Wharton is US News’ Top Grad School

The Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia

HOW U.S. NEWS RANKS FULL-TIME MBA PROGRAMS

Though the U.S. News ranking fails to assess schools outside the U.S., it is arguably the most watched and followed of all the MBA rankings. The magazine puts a 2020 date on the ranking, even though it is coming out in 2019 and based on 2018 data. That’s largely because of the use of quantitative data on admissions and career outcomes. The methodology takes into account a wealth of proprietary and school-supplied data to crank out its annual ranking of the best full-time MBA programs. This year, U.S. News said it surveyed all 475 MBA programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International in the U.S. in the fall of 2018 and early 2019. A total of 367 responded, with 131 providing enough information to be assessed for a ranking.

The magazine does its own peer assessment survey of B-school deans and MBA directors (25% of the score), though U.S. News failed to report the response rate or the number of responses it received to this survey. The highest scores achieved in this survey was a 4.9 on a five-point scale, with Harvard and Stanford gaining the top 4.9 scores. It also does its own survey of corporate recruiters (accounting for 15% of the overall ranking). U.S. News said it averaged the recruiter scores over the past three years for the ranking.

Other metrics included in the ranking are starting salaries and bonuses (14%), employment rates at and three months after graduation (7% and 14%, respectively), student GMATs and GREs scores (about 16%), undergrad GPAs (about 8%), and the percentage of applicants who are accepted to a school (a little over 1%). This year for the first time, U.S. News included analytical writing scores as part of the methodology. For the second consecutive year, MBA programs that reported that less than 50 percent of their full-time fall 2018 entering students submitted average GMAT scores and average GRE quantitative, verbal and analytical scores received less credit for those test scores in the rankings.

TOP SCHOOLS IN SPECIALTY RANKINGS

In addition to the overall MBA ranking, U.S. News also publishes specialty rankings for business schools on such common disciplines as finance, accounting, and marketing. These lists are based solely on the magazine’s peer assessment surveys to business school deans and MBA directors. Each respondent is asked to nominate up to 15 programs for excellence in each listed specialty. The schools receiving the most votes in each discipline are then numerically ranked by U.S. News. A school must receive and least seven nominations to make each list.

In accounting, UT-Austin came in first, followed by the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Wharton, Brigham Young and the University of Michigan.

The top five in finance are Wharton, Chicago Booth, NYU Stern, Columbia Business School, and MIT. Those powerhouse finance departments were followed by No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Harvard, UC-Berkeley and Michigan, both tied in eighth place, and No. 10 UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

TOP MBA PROGRAM FOR MANAGEMENT: HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL

U.S. News’ ranking for excellence in management puts Harvard at the top, followed by Stanford, Kellogg, with the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, both tied in fourth place. Rounding out the top ten are No. 6 Dartmouth and Wharton, No. 8 Berkeley, No. 9 Duke Fuqua, and No. 10 Columbia.

Northwestern’s Kellogg School topped the MBAs for students interested in marketing. After Kellogg, there was a three-way tie for second place among Michigan, Duke, and Wharton. Columbia came in fifth, while Stanford and Harvard were tied for sixth, and Berkeley and Chicago Booth were tied for ninth place.

For international business, the University of South Carolina’s Moore School came in first. Harvard, NYU, Wharton, and Georgetown completed the top five of this U.S.-centric list. One revealing surprise here: The one U.S. business school that has made substantial efforts to globalize itself, Yale University’s School of Management, came in 12th, below St. Louis University, George Washington, and Florida International University. Those results go to show that the specialty rankings have limited value and remind users to treat this and all rankings with a very big grain of salt.

(See following pages for the full ranking and how it compares with previous years)

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.