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Ratings of MBA programs for the year 2021-2022

Ratings of MBA programs for the year 2021-2022

Choosing an MBA program is not an easy task, because you have to consider a lot of factors. One such nuance that plays an important role from the perspective of many applicants is the status of the business school as determined by MBA rankings.

Yes, rankings have a certain weight, but one should not make the common mistake of blindly following their conclusions or relying solely on their verdicts. They should be treated with skepticism. First of all, you need to understand the methodology of the various lists - then you can think about what is important for you. Secondly, each person will call the best school some kind of their own institution. That's why factors such as your career expectations, where you live after you graduate, and your learning style are just as important. When you take into account the principles of each of the rankings, you will see that choosing the best business school is very subjective.

As you peruse these lists, keep in mind: many top institutions have dropped out of the race because of the coronavirus pandemic. For some of the criteria used - such as GMAT scores - it is impossible to make an objective comparison, as there are schools where these scores are optional. 

What MBA rankings can be trusted?

Most often used are rankings compiled by The Financial Times, The Economist, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Forbes.

Financial Times

The criteria are 40% salary, 20% internationalization, 15% faculty quality, and 8% employment outcomes.

Considered 43% of business school applicants.

  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business 
  2. Harvard Business School 
  3. Insead University of Pennsylvania: Wharton Ceibs.

U.S. News & World Report (2022).

Criteria: 25% - business school leaders, 25% - seat competition, 21% - career outcomes.

Used by 37% of applicants.

Stanford Graduate School of Business University of Pennsylvania: Wharton University of Chicago Booth School of Business Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management Harvard Business School.

The Economist

Criteria: 23.3% employment outcomes, 20% salary, 11.7% career ranking.

  1. University of Chicago Booth School of Business 
  2. Harvard Business School 
  3. HEC Paris Business School 
  4. Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management 
  5. University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School.


Criteria: 100% rating is based on 5-year return on investment.

Examines 34% of applicants.

  1. University of Chicago 
  2. Booth School of Business Stanford 
  3. Graduate School of Business Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management 
  4. Harvard Business School 
  5. University of Pennsylvania: Wharton.


Criteria: 38.5% salary, 27.9% useful acquaintances, 23.1% training, 10.5% entrepreneurship.

26% of business school candidates are studied.

  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business Dartmouth (Tuck) 
  2. Harvard Business School 
  3. University of Chicago 
  4. Booth School of Business Virginia (Darden)

How are MBA programs ranked?

There are plenty of rankings that take different factors into account. As a rule, if a business school is found in the first positions of several rankings, it is worth paying close attention to it. In addition, you should be able to make an informed decision based on an understanding of how the top rankings are compiled. Only then will you be able to determine which nuances matter most to you, and which lists should contribute to your choice.

How important are MBA rankings?

The main factor in choosing the most appropriate business school is finding an atmosphere in which you can perform at your best. The answer here will be different for everyone. However, don't forget the important criteria that the rankings consider: return on investment, employment results, and earnings.

The importance of rankings is reinforced by the fact that employers are interested in them, which means that graduating from a program with a high ranking on the lists will make you more likely to find a job. And your salary will also be higher. Before applying for an MBA, prudent applicants first calculate the potential return on investment for each program. And it often turns out that going to a highly ranked school is a better move than studying the same program at a less reputable or well-known institution.

In addition, you should pay close attention to schools that are highly regarded within specific specialties - marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, integrated supply, etc. As a rule, this serves as a signal that the institution is making efforts to maintain a leading position in this area and has long focused on this subject. Employers also study such specialized rankings and often look for graduates from institutions that focus on relevant areas.

Business school rankings should be considered just one factor to consider when choosing a school. As an applicant, you should research all of the institutions yourself to see which ones fit your needs.

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