Bloomberg Businessweek’s methodology focuses on how well the programmes prepare graduates for job success. Here are the factors’ key elements:

Employer Survey (35% of score)

To assess how well MBA programmes prepare graduates to get the jobs they want, Bloomberg Businessweek surveyed recruiters from companies that hire MBAs. A total of 11,801 recruiters had been invited to take the survey and 686 recruiters at more than 400 companies completed it. Recruiters were asked to identify up to 10 schools at which they had significant recruiting experience over the past five years. We then asked recruiters to assess how well these schools’ graduates rate for specific qualities they deem important when they recruit MBAs.

Alumni Survey (30% of score)

To examine the impact of the MBA on alumni job outcomes, the alumni survey sought responses from alumni who graduated from 2009 to 2011. Bloomberg Businessweek recorded nearly 10,000 survey responses from alumni, excluding surveys from alumni who had previously completed them. It also included data from the 2016 alumni survey to diversify the alumni feedback that contributes to this portion of the rankings.

Three types of data contributed to the rankings in equal measure:

  • Increase in median compensation
  • Job Satisfaction
  • MBA Feedback

Student Survey (15% of score)

Recent graduates are the best judges of many MBA programme features, such as campus climate, effectiveness of career services, and responsiveness of faculty and administrators. Bloomberg Businessweek recorded 9,461 survey responses from graduates in the class of 2017. To be included in the rankings, each school was required to have at least 30 students respond to the survey; larger programmes were required to reach a threshold ranging from 15% to 40%. Data from the 2016 Student Survey was included to diversify the student feedback that contributes to this portion of the rankings.

Job Placement Rate (10% of score)

Bloomberg Businessweek defines the job placement rate as the percentage of graduates who secured full-time employment within three months of graduation, out of all the graduates who sought it. Schools provided job-placement and salary data for the class of 2016, representing all graduates whose job outcomes they were able to track. Entrepreneurs, those continuing their education, those who were already employed prior to graduation, and others who didn’t pursue full-time jobs were excluded from the analysis. To qualify, schools were required to have at least 10 graduates seeking employment after graduation.

Starting Salary (10% of score)

A further key measure of a school’s success is how much compensation its newly minted graduates fetch in the labour market. These data were provided by the schools and cover the first three months of graduation. To create as level a playing field as possible, the schools were ranked only on base salary figures. Consulting salaries were compared with other consulting salaries, tech salaries with other tech salaries, European salaries with other European salaries, and so on.

HBS № 1 for third successive year 

Harvard Business School topped the ranking for the third straight year. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the MIT Sloan School of Management came in second and third, respectively, pushing Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth out of the top five. Penn State’s Smeal College of Business was the biggest gainer, climbing 12 places to reach the top 25. In contrast, the George Washington University School of Business dropped 14 spots to fall out of the top 50.

Learn more about MBA programmes at MIT Sloan by taking a look at this handy school profile.

Rankings are one of the resources that prospective business schools applicants often use in their school selection research. Reference to the rankings should take into account the methodology. In the current ranking, if the big salary is at the top of your list, then Stanford Graduate School of Business is the right choice for you. MBA graduates from Stanford secure the highest pay in the country, on average, immediately after graduation. Surprisingly, recruiters don’t seem to value them all that highly, ranking them 20th when it comes to preparing graduates for the workforce.

Anyone in search of a job in the financial services industry need look no further than Columbia Business School, which produces the biggest share of MBAs that immediately get to work in that sector. If you are more into tech, consider that a larger share of MBAs from the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business land jobs in tech than Silicon Valley stalwarts Stanford or the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.

Learn more about MBA programmes at Fuqua by taking a look at this handy school profile.

You want to land a job in Asia? The Rady School of Management at the University of California at San Diego could be your best bet, since about two of every five among its recent MBAs end up taking jobs there.

Here’s how the 10 best US business schools stack up this year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek:

  1. Harvard Business School
  2. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
  3. MIT Sloan School of Management
  4. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  5. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  6. Duke's Fuqua School of Business
  7. Tuck School of Business
  8. Kellogg School of Management
  9. Columbia Business School
  10. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University

The full ranking is available on Bloomberg Businessweek’s website.

Required exams and admission rates at top 5 b-schools

Harvard Business School

The admission rate for the MBA Class of 2019 at Harvard Business School was 12%.

The school accepts both the GMAT and GRE exams. There is no minimum GMAT or GRE to apply and HBS do not have a bias toward one test or the other. The median GMAT score for the MBA Class of 2019 was 730.

All candidates who received their Bachelor's degree and any graduate degrees from a university or universities where English is not the sole language of instruction are required to take an English language test. Candidates who received a Bachelor's degree from a university where English is not the sole language of instruction but received a Master's or Ph.D. degree from a university programme where English was the sole language of instruction are also strongly advised, though not required, to submit TOEFL iBT, IELTS or PTE scores as part of their initial written application process. The MBA Admissions Board discourages any candidate with a TOEFL score lower than 109 on the iBT, an IELTS score lower than 7.5, or a PTE score lower than 75 from applying.


The acceptance rate for the full-time MBA programme at Wharton has been hovering around the 20% mark.

All applicants must submit GMAT or GRE results. The mean GMAT score for the MBA Class of 2019 was 730. The mean GRE quantitative score stood at 162.

Non-native English speakers with limited exposure to English are required to take the TOEFL exam or the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE). If a candidate has earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction, the test may be waived.


MIT Sloan Business School extended offers to 11.7% of MBA applicants in 2016.

The school accepts both the GMAT and the GRE test results and has no preference for one over the other. Students enrolling in MIT Sloan Business School have an average GMAT score of 722. GRE quant range is 159 to 170.

International MBA applicants do not need to submit TOEFL scores. Instead, MIT measures the English speaking ability of candidates during personal interviews and also uses the verbal sections of the GMAT or GRE to evaluate English language proficiency.

Chicago Booth

The acceptance rate for the full-time MBA programme at Chicago Booth was 23.6% in 2016.

All candidates must submit GMAT or GRE scores. The school does not have a minimum required GMAT or GRE score to be considered for admission. The average GMAT score of students admitted for Fall 2017 was 738 with an average quantitative score of 50. The average GRE quantitative score was 167.

International students must take the TOEFL, IELTS, or the PTE. An exemption from this requirement is possible.


The 2016 MBA acceptance rate at Stanford stood at 6%.

Either the GMAT or the GRE is required for admission. The school has no preference for one test over the other. The GMAT average score for the MBA Class of 2019 is 737.

International candidates who have an undergraduate or graduate degree from a college or university that provided instruction entirely in English are exempt from taking the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. If the college or university taught some classes in a language other than English, then the candidate must take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. The average TOEFL score for the MBA Class of 2019 is 112.

Rankings are a useful tool candidates can use to get an idea of where a particular school stands, but they use different methodologies. It is therefore advisable to take a look at different rankings and learn more about their methodologies so you can make a decision based on your criteria. The more you know, the better your final decision will be.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek