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Undergrad Programs

Top MBA Targets for Undergrad Biz Students

Top MBA Targets for Undergrad Biz Students

Photograph courtesy of New York University

Make five guesses at which MBA programs are the most sought-after for undergraduate business students, and you’ll likely get four of them: Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, and Stanford. The one you probably won’t get happens to be at the top of the list: New York University’s Stern School of Business.

As part of the 2013 Undergraduate Business School rankings that will be published later this month, senior business students were asked about their future plans. More than 10,000 respondents said that they were planning to pursue an MBA in the next five years. Of the MBA aspirants, 40 percent said Stern was a target school, compared to 38 percent for Harvard Business School and uptown rival Columbia Business School, 30 percent for the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and 29 percent for Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Respondents could choose more than one target school.

It’s an interesting outcome considering Stern doesn’t rank as well as any of the other schools mentioned in the top five (Stern placed 16th in Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2012 Best B-Schools ranking). But Graham Richmond, MBA admissions expert and founder of Clear Admit, believes Stern’s mid-tier ranking actually benefits the school when it comes to luring potential applicants. “When you pick the list of schools you’re applying to, you usually have a couple of reach schools, a couple of schools right down the middle, and then a couple of safety schools,” Richmond says. “NYU is versatile enough that it ends up on a lot of people’s lists. In some cases it’s the reach school, and in others it’s the safety, depending on the candidate.”

Richmond also concedes that location probably has something to do with Stern’s popularity among undergrads. “There must be a New York bias,” he says, “because that’s where the jobs are.”

Top MBA Targets for Undergraduate Business Students

1. NYU (Stern) 40.0%
2. Harvard 38.2%
3. Columbia 38.0%
4. Chicago (Booth) 30.2%
5. Stanford 29.3%
6. Northwestern (Kellogg) 28.6%
7. Pennsylvania (Wharton) 26.9%
8. Duke (Fuqua) 21.7%
9. Georgetown (McDonough) 21.3%
10. UC Berkeley (Haas) 21.0%

Join the discussion on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Forum, visit us on Facebook, and follow @BWbschools on Twitter.

Gloeckler is a staff editor for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

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