mba rankings
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What sets The Economist‘s annual MBA rankings apart from the rest? The fact that it has the highest number of metrics compared to other league tables – a feature that aspiring MBA candidates really should take note of.

There are 21 altogether: diversity of recruiters; placement success; student assessment of career services; faculty-student ratio; percentage of full-time faculty with PhD; faculty rating by students; average GMAT score; years of work experience; average salary of students before entering class; spread of regions from which students derive; gender diversity; student rating of culture and classmates; student rating of programme and range of electives; range of and access to overseas study programmes; number of language courses available; student assessment of facilities and other services; post-MBA salary, excluding bonuses; salary change from pre-MBA to post-MBA, excluding bonuses; ratio of MBA alumni to current full-time MBA students; number of overseas MBA-specific alumni chapters; and student rating of alumni network.

Weighing all of the above, the Booth School of Business’s MBA at the University of Chicago came out on top this year. This makes it the second consecutive year and seventh time in the past nine years the school has achieved this feat. Rounding up the top three is Harvard Business School and HEC Paris Business School France, in second and third place respectively.

The remaining business schools in the top 10 were all US institutions, save for University of Navarra – IESE Business School at 10th place: Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management (fourth); University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School (fifth); UCLA Anderson School of Management (sixth); University of California at Berkeley – Haas School of Business (seventh); Stanford University – Graduate School of Business (eighth); University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business (ninth).

As well as assessing the most number of criteria, The Economist‘s Which MBA? ranking is also known to produce the “most volatile” results. While the Booth School of Business maintains its rankings, Poets & Quants’ analysis found that several business schools experienced double-digit movements.

The University of Hong Kong fell 28 spots, the biggest decline of all, from 39th last year to 67th this year. Texas Christian University dropped 20 spots, from 67th to 87th and the University of Bath fell 17 positions, from 47th to 64th.

At the other end of the spectrum are business schools that made significant gains from last year’s rankings. The three biggest gains were Emlyon Business School (jumping 19 spots from 70th to 51st), York University’s Schulich School of Business (climbing 18 spots from 66th to 48th) and Oxford University’s Said Business School (rising 16 positions, from 78th to 62nd).

So what can aspiring MBA candidates learn from this year’s rankings? Here’s what The Economist has to say (and we agree): “Rankings are little more than an indication of the MBA market at a particular moment. They reflect the prevailing conditions such as salaries, jobs available and the situation at a school at the time the survey was carried out.”

“Results of rankings can be volatile, so they should be treated with caution. The various media rankings of MBA programmes all employ a different methodology. None is definitive, so our advice to prospective students is to understand the ethos behind each one before deciding whether what it is measuring is important for you.”

*Click here to read the full Which MBA? ranking from The Economist.

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