Bloomberg Businessweek
Best B-Schools

The World's Best Business Schools, Ranked

Transitional may be the best way to describe the past two-plus years for MBA students and schools running full-time professional programs.

Since 2020, with Covid-19 cases spiking around the world, business school leaders, educators, and employees have been in a state of constant adjustment: first fully remote, then partly hybrid, more variations on those approaches, then finally incorporating as much in-person instruction as possible. Schools developed protocols and tested digital tools for remote learning, aiming to ensure seamless education at the level expected. The goal was to find activities that might in some way cultivate a sense of belonging—to a class, a cohort, an affinity group—while still keeping one’s distance.

For many of the 117 programs in this year’s Best B-Schools list, the past few months have marked the fullest return to normalcy since the onset of the pandemic. What does a return to campus look like—and are the pandemic adjustments fully a thing of the past?


“The Covid-19 outbreak, combined with new opportunities offered by technology and different expectations from professionals, has accelerated trends that we started to apply long before the crisis,” says Jan Hohberger, associate dean of the full-time MBA program at Spain’s Esade (#10 in the European ranking). For example, the school has since extended its online program offering, with an EMBA hybrid. And certain digital components of courses, adopted during lockdowns, remain in use. Flexibility, many schools have learned, is beneficial for everyone.

Similarly, at Howard University School of Business (#28 among US schools), Dean Anthony Wilbon notes that the most lasting change has been the ongoing use of virtual events for instructional and meeting purposes. “During Covid we had to adapt to a virtual environment quickly, which, over time, negatively impacted the social engagement among the student body, faculty, staff, and external stakeholders,” he says. “Post-pandemic, use of technology has continued to be an effective tool for communications, but there is a need to be more strategic in its usage.”

Greg Hanifee, associate dean of degree programs and operations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (#4 in the US), echoes these points. “The big opportunity we are now embracing is offering flexible programming to meet students’ needs,” he says—for example, evening and weekend programs geared toward working professionals. And students can choose between in-person and online courses as they make their selections each quarter.

“Collaboration,” “culture,” “collegiality”—the words pop up throughout the comments provided by students and alumni responding to questions in this year’s survey. It’s clear that real-life connections remain paramount. Other constants: the high value placed on learning and the opportunity to build meaningful networks. Not surprisingly, when it comes to jobs (and, by extension, salaries), the consulting, technology, and finance industries remain the most sought after. Even so, schools say they are noticing some shifts consistent with trends in the broader world. There’s growing interest in ESG, related to climate tech, impact investing, and sustainability. Climate change especially, schools say, has become an area of particular focus as future business leaders will need to fully understand the phenomenon to effectively transition industries and businesses to a low- or zero-carbon future.

Where Recent MBA Grads Work

Totals from the 2022–23 Ranking

Industry schools Number hired
Consulting 106 3,267
Technology 113 2,929
Financial 110 2,759
Health Care 109 931
Consumer 99 648
Manufacturing 88 452
Retail 80 273
Real Estate 70 240
Energy 75 229
Media / Entertainment 66 223
Transportation 62 145
Nonprofits 53 134
Government 45 79
Hospitality 31 57

A stumbling block remains the lack of gender, racial, and ethnic diversity in MBA programs as companies come under growing pressure to create a C-suite that looks more like the society around them. For the second year in a row, a Diversity Index measures US schools on race, ethnicity, and gender in their classes. Of the US schools ranked this year, only seven achieved gender parity (relative equality in terms of numbers and proportions of women and men), and Black students are near or above parity at just 11 schools. For Hispanic students, only eight MBA programs are at or near the students' share in society.

This year, Stanford Graduate School of Business is again the top-ranked US business school. Its results remained consistent with past years, as it scored highest in the US in compensation, networking, and entrepreneurship. The University of Chicago’s Booth school tied with Harvard Business School for second place. Rankings were based on 18,504 surveys from students, alumni, and recruiters, as well as compensation and employment data from each school.

As lessons from the past two years are more fully understood and embraced, schools and students will continue to adapt as they confront new challenges. That’s not an option but an imperative, as Stanford Business Dean Jonathan Levin sees it.

"There is an urgent responsibility for business to drive innovation that addresses the world’s biggest challenges, including climate change, inequality, advancing technology, and shifts in global economic power," he says. "We’re focused on informing debate and thinking through our research, and educating our students to appreciate the power of markets to foster innovation, while recognizing the inherent trade-offs in business decision-making."

Bloomberg Businessweek ranked 117 MBA programs around the world. IMD, the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, once again was tops in Europe. Shanghai University of Finance and Economics emerged as the leader in Asia-Pacific. And in Canada, Western University’s Ivey Business School, with several locations in Ontario, ranked #1–a repeat of its 2019-20 position (the school was not included in last year’s ranking).

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