MBA Ranking: Business School Careers, Culture And Curriculum

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business. File photo


Such investments differentiate Michigan Ross and Duke Fuqua from their peers. Ross is an experiential learning pioneer best known for project-driven programming like their Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP). More than that, Ross is not content to rest on its laurels, continually adding new offerings to enrich classroom experience. This ongoing commitment helped Ross rank 4th in Classroom Experience (on top of being #1 for faculty) according to student respondents. For example, Ross launched its student-run Michigan Climate Venture in 2021, which enables MBAs to try their hand at impact investing. More recently, the school started a Business+Tech Initiative. It is designed to bolster students’ skill sets at the intersection of business and technology, says Brad Killay, the associate dean of the full-time MBA program, in a 2022 interview with P&Q.

“Along with hosting established annual events, such as the Datathon, FinTech Challenge, and SportsTech Conference, Business+Tech organized many new events and programs this year, including a +Tech Innovation Jam. There was also the +Tech Literacy Download at the beginning of October, which allowed students to develop their tech literacy skills from a selection of 25 sessions, covering everything from blockchain and artificial intelligence to cybersecurity and analytics, and digital branding and marketing.”

Duke Fuqua ranked 5th in Classroom Experience. The MBA program is grounded in a team-based, principle-driven “Team Fuqua” culture. More than that, Fuqua is committed to quickly bringing emerging trends into the classroom. This past year, this focus was extended to developing programming around CEOs speaking out on social issues, says Russ Morgan, Fuqua’s senior associate dean for full-time programs.

“We had one of the first professors to study the impact of CEO activism. Ronnie Chatterji, who started a course examining the intersection of business and politics. We’ve always believed in using business as force for good – so it was natural for us to lead in making sure we were developing leaders who could deliver on the public’s desire to improve the world through business. It’s been exciting to see the ripple effect of not only our graduates’ impact – but how we’ve been able to impact industry directly through efforts like The Dialogue Project, which is housed at Fuqua and aims to reduce polarization through business.”

Washington University's Olin School of Business

Washington University’s Olin School of Business


Aside from Best Professors, Michigan Ross also earned the highest scores from The Princeton Review for being Best Administered. You could call that a testament to Ross’ administrative team as a whole, who spent the past year transitioning to a new dean. Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Business also collected two first place finishes: Campus Environment and Family Friendliness. One advantage is Johnson’s Ithaca locale – a small, picturesque college town known for waterfalls and farmer’s markets as much as a vibrant restaurant and arts scene.

“Now that I have the opportunity to call Ithaca home for the next two years, I am thrilled to reconnect with the natural beauty of the lakes, gorges, and waterfalls dotting the Finger Lakes,” explains first-year Maria Claudia Rengifo Cabanillas in a 2022 interview with P&Q. “I can’t wait to explore and relax on the more than 240 miles of trails both on campus and throughout Tompkins County, New York. I also want to hike the Fall Creek and Cascadilla gorges that run through Cornell´s campus and complete my bucket list by kayaking, canoeing, and paddling on Cayuga Lake or Beebe Lake.”

Survey respondents also ranked New York’s Bard College as the Best Green MBA and Texas’ Acton School of Business as having the Most Competitive Students. Just two top tier MBA programs – Virginia Darden and Cornell Johnson – ranked among the ten-best for Green MBA. You’ll also find Darden MBAs among the 10 Most Competitive Students.

Some surprises among the student-only surveys? Vanderbilt Owen ranked 2nd in three categories: Best Professors, Administration, and Family Friendliness. That doesn’t count a 6th place finish for Campus Environment (along with placing 4th in Consulting). Washington University’s Olin School also enjoyed runner-up status for Administration and Family Friendliness.  At the same time, Duke Fuqua produced three Top 10 finishes in Administration, Campus Environment, and Family Friendliness, enabling the school to join Cornell Johnson and Vanderbilt Owen in that regard.

New York University’s Stern School of Business


The Princeton Review also ranks full-time programs on Career Prospects. Along with including pay and placement data from schools, Career Prospects integrates student survey responses involving alumni networking, company recruiting, and internships. In this measure, New York University’s Stern School outperformed the entire M7, including Stanford GSB (4th), Columbia Business School (9th), and Harvard Business School (10th). JP Eggers, the school’s vice dean, attributes this professional success to the school’s emphasis on EQ – or Emotional Quotient.

“EQ is core to Stern’s values; we screen for it, we stress it in our admissions process,” Eggers tells P&Q in a 2022 interview. “I can confirm that when I speak with employers (recruiters and hiring managers) and ask about what they see from our students that is different, this is 100% what they say – Stern MBAs are team-oriented, cooperative, fun to be around, different and unique, and possess high EQ. At the same time, Stern MBAs bring strong tech and quantitative skills to the table. Data analytics is part of Stern’s core curriculum and is built into so many classes throughout the MBA experience. In today’s global, tech-driven environment, it’s a cost of entry requirement for doing business.”

When it comes to entry, NYU Stern doesn’t even rank among the 10 Toughest For Admissions, according to The Princeton Review. The category is comprised of strictly school-reported inputs: GMAT and GRE scores, undergraduate GPAs, acceptance rates, and yield. Not surprisingly, this is where the M7 programs shine. Every school made the Top 10, starting with Stanford GSB and Harvard Business School at #1 and #2. When it comes to Resources For Minority Students, those same schools are the only M7 programs represented among the 10-Best. This measure combines student and faculty representation data with student assessments regarding culture and diversity. Overall, the top performers in Resources For Minorities tend to be smaller programs, headed by Howard University and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. A similar formula is applied by The Princeton Review to Resources For Women. The difference? No Top 10 MBA programs could muster a score among the ten-best in this category. Here, the University of Texas’ McCombs School set the pace, followed by the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School and Howard University.

Howard University School of Business


Like many rankings, The Princeton Review rankings are dogged by transparency. Namely, much of the underlying qualitative data is unavailable. That said, in each school profile, Princeton Review readers can find averages for the Academic Experience, Professors Interesting, and Professors Accessible questions. Plus, the school profiles include the Careers rating. That said, the numbers can be misleading. Take Academic Experience. #1 Stanford GSB achieves a perfect 99 average from student survey-takers. In contrast, Indiana Kelley, which is unranked in the Academic Experience category, achieves a 95.  The same is true of programs like Howard University (92), American University (91), and Babson College (91). In other words, despite running a 40-point scale between 60-99, there is minimal differention. Not only is the scale too wide where the tiers are hazy, but the student scores are clustering at the top.

On top of that, it is difficult to replicate The Princeton Review’s results. Mind you, the school profiles contain a trove of data that’s free with registration: admissions, pay and placement, financial aid, and costs. However, most of the 90 questions posed to students are missing. At the same time, the mishmash of three years’ worth of data means it is difficult to ascertain just how much schools improved over one year in students’ eyes. The surveys appear outdated too. After all, Technology, Healthcare, and Analytics are increasingly becoming staples in business school curriculum due to heavy demand in the marketplace. The Princeton Review could add real value to MBA applicants by adding them to the list of career fields surveyed.

Yes, The Princeton Review is stingier with survey data than the now-defunct Economist. However, its hands-off approach to rankings – allowing readers to pick-and-choose what’s important – is a refreshing take. It treats readers like adults while minimizing bias by removing artificially weighted formulas.

“Our goal, every year, has been to help applicants choose the MBA programs best for them This is why we collect a broad range of data to compile rankings in multiple categories,” adds Rob Franek, The Princeton Review’s Editor-In-Chief. “In our opinion, no b-school is #1 in all aspects, nor is any b-school ideal for all applicants. However, every MBA program—on-campus as well as online—that made our lists for 2023 offers outstanding academics, superb experiential components, and impressive career services.”

To see how your target schools rank in five different categories, click on the links below.






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