Stanford GSB and Wharton Top U.S. News Best Business Schools Rankings 2021


Stanford Graduate School of Business shares the first rank along with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in the U.S. News 2021 Best Business Schools.

U.S. News sought information about 477 MBA programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) in fall 2019 and early 2020. Out of a total of 364 responses, 131 schools were ranked as they provided the required data on their full-time MBA program and that of the 2019 graduating class.

Stanford GSB, Wharton share top rank in U.S. News Best Business Schools 2021

The Top 10 Rankings

With no school qualifying for the second place, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business have tied for third place. Again, with no claimant for the fourth spot, MIT Sloan School of Management was placed 5th.

However, the biggest surprise was the continuing slide of Harvard Business School to the 6th rank, its lowest since 1996. Just two years ago, HBS was ranked number one. Last year, it was forced to share third place with MIT Sloan and Chicago Booth.

University of California’s Berkeley Haas occupies the 7th rank, followed by Columbia 8th, Yale 9th and NYU Stern in the 10th place.

Compared to the previous year, the current rankings display a reshuffling among the top ten. While NYU Stern moved up two spots to rank 10, Duke Fuqua and Michigan Ross fell and tied for the 12th rank.

Kellogg climbed three places to tie with Chicago Booth for the third rank. However, MIT Sloan and Columbia Business School dropped two places to rank 5th and 8th, respectively. Altogether, seven of the top 10 underwent a change in rank this time.

Top Schools Performance Statistics

Stanford recorded an overall score of 100. It has an acceptance rate of 6.9%, the lowest among the top ten. Its average GPA is 3.7, average GMAT 734, average salary & bonus $168,226 and job rate  89%. Wharton has an overall score of 100, acceptance rate 23.1%, average GPA 3.6, average GMAT 732, average salary & bonus $172,016 and job rate 94%.

Kellogg’s overall score is 99, acceptance rate 27.0%, average GPA 3.6, average GMAT 730, average salary & bonus $163,752 and job rate 96%.

Chicago Booth has an overall score of 99, acceptance rate 24.2%, average GPA 3.6, average GPA 3.6, average GMAT 730, average salary & bonus 164,607 and job rate 95%.

MIT Sloan has an overall score of 97, acceptance rate 14.6%, average GPA 3.6, average GMAT 727, average salary & bonus $160,291 and job rate 94%. Harvard has an overall score of 96, acceptance rate 11.5%, average GPA 3.7, average GMAT 728, average salary & bonus $164,872 and job rate 89%.

Among the top 25 schools, Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Management climbed the most, rising six spots to finish in 23rd place. The University of Florida’s Warrington School slipped out of the top 25, losing its rank of 25 last year, to a rank of 28th.

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Ranking Methodology

In ranking methodology Quality Assessment (weighted by 0.40), the Peer assessment score was 0.25. In fall 2019, business school deans and directors of accredited MBA programs were asked to rate programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark “don’t know.” U.S. News said 46% of those surveyed responded.

A school’s score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of “don’t know” counted neither for nor against a school.

In the Recruiter assessment score (0.15), corporate recruiters and company contacts were asked to rate all full-time programs on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark “don’t know.”

U.S. News collected both the peer assessment and recruiter assessment score data. Placement Success (weighted by 0.35) was evaluated on the basis of MBA CSEA Standards for Reporting Employment Statistics, including starting base salaries, signing bonuses, and what proportion of MBA graduates have jobs at graduation and three months after.

Mean starting salary and bonus (0.14): This is the average starting salary and a bonus of 2019 graduates of a full-time MBA program. Salary figures are based on the number of graduates who reported data. The mean signing bonus is weighted by the proportion of those graduates who reported a bonus because not everyone who reported a base salary figure reported a signing bonus.

Employment rates for full-time MBA program graduates: This is the employment rate for 2019 graduates of a full-time MBA program. Those not seeking jobs or for whom no job-seeking information is available are excluded.

For the third consecutive year, MBA programs that reported that less than 50% of their full-time fall 2019 entering students submitted average GMAT scores and average GRE quantitative, verbal and analytical scores received less credit for those test scores in the rankings.

In Overall Rank, data was standardized so that each school’s value was compared with the mean and standard deviations of all other schools, and standardized scores were weighted, totaled and rescaled so that the top school received 100; others received their percentage of the top score. Graduate business programs were then numerically ranked in descending order based on their scores.

To be included in the full-time MBA rankings, a program had to have 20 or more of its 2019 full-time MBA graduates seeking employment.

For a school to have its employment data considered in the ranking model, at least 50% of its total 2019 full-time MBA graduates needed to be seeking work.

Detailed B-School Ranking

1Stanford University / University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) [Tie]
2Northwestern University (Kellogg) / University of Chicago (Booth) [Tie]
5Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
6Harvard University
7University of California–Berkeley (Haas)
8Columbia University
9Yale University
10New York University (Stern)
11University of Virginia (Darden)
12Duke University (Fuqua) / Dartmouth College (Tuck) / University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (Ross)  [Tie]
15Cornell University (Johnson)
16University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson)
17University of Southern California (Marshall)
18University of Texas–Austin (McCombs)
19Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
20University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)


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