Best business schools 2015: Harvard, Chicago, Northwestern top rankings

Bloomberg’s annual ranking of full-time MBA programmes now focuses on what most people hope to get after business school: a satisfying, well-paying job


More graduate degrees in business are awarded each year than in any other field in the US, and new business schools are accredited by the dozen every year. Photo: Bloomberg
More graduate degrees in business are awarded each year than in any other field in the US, and new business schools are accredited by the dozen every year. Photo: Bloomberg

Business school has been called a two-year job interview, and with good reason: For more than $100,000 and two years of study, MBAs hope to gain access to vast alumni networks, top-tier internships, and the very best jobs. Bloomberg’s annual ranking of full-time MBA programmes now focuses on what most people hope to get after business school: a satisfying, well-paying job.

More graduate degrees in business are awarded each year than in any other field in the US, and new business schools are accredited by the dozen every year. To identify the best ones, Bloomberg compiled data from more than 13,150 current students, 18,540 alumni, and 1,460 recruiters across 177 distinct B-school programmes. The result is their deepest and broadest set of data ever.

This year, Bloomberg revised the way they rank schools. For the first time, Bloomberg surveyed MBAs after graduation for more insight into what graduates can expect in their future careers. They detailed some of the standout findings about MBA alumni in a separate report—including a broad pay difference between male and female MBAs that starts small, but gets bigger as they continue their careers.

Older elements of the ranking, including a tally of faculty research, have been scrapped because they don’t get at the fundamental question: How well does this business school channel its graduates into good jobs?

Briefly, the full-time MBA Rankings are based on five parts:

Employer survey (35% of total score): recruiter feedback on the skills they look for in MBAs, and which programmes best equip their students with those skills.

Alumni survey (30%): feedback from the classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 on how their MBAs have affected their careers, their compensation change over time, and their midcareer job satisfaction.

Student survey (15%): the class of 2015’s take on academics, career services, campus climate, and more.

Job placement rate (10%): the most recent data on how many MBAs seeking full-time jobs get them within three months of graduation.

Starting salary (10%): most recent data on how much MBAs make in their first jobs after graduation, adjusted for industry and regional variation.

With a sharper focus on what people most hope to get after business school, Bloomberg has created the most effective ranking yet for helping career-oriented students choose an MBA programme.

Full-time MBA: US

1. Harvard

2.Chicago

3. Northwestern

4. MIT (Sloan)

5. Pennsylvania (Wharton)

6. Columbia

7. Stanford

8. Duke (Fuqua)

9. UC Berkeley (Haas)

10. Michigan (Ross)

11. Yale

12. Virginia (Darden)

13. UCLA (Anderson)

14. Dartmouth (Tuck)

15. Emory (Goizueta)

16. Cornell (Johnson)

17. North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

18. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

19. Rice (Jones)

20. Washington (Foster)

Full-time MBA: International

1. Western (Ivey)

2. London Business School

3. INSEAD

4. IE

5. IMD

6. Oxford (Saïd)

7. IESE

8. Cambridge (Judge)

9. Queen’s

10. HEC Paris

11. ESADE

12. SDA Bocconi

13. Cranfield

14. St. Gallen

15. ESMT

16. McGill (Desautels)

17. Mannheim

18. Toronto (Rotman)

19. Manchester

20. Imperial College London

Part-Time MBA

Bloomberg also ranked part-time MBA programmes, which differ from the traditional two-year MBA mainly because of their students, who often require flexibility and want to use the degree to advance within their company. They tend to be a little older than full-timers, and more than half return to their pre-MBA job, compared with one in 10 full-time graduates.

1. Northwestern (Kellogg)

2. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

3. Rice (Jones)

4. Georgetown (McDonough)

5. UCLA (Anderson)

6. Chicago (Booth)

7. Southern Methodist (Cox)

8. Emory (Goizueta)

9. UC Berkeley (Haas)

10. USC (Marshall)

11. Michigan - Ann Arbor (Ross)

12. Villanova

13. San Diego

14. Washington in St. Louis (Olin)

15. Texas at Austin (McCombs)

16. Rollins (Crummer)

17. Elon (Love)

18. Washington (Foster)

19. Ohio State (Fisher)

20. UNC Charlotte (Belk)

Bloomberg