US News published its annual rankings of the top MBA programs in the US. This year, for only the third time in three decades but for the second time in three years, Wharton is ranked #1. Wharton has tied for first place before, it has never held the position on its own. Stanford is ranked 2nd and HBS, MIT Sloan and Chicago Booth share the 3rd place. Wharton knocked out both Harvard and Chicago Booth which shared first place last year. Eight of the top 10 programs this year were also in the top 10 last year, but Ross and Tuck (ranked 7 & 10 last year) were replaced by Yale and Duke.

The rankings methodology reveals that 475 MBA programs were surveyed. Of those, U.S. News ranked 131 because they provided enough of the required data on their full-time MBA program that were needed to calculate the full-time MBA rankings. Three main indicators were used:

  • Quality Assessment 40% – ratings assigned by business school deans and directors and by corporate recruiters and company contacts.
  • Placement Success 35% – employment statistics and other career information, including starting base salaries, signing bonuses, and what proportion of MBA graduates have jobs at graduation and three months after.
  • Student Selectivity 25% – average GMAT and GRE scores, average undergraduate GPA of those students entering the full-time program in fall 2018, and the percentage of applicants to the full-time program in fall 2018 who were accepted.

Wharton’s rise to first place is based on the highest average starting salary and bonus for its MBA class that graduated in 2018 ($165,528), and on the highest average GMAT score among all ranked schools for the most recent entering MBA class: 732.

Here are the top 20 MBA programs according to the US News rankings:

  1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  2. Stanford University
  3. Harvard University
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
  5. University of Chicago (Booth)
  6. Columbia University
  7. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  8. University of California–Berkeley (Haas)
  9. Yale University
  10. Duke University (Fuqua)
  11. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross)
  12. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
  13. New York University (Stern)
  14. University of Virginia (Darden)
  15. Cornell University (Johnson)
  16. University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson)
  17. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
  18. University of Southern California (Marshall)
  19. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
  20. University of Texas–Austin (McCombs)