Economist Ranks MBA Programs for Networking Potential

One metric of the Economist‘s annual ranking of business schools is the potential to network, which is arguably the most valuable aspect of the MBA experience.

This sub-ranking aggregates, with equal weights, scores for: ratio of alumni to current students; number of countries (other than home country) in which a school has active alumni chapters; and student rating of extent/helpfulness of alumni network.

According to these metrics, the top ten includes a mixture of well-known and less prominent schools. For example, Economist places HEC Paris at the top of the list because it benefits from a large population of alumni relative to the size of its student intake, and it also has one of the most extensive networks of overseas alumni chapters.

American schools don’t place as well on this list because they usually have fewer international students, translating into fewer alumni working abroad after graduation.

Top ten business schools, ranked by “potential to network”

  1. HEC Paris
  2. Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School
  3. Thunderbird School of Global Management
  4. NYU Stern School of Business
  5. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  6. University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business
  7. Warwick Business School
  8. USC Marshall School of Business
  9. Melbourne Business School
  10. UV Darden School of Business

However, when the students themselves rank the effectiveness of alumni networks, more familiar names come out on top. This could be a case of “confirmation bias,” Economist editors concede, since students may be justifying the cost of an MBA at an elite school by reassuring themselves of its benefit to their careers.

Top 10 schools, extent/helpfulness of alumni network, as ranked by students

  1. Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
  2. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  3. Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business
  4. University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business
  5. USC Marshall School of Business
  6. Cornell’s Johnson School of Management
  7. University of Michigan Ross School of Business
  8. UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
  9. Harvard Business School
  10. IMD

Your alumni network helps you stay connected to the university and to countless professional opportunities beyond graduation. While the quality of the education at the most elite programs is guaranteed across the board, when you’re spending two years of your life and paying more than $100K, keep in mind the network of contacts you build during your MBA experience truly is priceless.



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