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by Vault Education Editors | October 20, 2009


The Economist published its Which MBA? rankings online last week. Recognizing the many rankings out there, The Economist says on its website, "Business school rankings are not perfect. What makes a good MBA programme will vary for each individual. Our ethos is to look at business schools from the students' perspective." The 2009 survey was conducted in the spring and included two questionnaires: one for students and alumni--much like Vault's own student survey--and one for the business school administrators. Unlike some of its competitors, The Economist weighs data from previous years in each ranking so that any changes are reflected gradually, which, it argues, is the way the change affects the students. Once the survey data is compiled, the ranking is broken into four categories: "open new career opportunities; personal development and educational experience; increase in salary; and potential to network." You can read the full methodology here.

The Economist Which MBA? business school ranking is global, featuring schools from around the world. Although the top two spots are held by European schools (IESE Business School at No. 1 and IMD at No. 2), 50 percent of the top 20 are from the United States. With eight European schools and 11 from North America, only one top-20 school is from outside of those two continents (Melbourne Business School at No. 17). MBA programs can vary greatly by region (e.g., U.S. programs are two years and European programs are only one), so remember to do extensive research before picking the school that's right for you. Check out the full ranking here.

Below are the top 20 business schools on The Economist ranking. Since the ranking is based on student reviews, I'm including links to each school's page on so you can check out what more students and alumni have to say.

Top 20 Business Schools from The Economist

  1. IESE Business School
  2. IMD
  3. University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business
  4. University of Chicago, Book School of Business
  5. Harvard Business School
  6. Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business
  7. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  8. London Business School
  9. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
  10. Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School
  11. University of Cambridge, Judge Business School
  12. York University, Schulich School of Business
  13. New York University, Stern School of Business
  14. HEC School of Management, Paris
  15. Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
  16. IE Business School
  17. Melbourne Business School
  18. Cranfield School of Management
  19. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT Sloan School of Management
  20. Columbia Business School


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