Best Graduate Business Schools

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The business school rankings below are based on a composite ranking of all major business school ranking indices including U.S. News & World Report, Princeton Review, Kaplan/Newsweek, Forbes, Wallstreet Journal and Business Week. All master’s business programs listed below accredited by the Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.

  Executive MBA

  Operations / Production
  Logistics / Supply Chain

Business School (MBA) Rankings 2012-2013

US News & World Report Forbes Businessweek Top 50 Composite
1. Harvard University 1. Harvard University 1. University of Chicago 1. Harvard University
2. Stanford 2. Stanford 2. Harvard University 2. Chicago (Booth)
3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 3. Chicago (Booth) 3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 3. Standford
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan) 4. Pennsylvania (Wharton) 4. Stanford University 4. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
5. Northwestern University (Kellogg) 5. Columbia 5. Northwestern University (Kellogg) 5. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
6. University of Chicago (Booth) 6. Dartmouth (Tuck) 6. Duke University (Fuqua) 6. MIT (Sloan)
7. University of California–Berkeley (Haas) 7. Northwestern (Kellogg) 7. Cornell University (Johnson) 7. Columbia University
8. Columbia University 8. Cornell (Johnson) 8. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross) 8. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
9. Dartmouth College (Tuck) 9. Virginia (Darden) 9. MIT (Sloan) 9. University of California–Berkeley (Haas)
10. Yale University 10. MIT (Sloan) 10. University of Virginia (Darden) 10. Cornell University (Johnson)
11. New York University (Stern) 11. Yale 11. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) 11. Duke University (Fuqua)
12. Duke University (Fuqua) 12. Duke (Fuqua) 12. Dartmouth College (Tuck) 12. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross)
13. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross) 13. UC Berkeley (Haas) 13. University of California Berkeley (Haas) 13. University of Virginia (Darden)
14. University of Virginia (Darden) 14. Michigan (Ross) 14. Columbia University 14. New York University (Stern)
15. University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson) 15. Brigham Young University (Marriott School of Management) 15. Indiana University (Kelley) 15. Yale University
16. Cornell University (Johnson) 16. UNC (Kenan-Flagler) 16. New York University (Stern) 16. UCLA (Anderson)
17. University of Texas–Austin (McCombs) 17. University of Texas–Austin (McCombs) 17. University of North Carolina Chapell Hill (Kenan-Flagler) 17. University of Texas–Austin (McCombs)
18. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) 18. NYU (Stern) 18. University of California Los Angeles (Anderson) 18. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
19. Emory University (Goizueta) 19. Michigan State (Broad) 19. University of Texas-Austin (McCombs) 19. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
20. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler) 20. UCLA (Anderson) 20. University of Notre Dame (Mendoza) 20. Emory University (Goizueta)
21. University of Southern California (Marshall) 21. Iowa (Tippie) 21. Yale University 21. Indiana University–Bloomington (Kelley)
22. Washington University in St. Louis (Olin) 22. Emory (Goizueta) 22. Emory (Goizueta) 22. University of Southern California (Marshall)
23. Indiana University–Bloomington (Kelley) 23. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) 23. Georgia Institute of Technology 23. Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)
24. Georgetown University (McDonough) 24. Texas A&M (Mays) 24. University of Maryland (Smith) 24. University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)
25. Ohio State University (Fisher) 25. SMU (Cox) 25. Vanderbilt University (Owen) 25. Georgetown University (McDonough)
26. Rice University (Jones) 26. Penn State (Smeal) 26. Texas A&M University (Mays) 26. Texas A&M (Mays)
27. University of Notre Dame (Mendoza) 27. Indiana (Kelley) 27. Ohio State University (Fisher) 27. Ohio State University (Fisher)
28. University of Wisconsin–Madison 28. Minnesota (Carlson) 28. University of Southern California (Marshall) 28. Vanderbilt University (Owen)
29. Vanderbilt University (Owen) 29. Wisconsin-Madison 29. Southern Methodist University (Cox) 29. Brigham Young University (Marriott)
30. Arizona State University (Carey) 30. Wake Forest (Babcock) 30. Georgetown University (McDonough) 30. Georgia Institute of Technology
31. University of Minnesota–Twin Cities (Carlson) 31. Notre Dame (Mendoza) 31. Washington University St Louis (Olin) 31. University of Minnesota–Twin Cities (Carlson)
32. Georgia Institute of Technology 32. Rochester (Simon) 32. Brigham Young University (Marriott) 32. Michigan State University (Broad)
33. Texas A&M University–College Station (Mays) 33. Vanderbilt (Owen) 33. University of Minnesota (Carlson) 33. Southern Methodist University (Cox)
34. Brigham Young University (Marriott) 34. Ohio State (Fisher) 34. University of Wisconsin Madison 34. University of Washington (Foster)
35. University of Washington 35. Georgetown (McDonough) 35. Michigan State University (Broad) 35. University of California–Davis
36. University of California–Davis 36. Washington (Foster) 36. Rice University (Jones) 36. University of Maryland–College Park (Smith)
37. Boston College (Carroll) 37. Connecticut 37. University of Washington (Foster) 37. University of Rochester (Simon)
38. Boston University 38. Maryland (Smith) 38. The Pennsylvania State University (Smeal) 38. Wake Forest University
39. University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign 39. USC (Marshall) 39. Boston University 39. The Pennsylvania State University (Smeal)
40. University of Rochester (Simon) 40. Purdue (Krannert) 40. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 40. Boston College (Carroll)
41. University of Texas–Dallas 41. William & Mary (Mason) 41. Purdue University (Krannert) 41. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
42. Purdue University–West Lafayette (Krannert) 42. Georgia (Terry) 42. Babson College 42. Purdue University–West Lafayette (Krannert)
43. Tulane University (Freeman) 43. Georgia Tech 43. University of California-Irvine (Merage) 43. Boston University
44. Michigan State University (Broad) 44. Babson (Olin) 44. Wake Forest University 44. University of Texas–Dallas
45. Pennsylvania State University–University Park (Smeal) 45. Rice (Jones) 45. Thunderbird School of Global Management 45. Tulane University (Freeman)
46. University of Florida (Hough) 46. Rollins (Crummer) 46. Texas Christian University 46. Wake Forest University (Babcock)
47. University of Maryland–College Park (Smith) 47. Washington University-St. Louis(Olin) 47. Boston College (Carroll) 47. University of Florida (Hough)
48. Wake Forest University (Babcock) 48. U Buffalo, SUNY 48. University of Florida (Hough) 48. University of Iowa (Tippie)
49. University of California–Irvine (Merage) 49. Case Western (Weatherhead) 49. Arizona State University (Carey) 49. University of California–Irvine (Merage)
50. University of Iowa (Tippie) 50. CUNY Baruch (Zicklin) 50. University of Rochester (Simon) 50. Babson College(Olin)
51. University of Arkansas–Fayetteville (Walton) 51. Pittsburgh (Katz) 51. Northeastern University n/a
52. Case Western Reserve University (Weatherhead) 52. Tulane (Freeman) 52. University of Georgia (Terry) n/a
53. Temple University (Fox) 53. Boston College (Carroll) 53. University of Iowa (Tippie) n/a
54. Southern Methodist University (Cox) 54. Thunderbird 54. George Washington University n/a
55. University of Missouri (Trulaske) 55. Fordham 55. Syracuse University n/a
56. Northeastern University 56. Illinois-Urbana-Champaign 56. University of Missouri-Columbia (Trulaske) n/a
57. George Washington University 57. Alabama (Manderson) 57. University of Buffalo n/a
58. University of Arizona (Eller) 58. Auburn 58. Fordham University n/a
59. University of Georgia (Terry) 59. Miami 59. Howard University n/a
60. University of Massachusetts–Amherst (Isenberg) 60. Arizona (Eller) 60. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville n/a
61. Babson College (Olin) 61. Boston U 61. Rutgers University Newark & New Brunswick n/a
62.University of Connecticut 62. Hofstra (Zarb) 62. University of South Carolina (Moore) n/a
63. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey–New Brunswick and Newark 63. Missouri (Trulaske) 63. North Carolina State University (Jenkins) n/a

* College rankings based on editor generated composite of major ranking indices.

How to Select a Business School

For those serious about their career, attending the right business school should be an important element of their long-term strategy. While one business school may not be the perfect fit for all, there are certain things you’ll want to consider as you evaluate different business schools. Being a top ranked business school is important, but don’t base your decision solely on a business school’s ranking.

Teaching Method

One of the biggest differences between business schools is teaching method. This is something you’ll want to look at. While no school employs just one teaching method exclusively, most will lean toward one style of teaching or another. Probably the most popular teaching style among top business schools is the case method. As its name suggests, this method relies on cases and examples which are designed to help students gain insight into real world scenarios, problems and analysis. This method employs an inductive learning process where students often work in groups and participate in classroom discussion that requires them to think on their feet. This method of learning can be a bit overwhelming at first for students who aren’t used to it, but it’s effective. Harvard University is probably the best known university that uses this method of teaching, but lesser known schools, including Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management also rely on the case method for teaching and learning.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, like several other top ranked business schools, employs a more theoretical approach to learning. Like Harvard, or BYU, the Booth School of Business focuses on helping its students develop strong quantitative skills, but beyond that their teaching styles diverge. When it comes to instruction, Booth emphasizes a traditional classroom based lecture format–similar to that employed at most undergraduate colleges and universities. Not surprisingly, undergraduate students moving directly into an MBA program find schools like Booth very accomodating.

Many faculty and students will swear by the case method of teaching and learning, while others are staunch proponents of theoretical teaching. We tend to feel that a good business school will find a good balance between both methods. Which method (or school) is best for you will depend on what you’re used to and what you’ll feel comfortable with. Business schools that rely on the case method of teaching typically attract students with prior work experience, where schools that rely on a more traditional and theoretical approach have a higher percentage of students with limited work experience entering directly from an undergraduate program.

Curriculum and Coursework

Something else you’ll want to look closely at when evaluating potential business schools is the curriculum, coursework, and opportunities for specialization. Most business programs will have a core curriculum that addresses fundamental areas of business, including finance, accounting, general management and marketing. However, outside of core curriculum business programs can vary dramatically in terms of what is required and what is available. Some schools have structured course tracks that align with specific concentration. Others allow students great liberty in structuring their own concentration and selecting courses as they see fit. We recommend that you take a good hard look at a school’s curriculum before applying–especially if you want to specialize in a particular area of business, such as entrepreneurship, non-profit management, e-business, etc.


Most business programs ranked in the top 50 are going to have a good reputation–especially given that most rankings incorporate an element of an institution’s reputation. Reputation is important for two reasons. First, reputation is usually a reflection of the quality of an institution’s program, faculty, and graduates. Second, reputation has a big influence on the marketability of your business degree after you graduate. But attending a school simple based on its overall reputation isn’t the best idea. You’ll also want to consider the reputation of its individual programs and areas where it specializes. For example, the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management doesn’t have the same overall reputation as Harvard University. However, the Marriott School of Management has one of the strongest finance/accounting programs in the nation. If you’re looking to develop strong quantitative skills and/or want to focus on corporate finance or financial accounting, then the Marriott School of Management just might be the choice for you. When considering reputation, it’s also important to consult with professionals within the industry where you want to work. They’ll know which schools have a good reputation within the industry and which don’t.

Career Placement and Employment

Let’s face it, the number one reason most individuals attend business school is to increase their job prospects and career opportunities. Consequently, the quality of a school’s program should be based in large part on how well their graduates do in the job market. Any good business school will easily and eagerly provide you with a report outlining its graduation rate, placement rate, average graduate salary, and even where graduates are able to find employment. In fact, this information is often presented in a school’s program catalog. With regard to employment after graduation, other questions you may want to ask an admissions officer include the following:

  • Do graduates find employment all over country, internationally, or in just one location?
  • What companies regularly come to recruit at the school?
  • Does the school have a well-developed, on-campus recruitment program?
  • Do graduates end up working predominently in one industry, or in several industries?
  • What positions do graduate typically end up with? (e.g. entry-level, associate, manager, etc.)
  • What is the starting salary range for graduates?
  • What are all the services that the school’s career placement office provides?
  • On average, how long after graduation does it take to find a good job?


Location, location, location. That’s what they say it’s all about in real estate. We’ll, location plays a big part in selecting a business school as well. Where you attend business school will affect how much your education will cost, whether or not you’ll be able to maintain your current employment, and it may impact your personal and social life. It also influences the type of internships and employment opportunities that are avaiable pre- and post-graduation. A business school located in a technology park in Silicon Valley is much more likely to have technology internship and employment opportunities available to its students than a program in Evanston, Wyoming. If you have a good idea where you want to work after you graduate, you may also consider attending a program in that area. It’s not uncommon for business schools to be well connected in their local communities.

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