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Business School Ranking

Whether it was the 2015 audit year or the rising prominence of entrepreneurship or close to 30% not seeking immediate employment in the latest Stanford MBA class, Financial Times Global MBA ranking 2020 has finally found a new winner in Harvard Business School, closely followed by Wharton – ending Stanford’s consecutive year reign on the top charts.

2020 FT Global MBA ranking (Top 5)

1. Harvard

2. Wharton
3. Stanford
4. Insead



HEC Paris’s entry into the top 10 rankings in 2020, after the 19th and 21st position in the previous two years, has been the biggest surprise. The post-MBA salary of the school is comparable to schools in the 19th to 25th ranking. Other diverse ranking factors (contributing towards 60% of the overall ranking) that FT considered had a cumulative effect on the school’s performance, especially international mobility (forced or otherwise), and value...

If we must find the most lasting business school rankings, Financial Times (FT), US News, and The Economist feature in most consultant’s decision-making tools.

As a publication ourselves, we understand the time-sensitive nature of the surveys. Schools might not be able to complete all the requirements of each publication’s surveys. Some schools strategically opt-out of one ranking to feature in another and use the results to market aggressively to MBA applicants. The game of ranking is flawed, and as one dives deep into the ranking methodology and factors, the flaw becomes obvious.

The Lack of Uniformity

The methodology is not based on universally accepted parameters for qualifying MBA programs and top schools. However, all the rankings values ‘increase in salary’ and ‘post-MBA salary’ to varying degrees. Understanding the influence of this data on the ranking will help you choose the most relevant ranking. For many, an increase in salary might not be a bigger criterion. A change in job function or achieving a career goal (that you brainstormed in essays) would be of immense value to you....

GDP USA Growth rate 2008 to nowIn a span of just 10 years (1999 to 2009), the US Economy went through two booms and busts. The 2001 bust was the result of irrational exuberance that you see when new technology has not found a foothold on the market. Speculators jack up the price. Real investors play along. And then all go to the dust. 2001 was the period when taking the Business online no longer was a lottery for exponential growth but became the new reality of doing Business.  

The 2008 financial meltdown nearly brought down world economies, prompting the govt. to offer a $700 billion bailout – the largest Financial Rescue plan in US history. Officially called, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the plan bought non-performing loans in auto, mortgages and college tuition. The turnaround happened when the Congress passed the Recovery Act in Feb 2009. It took a year for the Act to see results when private employers outperformed govt. recruitment, adding 17.6 million jobs from March 2010 to Nov 2017 at an average of 190,000 jobs. 2008 also triggered the longest period of high unemployment rate – a trend that was reversed only in June 2015.

In such a dynamic time, it is only fair to evaluate two sought-after MBA...

After evaluating 417 MBA programs, US News has released the 2018 Business School ranking. The top spot is a tie between Harvard and Wharton – both enrolling over 1700 full-time students. Booth took the third position while for the fifth position there is a three-way tie between MIT Sloan, Kellogg School of Management and Stanford.

The publication has also created rankings based on specialties that include: Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems, International, Management, Marketing, Nonprofit, Production / Operations, and Supply Chain / Logistics.

Overall Ranking
#1 Harvard University
#1 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
#3 University of Chicago (Booth)  
#4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
#4 Northwestern University (Kellogg)
#4 Stanford University
#7 University of California—Berkeley (Haas)
#8 Dartmouth College (Tuck)
#9 Columbia University
#9 Yale University

Ranking by Specialities


#1 University of Texas—Austin (McCombs)
#2 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
#3 University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign
#4 University of Chicago (Booth)
#5 University of Michigan—Ann Arbor (Ross)

#1 Babson College (Olin)
#2 Stanford University

Insead was #13 in the latest Economist Global MBA rankings, but the school is the #1 Business School in FT Global Ranking for 2017, first taking over the position from Harvard last year. Stanford and Wharton took the second and third positions respectively.

One unique ranking factor in FT is the Weighted Salary ($). This post-MBA salary statistics averages the salary for a 3-year period while considering the variations in job function and industry. Since 20-30% students (depending on the percentage international class) return to their country, the purchasing power parity (PPP) is another metric used in FT MBA ranking that gives a level playing field for salaries earned across the world while balancing for exchange rates.

Top #5 MBA Programs based on Weighted Salary (Dollars) are:

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business ($195,322)
2. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad ($181,863)    
3. University of Pennsylvania: Wharton    ($181,634)
4. Harvard Business School ($178,113)    
5. Columbia Business School ($172,624)  

Harvard has finally lost the 6-year consecutive run as the top Business School in the 2016 Financial Times Global MBA ranking. Insead, which has been downgraded by The Economist (#13), is the #1 Business School in FT Ranking, taking over Harvard, which is at #2. The third position is held by London Business School, which lost one position in this year’s Global MBA ranking.

Weighted Salary in Dollars averages out the post-MBA salary over a 3-year period, while adjusting against variations in industry and job function. The metric also takes into consideration Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) to even out salary received across countries based on the purchasing power and exchange rate.

Top #5 MBA Programs based on Weighted Salary (Dollars) are:

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business    ($185,939)    
2. University of Pennsylvania: Wharton    ($177,877)    
3. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad ($174,274)
4. Harvard Business School ($172,501)
5. Columbia Business School ($169,866)

Alumni feedback is crucial if you need to gauge the satisfaction score. To a large extent, with an immersive experience like a full-time MBA, loyalty will be formed, but the questionnaire asks the Alumni to list three schools for MBA recruitment.

The class...

The Economist MBA Ranking has become a punching bag for the experts seeking status quo and those applicants who don’t want to see volatility. We reviewed the ranking methodology from the time The Economist began ranking Full-time MBA programs. As we have warned earlier, ranking is a reflection of what the publication finds valuable for the MBA applicants, not an absolute truth about the Business School and the MBA programs.

Top 10 The Economist MBA Ranking 2016
Booth has continued the reign on top for the third consecutive year while Kellogg was the big surprise taking in 2nd position from Darden, which has been pushed to third. Last year, the biggest criticism was when Stanford was demoted to #13th rank. This year, a fifth ranking position behind Harvard’s 4th have stabilized the top tier schools in the Economist Full-time MBA rankings.

2016 Survey

The 2016 survey invited 143 schools; some did not make it to the top 100 while quite a few chose to opt out. Indian School of Business, CEIBS, Aston, and McGill were notable absentees. The survey was divided into two sections: Quantitative (GMAT,...

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