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30 Business Schools Which Look Best On Your CV—According To Employers

Want an MBA degree that makes you stand out? We list the business schools with the best reputation among MBA employers


Thu Mar 14 2019

For any prospective MBA student, the reputation of the business school and program they’re applying to is important.

At a job interview, the reputation of the MBA degree on your CV can give you an advantage over a similarly qualified candidate.

Reputation can also impact starting salaries. Alumni from well-respected schools tend to make more than alumni from lesser-known institutions.

In Bloomberg Businessweek’s Best Business School Rankings for 2018, 3,698 recruiters were surveyed to get their perspective on the topic of reputation. They also ranked the best business schools for diversity.

Each recruiter ranked five schools according to reputation. The top-ranked school was awarded five points; the bottom school one point.

After the dust settled, Stanford came out on top...

score of 4.69.

Check out the top 30 below, then read on as we highlight application and salary data from Stanford and three other top-ranked business schools

Here’s 30 business schools which look best on your CV—according to employers:

Stanford Graduate School of Business (1st)



The reputation of Stanford is reflected in its popularity with applicants. There were 7,797 applicants to Stanford MBA’s class of 2020, but only 419 (5.4%) made it through.

Although the odds of acceptance are slim, those who manage to get in reap the rewards after graduation—Stanford graduates receive some of the highest compensation among graduating MBAs.

In the finance sector, graduates receive a median salary of $150,000, which ties Stanford with Harvard Business School for the highest median salary among MBA programs.

Stanford grads also earn the top median salary in technology ($133,000), real estate ($132,000), and media ($150,000) sectors.

Harvard Business School (2nd)

Both recruiters and students assign a high value to the Harvard brand name.

Of the 9,886 applicants to Harvard’s 2020 MBA class, only 930 (9.4%) were admitted. Harvard MBAs have the highest median starting salaries in both finance and consulting.

Harvard MBA graduates can expect to earn starting salaries of $150,000 in consulting and finance; $145,000 in energy; $130,000 in technology; $125,000 in healthcare, real estate, and media; and even $91,000 working in non-profits.

INSEAD (6th)

The first international school to appear on this list is INSEAD, which offers of the most highly-regarded international MBA programs. INSEAD emerged in sixth place, with a rating of 4.36. Around 50% of INSEAD graduates go into the consulting sector.

Even though the school is well-known for training consultants, the median salary for INSEAD’s graduates is $108,000. This is almost $40,000 lower than the median salary for Stanford graduates and over $40,000 lower than the median for Harvard graduates.

The next highest area is technology, where INSEAD graduates earn a median salary of $95,000—almost $40,000 less than what Stanford graduates earn.

IMD (8th)

The second-ranked international school is IMD, which is ranked in the top 10 of the overall Bloomberg Businessweek rankings and eighth in the reputation rankings, with 4.35.

The gap in compensation between IMD and other comparable programs is significant. The 23% of IMD graduates who went into the technology sector earned a median salary of $99,000; $34,000 lower than the Stanford graduates.

In the consulting sector, IMD graduates earn a median of $116,000, which places it smack-dab in the middle of the pack in terms of compensation.

Reputation carries a lot of weight in the business world. To list Stanford, Harvard, or Wharton on a CV will likely earn graduates major points with potential employers, such as extra interviews, extra offers, and extra compensation.

Ample financial benefits aside, the true value of a Stanford, Harvard, INSEAD, or IMD education ultimately transcends mere dollars and cents.

The data in this article is taken from Bloomberg Businessweek’s Best Business Schools ranking 2018