Top 20 EMBA Programs in North America

Top executive MBA programs in America are charging an arm and a leg —is it worth it? That’s the topic of a recent CNN Money Fortune/Poets & Quants article, “Executive MBAs: Great, if you can foot the bill,” which reports that if people are willing to pay the sky-high prices for an EMBA degree, they’ll likely graduate with a high paying salary and a positive attitude towards their educational experience.

Top programs, like those at Wharton, offer very similar curriculums to their regular MBA programs, yet are charging almost $65,000 more (for a total of more than $160,000). (Other top 10 EMBA programs charge slightly less, with Booth at $142,000, Kellogg at $153,900, and Columbia at $148,320.)

Studies show that 97% of EMBA graduates are “overwhelmingly satisfied” with their educations, despite the high tuition, and that the programs “met or exceeded their expectations when it comes to impact on their careers and their organizations.” According to the latest Executive MBA Council study, one-third of EMBA graduates received promotions at work; 44% received more responsibilities at work; and EMBAs in general reported an average 11.4% salary increase, from $127,955 to $142,534. And this is just following the great recession!

The article refers readers over to the new Poets & Quants for Executives website that ranks the 50 best executive MBA programs in North America based on a combination of ratings from The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and U.S. News & World Report. You can view a summary of P&Q ranking methodology on the bottom of this page.

You should read the full Fortune/P&Q article and review the full rankings for more information. In the meantime, here are the top 20 EMBA programs according to the new Poets & Quants for Executives website:

Top 20 Executive MBA Programs in North America

1.      Wharton

2.      Chicago Booth

3.      Northwestern Kellogg

4.      Columbia Business School

5.      NYU Stern

6.      Michigan Ross

7.      UCLA Anderson

8.      Cornell Johnson

9.      Texas McCombs

10.  USC Marshall

11.  Duke Fuqua

12.  UNC Kenan-Flagler

13.  Berkeley/Columbia

14.  Washington Olin

15.  Emory Goizueta

16.  Boston University

17.  Georgetown McDonough

18.  Thunderbird

19.  Rice University Jones

20.  Southern Methodist Cox ~ Helping You Write Your Best

U.S. News’ Best Business Schools 2012



U.S. News just released its 2012 MBA rankings just a few hours ago, and with them, a number of good articles and resources. First we’ll give you the top 20 best U.S. business schools, and then we’ll direct you to some of the meaty articles.

2012 Best Business Schools

1. Stanford GSB

2. Harvard Business School

3. MIT Sloan

3. Pennsylvania Wharton

5. Northwestern Kellogg

5. Chicago Booth

7. Dartmouth Tuck

7. UC Berkeley Haas

9. Columbia

10. NYU Stern

10. Yale SOM

12. Duke Fuqua

13. UVA Darden

14. UCLA Anderson

14. Michigan Ross

16. Cornell Johnson

17. Texas McCombs

18. CMU Tepper

19. UNC Kenan-Flagler

20. Washington Olin

For more information please see:

  • The Sustainable MBA” – This article highlights the ways in which the MBA degree has gone green. Courses that used to focus on finance and profit now focus on those things as well as on how they relate to larger social and environmental issues. A number of programs have sprung up around the country that focus on sustainability. Buzzwords include “impact investing” and “social entrepreneurship.”
  • Reinventing the MBA” – This article is about the goals business educators are working to bring about, mainly “to de-emphasize traditional discipline-based courses like marketing and finance in favor of a focus on leadership skills, innovation, social responsibility, and a global perspective.” Many top schools are introducing new curricula that focus more on leadership development.
  • Business School Ranking Methodology” – Please see this article for details on how the business school rankings were determined.

For a better understanding of why the data behind the rankings is much more valuable than the rankings themselves — a view I have espoused for years — please see “Winners and Losers in the 2011 US News Rankings.”

Discover the answers you need to interpret the MBA rankings and learn how to use them to evaluate top MBA programs around the world by downloading’s FREE special report MBA Rankings now! ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Chicago Booth Blog Focuses on Fit

Chicago BoothChicago Booth‘s blog, Blog Insider, recently published a post on the application process from the admissions committee perspective. The article (“Round Two Application Update“) highlights the point that acceptances are not rewards for good performance; rather, they frequently reflect the applicants’ ability to showcase their qualifications as well as their “fit” with Chicago Booth. You should read the post, but in the meantime, here’s an excerpt on the importance of “fit”:

“There is no formula that we use to determine who is admitted. We strive to select the people we feel most thoroughly embody the values that we live every day which is why each admitted student is reviewed by at minimum 5 members of our committee (student fellow, first admissions director, interviewer, second admissions director, me). As we have tried hard to express to thousands of prospective students who read our materials, attend our events, or visit our campus, our applicant pool is full of interesting and successful people, but not all of them leverage the application in a way that truly conveys strong fit with those values. At the end of the day, it is fit that proves to be our final litmus test.”

While Kurt Ahlm was intending to describe only Chicago’s process I think a few aspects described are really true of most top MBA programs and are also sometimes very difficult for applicants to accept:

  1. This is a highly subjective process — the opposite of a computer program or mathematical problem.
  2. Acceptance is not a reward for meeting a set of criteria. It is not a check list where you check off certain boxes and you can expect a particular result, or a recipe where particular ingredients processed in a specific way guarantee a certain outcome.
  3. Fit can be determinative when it comes down to the wire among highly qualified applicants. Takeaway: Know your school and why you are dying to attending. Why do you belong at this program?

?View Accepted’s FREE webinar, Best Practices for MBA Admissions, to learn the 4 pillars of application success, how to choose the right programs, how to approach your recommenders, and more! ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA & EMBA Admissions News Roundup

  • Applying to Yale SOM? In a Yale news article (“Ten Questions from Prospective Students“), Director of Admissions Bruce DelMonico answers applicant questions about the admissions process, Yale’s GMAT/GRE preferences, the SOM curriculum, and the incoming dean, among others. Check out the article for details. 
  • Top b-schools in the US are now accepting the GRE, which puts applicants at a new crossroads – should they take the GRE or stick with the traditional GMAT? A recent MBA Podcaster video addresses the pros and cons of each test in “The GRE vs the GMAT: Which Test Should You Take For Your MBA Application?” Watch the video for insight into the debate.
  • Some more news on the GMAT/GRE front: NYU’s Stern School of Business will be dropping the GMAT/GRE requirement for its EMBA applicants, reports a recent Financial Times article. The reason? The Stern adcom believes that more emphasis should be placed on work experience and previous academic achievements than on test scores. Most EMBA applicants are already in their 30s or 40s and many have higher degrees; a GMAT or GRE test score is less important in these cases. Stern joins Chicago Booth and Northwestern Kellogg in this decision.
  • Are you a young social entrepreneur, activist, or community leader who is looking for new ways to impact society? is extending its deadline for its largest grant program, the Do Something Awards. Awards include $10,000 community grants, a $100,000 grant, and media coverage, in addition to continued support from the organization. To apply or nominate someone you know, visit The extended deadline is March 15, 2011. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Financial Times Global 2011 MBA Rankings

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for—the Financial Times published its 2011 ranking of global MBA programs!

First the rankings; then some thoughts.

Top 20 Global MBA Programs (last year’s position is in parentheses)

1. London Business School – UK (1)

1. University of Pennsylvania Wharton – USA (2)

3. Harvard Business School – USA (3)

4. INSEAD – France/Singapore (5)

4. Stanford GSB – USA (4)

6. Hong Kong UST Business School – China (10)

7. Columbia Business School – USA (6)

8. IE Business School – Spain (6)

9. MIT Sloan – USA (8)

9. IESE Business School – Spain (11)

11. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) – India (unranked)

12. Chicago Booth – USA (9)

13. Indian School of Business – India (12)

14. IMD – Switzerland (15)

15. New York University Stern – USA (13)

15. Yale School of Management – USA (16)

17. Ceibs – China (22)

18. Dartmouth Tuck – USA (13)

18. HEC Paris – France (18)

20. Duke Fuqua – USA (20)

As you see above, this year there are some surprises, although the top 5 haven’t changed much. Among the surprises:

  • Hong Kong UST vaulted to #6 from #16 two years ago and is ranked ahead of MIT Sloan, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, and Tuck.
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), grabbed #11 – even though it wasn’t ranked previously by FT.
  • US leaders like Kellogg (#21) and Chicago (#12) and many other prominent US schools did not fare well, and tend not to do well in the FT global rankings.

A bit on the FT methodology: To be ranked, business schools need to be accredited, to have been open for at least four years, and must have at least 30 students in each class. 156 business schools fit this description this year and participated in the school survey provided. The data for rankings is collected from alumni and from the schools themselves.

To determine the top 100 schools, the following three areas are analyzed: diversity and international reach, alumni salaries and career development, and research capabilities. These three categories are then further broken down into 20 specific criteria that are further analyzed to determine the rankings.

For a more detailed description of the methodology, see “Getting to grips with the method.” ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Multimedia Hits the MBA Application

More and more highly qualified applicants are applying to business school, which means that if you want to gain admission to a top b-school, you’re going to need to show some serious skill, that is, serious multimedia skills—at least that’s the recommendation according to a recent Financial Times article, “Express Yourself.”

High test scores, a strong academic record, impressive letters of recommendation, and killer essays may not be enough to gain you admission to your dream MBA program. Many schools are now introducing an optional essay, or “third essay,” often in the form of an electronic submission, including PowerPoint slides, PDF files, videos, CDs, DVDs, and links to personal websites or YouTube videos.

The thinking here is that an admissions reader can gain a better, more complete, picture of an applicant by taking a look at his or her creative abilities, rather than by simply reading an essay entitled, “Why I Want to Go to Business School.” Kurt Ahlm, senior director of admissions at Chicago Booth, explains that “while the other two essays are ‘valuable,’ they are also ‘somewhat programmed’.”

Also, it’s harder to cheat or plagiarize when it comes to multimedia submissions. 

Still, some schools believe that their current admissions process works just fine and that there’s no reason to complicate things by adding a new component. According to James Holmen, head of admissions at Indiana Kelley, “[T]he [application] process we have now works really well for us… My concern with the multimedia option format is: would [the admissions committee] be getting a good sense of who the applicants are and what they bring to the table, or would they be swayed by style over substance?” ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Time is Ticking on MBA ROIs

Because of the economic crisis, the increase in b-school tuition, and the decrease of starting salaries post-MBA, business school grads are taking up to one year longer to see a return on their MBA investments than it took their peers from just a few years ago.

A BusinessWeek article, “For MBAs, Breaking Even is a More Distant Dream,” calculates the length of time it should take the MBA class of 2010 to “recoup their MBA investment” (6.5 years) and compares it to the average 5.6 years of an MBA class of 2008 graduate. (The article explains in detail how the ROI figure was calculated.)

European business schools rank highest when it comes to calculating the fastest MBA ROIs, which should come as no surprise due to the cheaper tuitions and the fact that many European programs run for one year instead of two (meaning lower costs and less time away from the workforce).

The top four MBA programs for ROI according to the BW article are:

  1. SDA Bocconi – Milan
  2. HEC-Paris
  3. Manchester Business School
  4. Cranfield School of Management

A few of the top U.S. MBA programs that offer the fastest return are:

  1. Texas A&M – Mays Business School
  2. Michigan State – Broad College of Business
  3. College of Business at the University of Illinois

According to the BW article, programs that are generally ranked as the top U.S. programs actually fare the worst in ROI rankings, many of their grads needing about 10.5 years to achieve a return on their investments. High tuition costs and students with high pre-MBA salaries account for the lengthy ROIs, especially at Chicago Booth and Harvard Business School.

John Byrne, in his recent article, “Is An Elite MBA Degree Worth The Cost?,” explains: “The biggest surprise of the study was not that payback  periods grew longer, given the impact of the recent economic meltdown and rising tuition. The most shocking and implausible result is schools outside most Top 25 lists give students faster returns on investment than the acknowledged leaders in graduate business education.”

Byrne continues to explain some of the flaws in BusinessWeek‘s ROI analysis. For example, he points out that the analysis fails to account for starting bonuses, year-end bonuses, relocation allowances, tuition reimbursement plans, performance bonuses, and the value of other pay increases. He then elaborates on how these figures can dramatically affect a program’s ROI.

Byrne’s critique is somewhat scathing, but solid. It’s worth a moment of your time to check out his article (complete with his own rankings) to get a better understanding of the value (or lack thereof, as he’ll point out) of the BW ROI analysis. It is equally valuable to read Louis Lavelle’s response. Lavelle is the Associate Editor of Bloomberg and in charge of BW’s business school section.

If anything the exchange shines a bright spotlight on the limitations of studies of this kind and of course the rankings. While I don’t advocate chucking the whole exercise, Mark Twain’s words keeping running through my mind: “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Use with caution. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Rankings Report

A Few of the Mostest at

This is the time of year to look back at the most, best, (worst), etc. I am going to stick to the positive.

Top Ten Most Visited Accepted Admissions Almanac Posts of 2010:

In a nutshell, rankings and application tip posts rule. (I am only listing the current tip post when last year’s tip post also made the list):

  1. Financial Times Global 2010 MBA Rankings
  2. Forbes ROI MBA Rankings for 2010
  3. Harvard HBS 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  4. INSEAD 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  5. NYU Stern 2011 MBA Application Questions, Tips, Deadlines
  6. Common Application Essay Tips
  7. Columbia 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  8. 2010 MBA Rankings Released by BusinessWeek
  9. Kellogg 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
  10. London Business School 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips

Three Most Commented Accepted Admissions Almanac Posts of 2010

  1. Harvard HBS 2010 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (269)
  2. INSEAD 2010 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (246)
  3. INSEAD 2011 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips (60)

Keep ‘em coming! (Please post your questions about this year’s applications on this year’s tips.)

Five Most Popular Articles on of 2010:

  1. Go for the Goals in your Statement of Purpose
  2. Tips for Writing Letters of Recommendation for Medical School
  3. 4 Must-Haves in Residency Personal Statements
  4. MBA Admissions: Low GMAT or GPA 
  5. Sample MBA Interview Questions

Most Popular Resources of 2010:

Our Absolute, Best, Most Superlative Asset: YOU, our readers, followers, fans, subscribers, and most of all, our clients.

On behalf of Accepted’s staff, this post is where I

Thank you, all of you Acceptees, for making 2010 our best year ever!

By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

MBA Specialty Rankings Unveil Possibilities for All

Fact: Not everyone can go to a top 10 business school. Businessweek‘s new MBA specialty rankings give the other 90% of us a solid place to begin research when you know what you want to do but can’t attend or afford a top 10 program.

Such rankings allow schools that don’t always make it to the top 10 for overall marks to finally see what it feels like to be on top regarding specific impressive elements of their program.

Top 10 U.S. MBA Programs – Accounting

1. Chicago Booth

1. Texas-Austin McCombs

3. Rochester Simon

3. Boston College Carroll

5. U. of Washington Foster

5. Vanderbilt Owen

5. Babson Olin

5. Arizona State Carey

9. Harvard Business School

10. Wharton

Top 10 U.S. MBA Programs – Finance

1. Wharton

2. Chicago Booth

3. Columbia

4. Northeastern

5. Boston College Carroll

5. Case Western Weatherhead

7. Harvard Business School

8. Minnesota Carlson

8. Wisconsin-Madison

8. George Washington

Top 10 U.S. MBA Programs – Most Innovative Curriculums

1. Stanford

2. Chicago Booth

3. Indiana Kelley

4. Yale

4. USC Marshall

4. Texas A&M Mays

4. Tulane Freeman

8. Boston University

8. Rochester Simon

8. George Washington

Top 10 U.S. MBA Programs – Most Improved

1. Georgia Tech

1. Boston University

1. Northeastern

4. Indiana Kelley

5. Wake Forest

5. Arizona State Carey

7. Dartmouth Tuck

7. Brigham Young Marriott

7. Texas A&M Mays

7. Pittsburgh Katz

For rankings based on global competition, general management, communication skills, teamwork, or operations, as well as for an analysis on how the rankings were determined, please see the BW article. There is also a section there on global MBA programs ranked by specialty. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

College Admissions News: Application Inflation Reaches All-Time High

In a collaborative article between the New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education, Eric Hoover takes a close look at the phenomenon of college application inflation and the widespread boasting from the colleges that accompanies such high numbers.

Stanford University, for example, received a whopping 32,022 applications for this fall’s freshman class, accepting only 7% of its highly qualified applicants. Brown also hit a record high of 30,135 applicants. UCLA was proclaimed “the most popular campus in the nation,” receiving its record of 57,670 applications.

So, you must be wondering, what has caused such a mammoth jump in college application volume?

For one, explains Hoover, the college-bound population has grown. Also, online technology makes it both easier for applicants to apply to a longer than ever list of colleges and for colleges to recruit more aggressively.

At the University of Chicago, another school that hit a record high in application volume, some attribute the rise in popularity to the fact that President Obama taught at the university.

Hoover also explains that “admission officers are chasing not so much a more perfect student as a more perfect class.” Therefore, more minorities are being sought out, as well as more international students or more students whose families will be able to pay the full cost of tuition.

Unfortunately, one result of a boom in applications is a boom in rejections. “I couldn’t pick a better class out of 30,000 applicants than out of 15,000,” says Fred Hargadon, former dean of admissions at Princeton and Stanford. “I’d just end up rejecting multiples of the same kid.”

A rise in selectivity makes a college seem more impressive in the rankings, encourages alumni to donate, and helps attract top professors. It also means that the crop of students at top colleges is getting more and more remarkable. In fact, in the 1990s, the College Board sold the names of about 35 million top high school seniors per year to colleges who wished to recruit them; that number is now closer to about 80 million names, sold to about 1,200 colleges, at 32 cents per name.

The article continues to detail admissions statistics at the University of Chicago, Georgetown University, Harvard, and other top-ranked colleges, each of which has experienced disproportionate application inflation this past year.

For a related article on the rise of early decision applications at the University of Pennsylvania, check out the Daily Pennsylvanian‘s article, “Early decision applications rise 17 percent.” ~ Helping You Write Your Best