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New Top Business School Ranking Skews Results & Misses Top MBA Programs Worldwide

What are the best business schools in the world whether you’re looking to earn your MBA, MIM, or MIF? That’s what Times Higher Education and the Wall Street Journal set to find out in their recent analysis of business schools worldwide. In total, they measured their choices based on 20 individual performance indicators at each program and school. This included talking to more than 23,000 alumni from 2012, 2013, and 2015.

In the end, the rankings produced four tables in total: a two-year MBA table, a one-year MBA table, a master’s in management (MIM) table, and a master’s in finance (MIF) table. The goal: to rank schools based on the student experience and teaching excellence.

So, how does this ranking stack up to others? Not very well as it turns out.

“What’s totally absent from this ranking is any kind of ‘selectivity driven’ criteria (average test scores, GPA, years of work experience, and so forth) for incoming students,” explained Graham Richmond, co-founder of Clear Admit and an MBA admissions expert. “In short, this ranking seems to ignore the academic aptitude and overall caliber of those studying within a program.”

This translates into a top ten two-year MBA ranking that looks very little like its counterparts and only gets worse as it continues. While Stanford makes sense for the number one slot and seems promising, things go downhill quickly.

“You’d think the WSJ would have a stronger effort in this,” said Alex Brown, a Clear Admit consultant and MBA admissions expert. “In the years since we’ve launched DecisionWire, we have a very good sense of which are the top schools, both in the US and in Europe. With Stanford at the top (HBS chose not to participate) the ranking starts well. But the rest is shockingly inaccurate when measured against consumer choice.”

Per Alex’s comment, the top ten are as follows:

  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  2. Cornell University: Johnson
  3. Vanderbilt University: Owen
  4. University of Chicago: Booth
  5. Duke University: Fuqua
  6. University of Virginia: Darden
  7. Yale SOM
  8. Carnegie Mellon: Tepper
  9. Purdue University: Krannert
  10. CEIBS

That’s right, some of the top MBA programs in the world are not included at all in the THE and WSJ ranking, which seems to skew the results in a big way.

“Any ranking of MBA programs that fails to include Wharton, Harvard, London Business School, INSEAD, Kellogg, Columbia, MIT Sloan, Dartmouth Tuck, UCLA, Oxford, and Cambridge is going to have a hard time coming across as legitimate,” said Richmond.

Posted in: Clear Admit's MBA Ranking News, Feature Small, News

Schools: CEIBS, CMU / Tepper, Cornell / Johnson, U. Chicago Booth, UVA / Darden, Vanderbilt / Owen, Yale SOM


  1. LOL – I love the sense of disdain coming off this post. Maybe it’s time admissions consultants and adcoms realize that measurements like GPAs and test scores do a great job of weeding out people who could do wonderful things from their programs. The importance placed on them is ludicrously heavy.

    • Sorry if it comes across that way. I’m more interested in consumer choice. Where candidates choose to go, based on their options. This ranking doesn’t reflect those choices.

  2. Most of the MBA applicants are not researchers and they are driven by their interests in career change coupled with a lucrative post MBA salary. We must realize that best reflection of the impact of an MBA program can be evaluated after a minimum period of 5 years post MBA. Any ranking that seriously track the career progression of a sizable set of respondents from the top 25 schools will be good enough for a prospective students to develop his/her own ranking.

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