1. Wharton School
Wharton ranked 1st with three outlets (Poets&Quants, U.S. News, and Forbes) and 2nd with Bloomberg Businessweek and the Financial Times. Alas, the school only finished 4th in the ever-quirky Economist ranking. Even there, it still managed to climb five spots.
- During the 2015-2016 year, Wharton notched a 95.8% placement rate within three months of graduation, with students pulling down $155,058 in starting pay – both major jumps over the previous year.
- These improved outcomes were supplemented by higher incoming GMAT scores and average GPAs as well.
- Wharton grads from the 2012 Class were earning $225,000 on average. That’s three times more than they were earning before they entered business school – and a bigger gain than any top b-school over that period according to Forbes.
- Wharton made headway in both the Bloomberg Businessweek and Forbes student satisfaction surveys, even ranking 4th with Forbes in 2017 after eight years of placing outside the top 10 schools.
- Wharton doubled the number of new alumni startup ventures in P&Q’s Top MBA startups of 2017 ranking.
-Wharton rivals Stanford, whose average starting pay ($165,200 vs. $149,300) and average GMATs (737 vs. 730) both topped Wharton during the 2016-2017 cycle.
2. USC (Marshall)
With Bloomberg Businessweek, Marshall's ranking jumped eight spots to 30th. It rose another seven spots in the U.S. News ranking. It cracked the top 50 globally with the Financial Times. It even rocketed 25 spots in the Economist ranking. The school now ranks 26th overall in the latest Poets&Quants ranking.
- The school’s average GMAT crept above 700 with the Class of 2019. It climbed from 692 to 703 in just one year, a sign that it is ready to play in the Top 20 with the likes of Emory and Texas.
- Marshall grads have also grown more attractive to employers. In 2016, median pay climbed nearly $9,000, which was accompanied by an 11% improvement in placement.
- Marshall is becoming increasingly popular. During the 2016-2017 cycle, Marshall received over 400 more applications than the year before.
- It finished among the top 10 MBA programs in this year’s Bloomberg Businessweek student satisfaction survey.
- USC Marshall has a massive Trojan Network of 75,000 alumni strong.
3. Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business
- Recently, Rice has consistently broken the top 10 in Bloomberg Businessweek’s MBA ranking.
- Rice earned the fourth-best marks from alumni and ranking among the top 15 with recruiters and students.
- Notably, Jones has made impressive inroads with recruiters, going from 40th to 14th over the past two years. Employers are backing these positive vibes with cold hard cash, as 2016 Rice grads earned $12,000 more than the previous class.
- Over 80% of their classes receiving financial aid. That, coupled with the program’s growing momentum, has invited MBA candidates to give it a second look.
- In 2016-2017, applications rose by 6.4%.
- The Class of 2019’s GMAT jumped by 21 points to 711 – just two points lower than Virginia Darden (and a point higher than the state flagship Texas McCombs).
- Rice has launched the MBA@Rice online program.
4. U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)
Haas has so many welcoming advantages: a warm climate, extracurricular and outdoor activities galore, and a 284 member class size that’s small enough to be intimate and cohesive.
- The program that is founded on “Defining Principles” that treasure humility, curiosity, ethics, authenticity, and academic rigor.
- In 2016-2017, Haas received a record number of applications.
- The school increased its student size by 32 students – all while maintaining its forbidding 12% acceptance rate – third only to Stanford and Harvard.
- The Class of 2019’s average GMAT surged eight points to 725 after spending nearly a decade between 714 and 718. In other words, Haas is making a claim on terrain previously staked out by a higher-ranked MIT Sloan (722).
- Is increasing its MBA class size to 300 students – with the long-term goal being 350 students.
- Recently opened its 6-story, $60 million dollar Chou Hall
5. University of Virginia (Darden)
- Applications were up 11% for a spot in the Class of 2019.
- GMATs had held steady at a respectable 713.
- Spring graduates were landing jobs left-and-right.
- Ultimately, the class averaged $149,750 in median starting pay, fourth-highest among major MBA programs and just behind Harvard, Stanford, and NYU Stern.
- The school ranked 2nd in overall student satisfaction according to the bi-annual Forbes student survey.
- Academically rigorous and well-funded – with $13.7 million dollars set aside for scholarships – Darden is the Harvard of the South, where great teaching is rewarded and honor codes are abided. It is truly academia at its best – which may be why it had to endure the agonies of August.
7. IE Business School
IE Business School brands itself as “an unusual school for unusual people” – a collection of mavericks…the reformers, rebels, and romantics who scoff at convention and visualize a world that’s just outside their grasp.
- In the 2017 Forbes ranking, which measures salary growth. Here, the Class of 2012 enjoyed a $145,400 pay increase over five years – third-best among international programs.
- IE is a place to learn the entrepreneurial mindset: curious, creative, proactive, and fearless – always on a quest to identify possibilities, create value, take action, and rebound quickly.
- IE attracts the students who welcome change and challenge. This is the mindset of the small, nimble, passionate disruptors who are constantly upending the status quo and keeping established players on their heels.
- 91% of the 2018 Class hails from outside IE’s native Spain, making it the perfect training ground to absorb various culture mores and practice international business.
8. University of Michigan (Ross)
In U.S. News’ specialization ranking, a survey of MBA deans and directors who evaluate the quality of competing programs. Turns out, Ross ranks in the Top 10 in all but one concentration – information systems (where it still finished 15th). Such reputational capital places Ross in the same category as Stanford and Wharton.
- Ross is known for its across-the-board excellence. It is an advantage that stems from operating in one of the world’s top research universities – one with a large undergraduate business major population.
- It is also a strength grounded in its general management approach: one imbued with a cross-curricular philosophy that’s delivered through experiential learning.
- Ross will be rolling out a four-pronged program where students can advise, start, invest in, or lead a real business.
- Launched its “Living Businesses” program, which takes a project beyond its summer or semester confines so students gain the experience of running a portion of the company.
- Applications were up 4% and average GMAT increased by eight points over the past year.
- The school recruited a 2019 Class that included 43% women, behind only Wharton and Tuck.
- And median compensation achieved a respectable $147,485 with the 2017 Class – pay that tops higher-ranked programs like Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, and Columbia Business School.
9. Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business
Ohio State is one of America’s largest public universities with nearly 60,000 students. The Fisher College of Business is one of the smallest MBA programs with just 91 students in its incoming class.
- Fisher is undertaking a major curriculum revamp to fuse its trademark close-knit ethos with an intense coaching and mentoring culture that runs across the full two years. In the core, students would take courses from Monday-Thursday focused on baseline skills, with Fridays set aside for team-taught sessions that prep students for a semester-long experiential project during the spring. The curriculum would also integrate a robust set of immersions with corporate partners.
- Fisher has a top five career center and an expansive experiential learning portfolio.
- Fisher is within a four hour driven of nearly 70 Fortune 1000 companies in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Indianapolis.
10. University of Oxford (Saïd)
- Students from 51 nations – with the 2018 class boasting 41% women.
- One of the chief tools is entrepreneurship – with the goal to disrupt existing markets through lower costs and greater options – often through leveraging technology.
- Focuses on large-scale issues like poverty and climate change.
- Has the acclaimed Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.
- 20% of graduates, on average, enter the startup and social impact sectors.
- In 2017, the school doubled down on its entrepreneurial investment by opening the Oxford Foundry, an incubator that supports the growth of ventures designed to address “world-scale challenges.”