Forbes MBA Rankings for 2013

Forbes MBA Rankings

Known for their biennial ranking of business schools, Forbes is an American business magazine and website that writes original articles on finance, industry, investment, marketing, and other topics. The latest Forbes MBA ranking list was published in 2013. Unlike competing MBA ranking systems, the Forbes MBA ranking for 2013 is determined solely on the reported return on investment (ROI) that has been achieved by graduates from the class of 2008.

2013 US Forbes MBA Ranking List

Top 20 MBA Programs in the US

Forbes ranks US schools and international schools separately and bases their ranking off of graduates’ five-year MBA gain, which is the cumulative amount alumni earn by getting an MBA versus remaining in their pre-MBA career. The following are the top 20 MBA programs in the US in 2013, according to Forbes:

Ranking School Name 5-Year MBA Gain Years to Payback
1 Stanford $99,700 4.1
2 Chicago (Booth) $92,600 3.7
3 Harvard $79,600 4
4 Pennsylvania (Wharton) $74,400 4
5 Northwestern (Kellogg) $73,100 3.8
6 Dartmouth (Tuck) $71,000 3.9
7 Columbia $70,200 3.9
8 Duke (Fuqua) $69,800 3.7
9 Cornell (Johnson) $68,100 3.8
10 Michigan (Ross) $68,000 3.7
11 UNC (Kenan-Flagler) $67,100 3.7
12 MIT (Sloan) $66,600 4
13 UCLA (Anderson) $66,100 3.8
14 UC Berkeley (Haas) $65,400 4
15 Virginia (Darden) $64,700 3.8
16 Carnegie Mellon (Tepper) $64,300 3.7
17 Brigham Young (Marriott) $64,100 3.2
18 Yale $62,100 3.8
19 Indiana (Kelley) $62,000 3.4
20 Iowa (Tippie) $60,800 3.4

One Year Programs Have an Advantage

While the US rankings list includes only two-year, full-time MBA programs, the international school rankings include both one-year and two-year MBA programs. One-year MBA programs are at an advantage when it comes to measuring return on investment, because students only have to forgo compensation for one year in order to attend school.

Forbes MBA Ranking Methodology

Not All Schools are Created Equal

MBA graduates in 2008 had it rough, as they entered the job market just as the Great Recession began. Despite the challenges they faced, many MBA graduates have managed to ramp up their careers, thanks to their newly minted business degrees. However, not all schools are created equal in their capacity to provide graduates with worthwhile returns.

Survey Pool

In order to come up with the rankings, Forbes surveyed 17,000 alumni at 100 schools. Forbes had to hear back from at least 15% of a school’s alumni for it to be included in the rankings. Of the graduates they contacted, 27% responded to the survey. They were asked to report on their pre- and post-MBA compensation, career choice, and location.

ROI and Earnings Analysis

The magazine compared the alumni earnings in students’ first five years out of business school (which included their salary, stock options, and bonuses) to their opportunity cost (which included tuition and fees, as well as two years of forgone compensation). For the forgone compensation, it is assumed that the person’s compensation would have risen half as fast as their post-MBA salary had they continued working and not entered an MBA program.

Choosing an MBA Program with a High ROI

The payback for attending an MBA program has dropped since the recession due to decreasing salaries and rising tuition and fees. Nevertheless, Forbes’ rankings prove that getting an MBA degree is still a worthwhile investment for those who pick the right program. If you want to find an MBA program that offers the best return on investment, explore the Forbes MBA rankings today.