B-Schools with the Highest ROIs

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In First Place: HEC Paris

When determining an MBA’s return on investment (ROI), it makes a big difference whether you’re considering the short-term or long-term gain. The Economist recently released data that measures the ROI (measured by taking the difference between pre- and post-MBA salaries and dividing it by the total cost of the program, including forgone salary plus tuition fees). For some programs (like Wharton) the short-term payoff is very low, but long term it’s much greater. Other programs, like one-year program HEC Paris, will give you a much more immediate positive ROI.

It also depends on YOU – if you had a low paying job, especially if you come from a poor country and then land a job in a country with a stronger economy, then you’ll have a better chance of leaping to a significantly higher salary post-MBA, thereby influencing your ROI.

Here are the top ten b-schools with the highest ROI from the Economist report:

School ROI after One Year
HEC Paris (France) 66.5%
Aston (Britain) 64.5%
U. of Hong Kong 60.2%
SDA Bocconi (Italy) 55.5%
International Uni of Japan 52.4%
York Schulich (Canada) 52.0%
Mannheim (Germany) 51.9%
Vlerick Leuven (Belgium) 51.9%
Grenoble (France) 51.0%
Dublin Smurfit (Ireland) 48.9%

As you’ll see, if you check out the Economist article, the list is dominated by European programs, and the top ten are exclusively non-U.S. programs (and almost the top 20 – U. of Pittsburgh Katz came in at 19th place). Those programs are almost all one-year programs with lower out-of-pocket costs (like tuition) and lower opportunity cost because you are out of the workforce for a much shorter period of time.

Wondering where top U.S. schools come out on the chart? All the way at the bottom, with ROIs like this:

School ROI after One Year
Harvard 14.8%
Stanford 13.5%
Columbia 13.0%
Kellogg 9.8%
Wharton 6.3%

A Poets & Quants article elaborates on the absence of U.S. programs from the top of the list, by opening with “Looking to get rich quick after graduation? Don’t go to Wharton, Stanford, or Kellogg…Go to HEC Paris (or the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business), instead.”

In short, the P&Q article explains, average first-year salaries pitted against two-year U.S. tuitions and lost earnings, don’t compete with the “winners” early on in the game. Wait it out, however, and a degree from Wharton will certainly be a coveted item with a rocket high ROI later on in your career. Furthermore, there are many people who would love to have the bottom-of-the-barrel, short-term returns on their tuition investment, especially given the anticipated long-term uptick.

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Where Does Wall St. Hire: U.S. B-Schools Sending Grads into Financial Services

According to GMAC’s just released Prospective Students Survey Report, 37% of prospective MBA students hope to go into finance after they earn their degree, making it the most popular post-MBA destination. If you fall into this crowded category, then you’ll be interested in knowing which b-schools prepare the most grads for jobs in financial services.

As you’ll see below, we’ve created two charts (based on data from U.S. News’ top 25, which happens to have 26 schools because of a tie for 25th place) that display the U.S. schools with the highest percentage of grads going into financial services and those with the highest number of grads reporting financial services jobs. We did not include non-U.S. programs because U.S. News doesn’t rank them, and we wanted the data to be consistent. There are definitely financial powerhouses outside the U.S.

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For more information about the top MBA programs, check out our B-School Zone pages.

The top names on this list, in terms of absolute numbers, are the standard bearers in finance, known as Wall St. breeding grounds. I was a little surprised at how low MIT Sloan came out on both totem poles. It has very prominent faculty in finance, including Nobel Prize winner Robert C. Merton. Perhaps those smaller schools known for entrepreneurship, like Stanford, MIT Sloan, and Haas, are sending more of their graduates into non-traditional fields. Consequently they will not do as well in this kind of a ranking even though they have the curricular, co-curricular, and placement ability to support financial services goals.

Can you put less weight on attending schools at the top of the list even though you may want to go into financial services when you graduate? You can if you’ve already worked in financial services and are looking to get a broader understanding of business, management and leadership through the MBA. Those of you with that background already have valuable skills and a relevant network. Those of you looking to get into financial services for the first time, however, will probably want to look more closely at the programs higher up this list.

Realize that these lists don’t reflect the class profile of the programs or the typical credentials of admitted applicants. You need to know that information too to assess your competitiveness when choosing where to apply. Washington Olin (2nd in percentages) has an average GMAT of 696. UNC Kenan-Flagler (ranked #4 in percentages) has an average GMAT of 683. Both schools send 32% and 28% of their grads respectively into financial services. For those of you without GMAT bragging rights or other qualifications to get into Chicago (average GMAT 723), Columbia (716), and Wharton (average GMAT 725) — the leaders on this list in absolute numbers and overall USN ranking – Olin and Kenan-Flagler may be a good alternative and at least start you down your desired career path.

Much as I did with the similar data we compiled on consulting I must issue a warning: This list or ranking is valuable, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. “Financial services” is a very broad category covering everything from private equity and venture capital, to investment banking, money management, corporate financial analyst positions, and even good old bean counting (AKA accounting). Clearly your specific area of interest is critical, and you have to dig deeper into the employment reports at your target schools to confirm strong placement in your particular area of interest. Also understand how the curriculum and co-curricular activities, events, and clubs will help you do what you want to do after your MBA.

You want to attend a b-school that will help you realize your career goals. Identifying schools with exceptional track records for students with similar goals – especially for those of you seeking to change industries and enter financial services – is an excellent place to start when choosing which MBA programs to apply to, and ultimately, deciding where to attend. This list helps you focus your research. It is the starting gate, not the finish line.

Focus on Finance will help you research and identify the best programs for you to apply to given your finance goals.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Insights of a Tennis Player Turned Kellogg MBA

Check out the rest of our MBA Student Interview seriesThis interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now…introducing Kate Ruckert, a first year student at Northwestern Kellogg.

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What was your most recent pre-MBA job?

Kate: I grew up in Vienna, Virginia, a suburb just outside of Washington DC. I received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Texas-Austin. I majored in Government and I minored in German. I had a great experience at Texas both in the classroom and on the tennis court. I had some outstanding professors, in particular one of whom is considered an expert on the American Presidency. After graduation, I played professional tennis, competing on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour (WTA Tour). After playing on the tour, I decided that I wanted to pursue other opportunities, prompting me to get my MBA.

Accepted: Why are you pursuing an MBA at this stage of your career? What do you plan on doing post-MBA?

Kate: In order to maximize my opportunity to succeed in “traditional” business, I needed to get an MBA. Building a stronger understanding of business concepts would provide me tremendous value long term. I came to Kellogg with the expectation that I would focus on a career in marketing, with a particular concentration in sports. However, I determined that my strengths were actually better suited for a career in finance. I have enjoyed learning about the market and gaining a deeper perspective for capital budgeting decisions that firms make. I am looking forward to my summer internship as an investment banking associate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. Long term, I hope to have a successful career in investment banking.

Accepted: Can you tell us more about your tennis experience? What’s it like to pursue an MBA and a life in the business world alongside your involvement in the WTA?

Kate: Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a professional tennis player. To put so much into a dream and then actually see that dream become a reality was incredibly rewarding to me. I loved the competition, the training, the fitness and of course winning. I think tennis helped me to develop the skills that will serve me throughout my life. From tennis, I gained tenacity, developed a strong work ethic and an inner drive that has helped me flourish at Kellogg.

Accepted: How’s Kellogg going so far? What’s your favorite thing about the program? Least favorite?

Kate: I have loved my experience at Kellogg. I was excited and proud to have been accepted into the Kellogg program. The actual experience is even better than I expected. There are several things that distinguish Kellogg from other business schools, but the primary one is the people. Kellogg students are incredibly collaborative. They really want to help each other be successful. Kellogg students view each other as assets and they are truly interested in learning from one another. As a result my understanding both inside and outside of the classroom has increased tremendously. I came to Kellogg with no formal business training and I have developed a new lens in which to view the world. In addition, I would say one added benefit of pursuing finance at Kellogg is having the opportunity to work with some outstanding finance professors who are genuinely committed to students’ development.

My least favorite aspect of the program related to me and my lack of experience because in some classes they assume a certain level of expertise which I did not have and had to learn. Consequently, in the first quarter I spent a large amount of time learning the basic concepts and terminology and as a result, probably could not be as engaged as others. Now having spent the time to learn the terminology and the concepts, I have become a better participant in the learning experience.

Accepted: Can you recommend a nice coffee shop on or near campus, a good place to study or hang out with friends?

Kate: I actually find that most people tend to study at the Jake (Jacobs Center). I would also recommend studying at the Starbucks in downtown Evanston. It is one of the nicest Starbucks I have ever been to and it is usually fairly full of students busy studying. I would also suggest Pete’s Coffee and Tea for some studying.

In terms of hanging out, I think a lot of people enjoy going to BAT-17, it is a local restaurant/bar that has really great sandwiches and salads. In my second year, I hope to have a little more free time to explore Chicago.

Accepted: What are your top three tips for MBA applicants?

Kate:

1) Be yourself. I think that this is one of the most underappreciated areas for prospective students. Be genuine and don’t be afraid of enthusiasm. I think that admissions teams are looking for bright students who are passionate and the best way to convey that is to let your personality shine through.

2) Talk to students at each of the schools you are applying to. I contacted the Women’s Business Association at every school I applied to and spoke with a female student about her experience in the program. I find that students give the most honest practical advice to prospective students. They are a great resource in understanding the culture of the school and how you might fit into the environment.

3) Research the programs you are applying to and see how those programs fit into your future goals.

In closing, I would advise any applicant to realize the incredible opportunity the MBA program affords, opportunities that most people will never get to experience. While the admissions process is difficult, there will be a tremendous sense of appreciation and pride once you are enrolled in the program.

For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for Kellogg see:

•  Kellogg 2014 MBA Essay Questions & Tips

•  2013 Kellogg Executive MBA Admissions Tips

Thank you Kate for sharing your story with us!

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2015 Best Business Schools Ranked by U.S. News

Check out our MBA Admissions 101 pages!U.S. News released its annual best b-school rankings, and we’re here to provide all the top rankings all in one spot!

2015 Best MBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. Harvard Business School (1)
1. Stanford GSB (2)
1. Wharton (3)
4. Chicago Booth (6)
5. MIT Sloan (4)
6. Northwestern Kellogg (4)
7. UC Berkeley – Haas (7)
8. Columbia (8)
9. Dartmouth Tuck (9)
10. NYU Stern (10)

2015 Best Executive MBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. Wharton (1)
2. Chicago Booth (2)
3. Northwestern Kellogg (3)
4. Duke Fuqua (4)
5. Columbia (4)
6. NYU Stern (6)
7. Michigan Ross (8)
8. UCLA Anderson (7)
9. UC Berkeley – Haas (10)
9. UNC Kenan-Flagler (9)
11. USC Marshall

2015 Best Part-Time MBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. UC Berkeley – Haas (1)
2. Chicago Booth (2)
3. Northwestern Kellogg (3)
4. NYU Stern (4)
4. UCLA Anderson (5)
6. Texas McCombs (7)
7. Michigan Ross (6)
8. Indiana Kelley (9)
9. Ohio State Fisher (8)
10. CMU Tepper (9)

Wondering how much rankings should play a roll in determining where you apply? Watch the video below for Linda Abraham’s answer:

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Kellogg Launches EMBA Program in Beijing

Learn how to Create an Outstanding Application to Top Executive MBA Programs

This week Kellogg announced the launch of its new EMBA program in collaboration with the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing and Shanghai.

The new program will join the ranks of other Kellogg’s EMBA global network partnerships (including HKUST in Hong Kong, York University in Toronto, Tel Aviv University in Israel, and programs in Miami and Chicago).

The Guanghua-Kellogg program is a 22-month program commencing in September 2014, and is designed for executives with 8-10 years of experience.

The curriculum will cover topics on the following themes:

• Megatrends and opportunities
• Analytical skills and decision-making
• Strategic leadership
• Globalization
• Understanding stakeholders

Dean Sally Blount says about the new partnership:

We’re thrilled to partner with the Guanghua School of Management to provide executive-level management education in China. Through our unique global EMBA network, which will now include Guanghua, we offer students a distinctive learning experience, preparing them to lead in the complex global economy.

See the Kellogg press release for more details.

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