Poets&Quants 2022-2023 MBA Ranking: A Surprising Change At The Top

MBA ranking

Dean Erika James led Wharton to a No. 1 finish in this year’s Poets&Quants composite MBA ranking


The overall Poets&Quants list takes 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 fifth year in a row, we’re including year-over-year changes in each of the five lists that comprise our overall ranking. As a result, you can more clearly assess why a school moved up or down on the new 2022-2023 list of U.S. MBA programs. A separate ranking for international MBA programs will be published in the next week.

There were some big winners in this year’s ranking. Topping them all with a gain of 23 places was the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business. The school’s full-time MBA program improved to rank 73rd this year from 96th in 2021 thanks to better rankings from U.S. News and Forbes as well as a new ranking from the Financial Times which hadn’t ranked the school’s MBA program in the past. Also showing something of a comeback was the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business in Winter Park, FL, which gained 22 spots to rank 78th from 100th last year.

On the other hand, three schools on this year's list each fell by 19 places--the biggest drops of the year: UC-San Diego's Rady School of Management declined to 90th from 71st; St. Louis University's Chaifetz School of Business fell to 96th from 77th, and Clemson University's Powers College of Business dropped to 98th from 79th (see below table). In all, 10 MBA programs plunged by double-digits this year, more than double the four that declined by that much in 2021. The reason? The return of the big brand business schools to some rankings after they withdrew during the height of the pandemic. Their return pushed down in the ranking several second-tier MBA programs.


The Wharton School's return to No. 1 status reflects improved rankings from the Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek and The Economist. Wharton ranked first on both the U.S. News and Financial Times lists, arguably the most followed and watched MBA rankings in the world. Its major rivals for the best MBA students didn't do nearly as well. Stanford ranked third in U.S. News and fifth in the FT, while Harvard Business School placed fifth in U.S. News and third in the Financial Times.

In welcoming this year's newest cohort of MBA students, Wharton was able to accomplish what none of its peers have done: It achieved gender parity for the second year running, with 50% of the Class of 2024 made up of women and 52% of the Class of 2023. Wharton is the only M7 school to achieve gender parity in a full-time, residential MBA class. No other school in the top 15 has enrolled 50% or more women in their MBA classes.

Not surprisingly, Wharton's head of admissions, Blair Mannix, has been chosen as the MBA Admissions Director of the Year. It is an especially major achievement because Wharton’s yield rate–the percentage of admits who enroll in the program–falls significantly below that of Stanford and Harvard, the school’s biggest rivals for talent. At Stanford, 94% of applicants invited to enroll do so. At Harvard, it’s roughly 83%, while at Wharton the yield rate is 67%.


The school also has been on top of several of the major trends in business education, investing in the next big thing from analytics and fintech to entrepreneurship, sustainability, and diversity. Wharton just started new majors in Environmental, Social and Governance Factors for Business and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and is encouraging faculty to develop new coursework in those areas. The announcement provoked The Daily Mail to call Wharton's MBA "America's wokest degree," but the new majors reflect the higher interest in these domains by students and by employers. In addition, the increased emphasis on business analytics among employers of MBA grads plays to Wharton's strength as a long-time data-driven business school.

Dean Erika James, recruited in 2020 from Emory University's Goizueta School of Business where she was dean for six years, has given Wharton a higher profile. As the first woman and African American to lead the school in its 141 years, she arrived with a splash, getting a network TV appearance on Good Morning America. Wharton is as close as it gets to having a celebrity as a business school dean.

If you asked business school deans and MBA directors which program blueprint they’d follow, most would put the Wharton School near the top. For one, the program epitomizes all-around excellence. When these deans and director were surveyed by U.S. News earlier this year, they ranked Wharton as the top MBA program for Finance and Real Estate – and #2 for Marketing, Accounting, and Business Analytics. And the school notched some of the highest scores from academics in areas like Entrepreneurship, International Business, Management, Operations, and Information Systems.

Entrepreneurship is one area where Wharton has invested heavily in recent years. Most recently, the school opened Tangen Hall, a 68,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art hub that houses Penn’s startup and innovation communities. It includes every advantage imaginable: 3D Printers, Maker Studios, Digital Media Lab, Design Studios, Retail Lab, and Innovation Spaces. Earlier this year, Wharton received a $10 million dollar gift from alum Richard Perlman to beef up programming in Wharton’s Venture Lab, including fellowships, curriculum development, workshops, and expert-in-residence support. Call it a play-to-your-strengths strategy, with Wharton building on the successes of student entrepreneurs who launched game-changing enterprises like Warby Parker and Harry’s.

All in all, it's not surprising that Wharton is number one.

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