Business School Rankings Methodology

How we rank graduate business schools.

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All 426 master's programs in business accredited by AACSB International were surveyed in fall 2008 and early 2009 (381 responded, of which 118 provided the data needed to calculate rankings based on a weighted average of the indicators described below). All 426 schools appear in the online directory.

Quality Assessment (weighted by .40)

Peer Assessment Score (.25) In the fall of 2008, business school deans and directors of accredited master's programs in business were asked to rate programs on a scale from "marginal" (1) to "outstanding" (5). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark "don't know." A school's score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of "don't know" counted neither for nor against a school. About 46 percent of those surveyed responded.

Recruiter Assessment Score (.15) In the fall of 2008, corporate recruiters and company contacts from M.B.A. programs previously ranked by U.S. News were asked to rate all full-time programs on a scale from "marginal" (1) to "outstanding" (5). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark "don't know." A school's score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of "don't know" counted neither for nor against a school. About 27 percent of those surveyed responded. For the purpose of calculating this year's rankings, the two most recent years' recruiters' survey results were averaged and are weighed by .15.

Placement Success (weighted by .35)

Mean Starting Salary and Bonus (.14) The average starting salary and bonus of 2008 graduates of a full-time master's program in business. Salary figures are based on the number of graduates who reported data. The mean signing bonus is weighted by the proportion of those graduates who reported a bonus, since not everyone who reported a base salary figure reported a signing bonus.

Employment Rates for Full-time Master's Program in Business Graduates The employment rate for 2008 graduates of a full-time master's program in business. Those not seeking jobs or for whom no job-seeking information is available are excluded. If the proportions of graduates for whom no job-seeking information is available and who are not seeking jobs are high, then the information is not used in calculating the rankings. Employment rates at graduation (.07) and three months after graduation (.14) are used in the ranking model.

Student Selectivity (weighted by .25)

Mean GMAT Scores (.1625) The average Graduate Management Admission Test score of students entering the full-time program in fall 2008. Scores on the test range from 200 to 800.

Mean Undergraduate GPA (.075) The average undergraduate grade-point average of those students entering the full-time program in fall 2008.

Acceptance Rate (.0125) The percent of applicants to the full-time program in fall 2008 who were accepted.

Overall Rank: Data were standardized about their means, and standardized scores were weighted, totaled, and rescaled so that the top school received 100; others received their percentage of the top score. In order to be ranked, a full-time M.B.A. program had to have 20 or more graduates who were seeking employment in 2008. For a school to have its employment data considered in the ranking model, at least 50 percent of its 2008 full-time M.B.A. graduates needed to be seeking work.

Specialty Rankings: These rankings, including executive M.B.A. and part-time M.B.A. programs, are based solely on ratings by business school deans and directors of accredited master's programs from the list of schools surveyed. They were asked to nominate up to 10 programs for excellence in each of the areas listed. The schools receiving the most votes in each specialty appear here.