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Coming Soon: The Economist 2019 Best MBA Ranking

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*Update 10/31/19: The 2019 Economist best MBA rankings are out! See the latest rankings here.*

The Economist should be releasing their 2019 ranking of the best MBA programs any day now.  In light of that, we’re taking a look back at last year’s ranking, and considering what we may see this year.

Chicago Booth Reigned Supreme in 2018

In the past seven rankings, Chicago Booth has topped The Economist’s list of best MBA programs six times.  The lone break from the leading position took place in 2017, when fellow Illinois school, Northwestern Kellogg, claimed the crown.  In the 2018 ranking, Kellogg landed back in second place.  Harvard Business School, The Wharton School and Stanford GSB rounded out the top five.

IESE Business School, Michigan Ross, UCLA Anderson, UVA Darden and Columbia Business School followed in the top 10 of the ranking.  The largest leap in rank in the top 20 was 11 spots—IESE had jumped from #17 in 2017 to #6 in 2018.  See the chart below for other shifts in the top 10 ranking, from 2017 to 2018.

School Name 2018 Ranking 2017 Ranking
Chicago Booth 1 2
Northwestern Kellogg 2 1
Harvard Business School 3 3
Wharton 4 4
Stanford GSB 5 5
IESE 6 17
Michigan Ross 7 12
UCLA Anderson 8 6
UVA Darden 9 10
Columbia Business School 10 9

Predictions for 2019?

Last year, the usual suspects occupied the top five spots of The Economist ranking: Chicago Booth, Northwestern Kellogg, Harvard, Wharton, Stanford GSB.

Clear Admit’s resident admissions expert, Alex Brown, says, “I doubt there will be much change in terms of which schools land in the top 5. There may be a shake-up in order, but I wouldn’t expect drastic drops there.  From six onwards, there may be a surprise or two.  Given the rise of IESE last year, there may be a dark horse that lands in the top 10.”

A Note on Methodology

The Economist explained its methodology for determining the ranked list:

“The rankings weight data according to what students tell us is important. The figures are a mixture of hard numbers and subjective marks given by students and alumni in four categories: opening new career opportunities (35 percent), personal development and educational experience (35 percent), better pay (20 percent) and networking potential (10 percent).”

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.