Scott Edinburgh
September 22, 2021

Personal MBA Coach’s Take on the Bloomberg Businessweek MBA Rankings


Bloomberg Businessweek recently released its list of the 2021-2022 best business schools, ranking 119 business schools in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Canada. This year, rankings were based on surveys from students, alumni, and recruiters, as well as compensation and employment information. United States business schools also provided diversity statistics on race, ethnicity, and gender.

Personal MBA Coach would like to share our thoughts on the latest Bloomberg Businessweek MBA rankings and business school rankings in general.

While the Bloomberg MBA rankings were suspended in 2020 due to the coronavirus, many of this year’s results closely resemble the 2019-2020 rankings. That said, there are also a few surprises.

The United States Bloomberg MBA Rankings

Yet again, Stanford GSB topped the US rankings. As one student shared, what makes the program so strong are the “incredible resources and opportunities available…including the highly accessible and accomplished professors, so many responsive and receptive alumni, amazing classmates, and full access to the broader Stanford ecosystem.”

Dartmouth Tuck once again takes second place in the US Bloomberg MBA rankings. Also matching their previous performance, Harvard Business School secured the #3 position and Chicago Booth placed 4th.

This year, Kellogg jumped considerably from #10 to #5 and Columbia Business School moved from #9 to #6. UC Berkeley placed 7th, followed by MIT Sloan in 8th place, and Wharton and UVA Darden, which tied for 9th.

These are interesting shifts for Darden and Wharton, considering they placed 5th and 6th in the previous rankings.


The European Bloomberg MBA Rankings

As in the past Bloomberg MBA rankings, IMD has secured 1st place in the 2021-2022 rankings for European schools. Both noteworthy changes, IESE ascended from #6 to #2 and SDA Bocconi moved from #5 to #3.

HEC Paris came in 4th place this year and London Business School rounded out the top 5. IE took 6th place, Cambridge Judge took 7th, and Oxford Said took 8th. HEC Paris (#9) and Manchester (#10) finished up the top 10.

While HEC Paris and LBS fell slightly in this year’s rankings, Oxford Said and Manchester had not been in the previous top 10 list.

The Asia-Pacific MBA Rankings

As in the 2019-2020 rankings, CEIBS took 1st place in the Asia-Pacific rankings, HKUST came in 2nd, and National University of Singapore came in 3rd.

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics shifted from #5 to #4, whereas Indian School of Business moved from #4 to #5. Indian Institute of Management Bangalore made it into the top ten this year, coming in 6th and Shanghai University MBA Centre concluded the Asia-Pacific schools in 7th place.

This year, Lingnan was omitted from the Asia-Pacific Bloomberg MBA rankings, while IIM Bangalore made it onto the list.

The Canadian Bloomberg MBA Ranking

The Bloomberg Businessweek MBA rankings include only five Canadian MBA programs this year. Smith jumped from #2 to #1 and HEC Montreal moved significantly from #6 to #2.

Rogers School of Management moved from #5 to #3 and McGill shifted from #7 to #4. Rounding out the top 5, Molson dropped one position from 4th to 5th place in this year’s list.

It comes as a surprise that Rotman and Ivey are not on the current list. Alberta also was missing from this year’s Bloomberg Businessweek MBA rankings.


How to Think About MBA Rankings

Exploring MBA rankings can be a great way to build your target school list, though remember that almost every ranking source will give different results. Plus, as Personal MBA Coach has shared in the past, you should pay attention to a school’s average ranking over time and not be overly concerned by year-to-year fluctuations.

This year’s surprises and shifts are additional reminders of the value (for some applicants) of broadening your school list beyond the M7 programs. Depending on your post-MBA goals, you may also want to pay more attention to some of the specialized rankings that exist and school specific placement statistics. Just because a school is higher ranked does not mean that it will do a better job at preparing you for your next job, especially if you are targeting a more niche industry.

Finally, with the lines blurring between top schools, available financing should be a key consideration. You may be able to secure more substantial funding from one school vs. another: last year, our clients earned over $6.5M in scholarships. Often you will be better served selecting a school with a slightly lower ranking but a more favorable financial package. Some M7 schools are very generous with scholarships and others are not.

As a reminder, do not overreact to these new rankings but do keep an open mind about expanding your MBA list.

Need help building a target school list? Personal MBA Coach is here to help! Visit our comprehensive packages to learn more.

About Personal MBA Coach