Bloomberg Businessweek recently published its Best Business Schools report for 2016, which ranks the best full-time MBA programs in the U.S. Bloomberg has rated business schools since 1988, and today its methodology focuses on how well these programs prepare their students for post-graduate job success, using data from more than 1,000 recruiters, 15,000 alumni and 9,000 recent graduates.

Eighty-seven schools (up from 74 last year) were graded based on five components: the Employer Survey (35% of score), Alumni Survey (30%), Student Survey (15%), Job Placement Rate (10%) and Starting Salary (10%). Thinking about getting your MBA (or just wondering how your alma mater stacks up against the competition)? Here are the 10 best business schools in the U.S. today according to the new Bloomberg List – starting with this year’s winner.

Bloomberg Businessweek's Best Business Schools

  1. Harvard University. The Harvard Business School (HBS) topped the list for the second year in a row, ranking No. 1 in the Employer Survey, No. 2 in Starting Salary and No. 3 in the Alumni Survey.
  2. Stanford University. The Stanford Graduate School of Business climbed five spots from 2015’s ranking to land second place this year – its highest ranking to date. It ranked No. 1 in both the Alumni Survey and Starting Salary components, and No. 20 in the Employer Survey.
  3. Duke University. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business climbed five spots to come in third place this year. The school’s best scores were in the Employer Survey (No. 6), Student Survey (No. 8) and Alumni Survey (No. 11) categories.
  4. University of Chicago. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business fell two spots this year, landing in fourth place. It was No. 3 in the Employer Survey, No. 6 in the Student Survey and No. 7 in Starting Salary.
  5. Dartmouth College. The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth bested its 2015 ranking by nine spots to take the fifth spot this year. Tuck scored best in the Starting Salary (No. 6), Alumni Survey (No. 7) and Employer Survey (No. 8) categories.
  6. University of Pennsylvania. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania fell one spot, coming in this year at sixth place. It ranked No. 4 for both the Employer Survey and Starting Salary components, and No. 10 for Alumni Survey.
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The MIT Sloan School of Management fell three spots to land in seventh place this year. It scored No. 2 in the Employer Survey, No. 3 in Starting Salary and No. 25 in both Alumni Survey and Student Survey.
  8. Rice University. The Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University rose 11 spots from last year’s ranking, settling in at number eight. It ranked No. 4 in Alumni Survey, and No. 14 for both the Employer Survey and Student Survey.  
  9. Northwestern University. The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University fell six spots to ninth place this year. It scored No. 7 in the Employer Survey, No. 10 in Starting Salary and No. 13 in the Student Survey.
  10. University of California Berkley. The Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkley dropped one spot to land in tenth place in this year’s rankings. The school ranked No. 2 in the Alumni Survey, No. 7 in the Student Survey and No. 8 in Starting Salary.

The Bottom Line

Rounding out the top 20 MBA programs were Columbia, Virginia, Michigan (Ross), Yale, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) Cornell (Johnson) NYU (Stern) Texas A&M (Mays), Washington (Foster) and Emory (Goizueta). In addition to rankings, the report found that the average MBA debt for new graduates is $53,000; the job placement rate for three months post-MBA is 89.1%, and the “real” cost of attending a program for two years is $248,000 – which includes $120,000 in forgone wages and $128,000 in total program costs. The top five industries for new graduates today are financial services (17.3%), consulting (17%), technology (16.4%) consumer products (7.8%) and health care (7.3%).

While rankings such as these can help future MBAs make decisions about certain programs, it’s important to do your homework and research each program to make sure it’s the right fit for you.

As Bloomberg notes, “This year’s ranking provides a thorough picture of the current landscape of full-time MBA programs, but a suitable program for one person might be an odd fit for another. Don’t let rankings alone make your school decision for you.” For more, see When Is an MBA Worth It? and The Real Cost of an MBA.



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