Best business school rankings are always big news, but it is rare they come with much in the way of surprises, especially in the top 10. For example, Harvard and Stanford have tied for the #1 spot for the fourth time in six years—and for the years they didn’t tie it was a 1-2 split.
Yet, there is at least something different to come out of this year’s top spot: it’s a three-way tie this time. Wharton has added its bite mark to the gold medal. Always in the top 10 but never at #1, Wharton’s placement is, among other things, antithetical to the Wall Street Journal’s assessment of the UPenn business school.
After the 1st-1st-1st listing, the usual suspects are seen scooting around one another to finish out the top-tier seats: Booth, Sloan, Kellogg, Haas, Columbia, Tuck, and Stern. As the list continues, so do the standards bearers: Ross, Darden, Yale, Fuqua, and so on.
Of course, there are many other Top B-Schools lists to compare. In addition to U.S. News, other heavy-hitters include the Financial Times, Bloomberg, The Economist, and Forbes. To learn more about the methodology employed by each of these organizations, this article breaks down how each compiles, aggregates, and interprets data in order to provide readers with a ranked list of the world’s MBA programs.
Usually, the different lists are really quite similar. Numbers do not necessarily always line up exactly, but their relative positions are not too far off. Even still, and especially when a school’s ranking is notably different from list to list, it is hard not to wonder why there are discrepancies and what is behind them. Further, when there is, say, a three-way tie for first place or maybe when 32 out of the top 50 schools on a list share the same rank with at least one other institution, one might wonder what kind of process allows that to happen. (Each of the aforementioned anomalies occurred in this year’s U.S. News ranking.)