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The 20 Best Business Schools In The US—According To US News

Find out which school tops the Best Business Schools ranking of MBA programs by US News this year

Tue Mar 12 2019

The crowded MBA market is approaching a saturation point: some business schools are closing their flagship MBA programs as applications in the US have dropped for the past four consecutive years.

See the latest US News MBA Ranking Results

So, it is surprising that there were so many changes at the top of US News’ Best Business Schools ranking for 2020.

For only the third time in three decades, Wharton topped the table. The school pipped Harvard Business School and Chicago Booth, which were in joint first place last year.

There were more significant shifts throughout the ranking, which seem to suggest key changes in the US MBA market, the business education industry’s bellwether.

Wharton tops the ranking

US schools have had a tough year, with applications falling in nine out of 10 schools offering the two-year MBA in 2018. But the strong economy and tight labor market has led to several elite schools reporting

s://">record employment rates and salaries for their MBAs.

This has helped to lift the fortunes of several top schools in the US News ranking, which is compiled based in part on the employment rates and salary increase of alumni, as well as recruiters’ impressions of the MBA. US News also includes the GMAT and GRE standardized test scores in its methodology, among other metrics. 

Wharton came up trumps by achieving the highest score available for US News’ corporate recruiter survey. The 4.4 score has only been achieved by a handful of other schools, such as Stanford Graduate School of Business.

This data is for full-time MBAs. When there's a difference in program cost for in-state/out-of-state students, the higher out-of-state price is quoted.

Wharton also boasts the highest average starting salary and bonus for the MBA class that graduated in 2018. The average base salary plus bonus was a whopping $165,528. This reflects the school’s strong reputation, but also the improving career prospects of students graduating from US schools.

Wharton also rose to the top because it has the highest average GMAT score among all ranked schools for the most recent entering MBA class: 732. Standardized test scores at have been rising at the top schools as competition for places remains intense, despite the MBA application drop.

Some 18 of the top 25 business schools ranked by US News shared a numerical rank with other institutions. Harvard, MIT Sloan and Chicago Booth were all in joint third position. Columbia, Kellogg and Berkeley Haas were lumped together in sixth place. This suggests that US News’ methodology is failing to differentiate some top schools, which raises questions about its value as a tool for prospective students to compare and contrast institutions.

Read: Can You Trust MBA Rankings?

Cheating, fudging, falsifying data. Scandal has put MBA rankings back under the spotlight...


Winners & Losers

US News’ list is one of the most volatile, with many of the institutions ranked this year falling or climbing by 10 or more places. Among the highest risers were Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business, which shot up 32 spots to rank 47th, up from 79th last year.

Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management was among the biggest losers this year, plunging 21 places to finish 74th, down from 53rd the year before.

This volatility led to seven schools being dropped from the ranking entirely, and being replaced by new schools. Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business entered this year’s ranking in 63rd place after failing to be included last year.

There were changes to this year’s ranking. US News included, for the first time, analytical writing scores from the GMAT and GRE entrance exams, in its methodology. US News penalizes in its ranking schools that do not report 50% or more of their students’ GMAT or GRE scores, which can be an indicator of cohort quality.  

US News joins a bevy of other rankings providers in updating its methodology recently, including Bloomberg Businessweek and the Financial Times.

US News’ ranking is one of the most closely-watched in business education circles. The school surveyed 475 US MBA programs accredited by AACSB International, with 367 responding and 131 providing enough data to be considered for one of 100 spots in the final published ranking.

Student Reviews

Carnegie Mellon: Tepper




On Campus

Honest Opinion on CMU

Finding yourself in CMU is such a great blessing. The amazing and great professors and lots of networking opportunities. I was in the faculty of engineering and here the course work was very interesting. The lecturers were very strict and couldn't accept late submission of assignments and work given. This made us very focused. The students are generally good and friendly




On Campus

Excellence and Academic Integrity

CMU is one of the top class universities in Pittsburgh. It is a multi-diverse university with high regard for academic integrity, excellence, and innovation. It consists of different programs and departments that work together to achieve a common goal. I enjoy the convenience of moving from one building to the other. The faculty and staff are super friendly. It is relatively easy to make connections with other students, especially where collaboratory research is necessary. I would definitely recommend CMU to anyone looking for a muti-diverse academic experience.




On Campus

Stressful yet worthwhile

I've been genuinely impressed with the fusion of creativity and innovation at CMU. The professors are a mixed bag-- some are great and life-changing, but I had a couple (mostly gen eds in freshman year) that were really frustrating. The workload can be intense, and it's no joke. Campus was very lively; clubs, events, etc. – there's something for everyone. Pittsburgh in general has some areas that are great, and others that disappoint-- Oakland is a very nice university town area. Overall, CMU is a hotbed of innovation and learning, but the pace and location do come into play.




On Campus

Quite demanding here

Carnegie Mellon is a demanding academic institution where students are expected to put in a lot of effort. Despite the challenging coursework and constant workload, this environment teaches you how to speak for yourself and stand up for what you believe in. The institution also has a strong graduate network, which helps you succeed in the job hunt both while you are enrolled there and after