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Forbes Releases 2019 MBA Rankings

Forbes has released its 2019 best business school rankings, including separate rankings for US and non-US MBA programs.

In the US rankings, there’s a new first-place finisher: University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. According to Forbes, this is the first time Booth has come out on top of the MBA rankings. Altogether, this year’s top ten MBA programs are:

1. University of Chicago Booth School of Business

2. Stanford Graduate School of Business

3. Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management

4. Harvard Business School

5. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School

6. Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business

7. Columbia Business School

7. MIT Sloan School of Management

9. Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management

10. University of Michigan Ross School of Business

The first-place finish is a nice surprise for Booth, which didn’t even make the top five in the last set of Forbes rankings.

In fact, data from Forbes shows that since 2009, Wharton, Stanford and Harvard have been in an ongoing three-way struggle for the top spot, as is the case in many B-school rankings.

Forbes also curates two sets of rankings for international MBA programs – those for one-year and two-year programs, respectively.

On the one-year front, this year’s top five schools were:

1. IMD


3. University of Cambridge Judge Business School

4. SDA Bocconi School of Management

5. University of Oxford Saïd Business School

For two-year non-US MBA programs, meanwhile, the corresponding top five were:

1. London Business School

2. HEC Paris

3. IESE Business School



In both sets of international MBA rankings, the first-place scorers are repeat champions from the last set of Forbes rankings. In fact, Forbes notes that LBS cruised to its seventh straight victory for two-year programs.

To rank schools, Forbes simply estimates how much MBA grads’ earnings increased as a result of their degrees, and then orders schools accordingly.

Specifically, Forbes’s methodology considers alumni earnings for the five years after graduation. It assumes that their incomes would have risen half as quickly without MBAs, then adjusts for cost of living and opportunity cost to arrive at a “five-year gain” for each MBA program.

Forbes says that this straightforward approach to ranking B-schools is “based on one question: Is a full-time MBA worth it?”

Looking beyond the year-to-year fluctuations in which school comes in first, the Forbes rankings show that graduates of top-tier MBA programs really do seem to gain more in terms of earning potential. Which helps explain why admissions to these schools remains highly competitive, of course!

At EXPARTUS, we have extensive experience with the MBA application process, and we can give you feedback on how your application lines up at the top tier of schools, and which schools might be the best fit. If that sounds helpful, contact us for a free MBA application assessment!