The single most important thing about business school–besides the educational aspect, of course–is the network you cultivate that will likely shape and propel the rest of your career.
The Economist recently revealed its annual alumni ranking of business schools, based on the usefulness of their alumni networks, and a quote from an INSEAD alumna that the magazine leads off with perfectly encapsulates this effect: her door was always open, but fellow graduates might find the door “slightly more ajar than others.”
So, where can you find the tightest alumni relationships? For starters, the answer is overwhelming in the United States. Let’s take a look:
Top Ten Business Schools for Strength/Usefulness of Alumni Network
- Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business
- Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business
- UVA Darden School of Business
- Michigan Ross School of Business
- USC Marshall School of Business
- Cornell’s Johnson School of Management
- UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
- Harvard Business School
- IMD–International Institute for Management Development
It’s interesting to note that this ranking doesn’t necessarily correlate to a school’s overall ranking. Third-place Mendoza, for example, ranks 45th in The Economist‘s top 100, while sixth-place USC Marshall ranks 64th overall.
Business schools work hard to maintain relationships with alumni years after graduation, and those efforts are very often rewarded spectacularly with donations that make headlines around the globe. When David Booth gifted $300 million to the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 2008, its name changed almost overnight to the Chicago Booth School of Business.
A $100 million donation made by Henry Kravis to Columbia Business School in 2010 resulted in one of the new Manhattanville campus’s buildings being named The Henry R. Kravis Building in recognition of his generosity. And the list of multi-million-dollar endowments goes on and on.
As you finalize your school selections, give some serious thought to the strength of the alumni network. This list serves as a great reminder that your MBA education doesn’t end at graduation. It’s a lifetime investment.