Financial Times 2024 MBA Ranking: Wharton Returns To The Top, Harvard & Stanford Plunge To New Lows

Financial Times 2024 MBA ranking

Wharton recaptures first in the Financial Times 2024 global MBA ranking

After embarrassingly falling out of last year’s Financial Times MBA ranking, the Wharton School returned with a vengeance, soaring back to take first place in the 2024 Financial Times MBA ranking. But the biggest surprise this year is the mediocre standing of Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business in this global ranking.

Harvard plunged seven places to rank 11th, while Stanford took a complete nose dive, dropping 19 places to rank 23rd. It’s the lowest rank either school has ever experienced in the FT ranking over its 26 years of existence. Only five years ago, the FT declared Stanford’s MBA program the best in the world. A mere four years ago, Harvard Business School held that distinction. While little has changed in the quality of these schools or their MBA programs over those years, they now find themselves as also-rans in this ranking.

The falloff for both Harvard and Stanford is largely due to declines in many of the 21 different metrics the newspaper uses to rank MBA programs. Stanford, for example, saw drops in academic research, post-MBA salary increases for alums, a “value for money” calculation, the school’s carbon footprint and its devotion to ESG issues, along with drops in the international mobility of its graduates, and the international course content. Stanford’s scores on the FT’s carbon footprint metric (ranked 61st) and its devotion to ESG issues (ranked 94th) were shockingly low compared to rivals, according to the FT.

Though Stanford alums still earn more than any other MBAs, the gap between Stanford and the school with the next highest salaries, Harvard, has narrowed to about $4k from more than $12K last year. Stanford alums three years out earn an average salary of $250,650 vs. the $246,509 of a Harvard grad. But Stanford also has the best alumni network, according to the FT data, followed by Tuck and Cornell. USC is 10 and Notre Dame is fourth. Last year, Stanford was third and Cornell was first.

Stanford may also have fallen victim to a statistical glitch. The FT says that the school failed to provide data on the percentage of faculty with an international background, a metric that accounts for 3% of the ranking. As a result, the score given to Stanford for this category was a zero. Last year, however, the FT reported that 45% of the school’s professors qualified as international.

Top Ten In Financial Times’ 2024 Global MBA Ranking

Rank & School Y-O-Y Change Alumni Salary Post-MBA Salary Increase Value Rank
1. Pennsylvania (Wharton) NR $247,875 121% 95
2. INSEAD ——– $202,294 110% 23
3. Columbia -2 $232,756 127% 76
3. SDA Bocconi +3 $202,534 135% 5
5. IESE -2 $187,667 139% 97
6. Northwestern (Kellogg) +3 $220,178 125% 88
6. MIT (Sloan) +5 $229,639 130% 77
8. London Business School +8 $196,169 108 99
9. Cornell (Johnson) -1 $197,906 150% 72
10. Chicago (Booth) +1 $230,621 126% 89


Wharton, which was tossed out of last year’s ranking after failing to meet the newspaper’s minimum response for its surveys to MBA alumni, came roaring back. The school’s 2024 first-place finish is the 12th time Wharton has topped the ranking, more than any other school (see table below).

Prospective students should take all of this with a very large grain of salt, however, because one metric that is arguably the single most important — the overall satisfaction in the MBA program from graduates — is measured but not accounted for in the ranking. Yet, Stanford can boast the highest alumni satisfaction of any of the Top 100 schools ranked by the FT — a 9.98 on a 10.0 scale. Not surprisingly, Harvard also scored highly on this measure with a 9.69, seventh highest in the ranking.

The new ranking puts three European business schools — INSEAD, Italy’s SDA Bocconi, and Spain’s IESE Business School — in the top five full-time MBA programs. Following Wharton is No. 2 INSEAD, then Columbia Business School and Bocconi are both tied for third place, while IESE took fifth. Rounding out the Top Ten schools are Northwestern’s Kellogg School and MIT Sloan, tied for sixth place, No. 8 London Business School, No. 9 Cornell, and No. 10 Chicago Booth.


Counterintuitive outcomes can be found up and down the ranking. With Cornell’s full-time MBA ranked ninth, it beats out not only Harvard and Stanford but also Booth, Berkeley Haas, the Yale School of Management, and Duke Fuqua. Haas slumped by 12 places this year to rank 19th, two spots below ESADE and just ahead of IE Business School in Spain. These and other results will have many deans scratching their heads.

“When you look at the 2024 results, you wonder whether this is the enlightened future of assessing the world’s best MBA programs, or names drawn from a hat,” quips Matt Symonds, co-founder of Fortuna Admissions, a leading MBA admissions consultant. “Everyone will remember the 2024 FT MBA rankings results – even those schools that wish to forget them!Avant-garde, or crazy? Ground-breaking or fatally flawed? The shifts in the FT Top 10 this year are so startling that they make the 2023 MBA ranking, which already had some big surprises, seem like a footnote.”

The biggest Top Ten shift? MIT Sloan and London Business School zoomed back into the Top 10. MIT moved up five spots for gain its tie with Kellogg, while London rose eight places from 16th to rank eighth. Kellogg widened the gap between its MBA program and Chicago Booth, coming in four places ahead, even though Booth creeped back into the Top 10 by rising one spot to tenth from 11th. And how many applicants would turn down Harvard, Stanford or London to go to higher ranked Bocconi which now sits at its highest FT rank ever in third place? Only five years ago in 2019, Bocconi’s MBA placed 31st in this ranking.

Wharton’s No. 1 status is the result of strong performance across the metrics used by the FT. The school ranked first in faculty research, measured by recent faculty publications in leading academic and practitioner journals, followed by the University of Chicago: Booth, Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School. Wharton’s alumni reported the third-highest average weighted salaries at $245,772, adjusted for those working in different sectors and for international purchasing power parity, three years after completing their courses.


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