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Best MBA Programs

Comparisons of Major Surveys

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Best MBA Programs Overview: There are numerous studies, many of them sponsored by business publications, that attempt to rank the best MBA programs. Business publications like to engage in these rankings because they are very popular with readers, and cause spikes in single copy sales for the special issues that contain them.

Note that no methodology is perfect, and that different programs may be held in different levels of esteem from company to company, and from hiring manager to hiring manager. Moreover, even within MBA programs, different fields of concentration (majors) can be held in different levels of regard. Some programs are noteworthy for particular concentrations, such as Wharton for finance and Northwestern (Kellogg) for marketing. Finally, the program from which you might get the most knowledge and overall benefit may not be reflected in such rankings.

The Economist 2010 MBA Program Ranking: The Economist published its own ranking of MBA programs in its 9/28/2010 issue ("A pecking order for MBAs"), although with little fanfare and tucked away in a short article deep within the magazine. This is the ninth year of this study. Only the top 10 were in the print edition, with the full Economist ranking of MBA programs available online.

The top 25 in North America are:

  1. Chicago (Booth)
  2. Dartmouth (Tuck)
  3. Cal Berkeley (Haas)
  4. Harvard
  5. Stanford
  6. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  7. York (Sculich) [Toronto, Canada]
  8. Virginia (Darden)
  9. Columbia
  10. MIT (Sloan)
  11. NYU (Stern)
  12. Northwestern (Kellogg)
  13. USC (Marshall)
  14. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
  15. Yale
  16. Michigan (Ross)
  17. Hult International Business School
  18. Duke (Fuqua)
  19. Washington (Foster)
  20. Cornell (Johnson)
  21. Indiana (Kelley)
  22. Emory (Goizueta)
  23. UCLA (Anderson)
  24. Notre Dame (Mendoza)
  25. North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

While U.S.-based MBA programs dominate the list, the top 10 global ranking per The Economist includes IESE at the University of Navarra, Spain in the #5 slot, IMD in Switzerland as #6 and HEC School of Management in Paris as #9. Thus, York (Schulich) in Toronto is #10 on the global list.

Economist Methodology: The Economist started with 132 noteworthy schools, got sufficient data from 115, and ranked the top 100. Questionnaires were returned by 18,712 students and alumni. Responses were checked for multiple or false entries. Responses from the schools were verified against other sources, and were compared to prior years' responses. The 2010 ranking gave a 50% weight to 2010 survey results, 30% to 2009 and 20% to 2008. The Economist believes that building in "memory" gives a "more rounded picture of a school." Among the metrics used were:

  • Variety of different industries recruiting graduates
  • Percentage of graduates in jobs within 3 months of graduation
  • Percentage of graduates finding jobs through the placement office
  • Student satisfaction with the placement office
  • Faculty/student ratio
  • Percentage of Ph.D.-holding full-time faculty
  • Student ratings of faculty, program, facilities, culture and classmates
  • Average student GMAT score
  • Average student work experience
  • International and male/female diversity of student body
  • Availability of overseas study and language study
  • Post-MBA salary and increase in salary (not including bonus) from prior job
  • Ratio of alumni to current students (indicates networking potential)
  • Number of countries with official alumni clubs
  • Student assessment of alumni network
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