If you’re an MBA applicant trying to shortlist business schools to start your MBA applications with, you must have come across various lists ranking business schools across the globe.
While these lists are great as a starting point, you need much more information on why certain schools have been ranked higher than others to understand whether the ranking has any relative value for you. This is why, we have come up with a list of 10 top schools, in no particular order, to help you get some insight into the top schools across the globe.
- Booth School of Business (Chicago)
The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business was renamed to the Booth School of Business after alumnus David G. Booth gave the school a $300 million donation in the year 2008. Apart from its main campus in Hyde Park, Chicago, the Booth School of Business also has campuses in Downtown Chicago, London and Hong Kong.
Popularly known as Chicago Booth, the business school provides Two-Year MBA programs, part-time MBA programs, and executive MBA programs. The school also boasts of a faculty consisting of Nobel Laureates Eugene Fama and Richard Thaler, and economists Kevin M. Murphy, John H. Cochrane, Luigi Zingales and Raghuram Rajan.
Although some students choose on-campus housing, most of Chicago Booth’s enrollees find accommodation off-campus. The school also differs from most business school in the way that teams aren’t pre-decided for a semester. Business schools generally have teams that work projects for every class together. In the case of Chicago Booth, the teams are formed on an ad-hoc basis and are said to broaden the horizons as a student experiences working with a much more diverse group.
A popular event at the school is Thursday Night Drinking Club, where students gather at different bars around the town each week and socialize.
However, do not let the laid-back attitude of the school fool you. When it comes to results, Chicago Booth produces some good ones.
The top recruiters for Booth’s graduating class of 2018 were McKinsey & Company, Inc. with 39, Bain & Company, Inc. with 25, Amazon.com, Inc. with 23, The Boston Consulting Group, Inc. with 19, Accenture with 13, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. with 12.
About 84.4% of these hires were made through school organized networking and recruiting event like campus interviews and job posting by Booth.
- Kellogg School of Management
In 2001 the Kellogg School of Management received its final change of name after being known as the JL Kellogg School of Management for over two decades in an attempt to rebrand.
Nestled on the shore of Lake Michigan, the Kellogg School of Management offers both full-time MBA and executive MBA. 2006 also saw the opening of a new Miami campus providing executive MBA to Latin American executives.
The school is highly inclusive of its students in making policy decisions. This can be seen in the policy regarding disclosure of grades to recruiters which was last voted on, by the students, in 2005. The policy states disclosure of grades to be done while recruitment is underway and can be voted upon to be changed by the student body.
Rightfully known as a party campus, Kellogg School of Management sees weekly keggers and various trips including a winter break ski trip and an International KWEST trip for students and their partners.
Although Kellogg has earned a reputation of being a Marketing school due to its exceptional faculty and courses in the field, its students get ample opportunities to be recruited into various fields like consulting and investment banking.
A business school that comes with the bells and whistles that Kellogg SOM does, will undoubtedly have a high tuition fee. But that does not mean that an education at such a business school can only be accessed by people with deep pockets or someone who is willing to be paying off student loans till the day they retire.
The added benefit of a top-ranking business school is the generous financial aids options they provide their applicants with. Just this year, Kellogg SOM’s Capital Campaign has raised over $400 Million. This aids the school in shifting the pressure of being the primary source of income from the student body to its private donors. Also read how to crack Kellogg School of Management’s MBA Program?
- Columbia Business School
Founded in 1916 the Columbia Business School is a part of the Ivy Leagues, Columbia University.
The business school provides the traditional two-year MBA programs and also dual degree programs with an MBA. A dual-degree program means combining any undergraduate course with an MBA and finishing both together in one-year less than the total time the two courses would have run for.
Situated in the bustling city of New York, Columbia Business School promises a rich on-campus, as-well-as off-campus life. With minimal housing options available on-campus, the rent can quickly hike up the bills for a student.
Columbia has been known as a school of competition in the past. However, in recent times, students have pointed out the softening of the cut-throat competition at the business school due to increased diversity.
It’s location in a global business center, New York, also results in better recruitment opportunities for the school.
The Columbia School of Business offers a full-time MBA program that has two possible enrollment options.
If you’re looking for a more immersive MBA experience with internships, you should apply to the school during its August intake. In the August intake, the students can either apply to the early decision deadline in October or the regular decision deadline in the summer.
As the name suggests, the early decision applicants get reviewed for admission before the regular decision applicants. The early decision applicants also sign a statement of commitment promising to withdraw all their business school applications if they get admission to Columbia.
The August intake works best for students who have not decided which industry they wish to pursue once they get their MBA as it provides the option of a summer internship. Read more on how to get into Columbia School of Management?
- MIT Sloan School of Management
Popular for its contribution to the Silicon Valley in the form of numerous top in class engineers, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also been churning out leading MBAs since 1925. The Sloan School of Management was initially started as the engineering administration curriculum in the MIT Department of Economics and Statistics in 1914.
The school also made its global presence when it tried to provide refined business knowledge to improve international economies by helping in the founding of the Indian Institute of Management in the 1960s. It also has many international tie-ups fulfilling similar purposes.
The MBA program at the Sloan School of Management places greater emphasis on the analytical and quantitative aspects of business. The course structure consists of case studies, team projects, lectures, and action learning labs to provide a hands-on experience stimulating a real business scenario. Some of these labs are Entrepreneurship Lab, Innovation Teams, Leading Sustainable Systems Lab, and Global Entrepreneurship Lab.
Informally referring to themselves as the Sloanies, MIT Sloan students run over 70 active clubs on campus.
A marker of the Sloan lifestyle is a cultural event that takes place every week at the campus. Held mostly on Thursdays at the Walker Memorial building, the C-Function provides vast socializing and networking opportunities for Sloanies. Also read how to crack the MIT Sloan MBA Program?
- London Business School
Holding Rank 1 for 5 consecutive years in the Financial Times’ European business schools list, London Business School (LBS) doesn’t need an introduction. The school has three existing campuses, two in London and one in Dubai, and plans to extend their student capacity in 2020.
Graduating from the London Business School is more of a global experience than most other business schools that fall in the same league. This is mainly because of the school’s focus at providing globally immersive courses like the EMBA Global program.
The school also has an active recruitment Team which is always up to help prospective applicants in figuring out if LBS is the right place for them. So, if you’re toying with the idea of applying to LBS, and have any doubts about the programs, reaching out could help you resolve them all.
The most sought-after program at LBS is the two-year Global MBA program. The two-year MBA Program at LBS is aimed at working professionals with two or more years of work experience, who are looking to change their industry. The students enrolled under this course are allowed to customize their curse by a lot. The first thing you can customize is the time-frame. Students can choose to finish their MBA in either 15, 18, or 21 months.
They are also allowed the option of an internship of an Entrepreneurship Summer School in their first year. They are also allowed to take time off the course to pursue an internship in the second year if they wish to. The course also offers 70+ options for the students to choose from as electives. If this is your dream business school, read how to get into London Business School MBA in 2020
In 1957, INSEAD (Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires) became the first European business school to offer an MBA program. Whether you chalk it up to the first mover’s advantage, or simply the decades-long experience in providing a quality MBA education, INSEAD is currently amongst the world’s Top 3 Business Schools and is the Top Business School in Europe.
The business school has three campuses in each, Europe, Asia, and the Middle-East. Sticking to its global figure, the school is known to have some of the most diverse classes amongst business schools with over 90 countries represented in its student body and over 60% placements outside of Northern and Western Europe.
INSEAD is popular for its one-year MBA program. A top-ranking global program, the INSEAD One-Year MBA Program is aimed at professionals with at least two years or more of full-time work experience in their resume.
It is a 10-month long program and highly sought after amongst applicants. It includes an accelerated full-time MBA curriculum and is administered at all three of INSEAD’s campuses, Fontainebleau, Singapore, and Dubai.
Since the school is known for its high work experience requirements from applicants, they have also started offering MiM (Masters in Management) courses for students who have fewer years of professional work under their belt. Read more about how to crack INSEAD Business School’s MBA Program
- Harvard Business School
Established in 1908, Harvard Business School did not receive independent administrative rights till 1913. A pioneer in the case study method of teaching, Harvard Business School is one of the most elite, and hard-to-crack business school in the United States of America.
33 separate buildings on 40 acres of property along the Charles River makes Harvard Business School a self -sustained community in itself. HBS has its state-of-the-art fitness center, a massive library, and a chapel. Just to give you an example of how over-the-top Harvard’s infrastructure is, it has 17 million volumes and 55 miles of shelving.
Harvard frequently has industry leaders as guest lecturers and have some professors that are also working in top positions in their respective industries.
The college is close to Boston, one of the most diverse cities in America. Boston has historical importance and is a very young city too. The average age in Boston drops 10 years every move-in day in the fall.
Almost all of Harvard’s students live on campus. With the whole college living on campus, something is always going on in the area, be it parties or protests.
The business school also has a long list of recruiters. Although the school doesn’t guarantee post-MBA jobs to students, with a list of recruiters as long as Harvard, it is safe to assume the students have ample opportunities.
- The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Established using Joseph Wharton’s donation in 1881, The Wharton School (popularly also known as Wharton Business School) does not need any introductions. Having produced the highest number of millionaires in the United States of America, Wharton is ranked amongst the Top 3 business schools globally.
Although Wharton has had a campus in San Francisco since 2001, it was opened to students of the two-year MBA program, and the executive MBA program as recently as 2012.
Although a top business school, Wharton fits neither the formal culture of school like Harvard nor the close-knit community of Tuck. It lies somewhere in between making it a collaborative yet free environment.
The school, however, is very inclusive towards the families of its students and faculties. With clubs like Wharton Kinds and Wharton Partners, your family will feel as much a part of Wharton as you do.
Amongst the various traditional ways of recruitment, Wharton also provides companies wishing to recruit a Wharton graduate, a more unconventional way to connect to current students and alumni. Firms wishing to recruit can sponsor MBA clubs and conferences at Wharton to meet prospective employees.
Being one of the top-ranked schools globally, it isn’t shocking that Wharton sees over 100 companies every year, trying to recruit one of the students of its graduating class. However, in 2018 the top recruiters at the school were World Bank Group, William Blair & Company, LLC, Wayfair, Tesla Motors, Simon-Kucher & Partners, Roche, Perella Weinberg Partners, Oliver Wyman, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, and Goldman Sachs & Company. Read about how to get into Wharton School of Business MBA Program?
- Stanford Graduate School of Business
The Stanford Graduate School of Business was established in 1925 following a meeting lead by former United States president Herbert Hoover. Rated among the Top 3 MBA programs worldwide, Stanford Graduate School of Business has a network of over 26,000 alumni.
The business school offers a full-time MBA and MSx Program along with various executive programs and fellowships in partnership with Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, and the London Business School.
The school comprises of the Knight Management Center, the Schwab Residential Center, and Highland Hall. Fun fact, the construction of the Knight Management Center alone cost the school nearly $375 million, of which $105 million was a donation made by a Stanford alumnus Phil Knight (Co-founder and Chairman of Nike).
Situated in Palo Alto, the Stanford Graduate School of Business is surrounded by upscale restaurants, upscale boutiques, and chain stores. It is also a short drive from various popular destinations like the Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, and the Sanoma Valley.
The diverse student body of Stanford even shows in the various clubs that the school has. The Asia Business Student Association, Africa Business Club, Black Business Student Association, and the Catholic Student Association are just a few examples of the numerous clubs present on the campus of the Stanford Graduate Business School.
As common knowledge goes, the graduating class of Stanford Graduate School of Business is always a hot commodity to recruiters. The same was the case for the graduating class of 2018, which broke all previous records by recording median and average salaries well over $140,000.
- University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Ranked among some of the best business schools in the world, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business offers undergraduate, post-graduate, executive, as well as doctoral education.
The business school states its mission in clear words-
“At Michigan Ross, we are leaders, researchers, and lifelong learners creating innovative solutions to the world's most complex business challenges. We are a top-ranked business school offering action-based learning to prepare our graduates for today’s ever-evolving world. Our impact extends far beyond the classroom as we aim to set a new standard in business and business education.”
Along with academic excellence, Ross provides students with ample growth opportunities in extra-curricular. The business school is home to the first undergraduate-business academic journal called the Michigan Journal of Business.
Like any good college, Ross has traditions of its own. A popular party tradition called the Ross MBA College Football Tailgate takes place before and after every home game. Parked in the Fingerle Lumber Yard, an old 1985 Ford school bus used to be the center-piece for this tailgating tradition of the school. In 2013, the community of Ross MBAs came together to salvage this tradition when the school bus became unsalvageable.
The experience of being a close-Knit community, that Ross MBAs are, was evident when they started a fundraiser to save the tailgating tradition and were able to do so before the next football season started.
However, that isn’t all. The school not only provides a good campus experience but also provides great career opportunities.
The top employers at Ross School of Business include Amazon with 44, McKinsey & Co. with 17, EY with 12, Deloitte with 10, PwC with 14, Microsoft Corp. with 9, Bain & Co. with 9, Citi with 10, Boston Consulting Group with 11, and Google Inc. with 6 offers accepted by the batch of 2018. Read More on - How to get into University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Just because these schools rank among the top schools around the world, not getting an admit to any of these doesn’t have to be the end of your MBA journey. There are many other good schools out there like NYU’s Stern, Tuck, Haas, and others that provide an education and ROI similar to the ones on this list.
Thus, do not choose a business school or MBA program based on where they lie on a certain rank but instead based on how good a fit, they are to you. When you shortlist schools before starting your MBA applications, I recommend having your dream school in the mix along with some schools that have the same average stats as your profile.
This would allow you to try your hand at getting you into your dream school, but also give you a safety net in case you don’t.