The Economist published its annual ranking of the top 100 MBA programs in the world with the top spot going to Chicago Booth’s MBA program. Chicago moved up from last year’s second place ranking. Tuck was ranked second, falling from 2011’s top spot, and Darden, as a surprise, ranked third. Interestingly, when the rankings were first published, Darden took second and Tuck ranked third, but a mistake was found in the calculations. The list was amended a few hours later with the programs rearranged.

The Economist’s ranking is considered different and exceptional in its field (Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton have never been ranked first; in 2009, IESE took the top spot) and included many surprises, like Wharton being ranked 13 while many consider it among the top-3, LBS was only 12th and Kellogg only 20th, while IESE and IMD squeezed into the top 10. The Economist’s ranking is based on surveys of students and ranks the MBA programs according to how the students weighted the factors important to them in a program.  The primary categories included: creation of new careers opportunities (35%), personal development and educational experience (35%), salary increase (20%), and network potential (10%). The data was gathered through questionnaires distributed at the schools, to students and recent graduates, while a weight of 80% was given to data provided by schools and 20% to the student/graduate rankings.

Chicago’s top spot is mainly credited to the fact that the school excelled in creating new career opportunities for its graduates. They found jobs in a wide variety of industries and received support from the program’s career services. According to The Economist, the average salary of a Chicago graduate is $113,217, which though lower than those of Harvard and Stanford graduates, it reflects a salary increase of 63% compared to only 56% at Stanford and 44% at Harvard.

All of the top 26 spots in the ranking belonged to American or European programs. Rounding out the top 10 were:
4- Harvard
5- Columbia
6- Berkeley Haas
7- MIT Sloan
8- Stanford
10- IMD

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