Updated: Mar 21, 2019
*March 21 2019*
"Val, let me tell you a little secret. Once you hit the top 10 schools, it's pretty much the same thing in terms of education, experience and network. Just make sure you choose the school that suits you at your stage in life when you apply and has the core speciality you desire to study (Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, etc)." These were words of wisdom passed down to me by my Lehman Brothers Managing Director and Harvard MBA when I was his Associate in New York.
I have always felt the US News & World Report to be the most reliable source for all things education! It has been my and most professionals' go-to-source for rankings, reviews and news on MBA programs, colleges and broader education. With US News' latest 2020 MBA rankings revealed last week, it proves to be quite a doozy- in the sense a whole lot of movers and shakers of sorts! Even some bafflement!
Historically, Harvard Business and Stanford GSB have always dominated the US News MBA rankings, with both schools usually finishing first or second or even tied. Following this would generally fall UPenn Wharton, Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Columbia Business and finally UC Berkeley Haas (usually in this order). There were general shuffles here and there over the years where one program would go up one (Chicago Booth) and one down (Stanford GSB), but the top schools usually followed the ordered list above. With the latest rankings, we see something different!
In 2020, UPenn Wharton stands atop the mountain at #1, moving up two places from 2019, with Stanford GSB also moving up to #2. Most interestingly, there is a three-way tie for #3- Harvard Business is knocked down, MIT Sloan, and Chicago Booth all at #3. At #6, we have another three-way tie: Northwestern Kellogg, Columbia Business jumps up, and UC Berkeley Haas jumps up. I have never seen a tie mashup like this before and it is fascinating to review! So what's so surprising? Well Harvard Business at #3? And Northwestern/Columbia/UC Berkeley all tied at #6? And are Wharton MBAs suddenly the highest paid on the street lol? So many questions!
Overall Rank Order (and Top Ranked Speciality):
#1 UPenn Wharton (also #1 in Finance)
#2 Stanford GSB (also #2 in Entrepreneurship)
#3 Harvard Business (also #1 in Management)
#3 Chicago Booth (also #1 in Part-Time MBA)
#3 MIT Sloan (also #1 in Information Systems & #1 in Production/Operations)
#6 Northwestern Kellogg (also #1 in Marketing)
#6 Columbia Business (also #4 in Finance)
#6 UC Berkeley Haas (also #2 in Part-Time MBA)
#9 Yale SOM (also #1 in Non-Profit)
#10 Duke Fuqua (also tied #2 in Marketing)
#10 Michigan Ross (also tied #2 in Marketing)
#12 Dartmouth Tuck (also #6 in Management)
#12 NYU Stern (also #3 in Finance & #3 in International Business)
My Lehman Managing Director/Harvard MBA would often tell me all these schools are superb! Just find where you heart lies and your core speciality is strongest. Following his advice, I chose Northwestern Kellogg as my two year, full-time home as I wanted a strong Marketing focus (while adding Management and Finance as majors to my mix). I had majored in Finance at NYU Stern undergrad and wanted something different.
So what really goes into the rankings? Well, MBA program rankings are generally quite tricky and can be subjective. As mentioned earlier, I have found the US News & World Report to be the most reliable. US News ranks MBA programs based on three principle criteria: (1) Quality Assessment (weighted score 0.40) broken down into Peer Assessment and Recruiter Assessment, (2) Placement Success (weighted score 0.35) broken down into Mean Starting Salary/Bonus and Employment Rates at Graduation, and finally (3) Student Selectivity (weighted score 0.25) broken down into Mean GMAT/GRE scores, Mean undergrad GPA, and School Acceptance Rate. These three criteria are aggregated and finally summed to a total score of 1.00.
For a further, hilarious review of the US News Rankings, click here: Poets&Quants Review by John Byrne & Jeff Schmitt.
Thank you for reading,
Val Misra, MBA
Founder At MBA Accepted