How MBAs Rate Their Business Schools

Incoming full-time MBA students bonding over team-building games. Courtesy photo

Incoming full-time MBA students bonding over team-building games. Courtesy photo


Looking for a touchy topic? Try culture and classmates. Let’s face it: Business school is about building relationships, networking and learning from each other. Who wants to point the finger at their peers as the problem?

Luckily, alumni and students extended relatively high scores in the combined area of culture and classmates. Here, the University of California-Berkeley (Haas) stood out, generating a 4.83, tying with Darden faculty for the highest score in any category. The roots of this, of course, are Haas’ intimate class sizes, highly selective admissions, and deeply inclusive heritage. Here, the school’s four core principles are more than a mantra. They are a means. And expectations like “Beyond Yourself”–putting the needs of your peers above your own–is one way to establish relative harmony.  And this formula has enabled students like Nikita Mitchell (’15), a member of P&Q’s best and brightest MBAs, to thrive. “I was…impressed by how well students knew their classmates and how easy it was for me to meet students with similar backgrounds and career interests. It was clear to me that, given such small class sizes, this was a place where people invested time to get to know one another.”

Darden (4.76) and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (4.75) also excelled when it came to culture and classmates. The survey also smashes certain stereotypes. Take Columbia Business School, sometimes caricatured as the prototype program for hyper-competitive Type-A personalities. Probably a bit antiquated, considering CBS MBAs gave their peers a 4.74, higher than more culturally kumbaya programs like Kellogg, Tuck, and Fuqua.