How Executives Rank The World’s Best Business Schools In 2024

London calling: Hoist the Union Jack! LDN is home to the world’s top business school.

That’s the headline from CEOWORLD’s “Best Business Schools In The World” ranking, which was released on February 26th. After being runner-up to the Wharton School in 2023, the London Business School grabbed the top spot in 2024. The Wharton School slipped to 2nd, elbowing out Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, and Columbia Business School among Top 5.

Like The Financial Times, CEOWORLD is a true global ranking that compares American and international business programs side-by-side. Sure enough, you’ll find six international programs among the Top 20 – four from the United Kingdom alone. You can’t say CEOWORLD didn’t invest the sweat equity into this ranking. After all, it was compiled using responses from 250,000 respondents across 156 countries. To put that number into context, The Financial Times surveyed 6,330 alumni as part of their February ranking. In the 2022-2023 Bloomberg Businessweek ranking – which ranks American and international programs separately – the results were derived from 6,422 students, 11,304 alumni, and 778 employers.


According to CEOWORLD, survey respondents included “business executives, graduates, global business influencers, industry professionals, business school academics, employers, and recruiters.” The surveys were conducted confidentially from September 15, 2023 through December 22, 2023. 82% of the surveys were completed online, with 10% coming over the phone and 8% happening by “post or face-to-face.”

To evaluate business schools, respondents used a point scale that ran from 1 (Marginal) to 100 (Outstanding). CEOWORLD supplemented these survey results with publicly-available information. From there, the scale was applied to seven metrics (with their sum producing an overall index score):

1) Academic Reputation
2) Admission Eligibility
3) Job Placement Rate
4) Recruiter Feedback
5) Specialization
6) Global Reputation and Influence
7) Annual Tuition and Fees

Last year, Poets&Quants hammered the CEOWORLD ranking for failing to disclose any underlying data beyond a school ranking. This year, CEOWORLD rectified this lack of transparency…to an extent. Along with a ranking, it provided an index score in five dimensions (plus an overall index score):

1) Weighted Salary
2) Learning and Research
3) Alumni Network
4) Entrepreneurship
5) Career Progress

As a result, readers can now compare business school scores in these areas. To an extent, the overall index scores enable them to gauge the distance separating programs. On the negative side, the data furnished doesn’t align with the actual seven metrics. For example, Learning and Research is a rather nebulous term: Does it fall under Academic Reputation, Recruiter Feedback, or Specialization metric (or a combination)? Bottom line: it is difficult to ascertain exactly why one program is ranked higher than another since readers cannot access the specific scores for the real metrics. Even more, CEOWORLD fails to define these metrics, neither narrowing down what these terms mean nor outlining exactly what they measure.

Outside London Business School’s Sussex Place Building. Copyright Richard Moran


Aside from the ranking’s global nature and sheer sample size, CEOWORLD offers several unique benefits. Topping the list, the ranking shows how leaders at the upper echelons of their companies view particular business schools. This can be an indicator of worth and opportunities available to graduates at these school. There also aren’t any ties in the ranking, one of the curses inherent to the American-centric U.S. News & World Report MBA Ranking. In addition, you won’t find the ‘roller-coaster’ shifts with CEOWORLD that ultimately heralded The Economist ranking’s demise. Among last year’s Top 10, none retained the same spot. However, most either gained or lost one spot. The biggest changes involved Northwestern Kellogg and INSEAD, which moved from 15th to 10th and 8th to 13th respectively. Cambridge Judge lost three spots (11th to 14th), while Virginia Darden gained the same amount (23rd to 20th). By the same token, Duke Fuqua vaulted into the Top 20 (22nd to 16th), taking the place of UCLA Anderson (17th to 21st).

That said, several Top 50 programs lost ground in the 2024 CEOWORLD Business School Ranking. Dartmouth Tuck tumbled eight spots to 26th, as did Mannheim Business School (28th to 36th). At the same time, three big name programs each plunged 11 places: North Carolina Kenan-Flagler (19th to 30th), USC Marshall (30th to 41st), and IIM Ahmedabad (31st to 42nd)

IESE Business School also plummeted 14 spots to 43rd. The program represents how CEOWORLD deviates from conventional wisdom at times. In the 2024 Financial Times ranking – a comparable global ranking – IESE finished 5th (after reaching 3rd in 2023). Another example is SDA Bocconi, which is ranked 86th by CEOWORLD. That is far lower than Bloomberg Businessweek, where it holds the #1 spot among European business schools, and The Financial Times, where it ranks 3rd in the world. CEOWORLD also carries a strong affinity for Alliance Manchester Business School (12th) and IIM Calcutta (40th), which stand above their FT rankings (46th and 67th respectively).

Stanford MBA students outside class. GSB photo


It isn’t just school rankings where there are discrepancies. Case in point: Weighted Salary, where the London Business School outranks the Stanford Graduate School of Business. While Weighted Salary isn’t defined by CEOWORLD, The Financial Times sets clear parameters: “Average alumni salary three years after completion (of MBA).” In The Financial Times, Stanford GSB dominates LBS by a $250,650-to-$192,331 margin. When it comes to starting MBA pay, the difference is equally stark. Among the Class of 2023 full-time MBA graduates, for example, the mean base as $189,010, over $69,000 higher than their London Business School counterparts.

Alas, that isn’t the only questions brought out by the CEOWORLD approach to ranking business schools. Certainly, a 100-point scale raises concern. Notably, what is the difference between a 50 and a 60 or a 70 and an 80? Even more, could one survey respondent’s 92 be another’s 82 since CEOWORLD hasn’t supplied strict guidelines (to P&Q’s knowledge)? CEOWORLD also doesn’t provide weights to the seven metrics. Does that mean they are each one is worth 14.29% of the ranking or are some metrics worth more than others? Again, this is undefined. Another biggie: Does this ranking apply exclusively to full-time programs or could it include undergraduate, online, executive, part-time, and even Master’s degree populations? While the ranking is branded as “Best Business Schools”, it includes (at minimum) four programs without a brick-and-mortar, full-time MBA component: Penn State Smeal, Purdue Daniels, Illinois Gies, and Iowa Tippie.

The survey sample also invites skepticism. As noted earlier, CEOWORLD defines itself as the website for c-suite leaders ranging from CEOs to high-worth individuals worldwide. Question is, what types of experience do these leaders have with these business schools? Are they alumni or board members of these institutions? Do their scores reflect their experiences with c-suite peers or high potentials from these schools? What types of day-to-day experience do they have with these business schools, particularly their current curriculum, faculty, students, and leaders? In other words, how wide, deep, and current are these relationships been – and could they be lagging indicators colored by limited experience and institutional reputation? Fair or not, some opinions are worth more than others and should be weighed accordingly. That piece is clearly missing in this year’s ranking.

The index scores supplied by CEOWORLD are equally concerning. For one, London Business School produced the highest index scores in all five dimensions shared by CEOWORLD: Weighted Salary, Learning and Research, Alumni Network, Entrepreneurship, and Career Progress. That wouldn’t necessarily raise eyebrows except for the fact that Wharton ranked 2nd across all of these dimensions. Coincidence? Well, the Wharton School is known for across-the-board excellence. Strangely enough, 3rd-ranked Harvard Business School posted scores slightly below the Wharton School across the five dimensions, each good for 3rd-place in each dimension. This pattern – where a school’s overall ranking corresponds to their ranking in each of these five dimensions – repeats itself all the way down through 169th-ranked Dubai Business School. In other words, there isn’t a normal variation, where Stanford GSB might rank 1st in Weighted Salary and Alumni Network, but perhaps 4th in Entrepreneurship. Even if these five dimensions aren’t necessarily the numbers driving the ranking, they create doubt.

Go to next page to see where CEOWORLD ranks your favorite schools. 

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