Harvard Crowned No. 1 in Bloomberg Businessweek 2015 MBA Ranking

Bloomberg Businessweek has released its 2015 global rankings of best business schools, and Harvard Business School claims the number one spot among 74 full-time U.S. programs. Chicago Booth School of Business is number two, and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management is number three. Bloomberg Businessweek‘s top school of 2014, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, fell to number eight.

Of 29 international MBA programs, Western University’s Ivey Business School in Ontario, Canada is number one (retaining its top spot in 2014’s ranking), London Business School is number two and INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France is number three.

Among the 74 part-time U.S. MBA programs evaluated, Northwestern’s Kellogg ranks number one, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business ranks number two, and Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business ranks number three.

Top Ten Full-Time MBA Programs in 2015

  1. Harvard Business School
  2. Chicago Booth School of Business
  3. Kellogg School of Management
  4. MIT Sloan School of Management
  5. UPenn Wharton School
  6. Columbia Business School
  7. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  8. Duke/Fuqua School of Business
  9. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  10. Michigan Ross School of Business

For the first time, Bloomberg Businessweek says it has placed a sharper focus on what people most hope to find after business school—career growth and job satisfaction—and how well MBA programs promote both. Businessweek compiled what it calls its deepest and broadest set of data ever from over 13,150 current students, 18,540 alumni, and 1,460 recruiters across 177 business school programs.

According to the news magazine, the rankings are based on five measures:

1. Employer Survey (35 percent of total score): Recruiter feedback on the skills they look for in MBAs, and which programs best equip their students with those skills;

2. Alumni Survey (30 percent of total score): Feedback from the Classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 on how their MBAs have affected their careers, their compensation change over time, and their mid-career job satisfaction;

3. Student Survey (15 percent of total score): The Class of 2015’s take on academics, career services, campus climate, and more;

4. Job Placement Rate (10 percent of total score): The most recent data on how many MBAs seeking full-time jobs get them within three months of graduation;

5. Starting Salary (10 percent of total score): The most recent data on how much MBAs make in their first jobs after graduation, adjusted for industry and regional variation.

“By refining our focus and updating our methodology, we’ve created the most effective ranking yet for helping career-oriented students choose an MBA program,” says Ellen Pollock, editor, Bloomberg Businessweek.

Not everyone agrees, however, that the updated methodology accurately reflects the standing of the best business schools in the land.

“Changes in methodology…result in vast swings in rankings that have nothing to do with the quality of an MBA program’s experience,” notes Poets & Quants editor John A. Byrne in his analysis of the new rankings. “Even among the truly elite MBA programs, there were double-digit changes which tend to be rare and hardly credible,” Byrne writes.

In the article he calls out some head scratchers—schools that have either skyrocketed or plummeted over last year’s standing—but Byrne says that in general, the new methodology has produced a somewhat more credible list than last year’s, “which severely damaged the standing of the Businessweek ranking.”

In the end, despite any debate over rankings and methodology, one thing remains clear: the MBA continues to be a sound investment in one’s career.

Jonathan Rodkin, research and rankings coordinator at Bloomberg Businessweek, says, “Most MBAs have no trouble landing jobs: Three months after graduation, 88 percent of MBAs have been hired—and offered a nice pay bump. Graduates saw an 81 percent jump over their median compensation before B-School. After six to eight years, pay typically increased another 64 percent to around $169,000 a year.”

You may also be interested in:

Chicago Booth Tops the Economist MBA Rankings Again
Columbia’s Dean Hubbard on MBA Rankings
Rethinking MBA Rankings

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