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Wharton Returns To Top Financial Times MBA Ranking While Harvard & Stanford Sink To Record Lows

Wharton dropped out of the Financial Times MBA Ranking last year but returns to top the list in 2024, while fellow M7 business schools Harvard and Stanford fall to record lows

Mon Feb 12 2024

After failing to register enough alumni survey responses and dramatically dropping out of the 2023 Financial Times MBA Ranking, The Wharton School returned this year to top the list for a 12th time. 

Despite last year’s non-performance, Wharton has topped the ranking more than any other institution. Fellow M7 Business Schools Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business—both former top-ranked schools—dropped to record lows this year with Harvard placing 11th and Stanford taking 23rd. 

Wharton, Harvard & Stanford: FT MBA Ranking analysis

The differing ranking positions between the three schools, each of which is usually vying for a place at the top of the ranking, was due to the variation between each of their performances across the FT’s 21 ranking criteria. 

Wharton ranked more consistently across each category, including placing top for research and third for average alumni salary three years after graduation. In total 92% of job-seeking Wharton MBAs were employed within three months of graduation, higher than several other M7 schools. 

It also outperformed rival schools within the more recently introduced metrics related to schools’ sustainability. Wharton’s ESG and net zero rank—based on the hours of core courses dedicated to ESG teaching and alumni evaluations of schools’ ESG teaching—was 61. The carbon footprint ranking, which is based on schools’ net zero target year and annually published carbon emissions audit report, saw Wharton place 56th.

Harvard placed second for alumni salaries, its average of $246,509 narrowly beat Wharton’s at $245,772, however the percentage increase of alumni salaries from before the MBA to now was lower than its rivals. In total, 80% of job-seeking Harvard MBAs found roles—a significant 10% decrease compared to last year—while the school also ranked among the top five for career progression and second overall for research. 

When it came to ESG teaching Harvard ranked significantly lower than Wharton, placing 90th, however it also ranked 17th within the carbon footprint ranking. 

Stanford’s significant drop compared with last year when it ranked fourth was due to shortfalls in several areas. The school has consistently seen grads earn higher salaries than rivals, however the gap has shrunk from around $13k in 2023 to around $4k this year, as Stanford grads report average salaries of $250,650. 

The school’s salary percentage increase fell from 131 to 117 in 2024, while it also dropped six places to 13th in the research ranking. The percentage of job-seeking MBAs at Stanford who secured roles also fell to 82%, while Stanford's fall off was most significant in the ESG and net zero ranking, where it dropped from 28th to 94th. The school’s carbon footprint rank also fell eight places to 61st. 

Despite this, Stanford continued to rank among the best business schools for several important metrics, including topping the ranking when it came to alumni network, aims achieved, and overall alumni satisfaction. 

US Business Schools continue to dominate ranking

While Stanford and Harvard fell from the top of the rankings, US business schools continued to dominate the top 10, taking six places. However the top five contained three schools from Europe. 

Trailing behind Wharton was INSEAD, which boasts campuses in France, Singapore, and various other global locations, followed by last year's leader Columbia Business School and Italy's SDA Bocconi School of Management in joint third. They led Barcelona-based IESE Business School in fifth. 

The remaining top 10 spaces were taken by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management, the UK's London Business School, Cornell University's Johnson College of Business, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.  

Outside of the top 10, US business schools populated the majority of spots with the exception of a number of top perfomers from Europe such as France's prestigious HEC Paris (12th), and ESADE Business School and IE Business School—both located in Spain. 

Other US schools that feature among the top 20 Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business in 13th, Duke University Fuqua School of Business taking the 14th spot, and Yale School of Management in the 15th position. 

University of Virginia Darden School of Business, UCLA Anderson School of Management, and University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business also place among the top 20, taking 16th, 18th, and 19th respectively. 

Financial Times MBA Ranking 2024 

*Weighted salary refers to the average salaries graduates earn three years after graduation. Brackets in the 'Employed at three months' column indicate the percentage of graduates who were seeking jobs

Financial Times MBA Ranking methodology 

In total, there were 132 schools taking part in this year's FT ranking process. All were accredited by either AACSB or EQUIS. The FT records data from schools and also surveys their alumni, three years after graduation. This year's alumni surveys were from the class of 2020, who left business school during the Covid pandemic. 

Alumni responses are given a 56% weighting towards a school's final ranking. School data makes up the majority of the rest of a school's ranking while 10% is allotted to its research ranking. 

Weightings for each of the metrics are provided below: 

Alumni Responses:

School Data:

Weighted Salary: 16%

Salary Increase: 16%

Value For Money Rank: 5%

Career Progress Rank: 3%

Aims Achieved: 4%

Alumni Network Rank: 4%

 Careers Service Rank: 3%

 Employed At Three Months: 2%

 Sector Diversity Rank: 3%

 Female Faculty: 3%

 Female Students: 3%

 Women On Board: 1%

 International Faculty: 3%

 International Students: 3%

 International Board: 1%

 International Mobility Rank: 5%

 International Course Experience Rank: 3%

 Faculty With Doctorates: 5%

 Employed At Three Months: 2%

 FT Research Rank: 10%

 Carbon Footprint Rank: 4%

 ESG & Net Zero Rank: 3%

READ: The Best Business Schools In The World | Full List