When it comes to MBA programs, reputation and prestige do matter—but not in the way you may think. Many rankings focus on competitive acceptance rates and high starting salaries for grads. Increased income is a major reason people choose to pursue an MBA, so career outcomes are important—but you might be more interested in b-schools near your current employer, or b-schools that are family-friendly, than one that admits less than 10% of its applicants. A highly-ranked business school may prepare students for careers in some industries better than others. And if MBA cost is an issue, you’ll want to research schools you can afford, regardless of how they rank. As you consider applying to an MBA program, reflect on your personal strengths, career goals, work experience, and other life circumstances before factoring reputation or ranking into your decision.

How to use MBA rankings

There are many different ranking systems for MBA programs, all of which use various criteria to rate them. Some ranking systems rely solely on information from corporate recruiters; others incorporate alumni feedback, taking into account factors like career trajectory and professional satisfaction. Some rankings include information from third-party programs like Google Trends, which indicates how frequently a school name is searched online. The most important thing you should remember about MBA rankings is that they reveal some information about MBA programs, but not all. Depending on the criteria used, MBA rankings can appear contradictory or confusing, so it's important to identify your goals and needs before deciding which MBA programs to apply to. 

Our business school rankings incorporate student opinion as well as institutional data, and cover many different categories to help prospective applicants find the MBA programs that best fit their needs and goals. We consider many factors, from the quality of professors to emerging career paths like sustainability management. In fact, one of our most popular rankings is Best Green MBA. Other searchable categories applicants can explore include top ten rankings for superior faculty, entrepreneurship opportunities, campus environment, resources for minority students and for women, best administered, and toughest MBA programs to get into.

There are many factors to weigh when deciding on an MBA program, and although rankings can be informative, the final choice comes down to which MBA program is best for you, taking both your current situation and career aspirations into account.

MBA Program Suggestions

If you're looking for suggestions, start by completing our form: ​Business Schools Looking for Students Like You.