Personal MBA Coach’s Look At The 2020 US News and World Reports Best Business School Rankings:
With this month’s release of the 2020 US News and World Reports Best Business School Guide, MBA ranking are top of mind for all MBA hopefuls (and even many graduates). Personal MBA Coach would like to share our thoughts on the latest rankings.
Before I cover this year’s big changes, I would like to remind everyone of one of the most important things to keep in mind when evaluating rankings: Average ranking over time is much more important than year to year fluctuation.
So, what is the big news this year?
2020 Full-Time MBA Rankings:
I am proud to say that for the second time in three years, my alma mater, Wharton, secured the #1 position, reclaiming the spot from Booth. Further, unlike in the past few years, this top ranking was not shared between schools. Stanford was ranked #2, a decent improvement from its previous 4th place position. There was a three-way tie for third place between HBS, MIT Sloan and Chicago Booth. Next, Columbia, Kellogg and Berkeley Haas tied for 6th place. This was a good year for Yale SOM, which reclaimed its top 10 position with a #9 ranking. Finally, Duke Fuqua and Michigan Ross shared the #10 position.
Tuck fell out of the top 10 this year, with a #12 ranking, a position it shared with NYU Stern and UVA Darden. Johnson, Anderson, Tepper, Marshall, Kenan-Flagler and McCombs rounded out this year’s top 20.
One should not lose sleep over the fact that HBS is #3 this year, nor do we recommend that every client now apply to Wharton because of its top ranking. As we opened with, the changes over time are most important and these rankings vary from year-to-year and guide-to-guide.
The two 3-way ties in the top 10 demonstrate that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between top MBA programs. Further, seeing schools shuffle around and move in and out of the top 10 confirms that there are a number of high-quality MBA options available with many applicants looking more broadly than just Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. My average client applies to five or more programs.
Beyond rankings, it is important to look at job placement. You can often land your dream job after graduating from a number of similar schools. Depending on your post-MBA goals, you may also want to pay more attention to some of the specialized rankings that exist. Just because a school is higher ranked overall does not mean that it will do a better job at preparing you for your next job, especially if you are not going for a more standard goal like consulting or banking.
Finally, with the lines blurring between top schools, available financing should be a key consideration. You may be able to secure more substantial funding from one school vs. other – last year my clients earned over $4.5M in scholarships. Often you will be better served selecting a school with a slightly lower ranking yet a more favorable financial package. Some M7 schools are very generous with scholarships and others are not.
As a reminder, do not overreact to these new rankings but do keep an open mind to expanding your MBA list.
Need personal support? Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, Personal MBA Coach regularly helps applicants navigate their applications each year. Our comprehensive support includes mock interviews with a team of former M7 interviewers and customized GMAT/GRE tutoring with tutors who scored in the 99th percentile.
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