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User's Guide to Full-Time MBA Rankings

Key Drivers:Compensation and network

Bloomberg’s ranking methodology is based on data grouped into four indexes: compensation, learning, networking, and entrepreneurship. The weights of each of these indexes is based on what students, alumni, and recruiters told them is most important in evaluating an MBA program.

Compensation is weighted the greatest at 37.9 percent. The compensation index takes into account factors like pay right after graduation, what alumni are earning, bonuses, and more. The network index is weighted the next greatest at 25.7 percent, taking into account factors like students’ interactions with alumni, quality and breadth of alumni-to-alumni interactions, and the school’s brand power with recruiters.

The learning index is weighted 21.3 percent—taking into factors like curriculum and support from instructors—and the entrepreneurship index is weighted 15.7 percent and includes factors like alumni and employer opinion of the quality of entrepreneurship training and skill outcomes.

The Bloomberg methodology is centered around four indexes: compensation, learning, networking, and entrepreneurship.

How Does Bloomberg Business Week Determine Its Rankings?

The Bloomberg Business Best Business Schools rankings are calculated using a mix of data collected from corporate recruiters, alumni, business schools, and recent graduates.

Overall, the methodology is weighted 62.7 percent to opinion-based criteria and 37.3 percent to fact-based criteria.

Category Metric Name Objective Weight Description
Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship No 0.157 Bloomberg's Entrepreneurship index takes into account factors like: Alumni opinion of whether their school took entrepreneurship seriously, alumni opinion of the quality of entrepreneurship training, and recruiter opinion of alumni entrepreneurial skills and drive.
Learning Learning No 0.213 Bloomberg's Learning index takes into account factors like: Whether the curriculum is applicable to real-world business situations; the degree of emphasis on innovation, problem-solving, and strategic thinking; the level of inspiration and support from instructors; class size; and collaboration.
Network Network No 0.257 Bloomberg's Network index takes into account factors like: The quality of networks being built by classmates; students’ interactions with alumni; successes of the career-services office; quality and breadth of alumni-to-alumni interactions; and the school’s halo, or brand power, from recruiters’ viewpoints.
Compensation Compensation Yes 0.373 Bloomberg's Compensation index takes into account factors like: Pay right after graduation, what alumni are earning, percentage of students employed three months after graduation, percentage of a class receiving a bonus, and size of bonuses.

How much do the Bloomberg Business Week rankings change year to year?

Average schools' position change

With each new edition of a ranking publication, schools’ ranking position can change. Here, the last two editions of this publication are analyzed to determine its average school position change.

Schools that appeared in both of the last two editions of the Bloomberg rankings saw their ranking position change an average of +/- 6.6 positions. This is the second greatest average change among the five major publications.

Among schools ranked in the top 20 of the most recent Bloomberg ranking, their ranking position changed an average of +/- 3.0 positions from the previous edition. This is the second greatest average change in the top 20 among the five major publications.

publication Average Position Change among Top 20 Average Position Change overall
Bloomberg 3 6.6
The Economist 3.9 6
Financial Times 2.3 8.1
Forbes 1.8 4.5
USNWR 1.5 6.2
Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
Distribution of school position change

Some ranking publications see a bigger difference in results than others year to year. Here, the last two editions of rankings are analyzed to show the distribution of schools’ position changes.

In total, 26 percent of schools included in both of the last two editions of the Bloomberg rankings saw their ranking position change ten or more positions.

Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25+
0.53 0.21 0.12 0.09 0.02 0.02

What Schools Does Bloomberg Business Week Include?

Each ranking publication has different criteria for which schools’ MBA programs are included in their rankings.

Bloomberg creates two separate ranking lists: one of only US schools, and one of all schools. The 2019 US ranking includes 94 programs, up slightly from 92 in 2018.

Minimum thresholds for survey response rates were set based on the size of a school’s graduating and alumni classes. Schools that did not meet survey thresholds were eliminated.

The 2019 US ranking includes 94 programs, up slightly from 92 in 2018.

Who Uses the Bloomberg Business Week Rankings?

The popularity and impact of different rankings vary for candidates around the world.

Twenty-six percent of global candidates use the Bloomberg ranking—the lowest global usage rate of the five major ranking publications. Bloomberg is most frequently used among candidates in the United States (32%) and Latin America (30%).

The Bloomberg ranking has the lowest impact score globally among the five major ranking publications. Its impact score is lowest in 6 of 9 world regions.

Impact score is a calculated metric. Impact score equals the percentage of candidates using a ranking publication times the percentage of candidates rating a ranking publication a 6 or 7 on a 1-7 scale of influence on their decision making. The range is 0 (no one uses a ranking publication and no one finds it influential) to 100 (everyone uses a ranking publication and everyone finds it very influential).

Country Usage Ranking Impact Ranking
Africa 0.28 6
Asia 0.25 6
Canada 0.26 8
Central & South Asia 0.24 6
E. Europe 0.19 6
Latin America 0.3 8
Middle East 0.17 4
United States 0.32 9
W. Europe 0.18 4
GMAC mba.com Prospective Students Survey. Data collected February - May 2018. Total sample size: 3,488.

Date and Frequency

Bloomberg produces US full-time MBA rankings annually in November. Each ranking is titled with the year of its publication. Their international MBA rankings typically publishes after the US ranking.

Ranking History

BusinessWeek established the first full-time MBA rankings in 1988. Bloomberg made notable changes to its methodology for the 2018 ranking.

Data Access

The interactive rankings chart available on the Bloomberg rankings webpage displays each program’s overall ranking index score and their rank in the four indexes that comprise the ranking: compensation, learning, networking, and entrepreneurship. Users can create a personalized view of the rankings by applying filters by geography, median salaries earned by graduates, industries recruit MBA hires, and salary. Each programs’ page also highlights the school-specific data, including the on-campus climate for women and other traditionally underrepresented groups.

Additional Rankings

Bloomberg annually produces two separate rankings for full-time MBA programs: one for programs based in the US, one for programs based outside of the US. Both use the same methodology. In the past, Bloomberg also published a part-time MBA ranking. Their last part-time MBA ranking was published in 2015.

See rankings for Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

* Alumni survey rank is based on the 30 percent of the methodology weighted to median compensation increase (10%), job satisfaction (10%), and MBA feedback (10%).
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Key Drivers:Employment outcomes and compensation

The Economist’s ranking methodology includes over 20 separate data indicators that fall into nine of the weighting categories detailed in this guide.

The category with the most weight is employment outcomes at 23.3 percent. This includes equal weight to the percentage of job-seeking students with job offers three months after graduation (11.7%) and the spread of industry sectors that recruited graduates (11.7%). The other key driver category for The Economist is compensation at 20.0 percent, which includes post-MBA salary (15.0%) and salary change from pre-MBA to post-MBA (5.0%).

Additional weighting categories include career services rating (11.7%), network (10.0%), faculty quality (8.8%), student selectivity (8.8%), internationalization (7.3%), student/recent graduate opinion (7.3%), and gender parity (2.9%).

The Economist's ranking methodology includes over 20 separate data indicators that fall into nine of the weighting categories detailed in this guide.

How Does The Economist Determine Its Rankings?

The Economist full-time MBA rankings are calculated using a mix of data collected from business schools, current full-time MBA students, and recent graduates.

Overall, the methodology is weighted 74.8 percent to fact-based criteria and 25.2 percent to opinion-based criteria.

Category Metric Name Objective Weight Description
Career services rating Student assessment of career services No 0.117 Current students and recent graduates’ opinion of the career services office, specifically regarding meeting their expectations and needs.
Compensation Salary change from pre-MBA to post-MBA (excluding bonuses) Yes 0.05 The difference between recent graduates’ post- and pre-MBA salaries, excluding bonuses.
Post-MBA salary Yes 0.15 Recent graduates’ post-MBA salary, excluding bonuses.
Employment outcomes Percentage of job-seeking students with a job offer three months after graduation Yes 0.117 The employment rate of the most recent class of full-time MBA graduates three months after graduation.
Spread of industry sectors that recruited most recent graduates Yes 0.117 Two measures were used to rank the diversity of recruiters: the number of industry sectors that recruited most recent graduates and how evenly those graduates were spread between these industry sectors.
Faculty quality Faculty student ratio Yes 0.029 The faculty to student ratio of the full-time MBA program.
Percentage faculty with PhD Yes 0.029 The percentage of full-time faculty in the full-time MBA program that hold a PhD.
Faculty rating by students No 0.029 Current students and recent graduates’ opinion of the quality of faculty in the full-time MBA program.
Gender parity Gender diversity Yes 0.029 Schools are given a score based on the variance of the gender split of their full-time MBA enrollment from 50 percent.
Student/recent graduate opinion Student rating of culture and classmates No 0.029 Current students and recent graduates’ rating of their full-time MBA culture and classmates.
Student rating of program and range of electives No 0.022 Current students and recent graduates’ rating of their full-time MBA program and range of electives.
Student assessment of facilities and other services No 0.022 Current students and recent graduates’ opinion of the facilities and other services of their full-time MBA program.
Internationalization Spread of regions from which students hailed Yes 0.029 Schools are given a score based on the percentage of students enrolled in the full-time MBA program from various world regions.
Range of and access to overseas exchange programs Yes 0.022 The number of overseas exchange programs lasting one month or more that full-time MBA students have access to.
Number of language courses available Yes 0.022 The number of language courses offered at no additional cost or a nominal charge to full-time MBA students.
Network Ratio of MBA alumni to current MBA students Yes 0.033 Ratio of MBA alumni to current MBA students
Number of overseas alumni chapters Yes 0.033 Number of overseas alumni chapters
Student rating of alumni network No 0.033 Current students and recent graduates’ opinion of the strength of their business school’s alumni network.
Student selectivity Average GMAT score Yes 0.035 The average GMAT scores of the most recent full-time MBA entering class.
Average number of years work experience Yes 0.026 The average number of years work experience of the most recent full-time MBA entering class.
Average salary of students before entering class Yes 0.026 Mean annual salary of incoming class prior to enrollment.

How much do the The Economist rankings change year to year?

Average schools' position change

With each new edition of a ranking publication, schools’ ranking position can change. Here, the last two editions of this publication are analyzed to determine its average school position change.

Schools that appeared in both of the last two editions of The Economist rankings saw their ranking position change an average of +/- 6.0 positions. This is the second smallest average change among the five major publications.

Among schools ranked in the top 20 of the most recent The Economist ranking, their ranking position changed an average of +/- 3.9 positions from the previous edition. This is the largest average change among the five major publications for schools in the top 20.

publication Average Position Change among Top 20 Average Position Change overall
Bloomberg 3 6.6
The Economist 3.9 6
Financial Times 2.3 8.1
Forbes 1.8 4.5
USNWR 1.5 6.2
Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
Distribution of school position change

Some ranking publications see a bigger difference in results than others year to year. Here, the last two editions of rankings are analyzed to show the distribution of schools’ position changes.

In total, 20 percent of schools included in both of the last two editions of The Economist rankings saw their ranking position change ten or more positions.

Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25+
0.5 0.3 0.11 0.07 0.01 0.01

What Schools Does The Economist Include?

Each ranking publication has different criteria for which schools’ MBA programs are included in their rankings.

A total of 160 full-time MBA programs were invited to participate in the 2019 ranking. The top 100 schools receive a rank. A minimum response rate of 25 percent or a minimum of 50 current students/recent graduates (whichever is lower) is required for schools to be included in the ranking. Schools must complete questionnaires for at least two consecutive years before being ranked.

Schools must complete questionnaires for at least two consecutive years before being ranked.

Who Uses the Economist Rankings?

The popularity and impact of different rankings vary for candidates around the world.

Forty percent of global candidates use The Economist ranking—the second highest global usage rate of the five major ranking publications. The Economist is most frequently used among candidates in Latin America (56%), followed by Central and South Asia (46%).

The Economist ranking has the third highest impact score globally among the five major ranking publications. It has the second highest impact score for candidates in 7 of 9 world regions, trailing FT in each.

Impact score is a calculated metric. Impact score equals the percentage of candidates using a ranking publication times the percentage of candidates rating a ranking publication a 6 or 7 on a 1-7 scale of influence on their decision making. The range is 0 (no one uses a ranking publication and no one finds it influential) to 100 (everyone uses a ranking publication and everyone finds it very influential).

Country Usage Ranking Impact Ranking
Africa 0.42 11
Asia 0.44 15
Canada 0.41 14
Central & South Asia 0.46 14
E. Europe 0.44 20
Latin America 0.56 19
Middle East 0.31 8
United States 0.33 10
W. Europe 0.44 12
GMAC mba.com Prospective Students Survey. Data collected February - May 2018. Total sample size: 3,488.

Date and Frequency

The Economist full-time MBA rankings are produced annually and published online in October. Each ranking is titled with the year of its publication.

Ranking History

The Economist has been ranking international full-time MBA programs annually since 2003. Rankings dating back five years are available on The Economist website.

The methodology is based on the results of a survey of MBA students on what factors are important to them in choosing a program.

Data Access

The complete full-time MBA rankings are publicly available on The Economist website. Users can filter the rankings by region/country and view the previous five years’ rankings using dropdown menus.

On the rankings main page, no additional data beyond a school’s ranking is viewable. Users can select the “compare schools” tool to compare up to four schools at one time by their rank in any of the individual indicators that are a part of The Economist methodology.

Additional Rankings

In addition to its annual full-time MBA rankings, The Economist also periodically produces rankings of executive MBA and Master in Management programs.

© The Economist Newspaper Limited, London (2018). See rankings for The Economist.
You are not permitted to download the Content for purposes other than personal use. You shall not republish, retransmit, reproduce or use the Content for any other purpose.
Key Drivers:Compensation and internationalization

The Financial Times ranking methodology includes 20 separate data indicators that fall into nine of the weighting categories detailed in this guide.

The methodology weights a total of 40.0 percent to measures of compensation. This is divided equally between salary increase (20.0%) and salary three years after graduation (20.0%). The other key driver category for the FT is internationalization at 20.0%. This includes international mobility (6.0%), international faculty (4.0%), international students (4.0%), international course experience (3.0%), and international board (2.0%).

Additional weighting categories include faculty quality (15.0%), employment outcomes (8.0%), gender parity (5.0%), career services rating (3.0%), employer opinion (3.0%), learning (3.0%), and return on investment (3.0%).

The Financial Times ranking methodology weights a total of 40.0 percent to measures of compensation.

How Does The Financial Times Determine Its Rankings?

The FT Global MBA rankings are calculated using a diverse mix of data collected from alumni and business schools.

Overall, the methodology is weighted 91.0 percent to fact-based criteria and 9.0 percent to opinion-based criteria.

Category Metric Name Objective Weight Description
Career services rating Careers service No 0.03 Effectiveness of the school careers service in terms of career counselling, personal development, networking events, internship search and recruitment, as rated by their alumni.
Compensation Salary three years after graduation Yes 0.2 Average MBA alumni salary three years after graduation, adjusted for variation between sectors.
Salary increase Yes 0.2 Average difference in alumni pre-MBA salary and salary three years after graduation. Based half on absolute increase and half on percentage increase.
Alumni opinion Alumni recommend No 0.03 Calculated according to alumni’s selection of three schools from which they would recruit MBA graduates.
Employment outcomes Career progress Yes 0.03 Calculated by changes in alumni job level and company size from pre-MBA to three years after graduation.
Employed at three months Yes 0.02 Employment rate of the most recent MBA graduating class three months after graduation.
Aims achieved No 0.03 A measure of the extent to which alumni fulfilled their goals or reasons for earning an MBA.
Faculty quality Faculty with doctorates Yes 0.05 Percentage of full-time faculty with a doctorate degree.
FT research rank Yes 0.1 Based on the number of articles by full-time faculty in 45 internationally recognized academic and practitioner journals, weighted by faculty size.
Gender parity Female faculty Yes 0.02 Percentage of female faculty. Schools with 50:50 gender composition receive the highest possible score.
Female students Yes 0.02 Percentage of female students currently enrolled in a school’s full-time MBA program. Schools with 50:50 gender composition receive the highest possible score.
Women on board Yes 0.01 Percentage of female members on the school’s advisory board. Schools with 50:50 gender composition receive the highest possible score.
Internationalization International faculty Yes 0.04 Calculated by citizenship diversity of faculty and the percentage whose citizenship differs from that of their business school.
International students Yes 0.04 Calculated by citizenship diversity of current full-time MBA students and the percentage whose citizenship differs from that of their business school.
International board Yes 0.02 The percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from that of the country in which the business school is based.
International mobility Yes 0.06 Based on alumni citizenship and the countries where they have worked.
International course experience Yes 0.03 Calculated by the completion of exchanges, research projects, study tours, and company internships in countries other than where the school is based by the most recent MBA graduating class.
Languages Yes 0.01 The number of extra languages required to complete a full-time MBA.
Learning Corporate social responsibility rank Yes 0.03 Proportion of teaching hours from core courses dedicated to CSR, ethics, social and environmental issues.
Return on investment Value for money Yes 0.03 Calculated using salary three years after graduation, time to degree, tuition and fees, and foregone wages while enrolled.

How much do the The Financial Times rankings change year to year?

Average schools' position change

With each new edition of a ranking publication, schools’ ranking position can change. Here, the last two editions of this publication are analyzed to determine its average school position change.

Schools that appeared in both of the last two editions of the FT rankings saw their ranking position change an average of +/- 8.1 positions. This is the greatest average change among the five major publications.

Among schools ranked in the top 20 of the most recent FT ranking, their ranking position changed an average of +/- 2.3 positions from the previous edition. This is the third smallest average change in the top 20 among the five major publications.

publication Average Position Change among Top 20 Average Position Change overall
Bloomberg 3 6.6
The Economist 3.9 6
Financial Times 2.3 8.1
Forbes 1.8 4.5
USNWR 1.5 6.2
Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
Distribution of school position change

Some ranking publications see a bigger difference in results than others year to year. Here, the last two editions of rankings are analyzed to show the distribution of schools’ position changes.

In total, 37 percent of schools included in both of the last two editions of the FT rankings saw their ranking position change ten or more positions.

Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25+
0.42 0.2 0.14 0.15 0.06 0.01

What Schools Does The Financial Times Include?

Each ranking publication has different criteria for which schools’ MBA programs are included in their rankings.

A total of 150 business schools took part in the 2019 FT Global MBA rankings. All included programs must be internationally accredited, at least four years old, have a minimum of 30 graduates each year, and meet the minimum response rate of 20 percent for FT’s alumni survey. The top 100 schools are included in the published rankings.

<p>A total of 150 business schools took part in the 2019 FT Global MBA rankings.</p>

Who Uses the Financial Times Rankings?

The popularity and impact of different rankings vary for candidates around the world.

Forty-three percent of global candidates use The Financial Times ranking—the highest global usage rate of the five major ranking publications. More than 2 in 3 Western European candidates use the FT rankings (68%), and it is the most frequently used ranking in every world region except the United States and Canada.

The Financial Times has the second highest impact score globally among the five major ranking publications. It has the highest impact score for candidates every world region except the United States and East and Southeast Asia, where it trails USWNR.

Impact score is a calculated metric. Impact score equals the percentage of candidates using a ranking publication times the percentage of candidates rating a ranking publication a 6 or 7 on a 1-7 scale of influence on their decision making. The range is 0 (no one uses a ranking publication and no one finds it influential) to 100 (everyone uses a ranking publication and everyone finds it very influential).

Country Usage Ranking Impact Ranking
Africa 0.48 23
Asia 0.5 17
Canada 0.36 15
Central & South Asia 0.52 18
E. Europe 0.56 27
Latin America 0.64 28
Middle East 0.4 12
United States 0.23 10
W. Europe 0.68 22
GMAC mba.com Prospective Students Survey. Data collected February - May 2018. Total sample size: 3,488.

Date and Frequency

The FT Global MBA rankings are produced annually and published online in late January. Each ranking is titled with the year of its publication.

Ranking History

The Financial Times has been ranking international full-time MBA programs annually since 1999. Every edition of the rankings is available in the rankings archives on ft.com. The ranking methodology has been tweaked slightly over the years, but overall has remained relatively consistent.

Data Access

The complete FT Global MBA ranking, including all data, is publicly available on the Financial Times website. Users can explore the data with the interactive ranking table, download the full ranking as a PDF, and view ranked school’s locations on a map.

Additional Rankings

The Financial Times produces seven rankings annually. The methodologies used for each are similar. They are published at different times throughout the year.

Global MBA
Executive MBA
Masters in Management
Masters in Finance
Executive Education
European Business Schools
Online MBA

FT Source: FT Staff 2019 Global MBA Rankings 2019 FT.com January 2019. Used under license from The Financial Times. All Rights Reserved. See rankings for The Financial Times.
You are not permitted to download the Content for purposes other than personal use. You shall not republish, retransmit, reproduce or use the Content for any other purpose.
Key Drivers:Return on investment

The Forbes ranking methodology is based solely on the return on investment achieved by alumni five years following graduation. The only other ranking to include return on investment as a part of its methodology is The Financial Times, which weights it 3 percent.

The Forbes ranking methodology is based solely on the return on investment achieved by alumni five years following graduation.

How Does Forbes Determine Its Rankings?

The Forbes business school rankings are calculated based solely on data collected from alumni.

Overall, the methodology is weighted 100.0 percent to fact-based criteria.

Category Metric Name Objective Weight Description
Return on investment 5-year MBA gain Yes 1 Net cumulative amount the typical alumni would have earned after five years by getting their MBA versus staying in their pre-MBA career.

How much do the Forbes rankings change year to year?

Average schools' position change

With each new edition of a ranking publication, schools’ ranking position can change. Here, the last two editions of this publication are analyzed to determine its average school position change.

Schools that appeared in both of the last two editions of the Forbes rankings saw their ranking position change an average of +/- 4.5 positions. This is the smallest average change among the five major publications.

Among schools ranked in the top 20 of the most recent Forbes ranking, their ranking position changed an average of +/- 1.8 positions from the previous edition. This is the second smallest average change among the five major publications for schools in the top 20.

publication Average Position Change among Top 20 Average Position Change overall
Bloomberg 3 6.6
The Economist 3.9 6
Financial Times 2.3 8.1
Forbes 1.8 4.5
USNWR 1.5 6.2
Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
Distribution of school position change

Some ranking publications see a bigger difference in results than others year to year. Here, the last two editions of rankings are analyzed to show the distribution of schools’ position changes.

In total, 58 percent of schools included in both of the last two editions of the Forbes rankings saw their ranking position change four or fewer positions.
Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25+
0.58 0.3 0.1 0.02 0 0

What Schools Does Forbes Include?

Each ranking publication has different criteria for which schools’ MBA programs are included in their rankings.

For the 2019 rankings, Forbes surveyed 17,500 alumni from more than 100 business schools and had an overall response rate of 25 percent. A minimum alumni response rate of 15 percent is required for schools to be included in the ranking. Also excluded are schools where alumni had a negative ROI after five years.

In total for 2019, 61 schools appear in their ranking of US two-year MBA programs and 17 schools appear in their ranking of international one-year MBA programs.

A minimum alumni response rate of 15 percent is required for schools to be included in the ranking.

Who Uses the Forbes Rankings?

The popularity and impact of different rankings vary for candidates around the world.

Thirty-four percent of global candidates use the Forbes ranking—the second lowest global usage rate of the five major ranking publications. Forbes is most frequently used in Central and South Asia (45%), followed by Latin America (41%).

Forbes has the second lowest impact score globally among the five major ranking publications. Its impact score ranks third for candidates in 7 of the 9 world regions.

Impact score is a calculated metric. Impact score equals the percentage of candidates using a ranking publication times the percentage of candidates rating a ranking publication a 6 or 7 on a 1-7 scale of influence on their decision making. The range is 0 (no one uses a ranking publication and no one finds it influential) to 100 (everyone uses a ranking publication and everyone finds it very influential).

Country Usage Ranking Impact Ranking
Africa 0.35 9
Asia 0.29 8
Canada 0.36 13
Central & South Asia 0.45 10
E. Europe 0.31 12
Latin America 0.41 14
Middle East 0.28 8
United States 0.36 10
W. Europe 0.26 8
GMAC mba.com Prospective Students Survey. Data collected February - May 2018. Total sample size: 3,488.

Date and Frequency

Forbes’ Best Business Schools rankings are produced every other year and published online in September. Each ranking is titled with its publication year.

Ranking History

Forbes first began ranking business schools in 1999. The organization does not offer access to historical rankings or indicators. Since its first edition, the Forbes methodology has been centered on the return-on-investment of a full-time two-year MBA degree.

Data Access

The complete MBA rankings are available on the Forbes website. Users can filter the rankings by 5-year MBA gain, years to payback, pre-MBA salary, 2018 salary, tuition, and GMAT score.

Users can also view each school’s individual profile, which contains other pertinent information including enrollment, total applicants, acceptance rate, median years of work experience, top employers, job placement by function, and more.

Additional Rankings

In addition to its biennial ranking of US full-time two-year MBA programs, Forbes also publishes an biennial ranking of the top international one-year MBA programs. These rankings are also published online in September and the same return-on-investment oriented methodology is employed.

From Forbes, 2017 © 2017 Forbes. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution, or retransmission of the Content without express written permission is prohibited. See rankings for Forbes.
You are not permitted to download the Content for purposes other than personal use. You shall not republish, retransmit, reproduce or use the Content for any other purpose.
Key Drivers:Student selectivity and business school leader opinion

The U.S. News and World Report ranking methodology includes eight separate data indicators that fall into five of the weighting categories detailed in this guide.

The methodology weights a total of 25.0 percent to measures of student selectivity, which is distributed across mean GMAT and GRE scores (16.3%), mean undergraduate GPA (7.5%), and acceptance rate (1.3%). The other key driver category for U.S. News and World Report is business school leader opinion (25.0%). This is known as a school’s peer assessment score, and its based on a survey of business school deans and directors. U.S. News and World Report is the only ranking to include a measure of the opinions of business school leaders as a part of its methodology.

Additional weighting categories include employment outcomes (21.0%), employer opinion (15.0%), and compensation (14.0%).

U.S. News and World Report is the only ranking to include a measure of the opinions of business school leaders as a part of its methodology.

How Does U.S. News & World Report Determine Its Rankings?

The U.S. News Best Business Schools rankings are calculated using a mix of data collected from recent graduates, business schools, business school leaders, and corporate recruiters.

Overall, the methodology is weighted 60.0 percent to fact-based criteria and 40.0 percent to opinion-based criteria.

Category Metric Name Objective Weight Description
Business school leader opinion Peer assessment score No 0.25 Opinion-based data collected from a survey of business school deans and directors. Respondents rate other schools’ programs on a scale of 1 to 5.
Compensation Mean starting salary and bonus Yes 0.14 Starting salary and signing bonus data collected from the most recent graduating class of full-time MBA programs.
Employer opinion Recruiter assessment score No 0.15 Opinion-based data collected from a survey of corporate recruiters and company contacts. Respondents rate school’s programs on a scale of 1 to 5.
Employment outcomes Employment rates for full-time MBA program graduates at graduation Yes 0.07 Employment rate calculated for the most recent class of full-time MBA graduates based on employment status on graduation day.
Employment rates for full-time MBA program graduates three months after graduation Yes 0.14 Employment rate calculated for the most recent class of full-time MBA graduates based on employment status approximately three months after graduation.
Student selectivity Mean GMAT and GRE scores Yes 0.163 The average GMAT and GRE quantitative and verbal scores of the most recent full-time MBA entering class.
Mean undergraduate GPA Yes 0.075 The average undergraduate grade-point average of the most recent full-time MBA entering class.
Acceptance rate Yes 0.013 The percentage of applicants to the most recent full-time MBA entering class who were accepted for admission.

How much do the U.S. News & World Report rankings change year to year?

Average schools' position change

With each new edition of a ranking publication, schools’ ranking position can change. Here, the last two editions of this publication are analyzed to determine its average school position change.

Schools that appeared in both of the last two editions of the USNWR rankings saw their ranking position change an average of +/- 6.2 positions. This is the third smallest average change among the five major publications.

Among schools ranked in the top 20 of the most recent USNWR ranking, their ranking position changed an average of +/- 1.5 positions from the previous edition. This is the smallest average change among the five major publications for schools in the top 20.

publication Average Position Change among Top 20 Average Position Change overall
Bloomberg 3 6.6
The Economist 3.9 6
Financial Times 2.3 8.1
Forbes 1.8 4.5
USNWR 1.5 6.2
Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
Distribution of school position change

Some ranking publications see a bigger difference in results than others year to year. Here, the last two editions of rankings are analyzed to show the distribution of schools’ position changes.

In total, 57 percent of schools included in both of the last two editions of the USNWR rankings saw their ranking position change four or fewer positions.

Based on GMAC analysis of the two most recently published rankings of each publication. Schools that were not ranked in both of the last two years’ rankings were excluded.
0-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25+
0.57 0.16 0.13 0.05 0.07 0.01

What Schools Does U.S. News & World Report Include?

Each ranking publication has different criteria for which schools’ MBA programs are included in their rankings.

All US-based MBA programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International are invited to participate. For the 2020 edition of the ranking (published in March 2019), a total of 131 programs provided enough data to be included.

The top three-fourths of these programs are numerically ranked. The bottom fourth are labeled as “rank not published” and are listed alphabetically after the ranked programs. Programs that did not provide enough data to be included or did not have a full-time program to be included are labeled as “unranked” and are listed alphabetically after the “rank not published” programs.

For the 2020 edition of the ranking, a total of 131 programs provided enough data to be included.

Who Uses the U.S. News & World Report Rankings?

The popularity and impact of different rankings vary for candidates around the world.

Thirty-seven percent of global candidates use the USNWR ranking—the third highest global usage rate of the five major ranking publications. It is much more widely used among candidates in the United States (62%) than any other world region.

USWNR has the highest impact score globally among the five major ranking publications. This is driven primarily by high impact scores among candidates in the United States and East and Southeast Asia. Its impact score is relatively low in other world regions.

Impact score is a calculated metric. Impact score equals the percentage of candidates using a ranking publication times the percentage of candidates rating a ranking publication a 6 or 7 on a 1-7 scale of influence on their decision making. The range is 0 (no one uses a ranking publication and no one finds it influential) to 100 (everyone uses a ranking publication and everyone finds it very influential).

Country Usage Ranking Impact Ranking
Africa 0.3 8
Asia 0.38 19
Canada 0.14 7
Central & South Asia 0.24 6
E. Europe 0.17 4
Latin America 0.21 7
Middle East 0.18 5
United States 0.62 25
W. Europe 0.12 5
GMAC mba.com Prospective Students Survey. Data collected February - May 2018. Total sample size: 3,488.

Date and Frequency

The U.S. News Best Business Schools rankings are produced annually and publish online in mid-March. Each ranking is titled with the following year (i.e., the rankings published in March 2019 are titled as the 2020 rankings).

Ranking History

USNWR has been ranking US full-time MBA programs annually since 1990. The organization does not offer access to historical rankings or indicators. The ranking methodology has changed little since its first edition.

Data Access

U.S. News & World Report allows free public access to their entire full-time MBA rankings, meaning visitors to their site can view each included school’s rank. To view data beyond full-time enrollment and tuition, as well as their full specialty rankings, requires the purchase of one year of unlimited “Business School Compass Access” for $29.95.

Additional Rankings

U.S. News & World Report produces rankings for a variety of additional MBA program types and specialties. These additional rankings are based only on survey responses from business school deans and directors, with the exception of the part-time MBA, Online MBA, and Online Graduate Business rankings. These specialty are also produced annually, and released concurrently with the Best Business Schools rankings in March.

MBA program types:

Executive MBA, Part-time MBA, Online MBA, Online Graduate Business

MBA Specialties:

Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems, International Business, Management, Marketing, Nonprofit, Production/Operations, Supply Chain/Logistics

U.S. News and World Report has not granted permission for their 2020 rankings (published March 2019) to be posted on mba.com. You can access their full ranking here.

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