MBA Rankings Show Which Students Are Most Satisfied

March 9, 2017
Russell Schaffer

Top business school news.

Find out which programs will make the top ten on the latest U.S. News MBA rankings list.

Business schools are rated on student satisfaction, the U.S. News & World Report 2018 MBA rankings are almost here, and MBAs turn to activism. This and more in our roundup of management education news.

MBA rankings by student satisfaction

The Economist, one of several publications that publish MBA rankings every year, recently put out a student satisfaction survey based on a five point scale, with five being the highest; the lower the number, the less satisfied students are. Topping the list for the second consecutive year is the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, which scored a 4.76. Right behind Darden was University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (4.74), New York University’s Stern School of Business (4.71), and IESE (4.71) for top honors.

Matthew Merrick, Associate Dean of MBA Operations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (4.63), said he would describe his school’s student experience with the word “teamwork.” He added, ”We have a really, really high engagement level for our students. That’s true whether you want a very active classroom but also in the experience outside the classroom (like co-curricular and extracurricular activities) or if you’re interested in leadership positions, student government, and topics outside of the classroom (but directly or indirectly related to business). When we do events, they all show up in droves.” (Poets & Quants)

Show time for business schools

The Hollywood award season—culminating with the Oscars—may be over, but the big rollout of the U.S. News & World Report MBA rankings (the Academy Awards of MBA rankings, to many) is just around the corner, scheduled (appropriately, if you ask us) for Pi Day, March 14. While we won’t know the exact MBA rankings for a few days, U.S. News does provide us with a sneak peak of which ones will be in the top ten. In alphabetical order, they are:

  1. Columbia University (NY)
  2. Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH)
  3. Harvard University (MA)
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
  5. Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL)
  6. Stanford University (CA)
  7. University of California—Berkeley (Haas)
  8. University of Chicago (Booth)
  9. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  10. Yale University (CT)

Harvard Business School has remained at the top of the heap for the past several years. But will Stanford GSB or Chicago Booth be this year’s Moonlight to Harvard’s La La Land? We’ll share our opinions about the MBA rankings in next week’s blog entry. (U.S. News & World Report)

Saying thanks to the admissions committee

The art of the thank you is really underappreciated, in our humble opinion. A note of gratitude shows grace, and in the case of business school admissions interview, it can also show your commitment to that particular MBA program. Here are a few things to consider:

    • Timing: It’s ideal to send your letter of thanks to the business school admissions committee within 24 hours of the time the interview took place. Remember to get the admissions officer’s email address. In the off chance you don’t have their direct email address, use the school’s general admissions email, and don’t forget to put in the subject line or first line the name of the person it’s intended to.


  • Content: Of course, make sure to thank them for their time, saying that you genuinely enjoyed the experience. Reiterate your interest in the program and mention a few things you discussed so they’ll remember you. (Admissions officers meet many candidates, so sometimes it’s easy to confuse applicants.) Also, reinforce your positives and mention anything you might have left out that could make a difference.


  • Length: A little goes a long way. Try to keep your note to under a printed page. Or in an email, you might want to make it so you don’t scroll down to see it all.

Remember: Your interview matters… and so does the followup! (Clear Admit)

MBA activism

There’s a growing level of political activism among undergraduate students, which is where student activism has historically been prevalent. We’re also seeing it among law school students, many of who aspire to run for elected office. But less common has been this kind of activism among business school students. That may be changing. “At the undergraduate level, these kinds of demonstrations happen frequently, but I can’t remember a time when our graduate students have been as involved” in campus politics, said Peter Johnson, Haas School of Business dean at the University of California Berkeley.

This could be because many top business leaders in the country—from Apple’s Tim Cook, to Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, to PayPal’s Peter Thiel—have been more than outspoken about social issues and politics over the past year. One Wharton student comments, “As future business leaders, we’re coming from a position of immense privilege that allows us to have a significant impact on policy.” (The Wall Street Journal)

Planning for Test Day? Sign up for a free practice test and review to get a detailed analysis of your performance.

Russell Schaffer

Russell Schaffer Russell Schaffer is Kaplan Test Prep's senior communications manager. Russell is responsible for helping lead our external media relations efforts, including speaking with reporters and bloggers on a regular basis about Kaplan's proprietary research and products. Russell also helps craft the surveys we regularly administer of students, advisers​,​ and admissions officers. The data collected helps guide the hundreds of thousands of students and parents Kaplan works with every year by giving them accurate and up-to-date information ​about​ the landscape. Russell is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where he received his BA in political science and MA in communications.

About Kaplan Test Prep

We know test prep. We invented it. Through innovative technology and a personalized approach to learning, we’ll equip you with the test insights and advice you need to achieve your personal best. Results, guaranteed.*

Kaplan is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET), a U.S. Department of Education nationally recognized agency. GMAT ® is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council™. Kaplan materials do not contain actual GMAT items and are neither endorsed by nor affiliated in any way with GMAC. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Kaplan or this website. *Higher Score Guarantee: Conditions and restrictions apply. For complete guarantee eligibility requirements, visit © Copyright Kaplan, Inc. All Rights Reserved.