Fortuna Ranking of MBA Rankings 2018 – US Business Schools

November 13, 2018 | by Fortuna Admissions

Fortuna Admissions has compiled the results of the big five MBA rankings of the last 12 months to produce the eighth edition of the Fortuna Ranking of MBA Rankings 2018.

Every year we combine the results of the MBA rankings published by US News, the Financial Times, The Economist, BusinessWeek and Forbes to produce a wide-angle view of how school perform across the varied methodologies and weighting of each ranking. Wharton has again edged past Stanford GSB and Harvard Business School to maintain the #1 position. Such a result is sure to irritate those who see the MBA programs of Palo Alto and Boston as undisputed heads of state, and underlined by the irresistible admissions yields at the two schools. All the more so given that Wharton has failed to rank #1 in any individual ranking in 2018, unlike Stanford that topped the FT and BusinessWeek rankings and Chicago Booth that came in #1 with US News and The Economist. But Wharton achieves the strongest overall average with consistent high marks across the board.

The M7 business schools – HBS, Stanford GSB, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Columbia and MIT Sloan – continue to dominate the MBA league tables. Since 2011, the only other schools to have featured among the top 7 are Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business (2011, 2014 and 2016) and UC Berkeley Haas (2016). But the strong performance of Berkeley Haas again this year puts them within a hair’s breadth of Columbia and MIT Sloan, so should we be talking about an M8? In our discussion of the results on Forbes, Wharton has maintained the top spot by the narrowest of margins from Stanford GSB, which last week added the #1 position in the BusinessWeek ranking to add to the school’s success in the FT in January 2018. Chicago Booth also had a good year, ranking #1 in US News and The Economist despite a weaker performance with the revised methodology adopted by BusinessWeek.

The Round 2 MBA admissions deadlines of January 2019 will still be overwhelmed with applications to Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Boston and Chicago, but for many Fortuna Admissions clients this is also the time when they extend their school target list to consider schools across the top 15. The strong showing of UVA Darden and Cornell Johnson across the 2018 rankings may encourage them to include Charlottesville and Ithaca in their shortlist, and with the former Assistant Deans of Admissions at both Darden and Cornell on the Fortuna dream team of coaches from 12 of the top 15 US schools they will have the best possible insider admissions advice to maximize their chance of acceptance.

The number of MBA rankings and the different weightings they place on ROI, salary, selectivity, diversity, student and recruiter satisfaction, etc can make the results bewildering. We hope that the Fortuna Ranking of MBA Rankings provides you with greater clarity of performance across the board, and look forward to speaking with you about your own business school plans.


Only US business schools are ranked by all five major media rankings. Fortuna Admissions has calculated their overall performance by looking at each ranking position compared to other US schools, and taking an average of those results.

In the case of the FT and Economist rankings, if a US business school ranked #15 in the overall FT ranking and #32 in the overall Economist ranking, but among US business schools was #9 in the FT and #15 in The Economist, then the relative US regional figure was used for the calculation, and added to those of BusinessWeek, Forbes and US News, before dividing by the number of rankings to achieve an average score.

Candidates should remember that this is not scientific approach, and there is no attempt to give greater weight to one ranking over another. Each ranking uses a different methodology and measures different things with the inherent limitations of each assessment, so doing particularly well in one ranking and less well in another is reflected in the overall average score.

We have compiled the Fortuna Ranking of MBA Rankings since 2011 to show how the top business schools perform across all five of the major MBA rankings.

View how top business schools fared over the last several years:


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