New Ranking Measures ROI At The Top 30 U.S. MBA Programs

MBA rankings

Where does your business school rank? A new tool developed by Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business measures the ROI of the top 30 MBA programs

It’s hard to get into a top business school. What applicants want to know more than almost anything else is whether all the effort is worth it.

Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business has developed a tool showing some of the answers they’re looking for. It calculates an MBA-salary-to-tuition ratio at the top 30 B-schools as ranked by U.S. News & World Report by comparing the median starting salary for the Class of 2022 and total out-of-state tuition/fees for two years of residential MBA study, with data sourced from the schools themselves.

(See the updated version of this story here.)

Using this tool, the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, tied for 29th in U.S. News‘ ranking, scores the highest salary-to-tuition ratio: 1.92. Class of 2022 graduates of the Warrington College’s Hough MBA made a median starting salary of $117,500 after paying out-of-state tuition of just over $60K. The Scheller College’s tool also includes the percentage of grads at each school who received job offers after three months; in Florida Warrington’s case, that’s 95%.


Next on the list is Georgia Tech Scheller itself, with a score of 1.62. Georgia Tech’s MBA Class of 2022 reported an average starting salary of $136,819 and tuition of $84,516. It also reported an incredible 100% job offer rate. Third on the list is the University of Washington Foster School of Business, where two years of tuition and fees come to $112,254 but starting MBA salary is more than $143K.

The top two schools in U.S. News‘ 2022 ranking, Chicago Booth School of Business and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, did not fare as well: Chicago Booth, with a score of 1.09, is 10th on the list, while Wharton is 19th with 1.04. Both boast MBA starting salaries of $175K, but both also have tuition of more than $160K.

In all, 25 of 32 schools offer an even ratio or better. The bottom three on the list: UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, ranked 19th last year by U.S. News, and two schools that tied for 29th: Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School and Texas-Dallas Jindal School of Management. See below for the full ranking.

Salary to Tuition Ratio U.S. News & World Report Ranking School Median Starting Salary (Class of 2022) Tuition and Fees (Out-of-State Total) % Received Offer
1.92 29 (Tie) University of Florida (Warrington) $117,550 $61,260 95.0%
1.62 28 Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller) $136,819* $84,516 100.0%
1.28 22 (Tie) University of Washington (Foster) $143,203 $112,254 99.0%
1.16 22 (Tie) Indiana University (Kelley) $130,000 $111,666 96.2%
1.15 14 University of Virginia (Darden) $175,000 $152,600 98.0%
1.12 10 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross) $165,000 $147,056 99.0%
1.11 18 University of Texas, Austin (McCombs) $129,854 $117,440 94.3%
1.11 03 (Tie) Stanford University $175,000 $157,146 93.0%
1.10 27 Rice University (Jones) $152,000* $138,000 89.9%§
1.09 01 (Tie) University of Chicago (Booth) $175,000 $161,051 96.8%
1.08 05 (Tie) Harvard University $175,000 $162,748 95.0%
1.08 21 Emory University (Goizueta) $165,000 $151,689 98.0%§
1.07 12 (Tie) Duke University (Fuqua) $160,055 $150,000 98.0%
1.07 29 (Tie) Arizona State University (W.P. Carey) $106,759† $99,883 96.0%§
1.06 11 Dartmouth College (Tuck) $175,000 $165,442 98.0%
1.05 19 (Tie) University of Southern California (Marshall) $150,314* $143,560 97.0%§
1.05 22 (Tie) Georgetown University (McDonough) $138,552* $131,344 96.0%
1.04 01 (Tie) University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) $175,000 $167,748 98.7%
1.03 08 (Tie) Columbia University $175,000 $169,150 95.0%
1.02 12 (Tie) New York University (Stern) $170,000 $166,330 94.1%
1.02 25 (Tie) Vanderbilt University (Owen) $139,711* $136,640 97.0%
1.02 25 (Tie) University of Notre Dame (Mendoza) $130,000 $126,880 96.0%
1.01 08 (Tie) University of California, Berkeley (Haas) $155,000 $152,866 93.8%
1.00 16 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) $148,067* $147,456 97.0%*
1.00 03 (Tie) Northwestern University (Kellogg) $165,000 $163,572 99.0%
0.99 05 (Tie) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) $165,000 $165,992 96.6%§
0.98 15 Cornell University (Johnson) $154,853* $157,418 97.0%
0.98 17 University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson) $145,000 $149,248 93.9%
0.97 7 Yale University $160,000 $165,400 95.7%
0.94 19 (Tie) University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flager) $133,517 $142,728 96.0%
0.86 29 (Tie) Washington University in St. Louis (Olin) $118,000‡ $136,800 95.0%
0.82 29 (Tie) The University of Texas at Dallas (Jindal) $106,000* $129,878 96.0%

* Median starting salary data not available, mean starting salary data is used
† Class of 2022 data not available, Class of 2021 data is used
‡ Median starting salary and Class of 2021 data is used
§ % received offer data not available, % accepted offer data is used 


The Scheller College’s ranking doesn’t take into account many important factors for applicants, such as scholarships, in-state residency, individual career goals, and crucially, acceptance rates for these leading programs. Like most quantitative lists, it also neglects the all-important “name” factor: that graduating from Stanford or Wharton or Harvard or Kellogg will open doors that might otherwise remain closed (or that have to be pried open by other means).

But the MBA-salary-to-tuition ratio tool can be a handy starting place for would-be applicants, showing that at least as far as salary goes, smaller programs can be just as beneficial to careers — or more so — as the Stanfords, Whartons, and Harvards of the world. A Scheller spokesperson says the B-school will update the tool when the new U.S. News ranking is released in mid-April.

“There are many factors that are important in making an MBA program decision,” Dave Deiters, associate dean of MBA programs and the Scheller College’s Jones MBA Career Center, tells Poets&Quants. “Some are subjective and personal, while others are more objective. The MBA-salary-to-tuition ratio provides a straightforward, quantitative snapshot for prospective students to use in comparing the financial value of various programs.”

See the Scheller MBA-salary-to-tuition ratio here.


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