• Scott Edinburgh

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts on MBA Rankings

With the recent release of the 2019 US News and World Report Best Business School Guide, MBA rankings are top of mind for all MBA hopefuls (and even many graduates).

Personal MBA Coach would like to share our thoughts on the latest rankings, along with how we advise our clients to use MBA rankings in general.

Before we cover this year’s big changes, we would like to remind everyone of one of the most important things to keep in mind when evaluating ranking guides: Average ranking over time is much more important than year to year fluctuations.

So, what is the big news this year?

University of Chicago (Booth) has tied with Harvard Business School for the number 1 position this year. Wharton was ranked #3, Stanford #4 and Sloan #5. Other notable changes include University of Michigan’s (Ross) place in the top 10, tied with Hass for the #7 rank this year. Kellogg, Columbia and Tuck, rounded out the top 10. Check out the complete details.

Personal MBA Coach has a few key thoughts following these updates:

First, all schools in the top 20 are strong options and one should not lose sleep over the fact that Wharton is #3 this year, nor do we recommend that every client now apply to Booth just because of their jump. As we opened with, the changes over time are most important and these rankings change from year-to-year and guide-to-guide.

Second, seeing schools move in and out of the top 7 or 10 confirms that there are an increasing number of high quality MBA options available. Many applicants are looking more broadly than just Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. My clients on average apply to at least 5 schools and Ross, for example, has been getting a lot more attention in recent years. Amazon (and other leading tech companies) hire a lot from Ross.

Lastly, beyond rankings, it is important to look at job placement. You can often land your dream job after graduating from a number of similar schools. Depending on your post-MBA goals, you may also want to pay more attention to some of the specialized rankings that exist. Just because a school is higher ranked overall does not mean that it will do a better job at preparing you for your next job, especially if you are not going for a more standard goal like consulting or banking.

Do not overreact to these new ratings but do keep an open mind to expanding your MBA list.

This is also a good time to re-visit Personal MBA Coach’s view on how to use ratings guides and some important things to keep in mind! They are just one of many tools and not the be all end all! Personal MBA Coach is a full-service admissions consulting firm. School selection is a crucial part of the process and we are here to help!

How To Use Ratings Guides:

· Use them to get the lay of the land. Business ratings provide a great overview of the business school landscape: what schools exist, where they are location and how they generally stack up.

· Statistics such as, average GPA, average GMAT, years of experience, acceptance rate and starting salary will give you some good benchmarking data. Use the ratings to get a high level of idea of which schools could be potential options for you.

· Do not consider them the be all, end all. Plenty of applicants with a higher than average GPA or GMAT won’t get in each year and vice versa. The whole package matters so use these numbers as an initial guide only.

Important Facts To Keep in Mind:

· Average rating over time is much more important than year to year fluctuation. When you are courting that investor 10 years from now, she won’t pay attention to what the rating was when you applied but will look at what it is at the time. So, pay closer attention to general ratings trends.

· The rating of the overall university, not just the business school, matters. Many potential employers or investors will not be familiar with the business school landscape but will know about the reputations of the universities themselves. Often this university rating can carry almost as much weight.

· Nearly every ratings scale will give different results. Of course, certain schools will be in the top 10 in nearly every rating, but the general list varies considerably from source to source. As with historical data, the general trend is most important.

· Ratings vary by industry! While all business schools focus to some extent on providing strong general management education, each school has a specific area of expertise. Pay attention to how the schools stack up in the industry specific ratings as well.

Personal MBA Coach is here to help! If you would like individual and personal support, please find information about Personal MBA Coach’s comprehensive packages or contact me to learn how I can help!

As an MIT Sloan BS graduate and Wharton MBA grad, I have been helping candidates get into the schools of their dreams with a 96% success rate for over 10 years. Email me today at:



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