Business School Rankings 2021

Looking at business school rankings is one way of assessing which business programs you might wish to apply for.

Every year a number of organisations including U.S News, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Economist, and The Princeton Review, publish their own lists of business school rankings.

However, please bear in mind that rankings are calculated by measuring characteristics that are arbitrary, as are the values given to each one, and that as a prospective business student you should apply for programs you feel are the best fit for you, rather than the top schools in a rankings list.

This also means it’s best to read up on how each rankings is compiled, so you can decide how much it’s really worth taking into account when deciding which colleges to apply to.

We provide a brief guide to each business school rankings source below.

U.S News

For 2021, U.S News has ranked the best business schools in America as follows:

1. Stanford University

1. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

3. Northwestern University (Kellogg)

3. University of Chicago (Booth)

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

6. Harvard University

7. University of California (Berkeley)

8. Columbia University

9.  Yale University

10. New York University (Stern)

These rankings have been calculated using peer assessment, recruiter assessment, placement success and student selectivity scores.

You can find out more details at the U.S News Best Business School Rankings 2021 Methodology.


Forbes currently rank the best business schools as:

  1. Chicago (Booth)
  2. Stanford
  3. Northwestern (Kellogg)
  4. Harvard
  5. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  6. Dartmouth (Tuck)    
  7. Columbia
  8. MIT (Sloan)
  9. Cornell (Johnson)
  10. UC Berkeley (Haas)

Forbes base these rankings solely on the return on investment of graduates from the class of 2012.

You can read a detailed methodology for compiling their list at The Best Business Schools 2017: Behind The Numbers.


Bloomberg rank the best business schools in 2020/21 as follows:

  1. Stanford
  2. Dartmouth (Tuck) 
  3. Harvard
  4. Virginia (Darden)
  5. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  6. Columbia
  7. Northwestern (Kellogg)
  8. Cornell (Johnson)
  9. UCLA (Anderson)
  10. New York University (Stern)

Read a more detailed explanation of Bloomberg’s Best Business School methodology.

The Economist

The Economist’s 2018 Business School rankings for the U.S are:

  1. Chicago (Booth)
  2. Northwestern (Kellogg)
  3. Harvard
  4. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  5. Stanford University
  6. University of Navarra
  7. University of Michigan
  8. UCLA
  9. Virginia (Darden)
  10. Columbia Business School

This list has been produced using data from two surveys: one filled out by eligible schools, and the other by current MBA students.

To be included in the rankings, each school must submit a response rate of at least 25% of the latest class intake.

A detailed breakdown of how The Economist calculate their rankings can be found at their Methodology 2018 page.

The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review’s Business School Rankings are calculated using a combination of information from student surveys and data collected by schools.

A comprehensive outline of their methods can be found at The Princeton Review’s Business School Rankings Methodology page

Their full best business school rankings are available online, although you may have to sign up for an account to access this data.

While business school rankings can be a useful tool in guiding your program choices, they should be used in conjunction with other factors such as location, facilities, curriculum and funding when making your final decisions. Please see our Choosing A Business School guide for more advice.

Further information

For more tips and advice on applyng to business school, please see: