After a one-week delay and a sharp change in methodology, U.S. News & World Report finally released its 2023-2024 Best Business Schools ranking, with some big surprises.
While Chicago Booth maintained the spotlight at #1, Kellogg (Northwestern) climbed one spot to #2, and Wharton (University of Pennsylvania) dropped two notches to #3.
U.S. News’ new metrics this year, most likely sparked by the recent boycotts of its law school and medical school rankings, focus heavily on job placement after graduation, starting salaries with sign-on bonus, and undergraduate GPA and acceptance rate. U.S. News changed the way it calculates average GPAs, counting only those reported on a 4.0 scale. Invariably, this metric affects schools with a larger international contingent. This year, U.S. News also put less weight on other variables, such as average test scores and recruiter, peer, and dean surveys, which previously had carried more weight.
Regardless of the outcome, MBA rankings continue to be studied voraciously by applicants, students, and alumni.
Notable changes this year
- Chicago Booth’s #1 spot for two years in a row is likely the result of its performance on several metrics: a 96% employment rate three months after graduation, a spike in average salary and sign-on bonus to a record $194,792 (compared to $180,144 last year), an average GPA of 4.0, and median GMAT score of 730. Its employment rate was third among the top ten schools, and its average salary was fourth after those of Harvard, Stanford, and NYU Stern.
- Kellogg jumped one place to #2 this year, with a whopping 97% employment rate three months after graduation, a $189,342 starting salary, and a 31% acceptance rate.
- Wharton moved down to #3 this year, with its admit rate increasing from 18.2% to 22.8% and its GMAT average matching only those of the Stanford GSB and NYU Stern at 740. Despite the program’s decline in admit rate, Wharton MBAs enjoyed a jump in average salary and signing bonuses by $11,300 to $190,992. Job placement three months after commencement went down slightly to 96%.
- Top-ranked schools continued to jostle for position, with some flagship programs rising and others falling. MIT Sloan moved up one spot to #4, and Harvard remained at #5 like last year. The Stanford GSB dropped by three notches, tying with Dartmouth Tuck at #6. The GSB’s acceptance rate remains the lowest at 9%, while Tuck’s rate went up to 33%, the highest among the top ten. Michigan Ross tied with the Yale SOM at #8, with NYU Stern closing the top ten list. Columbia and Haas (UC Berkeley) both dropped three notches, tying with Duke Fuqua at #11.
- While Harvard Business School remained at #5 for a second year in a row, it claimed a 90% employment rate three months out and boasted the highest average starting salary, at $198,180. Harvard did lose on other metrics, though, including having a higher admit rate of 14%, up from 12.5% last year, and an average GMAT that was lower than that of many of its competitors.
- Many other programs in the top 25 leaped forward, including University of Southern California Marshall and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, both of which rose four places – to #15 and #17, respectively – and Rice University’s Jones gained three places to rank #24.
- Outside the top 25, Rochester’s Simon Business School rose six spots to #27, and the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia rose seven positions to reach #31. In contrast, the University of Florida Warrington declined 11 spots to #40.
Part-time MBA programs experienced less change in the rankings compared to last year. While Haas (UC Berkeley, #1) and Chicago Booth (#2) exchanged places, Northwestern Kellogg (#3), NYU Stern (#4), and UCLA Anderson (#5) saw no change.
The rankings were based on a survey of 496 institutions with master’s level business programs in the United States accredited by AACSB International. A total of 367 survey recipients responded; the final rankings are based on 149 business schools that provided enough data on their full-time MBA programs and had large enough 2022 graduating classes seeking employment for valid comparisons. The rankings also include some programs conferring degrees such as Master of Science in Management and Master of Science in Industrial Administration.
The new methodology focused on three indicators that in total account for 50% of each school’s ranking (up from 35%). Two of those indicators were employment rates at graduation and employment rates three months after graduation for the 2022 graduating class of full-time MBA programs. Graduates who did not seek a job or for whom no job-seeking information was available were excluded. The third indicator was starting salaries and sign-on bonuses for the graduates of the 2022 class of full-time MBA programs.
Quality assessments (peer and recruiter assessments) accounted for another 25% (down from 40%). And finally, student selectivity, which encompasses three ranking indicators (undergraduate GPA, median GMAT/GRE test scores, and acceptance rate), accounted for the remaining 25%.
U.S. News 2024 Top 10 Full-Time MBA Programs
|2024 Rank||2023 Rank||School||Location|
|1||1 (tie)||University of Chicago (Booth)||Chicago , IL|
|2||3 (tie)||Northwestern University (Kellogg)||Evanston , IL|
|3||1 (tie)||University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||Philadelphia , PA|
|4||5 (tie)||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)||Cambridge , MA|
|5||5 (tie)||Harvard University||Allston , MA|
|6 (tie)||11||Dartmouth College (Tuck||Hanover , NH|
|6 (tie)||3 (tie)||Stanford University||Stanford , CA|
|8 (tie)||10||University of Michigan--Ann Arbor (Ross)||Ann Arbor , MI|
|8 (tie)||7||Yale University||New Haven , CT|
|10||12 (tie)||New York University (Stern)||New York , NY|
U.S. News 2023 Top 10 Part-Time MBA Programs
|2024 Rank||2023 Rank||School||Location|
|1||2||University of California, Berkeley (Haas)||Berkeley , CA|
|2||1||University of Chicago (Booth)||Chicago , IL|
|3||3||Northwestern University (Kellogg)||Evanston , IL|
|4||4||New York University (Stern)||New York , NY|
|5||5||University of California--Los Angeles (Anderson)||Los Angeles , CA|
|6||7||University of Texas--Austin (McCombs)||Austin , TX|
|7||6||University of Michigan--Ann Arbor (Ross)||Ann Arbor , MI|
|8||9||University of Southern California (Marshall)||Los Angeles , CA|
|9 (tie)||7||Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)||Pittsburgh , PA|
|9 (tie)||14||Georgetown University (McDonough)||Washington , DC|
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Former associate director of admissions at the Yale School of Management, director of MBA admissions at MSU Broad, and consultant at Cardiff Business School in the United Kingdom, Esmeralda Cardenal has guided Accepted clients to acceptance in various graduate programs since 2014, including MBA and master’s in finance, business analytics, data science, sustainability, and public policy. Want Esmeralda to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!