Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
Yale | Mr. Healthcare Geek
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Reform
GRE 331 (Practice), GPA 2.92
USC Marshall | Mr. Low GPA High GMAT
GMAT 740, GPA 2.44
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Against All Odds
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Hopeful
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Consulting Hopeful
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Wharton | Mr. Senior Analyst
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Stanford GSB | Ms. Access To Opportunities
GRE 318, GPA 2.9
Tuck | Mr. Product Marketer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Ms. Finance For Good
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
London Business School | Mr. Midwest Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.69
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Champion Swimmer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Mr. NFL Team Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Tech Auditor
GRE 332, GPA 3.25
NYU Stern | Mr. Washed-Up Athlete
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Southern California
GMAT 710, GPA 3.58
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)

2016 Poets&Quants’ MBA Ranking

top-100

For the sixth time in seven years, Harvard Business School is again atop the new Poets&Quants’ ranking of the best MBA experiences in the U.S. The new 2016 list of America’s best business schools has Stanford in second place, Chicago Booth in third, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management along with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in a tie for fourth.

It is also the sixth out of seven lists that the University of Chicago has bested the Wharton School since 2010. No less crucial, this year Booth beat Wharton in four of the five rankings that make up Poets&Quants’ composite list. U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and The Economist this year all ranked Booth ahead of Wharton. Only The Financial Times had Wharton over Booth.

As is typical on such lists, the further down you go, the more likely you are to see changes and surprises. That’s largely because the differences among school scores down the list tend to be smaller so changes in an MBA program’s rankings tend to loom larger. Just outside the Top 20, for instance, Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business gained five places to rank 23rd this year, up from 28th a year earlier. Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business edged up one place to finish 24th.

WHY THIS CAREFULLY WEIGHTED COMPOSITE LIST HAS GREATER CREDIBILITY

Usually, we publish a separate ranking of MBA programs outside the U.S. along side the American ranking. Bloomberg Businessweek‘s decision to delay its international ranking, however, requires that we delay our international ranking until after publication of Businessweek‘s list during the week of Dec. 5.

Unlike other rankings, the Poets&Quants composite list combines the latest five most influential business school rankings in the world: U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Financial Times, and The Economist. Instead of merely averaging the five, each ranking is separately weighted to account for our view of their authority. (U.S. News is given a weight of 35%, Forbes, 25%, while both the FT and Businessweek is given a 15% weight, and The Economist, 10% weight.)

Combining the five most influential rankings doesn’t eliminate the flaws in each system, but it does significantly diminish them. When an anomaly pops on one list due to either faulty survey technique or biased methodology, bringing all the data together tends to suppress it. So the composite index tones down the noise in each of these five surveys to get more directly at the real signal that is being sent.

A WEALTH OF IMPORTANT DATA IS REFLECTED IN THE P&Q RANKING

On P&Q’s lineup of the best U.S. MBA programs, all top ten schools in last year’s ranking, for example, remain in the top ten this year. In fact, every top 20 school retained its top 20 status in 2016. While there were some changes, they were slight: Columbia Business School fell three spots to rank ninth this year from sixth in 2015. Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business gained two places to rank seventh, while Kellogg edged ahead one place to rank fourth.

The upshot: The list is far more stable–and reliable–than most rankings published elsewhere, taking into account a massive wealth of quantitative and qualitative data captured in these major lists, from surveys of corporate recruiters, MBA graduates, deans and faculty publication records to median GPA and GMAT scores of entering students as well as the latest salary and employment statistics of alumni.

What’s more, users can see at one glance where their target schools fall across the spectrum of core rankings. And for the first time, we’re including year-over-year changes in each of the five lists that comprise our overall ranking (see this year’s ranking tables.) As a result, you can more clearly assess why a school moved up or down on the new 2016 list.

U.S. MBA PROGRAMS WITH BIGGEST YEAR-OVER-YEAR GAINS

SchoolGain2016 Rank2015 RankReason
Fordham (Gabelli)+168399Gained U.S. rank; improved BW standing
Connecticut-Storrs+106373Improved in BW & FT rankings
Brigham Young (Marriott)+93443Improved U.S. & BW rankings, added to FT list
Boston College (Carroll)+95059Improved in FT, added to BW
Pepperdine (Graziadio)+97281Gained U.S. News ranking

Source: P&Q analysis

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.