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MBA Rankings 2015: The 25 Best US Business Schools — Forbes

High earning power of Silicon Valley tech takes Stanford GSB to top

Stanford GSB really is the best US business school, according to the ninth biannual ranking of business schools by New York’s Forbes magazine.

The Californian school ranks first for the second straight time, even though its alumni reported an 11% drop in their five-year compensation gain, to $89,100.

Stanford’s class of 2010 tripled their pre-MBA total compensation to $255,000 five years out of school, well above the median compensation across the ranking of $221,000, and above its closest competitors in the table, Harvard Business School and Kellogg School of Management.

Total compensation is up by an annual average of 9.3% for 2010 graduates of the top 25 US business schools, according to data submitted to Forbes.

However, the average five-year gain at the top 25 schools was $61,700, down from $68,000 two years ago, and $118,000 in 2003. Also, the average debt load increased $15,000 to $80,000 over two years.

Forbes’ MBA rankings are based on the return on investment (ROI) achieved by 2010’s graduates.

Stanford’s graduates’ high salaries are a reflection of their strong employment prospects. Top hiring firms last year included Google, and the top-three global consulting firms — McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain.

The business school’s location, so close to Silicon Valley, also boosted its performance in the ranking, which is weighted heavily to earnings. Some 37% of Stanford’s 2010 grads who responded to Forbes reported receiving stock options with a median value of $250,000.

Even stripping out options, total compensation for Stanford MBAs has surged by 16% annually over five years — the highest among all Forbes-ranked US schools.

More than half of recent graduates from the Stanford MBA have stayed in the San Francisco Bay Area. One-quarter of its alumni — around 7,500 people — live there, among them the chief executives of eBay, OpenTable, the real-time restaurant-reservation service, and data storage firm Seagate Technology.

Hot on the heels of Stanford is Harvard Business School, which moved up one spot this year to finish at No. 2, with a five-year MBA gain of $83,500.

Harvard’s class of 2010 earned $239,000 on average last year, mostly in the consulting and finance industries, which hired a combined 65% of 2010’s class. Harvard MBAs reported annual pay hikes of 13%.

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School jumped two places to No. 3. Its students’ median gain was $72,700. The class of 2010 earned $188,000 on average, up 7% from the class of 2008, but the lowest of all the top-seven schools ranked by Forbes, owing to students’ lower salaries on entry to the MBA.

Completing the list of the top-10 US business schools ranked by Forbes are Columbia Business School, Tuck School of Business, Chicago Booth, Berkeley-Haas, MIT Sloan and Cornell.

Texas’ Mays Business School reported the quickest ROI at 3.3 years on average.

To see the full ranking, visit: http://www.forbes.com/business-schools/list/

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