If you’re in the market to earn your MBA but have no idea where to start looking for the best school for you, Bloomberg Businessweek recently released its 30th annual ranking of the best U.S. business schools. It based its findings on data compiled from more than 10,400 students, 15,000 alumni, 1,170 corporate recruiters and compensation and job-placement data from each school.

Drum roll, please.

Stanford takes the number one spot among 92 full-time U.S. MBA programs, followed by Pennsylvania (Wharton), which comes in at number two; Harvard at number three; MIT (Sloan), which ranks at number four; and Chicago (Booth) at number five.

Below are Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2018 top 20 U.S. full-time MBA programs:

2018 Rank US. Business Schools
1. Stanford
2. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
3. Harvard
4. MIT (Sloan)
5. Chicago (Booth)
6. UC at Berkeley (Haas)
7. Columbia
8. Northwestern (Kellogg)
9. Virginia (Darden)
10. Cornell (Johnson)
11. Yale
12. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
13. NYU (Stern)
14. USC (Marshall)
15. Duke (Fuqua)
16. Washington (Foster)
17. UCLA (Anderson)
18. Michigan (Ross)
19. Dartmouth (Tuck)
20. Georgetown (McDonough)

The methodology for the 2018 business school ranking has been updated to better reflect students’ changing needs. For the first time, Bloomberg Businessweek implemented a new methodology for the overall ranking that focuses on four indexes: Compensation (38.5%), Networking (27.9%), Learning (23.1%), and Entrepreneurship (10.5%). In addition to the overall ranking, schools are separately ranked on each individual index, providing students more ways to evaluate what schools have to offer them.

Online, readers can use interactive, easy-to-use tools to compare schools by starting salaries and by which industries hired alumni. Every MBA program has its own page highlighting the school-specific data collected by Bloomberg Businessweek, including the on-campus climate for groups that are traditionally underrepresented in MBA programs: women; international students; racial, religious, and ethnic minorities; people with disabilities; and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Using Bloomberg LP’s proprietary deep-learning-based natural-language processing tools, Bloomberg Businessweek sorted through 22,346 student and alumni comments to identify recurring keywords and themes, which are presented to give readers a sense of what it’s like to attend these MBA programs.


Schools are ranked on four indexes: Compensation, Learning, Networking, and Entrepreneurship. Rather than assign weightings  as it had in the past, this year it surveyed students, alumni, and recruiters to learn what was most important to them. Their answers determined each index’s weighting. Combining that information with results of its other surveys and compensation data, it calculated the overall rankings.

It canvassed 10,473 students, up 11 percent from 2017. A total of 15,050 alumni took the survey, an increase of more than 50 percent from last year. The number of participating employers who recruit at business schools rose 71 percent, to 1,176.

All schools submitted employment data for the Class of 2017 following standards set by the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance, a trade group founded in 1994 to collect consistent, comparable, peer-reviewed data. Schools were then given surveys to send to students who graduated from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018; alumni who graduated from Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2012; and employers that recruited graduates for full-time positions in 2016 and 2017. Schools had to abide by Bloomberg’s Code of Ethics, meant to ensure that all respondents participate voluntarily, without bias or pressure from school officials or their peers.

The publication set minimum thresholds for response rates based on the size of a school’s graduating and alumni classes, as well as for its employment data; schools that didn’t meet these thresholds were eliminated. Several schools met survey thresholds but not employment minimums. They aren’t included in its overall rankings but are listed in its index rankings.

The complete list of 92 schools and a detailed methodology are available here.