Best business schools (MBA), ranked — with a diversity index

We’ll start with the winner: Stanford’s Graduate School of Business topped Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual business school list, holding on to the title since 2019.

The rankings, which resume after they were paused in 2020 due to the pandemic, place Stanford at No. 1 (in a total list of 84 U.S. schools) with high scores in many key categories including compensation, networking, and entrepreneurship.

Additionally, Bloomberg used data from 19,955 surveys from students, alumni, and recruits to help its rankings, which for the first time includes a “Diversity Index,” that “provides a window into the racial, ethnic, and gender makeup” of U.S. MBA programs.

Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business ranked second overall, followed by Harvard, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, which rounded out the top five.

Top Business Schools in the U.S.

  1. Stanford
  2. Dartmouth
  3. Harvard
  4. Chicago
  5. Northwestern
  6. Columbia
  7. UC at Berkeley
  8. MIT
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Virginia
  11. NYU
  12. Yale
  13. Michigan
  14. USC
  15. Duke
  16. UCLA
  17. Georgetown
  18. Emory
  19. Carnegie Mellon
  20. Cornell

If you compare the results to another trusted source of best MBA programs —  U.S. News & World Report’s best business schools rankings — you’ll see that, while Stanford claimed their top spot too, the rest of the list is substantially different. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania ranked second at US News (compared to Bloomberg’s #9 spot), while Dartmouth College barely cracked the top 10 (but was #2 on the Bloomberg list).

Another outlier: The McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas — Austin ranked No. 18 overall on the US News list, but did not appear in Bloomberg’s top 20.

Top MBA schools based on compensation

Money matters. The rankings included data measuring how much MBA holders made after graduation, what alumni currently earn, percentage of graduates employed after three months, percentage of graduating class to receive a signing bonus, and how big the bonuses were.

The overall top five remained the same when looking at compensation, but MIT’s Sloan ranked sixth, two spots higher than its overall ranking.

In financial fields, Stanford had the highest median starting salary compared to all other U.S. schools at $175,000. In the consulting industry, there was a tie (at a $165,000 salary) between Stanford and Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, which ranked No. 20 overall.

The University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management ranked No. 42 overall and had one of the highest median salaries in retail at $130,000. Meanwhile, graduates from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management were the top earners for nonprofits.

The Top Business Schools in the U.S.: Compensation

  1. Stanford
  2. Dartmouth
  3. Harvard
  4. Chicago
  5. Northwestern
  6. MIT
  7. Columbia
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. UC at Berkley
  10. NYU

Best MBA schools for networking

Sometimes it’s not about the job you have, but about the job you want. Regardless of which industry you work in, networking is key to moving up the ladder.

Three schools emerged in this category that don’t show up the overall top 10 list: The University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business ranked No. 3 in networking, followed by the University of Texas-Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management and Howard University, according to Bloomberg.

The Top Business Schools in the U.S.: Networking

  1. Stanford
  2. Northwestern
  3. Florida
  4. Texas-Dallas
  5. Howard
  6. Dartmouth
  7. Michigan
  8. UCLA
  9. Columbia
  10. Emory

Best MBA schools for diversity

For the first time, Bloomberg included a diversity index, which measures how schools address institutional racism and discrimination that have excluded minority groups and women from MBA programs in the U.S.

North Carolina State (Jenkins) ranked No. 1 overall, while Stanford — the top school overall — ranked No. 16. The top 10 list is below.

If you dive into the details, you can also see what percentage of students are white​, ​Black​, Asian​, ​​Hispanic​, ​Native American​, ​Hawaiian/Pacific Islander​, ​and multi-racial. The full methodology has all the details.

The Top Business Schools in the U.S.: Diversity

  1. North Carolina State
  2. George Washington
  3. Howard
  4. UC at Irvine
  5. Florida International
  6. Pittsburgh
  7. Hult
  8. Miami
  9. American
  10. UC at Davis

The rankings also looked at the top business schools in Canada (5 schools), Europe (23 schools), and Asia-Pacific (7 schools).