The Economist has released its 2019 MBA ranking, revealing some significant movements compared with a year ago.

Access MBA has always encouraged applicants to understand the methodology behind the different rankings. No two rankings use the same methodology. But when MBA aspirants know what is being measured, they can decide if it is relevant to their preferences and school selection criteria. 

For example, The Economist’s full-time MBA ranking is heavily weighted toward pay and career outcomes. Salary increase and new career opportunities constitute 55% of the methodology.

Booth School of Business stays on top

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (US) came out top for the second straight year. This is the seventh time the school has topped The Economist’s MBA ranking. In fact, only two other schools have claimed the top spot since the ranking’s creation -- Kellogg School of Management (US) in 2017 and Dartmouth Tuck (US) in 2011.

HEC Paris (France) was among the biggest gainers in this year’s list, climbing 10 places to reach the third spot behind Booth and Harvard Business School (US). University of Navarra – IESE Business School (Spain) was the only other non-US school to make it into the top 10.

The Economist’s ranking lived up to its reputation as one of the most unpredictable in the industry. The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business (US) slipped seven places to 16th, while Columbia Business School (US) dropped five spots to 15th. In one of the most impressive performances, SDA Bocconi (Italy) soared 11 places to rank 13th. Bocconi’s rise is all the more impressive considering that it was ranked 70th in 2012. EMLYON Business School (France), the biggest gainer, shot up 19 places to 51st place. In another spectacular change, the University of Hong Kong slipped 28 places to rank 67th.

Read: The Economist Publishes Its 2018 MBA Ranking

The methodology explained

Each year, the Economist surveys thousands of MBA students and asks them why they decided to enrol in a full-time MBA programme. The data for the 2019 ranking were collected during spring 2019, using two surveys. The first one was distributed to schools, asking them to provide quantitative data such as the salary of graduates, the average GMAT scores of students, and the number of registered alumni. This accounts for around 80% of the ranking.

The remaining 20% is made up of a qualitative survey filled in by current MBA students and a school's most recent graduating MBA class. Respondents evaluate the quality of the faculty, facilities and career services department, among other things. They are also asked to provide details about their salary, so The Economist can verify the data provided by the schools.

All data received from schools are subject to verification checks, including, where possible, comparison with historical data, peer schools, and other published sources. To reflect the performance of the school over a period of time, the ranking is based on a weighted average of data from 2019 (50%), 2018 (30%), and 2017 (20%).

Here are the top five universities by region. The place in the general ranking is indicated in brackets (#) before the name of the university.

Top 5 MBA programmes in North America

1. (#1) University of Chicago – Booth School of Business (US)

2. (#2) Harvard Business School (US)

3. (#4) Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management (US)

4. (#5) University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School (US)

5. (#6) UCLA – UCLA Anderson School of Management (US)


Top 5 MBA programmes in Europe

1. (#3) HEC Paris Business School (France)

2. (#10) University of Navarra – IESE Business School (Spain)

3. (#13) SDA Bocconi – School of Management (Italy)

4. (#22) INSEAD (France)

5. (#24) University of Warwick – Warwick Business School (UK)


Top 5 MBA programmes in Asia and Australasia

1. (#28) University of Melbourne – Melbourne Business School (Australia)

2. (#54) The University of Queensland Business School (Australia)

3. (#60) National University of Singapore – The NUS Business School

4. (#67) University of Hong Kong – Faculty of Business and Economics

5. (#68) Sun Yat-sen University – Sun Yat-sen Business School (China)