A budding graduate business student has a bewildering array of options available when it comes to picking an MBA school. But while other considerations will likely come into play, one of the most important criteria in selecting an MBA program for any potential learner is how effective the course is at increasing their employability and preparing them to be the perfect candidate for the role of their dreams.
With this in mind, the following list article showcases the 30 U.S. business schools with both the most highly rated graduate programs and the most exceptional job placement rates. It should, therefore, make the process of choosing the right business school that little bit easier for any aspiring executive.
To develop this ranking, we first studied other list articles from highly respected publications that identified the best business schools and MBA courses in the U.S. These included the following:
Then, in order to determine which schools to include, we used the following basic equation:
School Score + Job Placement Score = Overall Score
Naturally, since job placement rates are a primary focus of this list, we gave special weighting to this criterion.
The school scores were calculated using the Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report rankings of the overall best graduate business schools and MBA programs in the U.S. We then awarded schools a weighted score which took into account the total number of schools on each list and the rankings they were given on the aforementioned indexes. Those weighted scores were then tallied to give the school score for each institution.
To this tally, we then added job placement scores. This was based on Bloomberg Businessweek’s rankings for this criterion on their “Best Business Schools 2020” list, with schools again given weighted scores in line with their positions on this list. These values were then doubled and added to the school scores to give each institution an overall score.
And the final ordering was derived from these totals; in cases where two schools had the same overall score, however, that with the larger job placement score was ranked more highly.
30. College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Champaign, Illinois
The University of Illinois’ College of Business offers an immersive corporate experience to students through its learner-led Illinois Business Consulting – the biggest of its kind worldwide. There, the Champaign-based college gives those working towards an MBA the opportunity to deal with real-life clients as part of their schooling. “We have one of the most hands-on MBA programs in the country,” Andrew Allen, Illinois Business Consulting’s director, has stated in a video for the institution. “We went to the marketplace and we said, ‘What kind of students are you looking to hire? What kind of skills do you want them to have? And what will it take for them to be successful in their careers?’ And that’s the beginning of the concept of action learning.” He added, “It’s not just reading a book about how to read a bike. We’re putting them on the bike and saying, ‘Go for it!’ And they love that challenge.” And perhaps “action learning” works, as Illinois’ College of Business had a job placement rate of 93 percent among its 2016 MBA graduates.
29. Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University – Ithaca, New York
Ninety percent of the 2016 two-year MBA class at Johnson Graduate School of Management had secured work inside three months of graduating. Among them was Jennifer Garner, now a brand manager at The Kraft Heinz Company. “The support I received before even stepping foot on campus blew me away,” Garner told the school. “From the Career Management Center’s weekly webinars and one-on-one calls with the executive director to mock interviews with current students and information sessions with alumni, the Johnson community went above and beyond my expectations and helped me secure multiple internship offers.” Such support is, moreover, all part and parcel of an MBA program that was named as among the top 16 in the States by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2016 and U.S. News & World Report in 2017. What’s more, the Cornell University department offers an innovative Tech MBA program that focuses on giving students the interdisciplinary skills needed to succeed in a world that’s increasingly shaped by technology. The one-year course is split between the school’s main campus in Ithaca and its Tech hub in New York City.
28. Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University – New York City, New York
New York University’s Stern School of Business can boast of having an MBA program that’s one of the 20 best in the U.S., as rated by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2016 and U.S. News & World Report in 2017. What’s more, Stern’s students benefit from some truly world-class educators. Among its current faculty, the school lists three Nobel Laureates – A. Michael Spence (2001), Robert F. Engle (2003) and Thomas J. Sargent (2011) – all of whom have picked up the award for Economic Sciences. The institution’s MBA course has produced some notable alumni, too, including former Visa Inc. CEO Charles W. Scharf, PayPal president and CEO Daniel Schulman and Nasdaq chair Robert Greifeld. Meanwhile, the school’s location may itself prove inviting to many applicants. After all, not only do learners get to grips with their studies in New York City’s stylish Greenwich Village, but they are also surrounded by a cluster of the country’s corporate colossi. Indeed, since New York hosts an incredible 55 Fortune 500 companies, the state holds a wealth of opportunities for Stern graduates. And, in fact, 91.8 percent of Stern’s 2016 full-time MBA class had secured work opportunities within three months of graduating.
27. Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University – Houston, Texas
A very impressive 93 percent of Jones School of Business’ full-time MBA class of 2015 had received job offers by three months after their graduation. And their searches for work may have been made easier by the school’s location at Rice University in Houston, Texas, for the Houston metro area is home to the headquarters of a remarkable 24 Fortune 500 companies. In addition, learners can potentially benefit from Jones’ extensive scholarship system. All those studying there for a full-time MBA are potentially eligible for a merit-based grant of between 10 and 100 percent of tuition fees, while the school also runs a Military Scholars Program for U.S. military active service personnel and veterans. “Scholarships allow us to attract, recruit and, most importantly, yield the top talent to join this program,” Sue Oldham, the executive director at Jones responsible for MBA recruitment and admission, said in a 2017 video for Jones. She added, “We are competing with other top MBA programs in the country, and having a generous scholarship program definitely helps us bring in great students to join the Rice MBA family.” And Jones must be doing something right, as in 2016 its full-time MBA program was ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek as the eighth best in the country.
26. Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business can be proud of its status as one of the 20 best institutions of its kind in the country – according, that is, to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 ranking of the U.S.’ best business schools. Furthermore, in 2016 Bloomberg Businessweek rated Tepper’s full-time MBA program as the 15th best in the nation. Perhaps one reason why the Pittsburgh-based school excels is that it is smaller than many of its leading competitors and can therefore afford to give students more mentoring and a more personalized approach. Another area in which Tepper sets itself apart from others is the way that it has organized its teaching and term times. While most schools use the traditional two-semester system, in fact, Tepper breaks the year down into four “mini-semesters” to allow students to take an array of different courses in shorter, more focused cycles – although the first three mini-semesters of the two-year MBA course are devoted to learning the basics of business. In terms of job placement success, meanwhile, 85.2 percent of Tepper’s MBA class of 2016 had accepted offers of employment within three months of graduating.
25. Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame – Notre Dame, Indiana
Mendoza College of Business believes that to be the best leader you can be, you must first understand who you are, what you stand for and what you want to achieve as well as having a firm grasp on your strengths and weaknesses. As such, the initial week of the University of Notre Dame school’s two-year MBA course is given over to its Integral Leadership Development Program, which encourages students to reflect on themselves and their own skills. And it’s an approach that has brought acclaim from some of those who have been through the program. “I think the best part has been the opportunity to look inside yourself before you start school,” MBA student Alex Prosperi explained in a 2016 video interview for the school. “To really dig deep at your flaws, at your strengths and understand what you bring to the table in your learning group is really, really beneficial.” Fellow MBA learner Erin Wehe added, “They’ve not only taught you to look introspectively but also how that’s going to build from your inside out.” Perhaps, then, it will help future learners land jobs as successfully as Mendoza’s 2016 two-year MBA graduates have: 90 percent of them had taken up new roles within three months following graduation.
24. Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University – Newark and Piscataway, New Jersey
Rutgers Business School may well have been pleased to report that an extremely impressive 96.3 percent of its 2016 full-time MBA graduates had taken up new jobs by 90 days after finishing their courses. Certainly, the school’s positions in both Newark and Piscataway make it ideally situated for students to take advantage of opportunities in New York and New Jersey. And its learners are clearly well equipped to take on the business world, too. That’s because in 2017 students from Rutgers saw off competition from almost 600 teams from around the world to win the CME Group Trading Challenge. Plus, not only did the Rutgers team win, but they did so in style, leading throughout the last seven days of trading of the month-long competition to deliver a remarkable 112 percent return and finish over $124,000 ahead of their closest rivals. Besides which, Rutgers fosters an environment that students have said gives them a feeling that they belong virtually from the get-go.
23. Tippie College of Business, The University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa
An average of 90 percent of Tippie College of Business’ 2016, 2015 and 2014 MBA grads accepted jobs inside three months following their graduations; however, rates have varied year on year during that period. Indeed, 2016’s low of 80 percent followed on from a mammoth 98 percent in 2015, while in 2014 93 percent of the school’s MBA graduates had found jobs within three months of leaving Tippie. In any case, one alumnus has spoken warmly of his experience at the University of Iowa college and seemed to suggest that his course improved his employment prospects. Vinod Ramachandran graduated from Tippie with an MBA in 2011, and today he’s a manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago. “The ability to take concepts and apply them to case studies or to real-world consulting projects without the fear of failure was the best experience I got,” Ramachandran told the Tippie website. He added, “When I was interviewing for a job, I could pick and choose from ten different stories about real-world clients that I had worked with.”
22. Hough Graduate School of Business, University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida
Hough Graduate School of Business students have proved themselves to be pretty content with their choice of MBA, as the school earned itself a top 20 place for student satisfaction when 2015 and 2016 learners were surveyed by Bloomberg Businessweek. Furthermore, those students taking their course away from the institution’s base in Gainesville, Florida, can be equally pleased to know that Hough has one of the world’s best MBA programs for remote learners. In both 2015 and 2016, in fact, the University of Florida facility placed third in the Financial Times’ global rankings of online MBA courses, while in 2017 it placed fifth. Besides which, Hough’s online MBA programs have been rated by U.S. News & World Report as the joint-fifth best in America. And employment prospects are bright for Hough alumni, too. Recent graduate Jorge Cobian, who completed the two-year full-time MBA program, has said on the school’s website, “The individualized career planning, advancement and transition strategies offered by the career services team have enabled me to secure an internship at a global company that is a leader in its industry.” Moreover, a mightily impressive 95.7 percent of 2015 Hough MBA grads had found work within three months after completing their course.
21. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University – Stanford, California
Stanford Graduate School of Business hosts the second-best MBA course in the world, according to the Financial Times’ 2017 “Global MBA Ranking” list. The school also performed exceptionally well in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 tally of the best full-time MBAs in the U.S., topping the alumni survey and salary rankings as well as placing second overall behind Harvard. And there are plenty of graduate success stories that the California institution can boast about – not least Jeffrey Skoll, who was the first president of eBay and now has a net worth of around $4.3 billion. Meanwhile, 2005 MBA graduates Sami Inkinen and Pete Flint sold their real estate venture Trulia for $3.5 billion in July 2014. It may be slightly surprising, then, to find the school this far down the list. The reason? Only 82 percent of the MBA class of 2016 seeking work had accepted positions three months post-graduation – a number significantly lower than that for many of Stanford’s main rivals. Still, as suggested, the quality of schooling is all but second to none.
20. Mays Business School, Texas A&M University – College Station, Texas
In 2016 Mays Business School dean Eli Jones explained on the school’s website, “Our mission to develop transformational leaders is important, because our graduates go on to transform organizations and the lives of others in very meaningful ways.” He added, “Our successes are due to the dedicated faculty and staff at Mays and the talented students we recruit to be part of the Mays experience.” Moreover, not only can those students at the College Station school enroll on to an accelerated 18-month full-time MBA course, but in 2015 Business Insider ranked Mays as the third-best value for money business school in the world, taking into consideration the average starting salary for graduates. Another substantial advantage for all classmates is Mays’ network of alumni, which Jones has thanked for its continued close relationship with the school and its hiring of new graduates. Perhaps, then, that network helped some of the 94 percent of Mays’ MBA class of 2016 who had accepted job offers within 90 days of graduation.
19. Simon Business School, University of Rochester – Rochester, New York
The University of Rochester’s Simon Business School is among the best of its kind in the country when it comes to job placement rate, with a mightily impressive 95 percent of alumni from the MBA class of 2016 having accepted work within three months following graduation. Those students have likely benefitted from the school’s top-flight faculty, many of whom still help shape corporate thinking worldwide through their roles as editors and founders of some of the planet’s most praised business periodicals. And Simon’s commitment to understanding business approaches from further afield is exemplified by a joint MBA venture with Switzerland’s University of Bern – one which the New York State-based school states “adds global perspectives to both the Rochester and European programs.” Furthermore, graduates of the Simon School are going places, with over 600 corporate presidents and CEOs, and a further 1,330 company vice presidents, among its alumni network around the world.
18. Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University – Waco, Texas
Baylor University’s MBA program has been ranked as one of the best master’s programs for business professionals who are seeking job placement in a hurry by U.S. News and World Report. It includes exciting concentration options in Healthcare Administration, Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation, and Cyber Security. These avenues allow students to pursue vastly different areas of the profession, and the Master of Business Administration as a whole maintains a 95% job placement rate. The program also provides numerous opportunities to earn scholarships that cover anywhere from 25-100% of the tuition. Despite their specialization, all students undergo real-world experiential learning projects that help establish networking connections and sometimes even job opportunities. One such program is the Prison Entrepreneurship Program wherein students help prisoners develop business plans to execute upon their release.
17. Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan
“Ross has been an amazing place to help me achieve my level of happiness,” Tony Rice II, MBA student and former president of the Ross Student Government Association, wrote for the Ross School of Business website in 2014. Rice has also said that the University of Michigan school – based in Ann Arbor – helped him create “genuine relationships with people from around the world that I otherwise would have never met, in an environment that fosters a true collaborative community.” And Rice is not the only one who holds a positive view of the school. Indeed, Ross has been rated as among the top 15 business schools in the nation by both Forbes in 2015 and U.S. News & World Report in 2017. Similarly, it earned 13th place overall on Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 list of the best full-time MBAs in the U.S. and was ranked within the top 15 by both employers and students. And, equally impressively, an encouraging 91.8 percent of the MBA class of 2016 had taken up new jobs by three months post-graduation. Perhaps part of the school’s strong record for employment success is down to its support system, which utilizes the services of 65 “peer career coaches” – a higher number than that for any other MBA course in the U.S.
16. UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill is home to the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, an institution that seemingly prizes corporate compassion. Specifically, the school emphasizes approaches to business that deliver successful economic outcomes but which have little negative environmental impact – approaches bolstered by Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise and its MBA Sustainable Enterprise Enrichment Concentration. Even better, the school’s executive MBA course ranks among the top 12 in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 list. And for those who are too busy to commit to full-time study, Kenan-Flagler also offers an excellent online MBA course, which U.S. News & World Report rated as the fourth best in America in 2017. The school performs well overall, too, having earned top 20 spots on both Forbes’ 2015 list of the best business schools in the U.S. and U.S. News & World Report’s similar roll call from 2017. What’s more, 2016’s MBA class were highly successful in their search for employment overall, with 90 percent of them finding jobs within 90 days of graduating from the course.
15. Yale School of Management, Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut
Yale’s MBA course adopts an integrated approach, encouraging its learners to understand the bigger picture of business and even how the corporate world impacts on wider society. The school additionally explores, and exposes students to, ideas from other countries and cultures, with all MBA students duly having to spend some time learning how business is approached worldwide. This can include a semester-long placement overseas, but there are also a number of ways to fulfill this obligation without spending so much time away from the school’s site in New Haven, Connecticut. It all adds up to make a program that seems to position alumni well in the global job market. More than 15 percent of 2016 MBA graduates have gained full-time work overseas, while overall, 89.9 percent of the same cohort had accepted offers of employment three months after they had graduated with their degrees. Indra Nooyi, current chair and CEO of PepsiCo, is just one eminent graduate of the school.
14. Goizueta Business School, Emory University – Atlanta, Georgia
Named after former Coca-Cola chief Roberto Goizueta, Emory University’s business school benefits from being close to a whole host of corporate giants with which it shares a home in Georgia. Companies headquartered in the Atlanta metro area include not only Coca-Cola but also The Home Depot and Delta Air Lines, with those and 13 others all boasting places on the 2016 Fortune 500 list. And that wealth of economic opportunity around Goizueta may help its students seamlessly transition into the job market. In 2016, for example, 93 percent of its two-year MBA students graduating that year had found work within three months of earning their degrees. Plus, Goizueta has received seemingly positive feedback from alumni surveyed by Bloomberg Businessweek from 2014 to 2016, as the school placed fifth in the publication’s full-time MBA rankings for former student satisfaction in both 2015 and 2016. Among those who’ve graduated from Emory with MBAs are J.C. Penney CEO Marvin Ellison and Michael Golden, vice chairman of The New York Times Company’s board of directors.
13. Michael G. Foster School of Business, University of Washington – Seattle, Washington
Few schools can better the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business when it comes to generating students who go on to excel in the employment market. Indeed, an incredible 98 percent of its MBA class of 2016 were in work by three months following graduation. Perhaps that impressive figure is helped by the University of Washington’s location in Seattle, where globally renowned companies like Amazon and Starbucks are headquartered. In any case, students are likely to gain from an MBA course that positions teamwork as one of its fundamental tenets – and where acquiring knowledge and developing solutions to problems as part of a group is strongly promoted in order to prepare for the challenges of modern workplaces. Among Foster’s illustrious alumni, meanwhile, are Bill Ayer, one-time CEO of Alaska Airlines, and Andrew Brimmer, the Federal Reserve’s first ever African American governor.
12. Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology – Atlanta, Georgia
For those who wish to earn an MBA but are wary of how much it may cost, Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business may be the answer. After all, not only does the college deliver a creditable education, but in 2015 it was rated as the best value business school in the world by GraduatePrograms. Meanwhile, Scheller’s MBA course was that same year ranked by Value Colleges as the fourth best in the U.S. for business bang for your buck. Even better, the college seemingly hasn’t skimped on student satisfaction, as its full-time MBA experience has seen learners rate it as the fourth best in the country, according to surveys of 2016 and 2015 learners undertaken by Bloomberg Businessweek. And Scheller alumni can look forward to sterling job prospects, too, as 95 percent of its 2016 full-time MBA graduates were employed three months after leaving the school.
11. Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis – St. Louis, Missouri
When it comes to alumni with employability, few schools outshine Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School. That’s because its 2016 MBA grads have a massive job acceptance rate of 96 percent at 90 days after graduation – which according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 stats makes Olin the third best-performing graduate business school in the country in terms of future work prospects for its full-time MBA students. And Olin’s 2016 alumni have gone into a wide range of industries, with consultancy, technology and pharmaceutical or healthcare positions leading the way. It’s also worth noting that students at the St. Louis school with entrepreneurial flair can win a share of $170,000 thanks to the institution’s Skandalaris Center Cup contest and its Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition. Both are open to learners there as well as alumni and include a highly valuable six-month period of coaching that may further boost the chances of getting a business venture off the ground.
10. Columbia Business School, Columbia University – New York City, New York
Columbia Business School students are practically spoiled by its roster of world-class teaching talent. Among the faculty you’ll find, for example, Bruce Greenwald, a man once dubbed the “Guru to Wall Street’s Gurus” by The New York Times, and leading international business and marketing man Bernd Schmitt. What’s more, studying at the New York City school will also see learners follow in the footsteps of some highly successful individuals – among them super-investor and multi-billionaire Warren Buffett. Then, after they eventually leave Columbia behind, graduates are each well-placed to land themselves the role of their dreams. Case in point: 92 percent of the class of 2016 had accepted new positions by three months after graduating, while 97 percent had received offers of employment. And those 2016 Columbia grads in employment are overall very pleased with what they do, with a prodigious 94 percent of them having rated their job satisfaction as either a four or a five out of five.
9. Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, Massachusetts
MIT’s Sloan School of Management has a two-fold aim: “to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice.” And given that the Cambridge, Massachusetts, school’s graduates include 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, it’s arguably succeeded on that first point. Meanwhile, prospective students looking for alternative role models to follow can take their pick from a string of Sloan’s other illustrious alumni, including current chairman of Microsoft John W. Thompson, co-inventor of the Ethernet Robert Metcalfe and Zipcar co-founder Robin Chase. And those hoping to study for an MBA at Sloan will be cheered to hear that it may well boost their own career prospects, as 92.5 percent of 2016 MBA graduates there had been offered positions by three months after the end of their time at the school.
8. Harvard Business School, Harvard University – Boston, Massachusetts
Harvard University is of course an Ivy League school of no small renown, so it makes sense that the venerable Boston-based institution’s business school is also itself held in high esteem. Harvard’s position of joint first in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 roll call of the best business graduate schools in the nation certainly shows how well-regarded it is; so, too, does Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of its full-time MBA as the best overall nationwide. The CEO of the latter’s parent company, Michael Bloomberg, is himself a graduate of Harvard Business School and has gone on to amass an incredible $47.2 billion fortune. And as far as household-worthy alumni go, it’s hard to get much bigger than George W. Bush – the sole president to date ever to have graduated with an MBA. The current cohort there can expect bright futures as well, given that 91 percent of the MBA class of 2016 had taken up job offers within three months of graduation. What’s more, future learners can take advantage of Harvard Business’ innovative Program for Leadership Development (PLD), which takes the place of a regular executive MBA. The PLD offers one-to-one training and is personalized to meet the requirements of each individual.
7. Darden School of Business, University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia
When it comes to knowing what an MBA program is really like before applying, it’s perhaps best to ask its students. And the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business seems to have come out pretty well when its MBA learners were quizzed by Bloomberg Businessweek. Yes, the Charlottesville-based facility features at an impressive second place in the publication’s student survey ranking for full-time MBA programs in 2016. Darden students ought to find themselves pretty happy after leaving the school as well, as 93 percent of its MBA class of 2016 had been offered jobs three months on from graduation. Darden itself, meanwhile, cites its “supportive faculty and staff,” “close community spirit” and “strong links to global business” as just some of the reasons why studying there is a good choice.
6. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley, California
If you’re searching for a school that delivers on diversity, then look no further than the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. For instance, full-time MBA students for the program beginning fall 2016 are 38 percent female, while 32 percent identify as minorities, and those from overseas also account for 38 percent of learners. Furthermore, those students should be able to take advantage of lessons from some of the brightest minds in business, too: 2009 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences Oliver Williamson is the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business there, while veteran branding specialist David Aaker holds the position of E.T. Grether Professor Emeritus of Marketing and Public Policy. On top of that, new recruits can look forward to potentially excellent remuneration when it comes to finding a job, as the median annual base salary for 2016 graduates of Haas’ full-time MBA is a none too shabby $125,000.
5. Fuqua School of Business, Duke University – Durham, North Carolina
There are plenty of successful people to have come out of Durham, North Carolina, but perhaps the most notable of them all is Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple, who graduated from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business back in 1988. What’s more, the tech chief has credited his alma mater with handing him some key skills that may have helped him get to where he is today. “What Fuqua teaches you so well,” Cook said in 2013, “is how to learn and how to collaborate.” Indeed, the school still promotes detailed debate and discourse between peers, with classmates actively encouraged to learn from one another. And it’s an approach that seems to work when it comes to employability, as 92 percent of all the school’s 2016 full-time MBA graduates looking for jobs had accepted positions by mid-August that year. Meanwhile, no less notably, Fuqua was ranked at an impressive third place on Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 list of the country’s top full-time MBAs.
4. The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
In 2017, the University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School was ranked as the joint-best graduate business school in the country by U.S. News & World Report. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that the Philadelphia institution has a history of producing formidable leaders. Alumni include Alex Gorsky, CEO at Johnson & Johnson, and Ruth Porat, current CFO of Alphabet Inc., who was dubbed “the most powerful woman on Wall Street” during her time at Morgan Stanley. Furthermore, Wharton undoubtedly leads the way in research productivity. Since its launch in 2005, in fact, the University of Texas, Dallas’ annual study of prominent peer-reviewed journals has rated Wharton as the top research school worldwide in each and every year. Meanwhile, Warton graduates’ prospects are also particularly bright. The school placed fourth in both the salary and employer survey rankings of Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 list of the best full-time MBAs in the U.S., while 95.5 percent of job seekers among the full-time MBA class of 2016 had secured employment within three months of graduating.
3. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois
For those wanting to broaden their business horizons with overseas opportunities, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University could be their dream destination. Although the school is primarily based in Evanston, Illinois, it nevertheless has several partnerships with academic institutions across the globe, affording MBA students the chance to hone their business skills on any one of six continents. It’s perhaps appropriate, then, that Kellogg counts leading travel industry entrepreneurs such as Kayak founder Steve Hafner and HotelTonight CEO and co-founder Sam Shank among its alumni. In addition, Kellogg could be a great launchpad for women who want to break into the boardroom, given that it has previously educated the likes of Kraft Foods president of global marketing and category development Betsy Holden and NAACP chair Roslyn Brock. School dean Sally Blount has said, moreover, that “arguably, Kellogg has been the ‘lead investor’ among its peers in promoting the development of female leaders.” Added to which, Kellogg has a highly impressive job placement rate: upon three months after graduating in 2016, 93.3 percent of full-time MBA students looking for employment had taken up offers of work.
2. Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College – Hanover, New Hampshire
With a remarkable 96 percent of its full-time MBA students having taken up job offers following three months of graduating in 2016, Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business lays claim to one of the best job placement rates in the country. What’s more, Tuck alumni can command some seriously impressive compensation for their work, with the median annual base salary for the Hanover-based school’s 2016 grads coming in at an enviable $125,000. Tuck chalks these achievements up to its superlative careers service, which helps prepare students for the rigorous demands of the working world, and what it has dubbed its “personal approach to management education.” Certainly, learners can take inspiration from the successes of some of the school’s alumni – among them Christopher A. Sinclair, former CEO of both Mattel and PepsiCo, and Janet L. Robinson, one-time president and CEO of The New York Times Company.
1. Booth School of Business, University of Chicago – Chicago, Illinois
When it comes to learning from the best, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business excels. After all, since 1982 the Illinois-based institution has seen seven of its staff named as Nobel laureates. Current Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance and 2013 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Eugene Fama, is among that prestigious number. The school can boast of a pioneering streak, too, as it was the first in the country to offer an Executive MBA program. And Booth seems to be held in high esteem by employers and graduates alike. For example, 95.2 percent of the class of 2016 with full-time MBAs, IMBAs or joint degrees had taken up job offers by three months after graduation. Notably, moreover, they’re all following in the footsteps of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who earned an MBA at the school in 1997 and is undoubtedly one of its most successful alumni. And if further proof of its credentials were needed, Booth clinched sixth place among students nationwide in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2016 tally of the best full-time MBAs in the country, ranking above such illustrious rivals as Harvard and Stanford.