The Economist’s 2016 Ranking of the World’s Best MBA Programs

In The Economist‘s recently published ranking of the World’s Best Full-Time MBA Programs, the Chicago Booth School of Business once again comes out on top…for the sixth time in seven years.

chicago booth tops Economist MBA ranking

Despite Booth’s reputation for finance and super quants, The Economist finds it to be a well-rounded MBA program, with graduates gushing about finding nearly guaranteed employment in the widest range of industries, and students believing the Chicago Booth career services, faculty, and facilities were top-notch.

While acknowledging that rankings are controversial, and that what makes a good MBA program varies for each individual, The Economist aims to look at business schools from the students’ perspective.

Their responses on how well the program delivers the things students themselves cite as most important inform the criteria The Economist measures and the weightings they apply. Four factors have consistently emerged when students assess the quality of their MBA program:

  • open new career opportunities and/or further current career (35% weighting)
  • personal development and educational experience (35%)
  • increase salary (20%)
  • networking potential (10%)

(see full methodology)

Top Ten Full-Time MBA Programs

  1. Chicago Booth School of Business
  2. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management
  3. UV Darden School of Business
  4. Harvard Business School
  5. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  6. Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
  7. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  8. IESE Business School
  9. HEC Paris
  10. University of Queensland Business School (Australia)

There’s a fair amount of volatility to be found within this newly released ranking, with Kellogg School jumping five spots in the 2016 ranking, up from 7th place last year. Stanford GSB, meanwhile, ranked 13th in 2015, and IESE held 14th place.

More dramatically, Spain’s ESADE Business School fell 33 places to No. 54 this year, and IMD of Switzerland has also seen a precipitous decline, going from the top spot in 2008 to 23th place today.

Darden School was ranked No. 1 for educational experience for the sixth consecutive year.

While we don’t like to encourage clients to focus too heavily on rankings when they’re making their MBA program selections, we also know those headed for b-school really can’t help themselves. But placing too heavy an emphasis on rankings can actually become a distraction for some applicants, so be sure to consider multiple factors when making your final school selection.


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