The Top 100 Business Schools, Ranked By Research

Two things are immediately clear when looking at the two major rankings of business schools based on the academic research they produce. In both the University of Texas-Dallas Jindal School of Management’s annual list, released earlier this month, and The Financial Times’ research ranking corollary to its annual Global MBA list, published in February, the United States is home to by far most of the leading research schools.

The second fact immediately evident in both rankings is that one U.S. business school is plainly the world’s leader in academic research. In the UT-Dallas ranking, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has been No. 1 since at least 2004, as far back as online archives are available; in the 2022 FT ranking, Wharton is a somewhat surprising second place, but only after ruling the roost for many years.

Any of the top 10 or 20 schools in these rankings could boast of multiple research centers and initiatives, but Wharton really does invest in academic research to an impressive degree. The Philadelphia school is home to more than 20 research centers and initiatives, in every subject from analytics to public policy to social impact, which serve as a hub for exchange and study between faculty, students, and members of the business community. Their work generates far more than white papers and the kind of dry academic output that no one ever reads — it leads to new courses, programs, and community outreach, as well as partnerships between academics, industry, and government, all in the service of addressing pressing global business challenges.

U.S. DOMINATES UT-DALLAS RANKING 

So it was no surprise when Wharton topped the latest UT-Dallas Top 100 Business Schools Research Rankings, released March 14. It was followed, in the second through fifth spots, by NYU Stern School of Business, Columbia University, Harvard Business School, and UT-Dallas itself.

The Jindal School’s ranking looks at a school’s number of publications in the five years from 2017 to 2021 (last year’s ranking was for 2016 to 2020, the ranking before that was for 2015 to 2019, etc.). In that span, Wharton had an incredible 380 articles published in one of 24 journals in major business disciplines — Journal of Finance, Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Marketing Research, etc. That’s up from 353 articles in the previous ranking released in 2021, and 323 in 2020. The No. 2 research school, NYU Stern, had 288 articles published from 2017 to 2021.

UT-Dallas actually publishes twin rankings, one for North America and the other worldwide. The top 11 schools in both are identical, and all are U.S. schools; in the latter, INSEAD is the first non-U.S. school, at 12th place. In the entire Worldwide Ranking, 66 schools, exactly two-thirds, are U.S. schools, including 22 of the top 25. The highest-ranked non-U.S. school in the North American ranking is the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management at No. 22. (See pages 2 and 3 for both UT-Dallas rankings.)

HOW B-SCHOOLS ARE GRADED

UT-Dallas provides a tool to study research articles published in the leading business journals; that database contains author information on all research published since 1990. A single-authored article gets the author’s affiliated school a score of 1; the ranking addresses the issue of shared authorship by giving each school a score of p/n, where p is the number of authors from the same school and there are a total of n authors on the article.

If an author lists multiple schools, each of the school that author is affiliated with gets a corresponding scaled score. For example, if one of the n authors lists m affiliations, each school that author is affiliated with gets a score of 1/nm.

In this way, Wharton achieved a score of 199.36 to lead all schools; the runner-up in both UT-Dallas rankings, NYU Stern, scored 127.73. INSEAD, the top European school in the Worldwide ranking, scored 95.24. The lowest-ranked school in North America, the University of Kansas School of Business, scored 13.69 with 38 published articles; in the Worldwide ranking, HEC Montreal scored 22.24 with 58 articles.

SMALL SCHOOLS HAVE ADVANTAGE IN FT RANKING

One long-standing problem with the UT-Dallas ranking is that it is not adjusted for the size of a school’s faculty; as a result, schools that have large faculties tend to perform much better. The Financial Times addresses the large-program-versus-small-program conundrum by combining “the absolute number of publications” — in this case, 50, more than double the number examined by UT-Dallas — “with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.” Result: Some small programs make surprising showings high in the ranking.

Wharton returned to FT‘s ranking this year after refusing to participate in the 2021 ranking, citing coronavirus. That allowed a much smaller program — Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis — to make a surprise showing at No. 1. This year, while Wharton’s return to the FT ranking was triumphant — it topped the overall ranking — the school was, for the first time since 2014, runner-up in the magazine’s research ranking, second to fellow M7 B-school Harvard. (Wharton had shared the research crown with Harvard in 2019, but returned to No. 1 in 2020.) After Harvard and Wharton come the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Columbia Business School, and the only European B-school in the top 30, INSEAD.

Washington Olin is not the only small school to benefit from FT’s methodology in ranking B-schools by research. This year, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business ranked seventh overall, showing that its No. 8 ranking last year when Wharton and other bigwigs boycotted the ranking was no fluke; in FT’s 2020 ranking, Kelley was 15th. Other notables: UT-Dallas was 10th, the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management was 11th, and Washington Olin was 12th — one spot over NYU Stern, which was the second overall school in the UT-Dallas ranking.

See pages 2 and 3 for the 100-school UT-Dallas North American and Worldwide rankings, and page 4 for 100 top research schools as ranked by The Financial Times.

AND DON’T MISS RANKING THE TOP SCHOOLS BY ACADEMIC RESEARCH (2019) and WHARTON RETURNS TO A FAMILIAR PLACE IN THE 2022 FINANCIAL TIMES RANKING

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