Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2021-22 Best B-Schools ranks the top business schools globally by region, charting assessments of programs in the US, Europe, Asia, and Canada through a rigorous analysis of data and survey responses.
The ranking covers 119 MBA programs. To qualify, all programs had to be taught primarily in English. The rankings are based on 19,955 surveys from students, recruiters, and alumni, in addition to compensation and employment data.
The top four ranked US schools have retained their positions since the 2019-20 rankings. The Stanford Graduate School of Business retook the top spot, scoring a 100 overall. Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business came in second with a score of 91.8, with the difference between number one and number two being the greatest gap in the top 80 US schools. Harvard Business School ranked third, and Chicago Booth ranked fourth. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management moved up five places to round out the top five.
Columbia Business School moved from ninth to sixth place, UC Berkeley Haas moved up one to seventh, and MIT’s Sloan School of Management dropped one spot to eighth. The Wharton School fell to ninth in a statistical tie with UVA’s Darden School of Business, which moved from fifth place down to tenth place. None of the top ten schools weren’t already ranked in the top ten.
Here is a quick glance at this year’s US top 10 (with the addition of 2019-20 rankings in parentheses)
Bloomberg Businessweek surveys graduating students, recent alumni, and companies that recruit MBAs. The surveys are designed to index four key components of a business school education: compensation, learning, networking, and entrepreneurship. Rankings also include answers to questions about campus atmosphere and quotes highlighting what students feel is best about the school.
This year, Bloomberg Businessweek added a Diversity Index for US schools, measuring race, ethnicity, and gender in MBA programs. Prospective students can use this information to determine which schools have the highest representation of Black students, for example, or women. Schools are rewarded for greater representation of women and minorities, and extra weight is granted to those schools that recruit more historically underrepresented minorities in their programs.
The rankings weigh each index according to the survey respondents, asking students, alumni, and recruiters which aspects of their business school experience mattered most. The indexes for US schools were calculated as follows: compensation, 35.7%, learning, 25.8%, networking, 17.8%, entrepreneurship, 12%, and diversity, 8.6%. The European indexes were weighted in the same order, minus diversity.
The compensation index looks at pay for both recent graduates and alumni, the three-month graduate employment rate, and signing bonuses. Learning is defined by the quality, depth, and range of instruction and asks if the curriculum applies to real-world situations, emphasizes innovation, problem-solving, and strategic thinking and if the students feel supported. It also looks at class size and collaboration.
The networking index measures the quality of those networks formed through business school by asking about the interactions between students and alumni. It considers the success rate of the career services office and recruiters’ perceptions of the school’s brand power. The entrepreneurship index reflects how central entrepreneurship was for students and whether recruiters found graduates showed the necessary skills and drive for entrepreneurship.
What Does This Year’s Bloomberg Businessweek Ranking Tell Us?
A significant difference between Bloomberg Businessweek’s b-School ranking and other rankings such as US News & World Report is that in addition to salary and employment data, they use a qualitative survey approach instead of measuring admissions criteria such as test scores. The new index introduced this year, diversity, does not appear to have impacted how schools performed in the ranking, considering it accounts for less than 10% of the formula. However, it may provide a valuable data point for some students.
Clear Admit Co-Founder Graham Richmond points out, “The ‘diversity’ index deployed here is actually a fairly narrow definition of the term. In short, the Bloomberg Diversity index mostly captures the percentage of US underrepresented minorities and the presence of women and non-binary students. It is not looking at the percentage of international students, the full LGBTQ+ population, socioeconomic diversity, or even diversity of industries represented in the past work experience of incoming students.” He also noted, “The very top programs often perform very similarly when it comes to US minority presence and gender balance in their student bodies, which means that this new category may not do much to separate top-ranked programs from one another.”
The goal of ranking is to create a comparative tool that prospective students can use to help choose which business schools may be the right fit. The team at Clear Admit encourages prospective applicants to use rankings as just one of many resources in your research.