The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » News » Clear Admit's MBA Ranking News » Stanford Graduate School of Business Returns to Number One Spot in Forbes 2013 MBA Rankings

Stanford Graduate School of Business Returns to Number One Spot in Forbes 2013 MBA Rankings

stanfordStanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) reclaimed the top spot in the Forbes 2013 biennial ranking of MBA programs, released today. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business took second, bumping Harvard Business School (HBS), which topped the list in 2011, to third place. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School followed up the lead in fourth.

Forbes, which ranks full-time MBA programs every two years based on return on investment, found that at the top 25 programs in the United States, the degree still pays off, although it takes longer to do so. For the Class of 2008, the class surveyed for this year’s ranking, the average payback period was 3.7 years, as compared to 2.7 years a decade ago, Forbes reports.

Stanford GSB graduates tied for the highest average paycheck entering the MBA program ($80,000, the same as HBS and Wharton), but their median compensation five years out from graduation ($221,000) was greater than any of the other schools.

HBS dropped to third place this year because its five-years out total compensation fell by 11 percent, from $230,000 two years ago to $205,000 according to this year’s survey. As a result, the five-year gain for HBS graduates this year was $79,600, down from $118,000 in 2011.

HBS was not alone in reporting reduced five-year gains. At the top 25 schools in the rankings, average five-year gains are only $68,000 this year, down from $118,000, on average, a decade ago, Forbes reports. In fact, the average five-year out salary this year ($159,000) represents an annual gain of only 1.8 percent since 2003, which is lower than the rate of inflation.

Beyond the jostling among the top three schools, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business saw the most movement in the Forbes ranking this year, gaining four spots to come in at No. 8. Fuqua grads from the Class of 2008 came into their program earning an average salary of $63,000 and reported an average salary of $152,000 five years out. The five-years out salary was down from two years ago – true at all schools save Stanford and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business – but overall ROI increased for the school’s graduates because Duke increased its average financial aid package by almost 40 percent, Forbes reports.

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business went the other way, falling from ninth in the rankings in 2011 to No. 15 this year. At Darden, five-year out salaries dropped 11 percent, to $158,000, but ROI took an even greater hit due to a 15 percent increase in tuition and reduced financial aid.

View the complete 2013 Forbes MBA Rankings.