2014 Top MBA Programs – Ranking & Total Cost

Top MBA Programs Ranking2014 has been the most volatile year for Business Schools and Full-time MBA Ranking. US News gave #1 rank to Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton; Financial Times ranked Harvard in the top position, The Economist rewarded Chicago Booth, and Businessweek interestingly chose Duke Fuqua School of Business. To make it easier for you to analyze top MBA programs, we have created an aggregate ranking list for top MBA programs.

Since US News only ranks US-based Business Schools, we have excluded the data. Businessweek has a separate ranking list for US and Non-US Schools, but their Full-time MBA ranking has combined the two, and this has resulted in many tied positions. We have used ranking data from Businessweek, The Economist, and The Financial Times for ranking Top MBA programs.

Interesting Observations

Only six schools - Chicago Booth, Stanford, Harvard, IESE, Wharton, and Columbia, have featured in the Top 10 ranking in all the three ranking publications. Duke Fuqua full-time MBA program - Businessweek’s #1 MBA program, fairs in the top 25 ranking in The Economist, and Financial Times Global MBA ranking list. Ivey School of Business, another Businessweek #1 program, ranks at the #89 position in Financial times but is not featured in the Economist MBA ranking.

Who has impressed us?

IESE and Chicago Booth have impressed us the most. Their consistent performance in all the three ranking publications shows the value that the program offers, considering the diverse ranking methodology that the three publications have used. It is easy to assume that top MBA programs will remain in that position. Among the big players, only Harvard and Stanford have remained in the top 10 position in all the three publications, and we cannot discard their staying power. But if we compare the acceptance rate of Harvard, Stanford, Booth and IESE, the latter two gives MBA aspirants a better chance to experience a top quality MBA program.

IESE also ranks #1 in F1GMAT’s Top European MBA programs based on Actual Increase in Salary – an index where we have considered % increase in salary with the base salary, instead of looking only at % increase in salary, which can be manipulated with the geographic spread of the MBAs.

The program that we would like to watch closely is the ESMT Full-time MBA in Germany, which has debuted at #3 in the latest Businessweek MBA ranking. The program is featured at #89 in the Financial Times, but made an impressive #26th position in The Economist Global MBA ranking. Next year’s placement data will reveal the staying power of ESMT, Berlin.

If you look at the Top Full-time MBA programs in the list, US based schools dominate the top 25 ranking with schools from Spain (IESE, IE and ESADE) taking the 2nd position, and the schools in France(Insead and HEC Paris) featuring at #3.

Aggregate Ranking: Methodology

It is unfair to rule out programs if it is not featured in one ranking publication, despite doing well in the other two publications. To set up a realistic ranking, we have ranked the ‘not featured’ school at 101 since the ranking considers Top 100 Full-time MBA programs. One good example is that of Rotman School of Management. The Rotman MBA is ranked #11 for Businessweek, and #51 in the Financial times, but it is not featured in The Economist. With the 101 ranking, the aggregate ranking for the school is #48 – a more realistic representation of its position in the MBA landscape.

Top 10 MBA Programs – Total Cost

We have explained how to calculate Return on Investment by using Net Present Value in our MBA Research Guide. Cost alone should not be a factor but set realistic expectation based on the funding opportunities. If your chance to get a scholarship is low, the value of the MBA program can go down drastically. We have used a common opportunity cost - $165700 for two-year MBA programs and $77000 for 1-year MBA programs. For international students, the opportunity cost will vary according to the industry and location.

An MBA, even from a top Business School will give you a positive return only after 3 years. For those who want to get a sense of the debt that you would be incurring immediately after an MBA, we have ranked Top 10 MBA programs by Cost that includes a column – Debt in $, which takes into consideration the cost, median post-MBA salary, and opportunity cost.

Reference: F1GMAT MBA Research Guide, Businessweek MBA Ranking, FT MBA Ranking, The Economist MBA Ranking, US News MBA Ranking

RankBusiness SchoolCost ($)Salary ($)Opp Cost($)Debt in $ (Post-MBA)
1University of Chicago: Booth189866115000165700240566
2Stanford Graduate School of Business206870125000165700247570
3Harvard Business School190000120000165700235700
4University of Pennsylvania: Wharton195084125000165700235784
5Columbia Business School192936110000165700248636
6Iese Business School70726143168770004558
7London Business School17787515655396250117572
9MIT Sloan192028120000165700237728
11Northwestern University: Kellogg177614110000165700233314
12Dartmouth College: Tuck187100116000165700236800
13University of California at Berkeley: Haas160431111000165700215131
14HEC Paris935101200167700050494
RankBusiness SchoolBusinessweekThe EconomistFinancial Times
1University of Chicago: Booth319
2Stanford Graduate School of Business492
3Harvard Business School861
4University of Pennsylvania: Wharton2114
5Columbia Business School5105
6Iese Business School857
7London Business School4153
9MIT Sloan14128
11Northwestern University: Kellogg71415
12Dartmouth College: Tuck15220
13University of California at Berkeley: Haas19711
14HEC Paris12421
16Duke University: Fuqua12517
17New York University: Stern22817
18UCLA: Anderson111326
19University of Virginia: Darden20327
20IE Business School23613
21University of Michigan: Ross92023
22Cornell University: Johnson132327
23Esade Business School192422
24Carnegie Mellon: Tepper102234
25University of Cambridge: Judge65216
26Emory University: Goizueta181741
27University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler123533
28SDA Bocconi143931
29Rice University: Jones253335
30University of Texas at Austin: McCombs233239
31Indiana University: Kelley163147
32University of Oxford: Said76923
33Georgetown University: McDonough244236
34Hong Kong UST Business School186229
35Cranfield School of Management135346
37Vanderbilt University: Owen302959
38University of Maryland: Smith175150
39Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University256039
40University of Washington: Foster373058
41Melbourne Business School274068
42Washington University: Olin264764
43National University of Singapore Business School229532
44University of Southern California: Marshall216465
45University of Rochester: Simon385855
46Warwick Business School1013725
47Pennsylvania State University: Smeal406162
48Rotman School of Management1110151
49Manchester Business School2610143
50Imperial College Business School2310149

2018 MBA Research Guide - Choose your MBA

"I attended three MBA Tours in US and Canada. I could just scratch the surface compared to what the guide has included. Thank you guys for the amazing book"

F1GMAT's Comprehensive MBA Research Guide will teach you how to select MBA programs through a bottom-up approach. 

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+ How to Choose the Best MBA Program: Factors to Consider
Define Post-MBA Goals
Pick your Path: Generalize or Specialize
Use Moral Algebra Method 
Use Multi-Attribute Utility Theory
Understand the Top 5 Risks
Measure MBA Career Service Team's Effectiveness
Use Bookending to Calculate MBA Admission Chance
Use Net Present Value to Calculate MBA Return on Investment
Don't Fall for the Mere Exposure Effect
Best Practices to find the truth in MBA Information Session or MBA Tour

Comprehensive MBA Research Guide:
Top MBA Programs by 19 Specializations:
+ General Management
+ Finance
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+ Top MBA Program Ranking
Top 20 MBA Programs - Tuition Fee (2018)    
Top 31 MBA Programs in United States – Total Cost & Salary (2017)    

Top 60 MBA – GMAT and GPA (Average & Median)
Top 20 European MBA Programs - Tuition Fee, Total Cost & Salary    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Based on Actual Salary Increase)    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Short-term return on investment)    
Top 20 Affordable European MBA Programs    
Top 10 MBA in UK – Salary & Fee (2018)  
Top MBA Destinations Based on Happiness Index    
Top MBA Destinations based on Innovation Index    
Top 10 MBA Job Markets based on Cost of living and Purchasing Power    
Top MBA Destination: By Economy    

+Comparisons - Top MBA Programs
Wharton vs. Columbia MBA (2018)  
MIT vs. Stanford MBA   (2017)
Haas vs. Ross MBA    
Kellogg vs Ross MBA    
Booth vs Wharton MBA    
MIT Sloan vs Tuck MBA    
IIMA vs. ISB   

Harvard vs. Stanford MBA (2017)

+ MBA in France (2018)
Top Industries in France   
Top MBA Programs in France  

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in France
External Funding 

+ MBA in the UK (2018)
Top Industries in the UK   
Top MBA Programs in the UK

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in the UK
External Funding 

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