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Bloomberg Businessweek Ranks Best Business Schools in the U.S. 2019-2020

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Stanford Graduate School of Business is the two-time, back-to-back top ranking program of the Bloomberg Businessweek Best B-School list for U.S. programs. While the meteoric rise of Dartmouth / Tuck from 19th to 2nd may seem jarring, they are no stranger to the top 10 and had landed in 7th in 2017.  Harvard Business School held steady in third (though they were #1 in 2017).   Chicago Booth and UVA / Darden round out the top five, as Booth inched up a slot this year and Darden jumped 4 spots. Conversely, each school in positions six through 10 have fallen in the ranking.  The Wharton School dropped 4 spots to #6 and MIT / Sloan slipped from fourth to seventh. UC Berkeley Haas fell from 6 last year to 8 this one. Columbia Business School and Northwestern Kellogg rounded out the top 10, each pushed back 2 spots from last year.

Here is a quick glance at this year’s top 10 (with the addition of 2018 rankings in parentheses):

See the complete list here.

Notes on Methodology

Last year, Bloomberg Businessweek changed its methodology to let schools help determine the ranking components and survey respondents determine the weighting of those components.  This meant that areas like “compensation” and “networking” won big, representing 63% of the determination of final ranking.  “Learning” and “entrepreneurship” comprised just 37% of the total.

The compensation category covered the gamut of pay—from upon graduation to further along in alumni’s careers, employment security within three months, how many received a bonus, and the scale of the bonuses.  When considering the influence of networking, Bloomberg Businessweek accounted for brand and effectiveness of relationships among students, alumni, career services and recruiters.  Under the umbrella of learning fell means of instruction, value placed on innovation, problem-solving, strategy and real-world relevancy.  Class size and collaboration also played a role in that category.  Though only 15.7 percent of the overall assessment indexes, entrepreneurship held sway over a few programs, with students, alumni and recruiters weighing how well a program prepared them with related skills.

Clear Admit’s Graham Richmond offered the following on the latest Bloomberg Businessweek rankings.

“This ‘survey’ ranking is especially unusual in that the weightings of each category are determined by those surveyed; this year that means that two categories (compensation and networking) are worth 63% of the overall ranking. What also strikes me about the methodology is the total lack of data around the quality of the student body (test scores, GPAs, acceptance rate, yield, etc.).  Despite these quirks, it is worth noting that the ‘M7 schools’ are all in the top 10 (albeit not in the order one might expect), and that schools like Haas and Tuck also make the top 10 (and these are programs often viewed as being on the cusp of the M7).

“In short, while this ranking’s methodology is somewhat unorthodox, it is interesting to note that nearly all of the usual suspects are present in the top 20.  Of course, there are some surprises that don’t seem to jibe at all with applicant behavior in the marketplace (see DecisionWire), most notably Tuck’s surge to #2 overall (placing it ahead of Wharton, Chicago, and HBS) and Michigan’s and Duke’s showing at numbers 17 and 20 respectively.”

As our readers know, we have long advised that applicants take any and all rankings with a grain of salt.  It is our conviction that straight rankings (ordinal) aren’t always terribly helpful either, and we favor a more tiered approach. Those of us here at Clear Admit encourage prospective applicants to use rankings as just one of many resources in your research to determine the best business school for you.

Bloomberg Businessweek promises a global ranking soon, so stay tuned for more!

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.