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The Economist’s 2017 MBA Rankings

The Economist has released its 2017 ranking of full-time MBA programs. This year, Kellogg has grabbed the number one spot. Overall, the top ten are:

– Kellogg School of Management
– Booth School of Business
– Harvard Business School
– The Wharton School
– Stanford Graduate School of Business
– UCLA Anderson School of Management
– Haas School of Business
– Tuck School of Business
– Columbia Business School
– Darden School of Business

Like last year’s ranking, this year’s ranking stands out in that two schools from the Chicago area took the top honors.

What’s different this year, though, is that Kellogg and Booth have swapped places, with Kellogg coming in first and Booth second.

Kellogg wasn’t the only B-school that got a boost in 2017. UCLA’s Anderson School of Management leapt from fourteenth last year to sixth this year. University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, meanwhile, catapulted from twelfth to fourth.

Of course, not everyone can be a winner. Notably absent from this year’s top ten are HEC Paris, which slid from ninth to fifteenth, and IESE, which tumbled from eighth to seventeenth. And just clinging on is Darden, which dropped from third to tenth.

In fairness to these schools, the Economist’s MBA ranking is notoriously volatile. In fact, the sometimes drastic changes that occur from one year to the next raise questions about how exactly to interpret these rankings.

For schools who didn’t fair as well as they hoped in this year’s list, they can take solace in finding themselves in the company of MBA programs like INSEAD, which came in twenty-first, or London Business School, which finished thirty-first.

Part of what makes the Economist ranking unpredictable is the weight it gives to subjective student ratings.

In the survey they use to compile their rankings, the Economist asks alums to rate their career services experience, their network, their teachers and even their classmates. Altogether, 20 percent of a given school’s ranking comes from these alum ratings.

One interesting detail on this methodology is that about 12 percent of a given school’s ranking is determined simply by how alumni answer the question: “Did the careers service meet your expectations and needs?” This is the same weighting given to alums’ job placement rates.

There’s no doubt that the Economist ranking is idiosyncratic, but it can still be a useful counterpoint to other, more traditional rankings. At the very least, the Economist ranking is never boring!

With all the different, sometimes contradictory rankings out there, you might be wondering which schools are really your best bet. We can help with that – just sign up for a free MBA application assessment!