Stanford’s Graduate School of Business took the definitive top spot in U.S. News’ 2016 ranking of MBA programs, which was released this week. Last year, Stanford shared the spotlight with Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, but a higher average GMAT score (732) and gpa (3.74) and a lower acceptance rate (7.1%) helped the pacific coast powerhouse push ahead of its east coast rivals.
The rest of the top 10 stayed largely the same, populated with familiar names like MIT Sloan, Kellog, Columbia, Haas, and Tuck. However, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business snuck into the top 10 by moving up two spots from last year. Outside of the top 10, the Olin School of Business at the University of Washington in St. Louis made the largest leap in the top 25, climbing 3 spots to number 19. In addition to Wharton, three other schools dropped two spots: UT Austin’s McComb School of Business, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper, and Georgetown’s McDonough.
U.S. News uses a combination of peer and recruiter assessments along with a school’s statistics such as average starting salary of the graduating class, class GMAT score, and gpa to calculate the rankings. Especially among the top three schools, small changes in any of these core metrics can lead to significant changes in ranking. To read about the methodology behind the rankings, click here.
While rankings are an important factor in choosing among MBA programs, you shouldn’t base your decision on where to apply on ranking alone. Other important considerations include a program’s strengths and specialties, location and cost, alumni network, and culture — elements that contribute to a school’s fit with your own personality, experience, and goals.
U.S. News Top 25 MBA programs of 2016
|U.S. News 2016 Ranking||School||Change from 2015 Ranking|
|3||University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)||-2|
|4||University of Chicago (Booth)||No change|
|5||MIT (Sloan)||No change|
|6||Northwestern (Kellogg)||No change|
|7||University of California – Berkeley (Haas)||No change|
|8||Columbia University||No change|
|9||Dartmouth College (Tuck)||No change|
|10||University of Virginia (Darden)||+2|
|11||New York University (Stern)||-1|
|11||University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ross)||706|
|13||Duke University (Fuqua)||+1|
|13||Yale University||No change|
|15||University of California – Los Angeles (Anderson)||+1|
|16||Cornell University (Johnson)||+1|
|17||University of Texas — Austin (McCombs)||-2|
|18||University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)||+1|
|19||Washington in St. Louis (Olin)||+3|
|20||Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)||-2|
|21||Emory University (Goizueta)||-1|
|22||Indiana University – Bloomington (Kelley)||No change|
|23||University of Washington (Foster)||+2|
|24||Georgetown University (McDonough)||-1|
|25||University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)||-2|
|25||University of Southern California (Marshall)||+2|