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Home » Blog » News » U.S. News MBA Ranking 2023-24: Booth Goes Back-to-Back, Methodology Mayhem, Top Takeaways

U.S. News MBA Ranking 2023-24: Booth Goes Back-to-Back, Methodology Mayhem, Top Takeaways

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The 2023-24 U.S. News Best Graduate Programs Rankings have just been unveiled and we’re taking a closer look at the full-time MBA program list. Chicago Booth once again finds itself in the top spot of the U.S. News MBA Ranking, this year standing alone (no longer tied with Wharton).  Grabbing the #2 spot is Northwestern Kellogg, which edged out Wharton (#3) and ensured that this year’s top two business schools both hail from the great state of Illinois.

On Booth landing in the top slot for a second consecutive year, Clear Admit Co-founder Graham Richmond notes, “This is a really impressive accomplishment; not just because it’s never easy to stay on top, but because Booth managed to do so despite significant changes to the methodology used by U.S. News.  That is a real testament to Booth’s diverse strengths.”

MIT Sloan and Harvard Business School came in fourth and fifth respectively, with the rest of the top-10 featuring several changes from last year as Dartmouth Tuck and Stanford GSB tied for sixth, Michigan Ross and Yale SOM tied for eighth, and NYU Stern grabbed the #10 spot.

Before we get into our key takeaways (see below), the top-25 schools in this year’s U.S. News MBA Ranking edition (with last year’s rankings included for reference) are as follows:

School 2023-24 Rank 2023 Rank
University of Chicago (Booth) 1 1 (tie)
Northwestern University (Kellogg) 2 3 (tie)
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 3 1 (tie)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) 4 5 (tie)
Harvard University 5 5 (tie)
Stanford University 6 3 (tie)
Dartmouth College (Tuck) 6 11
Yale University 8 7
University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross) 8 10
New York University (Stern) 10 12 (tie)
Columbia University 11 8 (tie)
Duke University (Fuqua) 11 12 (tie)
University of California–Berkeley (Haas) 11 8 (tie)
University of Virginia (Darden) 14  14
Cornell University (Johnson) 15 15
University of Southern California (Marshall) 15 19 (tie)
Emory University (Goizueta) 17 21
Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) 18 16
University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson) 19 17
University of Texas–Austin (McCombs) 20 18
University of Washington (Foster) 20 22 (tie)
Indiana University (Kelley) 22 22 (tie)
University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) 22 19 (tie)
Georgetown University (McDonough) 24 22 (tie)
Rice University (Jones) 24 27
Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller) 26 28

Key Takeaways

    1. This Year’s Model. This is not the same ranking we’ve spent the last few decades following. The methodology has been dramatically changed to place more of an emphasis on ‘outcomes’.  And by ‘outcomes’, US News means jobs: employment rates, starting salaries, bonuses.  These metrics, which the publication collectively calls ‘placement success’ went from comprising 35% of the ranking to a whopping 50%.  U.S. News offered the following explanation: “As education costs continue to soar, students and their families are placing more emphasis on the results that education can bring. Therefore, the ranking factor weights for this edition feature an increased emphasis on outcome measures and a reduced emphasis on reputation. U.S. News took this approach based on knowledge that employment and earnings outcomes are the driving force behind why many individuals seek to further their education, especially in business.”
    2. Booth Goes Back to Back. Kudos to Chicago Booth for taking the top slot again, despite big changes to the methodology. As indicated last year, the rankings seem to increasingly favor programs that have a combination of strong stats (selectivity), a quality reputation, and excellent career placements. This helps the likes of Chicago, Kellogg and Wharton, while potentially harming programs like HBS and Stanford where a greater percentage of the graduating class seek entrepreneurial and/or non-traditional opportunities – often without the large salaries associated with more traditional post-MBA paths.
    3. On the Up and Up. Several programs made notable gains in this year’s ranking. Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business jumped from 11th to 6th, USC Marshall from 19 to 15, and Emory from 21 to 17.  These are substantial gains given how consistent the US News rankings have been over the years.  Other positive jumps include Ross (+2), Stern (+2), Rice (+3), and Foster (+2).
    4. Notable Declines. Programs that lost some ground in this year’s rankings are: Stanford (-3), Berkeley / Haas (-3), Columbia (-3), UNC Kenan-Flagler (-3), Wharton (-2), Tepper (-2), UCLA (-2), UT Austin (-2), and Georgetown (-2). It’s easy to see how a program like Stanford’s, which is perennially the most selective in the nation may have lost ground as US News opted to give greater weight to traditional career outcomes (salaries, prompt employment) and less weight to metrics that focus on selectivity and reputation.
    5. Familiar Names. Despite a new methodology and some movement among top schools, the group of programs that comprise the top-16 in the ranking look an awful lot like what we’ve seen in prior US News rankings and in other leading rankings from the likes of Bloomberg BusinessWeek and the FT*. In fact, with just a couple of exceptions, the top-16 for all three of these major rankings include all of the same names.  The only exceptions are Wharton (not included in the FT’s ranking this year) and UCLA (ranked 20th by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and 19th by US News).
    6. Blurred Lines. There was a time when each of the major rankings had a fairly distinctive approach. US News was known as the ranking that focused extensively on admissions selectivity and academic reputation (and US schools only), BusinessWeek made its mark by aiming at recruiter feedback and student satisfaction (and by ranking US and non-US programs separately), while the FT pushed the notion that alumni earnings was a key metric and that schools from across the globe could sit in a single ranking. As each of these entities have tweaked their methodologies in recent years, the distinction between the three has faded.

    As always, those of us here at Clear Admit encourage prospective applicants to use rankings as just one of many data points when determining which MBA program or programs might best meet your individual needs and goals, especially as those ranking the schools themselves still seem to have some tinkering to do.

    *For the FT, we looked at the first 16 American MBA programs ranked

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.