Economist Crowns Chicago Booth 2018’s Best MBA Program

The Economist best MBA programsThis week, The Economist has published its annual ranking of the world’s best MBA programs, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business once again takes the top spot for 2018. This is the sixth time in seven years Booth has reigned supreme in this ranking, ending rival Kellogg School of Management‘s moment in the limelight last year.

Even though Booth has a reputation for finance and “super quants,” The Economist deems it a well-rounded MBA program. Most noteworthy, graduates gush about finding employment in a wide range of industries, and students consider Chicago Booth career services top-notch.

“They also praise its world-class facilities and faculty, which includes several Nobel laureates. Job opportunities are among the best, thanks to a highly rated careers service and an alumni network of 52,500 people, one of the largest in the world.

Employment outcomes are outstanding: 97% of students find a job within three months of graduation. Graduates pocket an average salary of $129,400, a 67% rise on their pre-mba pay cheques. The relationship with alumni lasts beyond graduation. The school runs refresher courses for former students on subjects such as entrepreneurship,” The Economist noted.

The Economist’s Top Ten Best MBA Programs

  1. University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  2. Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
  3. Harvard Business School
  4. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
  5. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  6. IESE
  7. University of Michigan Ross School of Business
  8. UCLA Anderson School of Management
  9. University of Virginia Darden School of Business
  10. Columbia Business School

Ranking Methodology

Looking at an initial selection of 100 leading business schools around the world, the ranking criteria The Economist uses is based on how well the program opens new career opportunities (35%), one’s personal development/education experience (35%), increase in salary (20%), and the potential to network (10%).

The Economist used two surveys in spring 2018 to collect the data for this ranking. The first, completed by schools with eligible programs, covers quantitative matters and accounts for 80% of the ranking. This included salary of graduates, average GMAT scores, and the number of registered alumni. The remaining 20% comes from a qualitative survey filled out by current MBA students and a school’s most recent graduating MBA class.

Critiques of the Ranking

Interestingly, business school news portal Poets & Quants expressed some reservations about the reliability of these rankings.

“As is often the case in the British magazine’s rather unpredictable and often nonsensical ranking, there are some real shocks,” editor John A. Byrne observed.  Outside of the top five programs, whose positions were stable and consistent with previous years, “wild ups and downs” characterize much of the list.

“Of all the major rankings, The Economist’s ranking often is the most volatile list. This year proved no exception to that rule,” he added. ” It’s not possible, after all, for an MBA program to change all that much in a single year. In fact, it’s rare for a business school’s quality to change dramatically over a five-year timeframe.”

You can see the full Economist ranking of the best MBA programs here, and do check out the P&Q analysis linked above for a deeper dive on the subject.

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