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Your guide to understanding and comparing MBA rankings

If you’re currently slogging through the mire of comparing different MBA programs, you’ve likely seen information from each of your prospective schools about how they rank from some of the top publications like U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times and The Economist. But with so many rankings out there, it can be difficult to determine how programs stack up against one another.

To help make your decision a little easier, we’ve broken down the methodologies for some of the top MBA rankings. Read on to see how each ranking determines the top MBA programs across the nation and world.


U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Schools”

U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” is one of the most popular rankings for MBA programs based in the United States. To compile its ranking of best business master’s programs, U.S. News & World Report surveys all 480 AACSB accredited MBA programs for data about their programs.

U.S. News & World Report weighs its ranking heavily on the opinions of both peer program deans and directors as well as corporate recruiters. The ratings of these individuals about MBA programs account for 40 percent of each school’s overall score. The remaining 60 percent of the score is determined by the program’s placement success (35 percent), including average starting salary and placement rates of the program’s graduates, and selectivity among applicants (25 percent), including average GMAT/GRE scores, undergraduate GPA and the program’s acceptance rate.

Breakdown: If reputation among peer schools and career placement are important to you in an MBA program, U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” is the ranking list for you to check out.

How UF MBA ranked in 2019:

Full-Time MBA – Among publics # 14; Overall #34

Part-Time MBA –Among publics #18; Overall #30

UF MBA had the highest increase in average pay for graduates between 2013-2017


U.S. News & World Report “Best Online MBA Programs”

U.S. News & World Report also ranks online MBA programs in its separate “Best Online MBA Programs” list. This ranking is determined solely on data pertaining to a school’s online degree program and is built on five categories: student engagement (28 percent of the total ranking), admissions selectivity (25 percent), peer reputation (25 percent), faculty credential and training (11 percent), and student services and technology (11 percent).

Breakdown: If joining an online MBA program that offers a similar setting to what you’d get in an on-campus program, a strong student population and reputation among peer schools, U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Online MBA Programs” will be insightful as you search.

How UF MBA ranked in 2018:

Online MBA – Among publics #5; Overall #6


Financial Times “Global MBA Ranking”

While U.S. News & World Report may be the main ranking for U.S. programs, the Financial Times compares programs internationally. The London-based publication ranks programs based on 20 criteria, with alumni responses contributing to 59 percent of the program’s total score. Of all the criteria measured, the Financial Times puts most of its weight into average alumni salary, including 20 percent for weighted salary and 20 percent for salary increase. Other criteria include career progress, career services and alumni recommendation, value for money and aims achieved.

Breakdown: As you might imagine with a financial publication, the Financial Times’ “Global MBA Ranking” is one of the best rankings for you to look at if getting a top salary after graduation is most important to you in an MBA program.

How UF MBA ranked in 2018:

Value for Money – #1 worldwide

Salary Percentage Increase – #1 in the U.S.; #6 worldwide

Full-Time MBA – #13 among U.S. publics; #30 in the U.S., #58 worldwide


Financial Times “Top 20 Online MBA Rankings”

Similar to U.S. News & World Report, the Financial Times ranks both on-campus and online programs. Its “Top 20 Online MBA Rankings” compares schools based on 18 criteria, with alumni responses to nine criteria contributing to 65 percent of the ranking’s total weight. As with the Financial Times’ “Global MBA Ranking,” the “Top 20 Online MBA Rankings” heavily weight alumni salary as part of its list of international MBA programs.

Breakdown: If earning a top salary and completing your MBA program remotely are high on your must list, then be sure to see where your top program choices fall on the Financial Times’ “Top 20 Online MBA Rankings.”

How UF MBA ranked in 2018:

Online MBA – #4 among U.S. schools, #7 overall


Bloomberg Businessweek “Best Business Schools”

Bloomberg Businessweek has been ranking full-time MBA programs since 1988. It currently focuses its ranking on how well programs prepare graduates for job success. The publication uses survey results from employers and recruiters to determine how schools stack up in its heaviest-weighted category (35 percent of a school’s total score). Alumni feedback provides the second heaviest percentage (30 percent) in the determination of a program’s rank, specifically, the impact a program had on alumni job outcomes. The rest of the ranking is determined by the results of a student survey (15 percent), measuring how well students felt prepared for their careers and their perception of the program, the program’s job placement rate (10 percent) and starting salary (10 percent).

Breakdown: If being prepared to get the job you want is your most important goal in pursuing an MBA, then be sure to look at Bloomberg Businessweek’s “Best Business Schools” list.

How UF MBA ranked in 2017:

Full-Time MBA – #24 among publics, #48 overall

Job placement rank – #10 among publics


The Economist “Which MBA?”

The Economist, similar to Bloomberg Businessweek, weights most of its rankings on career opportunities (35 percent), followed by personal development/education experience (also 35 percent), which is determined by factors like student diversity, education experience, and faculty and student quality. The remaining 30 percent of the ranking is determined by graduates’ increase in salary (20 percent) and potential to network (10 percent). All of The Economist’s “Which MBA?” rankings are determined by survey results from programs, students and alumni.

Breakdown: Most students want to make sure they get a good job after completing their MBA. If you also want to make sure that the quality of your peer MBA candidates and the professors you’ll learn from are top-notch, The Economist’s “Which MBA?” rankings will be a big help as you decide which MBA program is right for you.

How UF MBA ranked in 2017:

Open New Career Opportunities – #1 overall

Alumnus Rating of Career Service – #1 overall

Potential to Network – #21 overall

Full-Time MBA – #5 among publics; #16 in the U.S., #20 worldwide


Eduniversal “Best Masters”

Eduniversal determines its “Best Masters” ranking through the survey results of current graduating students and corporate recruiters. Current graduating students are asked about their satisfaction within their program, while recruiters are asked about their opinions of the reputation of each eligible MBA program. Eduniversal also uses starting salary information to determine its “Best Masters” list. Programs have the opportunity to earn bonus points for having students from diverse nationalities in their programs, having 20 percent of their graduates complete an internship or work abroad, admitting students with previous work experience to the program and offering online MBA options.

Breakdown: If you want to hear directly from current students and the recruiters who are hiring students from an MBA program about their perceptions, Eduniversal’s “Best Masters” rankings are great to consider as part of your search.

How UF MBA ranked in 2018:

Full-Time MBA – #5 among publics, #21 in the U.S., #26 in North America

After learning about the various rankings and seeing how UF MBA performs on each, let us provide you with other reasons why UF MBA is one of the best programs in the nation. Request information and discover which UF MBA program is right for you.