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The Best Business Schools In The US, According To Forbes

Is a full-time MBA worth it? The Forbes MBA ranking looks at the five-year return you'll make after graduation

Thu Sep 19 2019

It’s that time again. The Forbes ranking of the best business schools in the world is out, and there’s a new school on top.

The business school ranking, which is released every two years, asks the question, ‘is a full-time MBA worth it’? by looking at graduates’ return on investment over a five-year period. That differs from the Financial Times MBA ranking, which surveys graduates three years after their degree.  

This year’s ranking polled the MBA graduating class of 2014, and looked at their pre and post-MBA compensation, career choice, and location. The five-year MBA gain is the total compensation after graduation minus the sum of tuition, fees, and two years of missed compensation.

Who is the new school on top?

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business came out on top in this year’s Forbes ranking of the best business schools. Graduates from 2014 saw a five-year MBA gain of $94,400.

Stanford Graduate School of Business was in second place, with a five-year MBA gain of $90,800, closely followed Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management at $89,600.

The rest of the top 10 were made up of Harvard ($86,500), Wharton ($84,700), Dartmouth Tuck ($82,700), Columbia Business School ($80,900), MIT Sloan ($80,900), Cornell Johnson ($78,300), and Michigan Ross ($78,000).

Whose graduates have the highest MBA salaries?

Stanford leapfrogs Chicago Booth when the rankings are adjusted to highest MBA salaries. Stanford MBA grads in 2018 took home on average $250,000, whereas Booth grads pocketed a still eye watering $245,000.

Dartmouth Tuck grads earned $233,000 last year, while Columbia’s MBA class of 2014 took home $230,000 per year as of 2018. Columbia is followed by Wharton ($230,000), and Harvard ($230,000).

Completing the top 10 are MIT Sloan ($215,000), Kellogg ($215,000), UC Berkeley: Haas ($205,000), and Yale School of Management ($198,000).

READ: Can You Trust MBA Rankings?


Which school’s MBAs pay their debt back the quickest?

Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business MBA grads pay their MBA debt back the quickest—an average of 3.6 years. The University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is in second place. MBA grads from 2014 also took 3.6 years to break even.

Indiana’s Kelley School of Business (3.7 years), Penn State’s Smeal College of Business (3.7), and the University of Buffalo School of Management (3.7) make up the top five.

Graduates from the schools that make up the rest of the top 10 all paid their MBA debt back, on average, after 3.8 years. They include UNC Kenan-Flagler, Emory’s Goizueta Business School, Washington: Foster, Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, and Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.