Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about our MBA rankings.

How did you choose the MBA programs in Best Business Schools 2018?

In order for a school to appear on our ranking lists and receive “Students Say” text, it must: 1.) meet our criteria for academic excellence and 2.) allow us to conduct surveys of its students.

We attempted to collect student opinions and statistical data from all American graduate business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), as well as from some excellent accredited international business schools. For all schools from which we were able to collect student opinions, we feature “Students Say” narratives on our website profiles of the schools. For accredited business schools from which we were unable to collect student opinion, we have included data listings of statistics reported by school administrators on our website profiles of the schools.    

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How many ranking lists are there, and how did you compile the lists?

The Best Business Schools 2018 includes 18 on-campus ranking lists that each identify the top 10 business schools in a specific category. These categories cover a range of topics that we think prospective applicants might want to know or would ask about during a campus visit, including academics, career prospects, and campus diversity. Seventeen of the 18 lists incorporate or are based entirely on student opinions that we collected through our On-Campus MBA student survey. A few of the lists also incorporate institutional data reported to us by administrators at the business schools.  One list, "Toughest to Get Into," is based entirely on information reported to us by administrators.

The Best Business Schools 2018 includes an online MBA ranking list that identifies the top 25 MBA programs offering a majority of their program of study online. The online MBA ranking incorporates student opinions that we collected through our online MBA student survey and institutional data reported to us by administrators at the business schools.

Note: We don't have a “Best Overall Academics” ranking list in the project because we think each of the 267 on-campus MBA programs and the 25 online MBA programs featured in Best Business Schools 2018 is a “Best” when it comes to academics. We believe that hierarchical ranking lists that focus solely on academics offer very little value to students and only add to the stress of applying to business school. For more information, check out the Our On-Campus MBA Ratings.

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Does Best Business Schools 2018 include your Princeton Review entrepreneurship program rankings?

Our 2018 entrepreneurship program rankings are published in partnership with Entrepreneur magazine. These lists name the top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate schools we believe have the best programs for entrepreneurship studies. Learn more

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Why don't you have one list that ranks all the business schools on your website?

We don't believe that any one business school is the best overall. Instead, we believe there is a best business school for you. Moreover, the prestige of an academic program does not constitute the exclusive criterion by which a school should be (or is) judged. Among other factors (such as location, cost, and size), the campus culture is very important, and this is something that varies considerably from one school to another. Some business schools  on our website may be ideal for certain students but wrong for others, depending on the interests and needs of each individual student. We offer a range of ranking lists to help students choose the best school for them.

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The profiles of business schools on your website have "ratings." What's the difference between the "rankings" and the "ratings?"

Our MBA rankings are lists of top schools in various categories. Our ratings are numerical scores (on a scale of 60 to 99) that we give to all on-campus programs from whom we received sufficient data to tally the scores. Every school that appears on the complete list of best on-campus MBAs has an Admissions Selectivity Rating, and the schools from which we received student surveys also receive Academic Experience, Professors Interesting, Professors Accessible, and Career Ratings. 

Only the top 10 schools in each of our 18 on-campus MBA ranking categories and the top 25 schools in our online MBA category appear on our ranking lists.

Two of our ranking lists—“Toughest to Get Into” and “Best Career Prospects”—are based on the ratings for Admissions Selectivity and Career, respectively. You can learn what our ratings scores are based on in our On-Campus MBA Ratings. You can learn what each of the ranking lists is based on in our MBA Rankings Methodology.    

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Why don't some highly selective business schools have "Students Say" profiles or receive all of the five possible ratings?

Unfortunately, some business schools did not permit us to survey their MBA students. Since student opinion is essential to the “Students Say” narratives as well as to four of our five ratings, those schools at which we were unable to survey students also did not receive Academic Experience, Professors Interesting, Professors Accessible, and Career Ratings. Schools that reported admissions statistics, however, did receive an Admissions Selectivity Rating.

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Why don't some highly regarded schools appear on many of the top 10 ranking lists?

Seventeen of the 18 on-campus ranking lists either incorporate or are based entirely on MBA student opinions—so if the students at a particular school didn't have a high degree of consensus in their responses to a particular survey question, then their school won't appear on the corresponding list. Similarly, if a school doesn't have especially strong numbers in a given category that incorporates school-reported statistics, then it won't appear on that ranking list.

The other reason a school might not appear on one of the ranking lists that incorporate student opinions is that we were unable to survey the students at that school.

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When was the survey conducted?

The on-campus MBA survey was conducted during the 2016–2017, 2015–2016, and 2014–2015 academic years. The online MBA survey was conducted during the 2016-2017 academic year.

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How is the survey conducted?

We conduct both the on-campus MBA survey and the online MBA survey online using our online survey tool. We promote students' participation in our student surveys in various ways over a school year. We also work with administrators at the schools requested that they send an e-mail encouraging their MBA students to participate in our survey. The e-mail includes a link to the online student survey.

The survey for on-campus MBA students, which evaluates more than 80 unique fields, asks students about their school’s academics, student body, campus life, and their career plans. The survey for online MBA students, which evaluates more than 30 unique fields, asks students to rate their faculty, their fellow students, career preparation, academics, the technology platform, and overall satisfaction with their programs.

The on-campus MBA survey and the online MBA survey are primarily grid-based, multiple-choice questionnaires, though there are several open-ended questions to which students may write in their own responses. We use students' responses to many of our multiple-choice questions to generate the majority of our rating and ranking lists. In compiling these lists, we average students' responses to each question for each school and generate overall scores. In this way, we are able to compare each aspect of the business student experience at different schools. We quote students' written comments when composing our “Students Say” narratives; and we qualitatively evaluate their written comments when determining what we will write about each school. 

You can read more about our business school rankings methodology here.

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How many MBA students were surveyed for your business school rankings lists?

For the 2018 on-campus MBA ranking lists, we surveyed more than 23,000 enrolled students. For the 2018 online MBA ranking list, we surveyed more than 4,700 enrolled students. 

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I'm a current MBA student. Where can I complete a survey for my school?

You can complete a survey about your on-campus MBA or online MBA program here. We will factor in your survey responses in the tallies for next year’s business school ranking lists.

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