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What to look for in MBA Rankings

Today is here with student-driven rankings of the top MBA programs in the United States. Read on to discover what current MBA students think of their business schools.

With higher education, rankings have more influence than a baseball player’s home run average. Where–and why and how–to go to business school is a major life decision, one that affects many aspects of a young adult’s life.

Traditional rankings, though, do not get to the heart of the questions swirling in a soon-to-be MBA student’s head. That’s because traditional rankings go for a top-down approach, asking administrators and academics questions that students should answer. Graduate Programs goes to the ground level, in the classrooms, labs and libraries, and asks students: would you recommend this program to your peers? Why or why not? What makes this program worth the time and financial commitments?

When MBA students are asked these questions, they respond in big numbers. And the insight they provide is powerful and honest. It’s like asking a few friends which movie to go see, instead of reading what a stuffy reviewer has written on Rotten Tomatoes. The information is just more candid. Here’s what one student at The Ohio State University said about the program: “The full-time MBA program at Ohio State has been very rewarding half way though my first semester. The cooperation with the different students as wella s the faculty and staff have been beneficial to my internship search. The program prides itself with assisting students’ internship and full time job searches. In addition, the small class size provides a great atmosphere and enable you to really know your classmates and professors.”

Business students (and recent grads) ranked the following as the top business schools:

1.) The Ohio State University

2.) Rice University

3.) Dartmouth College

4.) The University of Texas at Austin

5.) Cornell University

6.) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

7.) University of Virginia

8.) Massachusetts Institute of Technology

9.) University of Notre Dame

10.) Purdue University-West Lafayette

One of the earliest decisions a potential business school student faces is: how to pay for grad school. Students ranked b-schools for financial aid:

1.) Thunderbird School of Global Management

2.) The Ohio State University

3.) Michigan State University

4.) Brigham Young University

5.) Rice University

Certainly, MBA students will remember the mixers and the networking events that straddle the line between work and play. One 2014 ESADE student had this to say about the program: “The ESADE experience is unparalleled. Work hard and play hard is the motto here. Through international student diversity and faculty, we do learn a lot over here and establish connections for long-term. Small class-size, proactive students and international diversity blend in very well to make the experience intellectually enjoyable. The career services is continuously trying to improve and help students obtain jobs [in] different sectors. I think ESADE Business School is a terrific school in Europe and should deepen its efforts to establish itself as a global brand.”

For potential MBA students looking for a program with solid social planning, consider these business schools ranked top for social life:


2.) The Ohio State University

3.) Tulane University

4.) The University of Texas at Austin

5.) Thunderbird School of Global Management

All business students know that connections are often made outside the classroom. Those coveted personal interactions can make or break a job interview and lead to many new opportunities. Students also ranked business schools based on quality of network:

1.) University of Notre Dame

2.) Stanford University

3.) Dartmouth College

4.) Thunderbird School of Global Management

5.) Harvard University

Of course, career support after graduation is critical for any business student. These are the top ranked b-schools for career support, according to business students:

1.) Drexel University

2.) Wake Forest University

3.) University of New Mexico-Main Campus

4.) The University of Texas at Austin

5.) The Ohio State University


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