It is important to find the right B-School among the most aspired and reputed. One that offers an excellent track record, high quality education, and a pick at one of the best corporates.
Every single business school in the world, that is on the top schools’ list, has a section on their website solely dedicated to the various ranks they have been given by publications every year. Every single MBA student has, at least once during their MBA journey, checked a leading publication for business school rankings.
That’s the kind of power a simple list of business schools yields in the world of MBA.
A great man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Not every list that is put out on the internet has credibility. When selecting a business school, you simply cannot risk reading a list that might contain a sponsored school or a school the list makers collaborated with.
To avoid this problem, use sources that are transparent about their ranking methodologies and have detailed facts and figures present to support the placement of each school. the most reliable sources for business school rankings currently are:
But rankings are much more complicated than they seem. Simply running after the dream of getting into the business school ranked #1 in either of these publications would also be idiotic. Although these rankings do provide a good base to help one search for their perfect fit with a business school.
Before addressing that head-on, there are some basics that one needs to know about business school rankings.
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics: College of Business
Emory University: Goizueta
University of Washington: Foster
CUHK Business School
City, University of London: Cass
IE Business School
Georgia Institute of Technology: Scheller
Sungkyunkwan University GSB
Imperial College Business School
The University of Hong Kong
Rice University: Jones
Houston, Texas, US
University of Notre Dame: Mendoza
Notre Dame, US
Pennsylvania State University: Smeal
Babson College: Olin
Wellesley, Massachusetts, US
Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad, Gujrat, India
Durham University Business School
Singapore Management University: Lee Kong Chian
Singapore, Southeast Asia
WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management
The University of California at Irvine: Merage
Irvine, California, US
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Boston University: Questrom
University of St Gallen
St. Gallen, Switzerland
Northeastern University: D'Amore-McKim
Boston, Massachusetts, US
George Washington University
Washington, D.C., US
Mannheim Business School
Ohio State University: Fisher
Columbus, Ohio, US
University of Maryland: Smith
University of Pittsburgh: Katz
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
Dallas, Texas, US
University of Rochester: Simon
Rochester, New York, US
University of Connecticut School of Business
Mansfield, Connecticut, US
University of Minnesota: Carlson
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
EMLyon Business School
Melbourne Business School
The University of Texas at Dallas: Jindal
Richardson, Texas, US
Brigham Young University: Marriott
Provo, Utah, US
The Lisbon MBA Católica | Nova
Purdue University: Krannert
Lafayette, Indiana, US
Texas A & M University: Mays
Western University: Ivey
Edhec Business School
AGSM at UNSW Business School
Essec Business School
McGill University: Desautels
Wisconsin School of Business
Madison, Wisconsin, US
Miami Herbert Business School
University of Toronto: Rotman
University of Edinburgh Business School
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
University of California at San Diego: Rady
San Diego, California, US
Macquarie Business School
City University of Hong Kong
University College Dublin: Smurfit
University of Georgia: Terry
Athens, Georgia, US
What makes the Top 10 Business Schools different?
Business schools across the board have faced a “slowdown” in the past couple of years. As tier 3 or 4 business schools face challenges due to the slowdown, the top 10 Business Schools stay unfazed.
Have you ever stopped to think why a business school in the top 10 business school list is different from the ones in the top 20 or the top 30? How is it that a “slowdown” affects the tier 3 or 4 schools and hardly makes a dent in the acceptance rates at top tier schools?
The answer is more than just the brand that the top 10 business schools have created for themselves.
Yes, the top 10 business schools receive a better recruiter group than the remaining business schools. Just like top recruiters get to choose the cream of the class at a top school, a top school also gets to choose the cream of all recruiting organizations. But that isn’t the only way that recruitments make the top 10 business schools special.
Career Impact staff at top US business schools have been noted to maintain close relations with top recruiters. The activeness of the CI staff doesn’t end here. They are known to pay close attention to each student by prepping them for recruitment and helping them network with the alumni since the very first day of school.
Firms like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley are some of the top MBA recruiters with the highest paying jobs. These firms, tend to teeter between the top 10 schools every year, leaving only a few slots for the top 20 or top 30 business schools.
Recruitments are also easier for international students at a top business school. Finding organizations that sponsor a work vise like the H1B Visa for the United States, becomes much easier due to the volume of recruiters and the active Career Impact cells.
I feel just reading the list of things that set a top 10 school apart from the rest of the business schools would make one guess what the explanation could be.
Without a doubt, the top 10 business schools enjoy the best faculty for business education. The faculty at such schools is generally a mix of academics and top-level executives from various fields who either take guest lectures or hold seminars.
These are schools that pioneer teaching methodologies, and projects such as MIT Sloan’s Action Learning Labs. These methods then trickle down to other business schools.
Other than the faculty, the diversity of the MBA class is also an additional resource. Since the top schools enjoy their pick of the applicants, creating a diverse (culture, race, religion, lifestyles, social experiences, etc.). Dealing with a diverse set of individuals in their MBA education stimulates students to be innovative in their solutions while keeping “diversity in ideologies” as a factor.
Another resource whose quality declines as business school ranks get higher is networking. Since top schools ensure the maintenance of a strong alumni network and have alumni placed in high-level jobs at corporate giants, the quality of networks that students get to make is much higher than a tier 3 school.
Scholarships and fundraising
Since the Top 10 business schools have created a brand for themselves, fundraising for scholarships is much easier. Most top schools, though do not provide full-ride scholarships, provides scholarships to about 50% of their students.
At schools like Harvard, about 90% of the students get some form of scholarship. With tuitions for top business schools going over $200,000, these schools do not rely on the applicant to pay, in full, for their education.
The sense of community and school spirit these schools instill in their students, many alumni also donate to the schools often. Just a few years ago, Ratan Tata donated $50 million to his alma mater Harvard, a top 10 US Business School.
Top 10 Business Schools Vs Top 20 Business Schools Vs Top 30 Business Schools
To make the comparison of the Top 10 Business Schools Vs Top 20 Business Schools Vs Top 30 Business Schools easier, we have selected one middle-ranked school from each section.
From the Top 10 Business Schools, we have MIT Sloan. For the Top 20 Business Schools, Dartmouth’s Tuck is the middle school. And UCLA’s Anderson will be used as the comparison school for the Top 30 Business Schools.
Here are the main differences between the top 10, top 20, and the top 30, business schools.
Top 10 Business Schools (MIT Sloan)
Top 20 Business Schools (Tuck)
Top 30 Business Schools (UCLA Anderson)
Average GMAT score
Job offers 3 months post-graduation
Top 10 European Business Schools
Average GMAT Score
London Business School
IESE Business School
IE Business School
Top 10 Business Schools in Asia-Pacific
Average GMAT Score
National University of Singapore Business School Singapore
McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management
York University - Schulich School of Business (2017)
Western University - Ivey Business School
HEC Montréal (2017)
Queen's Smith School of Business $
Alberta School of Business
UBC Sauder School of Business
Concordia University - John Molson School of Business
Sobey School of Business
Top 10 Business Schools in Australia
Melbourne Business School
Monash Business School
UQ Business School
University of Western Australia Business School
Australian National University
Deakin Business School
Sydney Business School (Wollongong)
University of Otago Business School
Top 10 Business Schools in India
XLRI Xavier School of Management
Indian School of Business (ISB)
Optimizing business school rankings
Start by knowing that a rank 11 college is as good as a rank 10 college even though it’s not in the Top 10 business schools. In simple terms don’t look at individual numbers. I prefer looking at the ranks in clusters of 5. If you wished to know what group of schools share similar compensation, and faculty to your target business school select two schools before it and two schools after it. For example, if your target school is ranked 16, schools from the rank 14-18 will have similar attributes to your target school.
What works for me might not work for you. Thus, having a more detailed way to optimize a business school ranking is necessary.
1. Know the limitations of the ranking
One very important thing to keep in mind while using a ranking is the limitation it poses. Forbes’ list only takes compensation into account while awarding ranks to business schools. If your inclination is towards a non-profit organization or entrepreneurship, the Forbes’ ranking would be of no value to you.
2. Research a cluster of schools
The cluster of 5 schools that I detailed above can be a great help during school selection. Since rankings generally rely on quantifiable data, things like school value, student culture, school location need to be researched separately. These are leading factors in a student’s success or failure at business school.
If you aren’t a good fit with the student culture or the school values, the chances of the admissions committee rejecting your application would be much higher. Researching the cluster of five will help you find a school that provides the statistical benefits that you were looking for along with the aforementioned unquantifiable factors.
3. Choose a reliable source
The variety of business school rankings available only make the applicants’ work harder. Do not rely on any ranking available to you. Choose some reliable sources as mentioned at the beginning of this blog.
Going to publications like US News, Bloomberg, Forbes, etc. is smarter as their rankings are much more transparent than most others.
MBA Programs to look out for in 2020
Since there’s already a plethora of MBA rankings of top business schools available, listing them all in this blog seemed fruitless. Instead, it seems like a better idea to list a few business schools that are getting the press for all the good reasons. These are schools that are adding great value to the MBA community.
London Business School
In 2018 London Business School’s student body organized its first mental health week. The week-long sessions of Yoga and Meditation have now become a tradition with the school moving into the third year of promoting mental health amongst MBA students.
The China Europe International Business School isn’t just rising fast in the business school rankings. Graduate compensation at CEIBS also saw a whopping 147% increase between the years 2015-2019.
Indian School of Business
Founded in 2001, ISB has quickly secured its spot amongst the top 30 business school in the world in Financial Times’ MBA rankings. For a school hardly two decades old, ISB boasts of a pleasantly surprising 98% employment rate for MBA graduates.
Nanyang Business School
Talking of young schools, Nanyang Business School Singapore is also fast becoming an MBA program to reckon with. Founded merely three decades ago, the school has quickly placed itself on the #35 spot on Financial Times’ business school rankings.
Saïd (Oxford University)
Another young school that has managed to mark a permanent spot in the top 25 business schools in the world for three years now is Oxford University’s Saïd. The school has jumped back and forth between the top 15 and the top 25 schools in the past three years and has become a bit of a wild card in the ranking lists.