The Financial Times recently released its 2019 Global MBA Rankings and once again Stanford Graduate School of Business secured the #1 position. Harvard Business School earned the #2 spot, up considerably from its #5 place in 2018. INSEAD was pushed to #3 while Wharton slipped to #4. New to the top 5 this year was Shanghai based China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), up considerably from #8 in 2018 and #11 in 2017. The CEIBS EMBA program was also ranked #5 in the Global EMBA Rankings. This is the best performance to date for the 25-year-old program.
London Business School, Chicago Booth, MIT Sloan, Columbia Business School and Berkeley Haas rounded out the top 10, in that order. While there was some position shifting, there was no change in the programs included in the top 10 list. Yale SOM jumped to #11, just missing the top 10 this year.
US MBA programs again dominated the top 10. However, there remain strong options for students looking to earn an MBA outside of the US, with 3 international programs ranked in the top 10.
As you review these rankings, keep the following advice in mind. Remember, rankings can aid in the school selection process but are not the be all end all!
1) Statistics such as acceptance rate and average GPA and GMAT of enrolled students will give you some good benchmarking data; however, use these numbers as an initial guide only. The whole applicant package matters and plenty of candidates with a lower than average GPA or GMAT will get in each year and vice versa.
2) Average ranking over time is important. When you are courting that investor 10 years from now, she will not know what the ranking was when you applied but may look at the current ranking. This is why it is important to pay attention to general ranking trends.
3) Nearly every ranking scale will give different results. Of course, certain schools will be in the top 10 in nearly every ranking, but the general list varies considerably from source to source. As with historical data, the general trend is most important.
4) Rankings vary by industry. While all business schools focus on providing strong general management education, each school has a specific area of expertise. Pay attention to how the schools stack up in the industry specific rankings as well.
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