Stanford & Wharton Tie For First In U.S. News 2024 MBA Ranking

Stanford Graduate School of Business and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School share top honors in the 2024 U.S. News ranking of the best full-time MBA programs in the U.S.

The new updated list has the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, which topped last year’s ranking, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management tied in the No. 3 spot. MIT’s Sloan School of Management took fifth place.

But while Stanford rose five places from sixth last year to first place, its East Coast rival Harvard Business School continued to slump, slipping another position to rank sixth from fifth. What happened to the other schools that float in and out of the Top Ten. All three of them—Columbia, Duke Fuqua, and Michigan Ross—fell into a three-way tie for 12th place, perched into a place where re-entry is possible if not likely in future rankings.


U.S. News acknowledged that a change in the methodology–assessing post-graduate salaries by profession–is responsible for some rank changes. “Schools may have improved or declined a bit in this edition’s ranking depending on how well their graduates’ salaries, especially when controlling for profession, compared with the graduates of other schools.”

The change in what is a U.S.-centric ranking won praise from some deans. “The change in the U.S. News methodology, with less emphasis on starting salary upon graduation, is a positive step,” says Ann Harrison, dean of UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business which rose four places to finish seventh in a three-way tie with Yale School of Management and NYU Stern. Haas ranked fifth on this new measure, though its average salary and bonus was the lowest of any Top Ten MBA program at $188,343.

But the dean makes a compelling point about this new metric. “After all,” added Harrison, “business school graduates take jobs in a variety of industries, which logically means a variety of pay scales.This is true for Haas, as well, where graduates prioritize where they can learn the most and make the biggest impact, whether that is in consulting, product management, fintech, or by founding a new company. I applaud U.S. News for taking into account the reality of the wealth of opportunities for a b-school graduate and comparing apples to apples across all the schools it surveys.”


Among the Top 25 MBA programs, Vanderbilt University’s MBA made the biggest gain, rising seven places to rank 20th. Three schools rose four places. In addition to Haas, UVA Darden moved up to tenth place from 14th, while the University of Texas’ McCombs School went to 16th from 20th.

Two of the Top 25 MBAs lost ground by four spots. Dartmouth Tuck slipped to tenth place from sixth last year, while Michigan Ross declined to 12th from eighth place.

Those year-over-year changes were nothing compared to some of the big roller-coaster ups and downs. The full-time MBA program at the University of Pittsburgh soared 39 places to rank 47th this year from 86th last year; American University’s Kogod School of Business climbed 37 spots to finish 85th, a massive improvement from its rank of 122 in 2023. And Lehigh University’s MBA gained 32 places to rank 66th from 98th.


On the down side, the MBA program at Brandeis University fell out of the Top 100, diving 27 places to finish 107. Boise State University also slipped out of the Top 100, falling 21 places to tie Brandeis at 107. The University of Denver and Stevens Institute of Technology both fell 19 spots to rank 87th and 72nd, respectively.

Obviously, changes of that magnitude in a 12-month period do little for U.S. News‘ credibility because the quality of these programs is relatively stable. In fact, 27 of the MBA programs ranked in the Top 100 had double-digit changes from last year.

It may confound many to see Harvard Business School drop to sixth place, still behind MIT Sloan among others, yet the school’s average starting pay and bonus for grads actually shrunk by nearly $5K while places like Booth and Kellogg rose by $10K on average.


The average salary and sign-on bonus for Harvard MBA grads last year was below $200,000 at exactly $193,201 (see table below). Six Top 10 schools boast average pay of more than $200,000, including leader Stanford at $209,680. Harvard also trailed in placement stats, with only 84.2% of its grads landing a job three months after graduation, well below Top 10 leader UVA Darden with a 95.6% placement rate.

Among the Top 10 schools, the lowest admit rate for applicants was again Stanford, which accepted 8.4% of its candidates, followed by Harvard Business School (13.2%) and MIT Sloan (17.8%). The highest acceptance rate for a Top 10 school was at Dartmouth Tuck, which admitted 40.1% of its applicants, up from 33.4% a year earlier.

The highest median GMATs for the latest enrolled class of MBAs were reported by Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Harvard, and UC Berkeley at 740. The lowest? The 710 at UVA Darden. Stanford and Harvard also led in posting the highest undergraduate GPAs for its newest classes: 3.8. The lowest GPA in the Top 10? Dartmouth Tuck at 3.5.

The Top Ten MBA Programs In U.S. News 2024 Ranking

Rank & School Salary & Bonus Placement Rate* Admit Rate Median GMAT Median GPA
1. Stanford $209,680 82.8% 8.4% 740 3.8
1. Pennsylvania (Wharton) $201,296 94.2% 24.8% 740 3.7
3. Chicago (Booth) $204,197 95.0% 32.6% 730 3.6
3. Northwestern (Kellogg) $199,888 94.8% 33.3% 740 3.7
5. MIT (Sloan) $196,246 90.8% 17.7% 730 3.7
6. Harvard $193,201 84.2% 13.2% 740 3.8
7. NYU (Stern) $201,727 94.0% 31.4% 730 3.6
7. UC-Berkeley (Haas) $188,343 90.8% 23.0% 740 3.7
7. Yale $192,356 90.8% 32.9% 720 3.7
10. Dartmouth (Tuck) $202,171 94.6% 40.1% 730 3.5
10. Virginia (Darden) $201,691 95.6% 39.4% 710 3.6
* Employment rates three months after graduation is an average over the past two years, a new change in methodology from the one-year look in the past

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