slight change to the weighting in Poets&Quants’ ranking. Due to significant changes in the methodology at Businessweek, changes that have made that ranking less credible and authoritative, we have reduced its weight in our composite ranking. Instead of weighing Businessweek 25% as we have in the past, the magazine’s ranking is now valued at 15%. The additional ten percentage points was assigned to U.S. News’ ranking largely because it uses metrics–GMAT and GPA scores, acceptance rates, starting salary and bonuses, and job offers at graduation and three months later–that are clear and unbiased indicators of a program’s quality.

(See the following pages for our complete ranking of the Top 100 full-time MBA programs)


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