College rankings question solved? New list combines 3 reports for overall score

Poets and Quants delivers single metric for EMBAs based on U.S. News and two other services.

Sorting through rankings lists can be frustrating for higher education leaders looking to see how well their programs and schools truly stack up against their foes. When it comes to competition, the push to be No. 1 in the world of executive MBAs is fierce, so being able to showcase one number would be a plus.

The publication Poets&Quants thought it might have solved that problem by combining rankings from The Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report and The Economist, along with their own measures to determine this year’s best EMBA programs in the United States. The only snafu was that The Economist refused to do rankings in 2021 and many institutions did not participate in one or more of the rankings, so Poets&Quants had to punt and use the data it could—a small price to pay for a single score.

At the top of the heap is Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, which received a perfect 100 and jumped from No. 13 last year to unseat Columbia Business School as the new No. 1. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business came in third, followed by New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Other than Kellogg, which took 1-2-3 spots respectively from U.S. News, Financial Times and The Economist because of its posh and powerful learning experiences for students in both Illinois and Miami, the rest of the 59 schools were all over the map when it came to scoring among the three services. For example, No. 2 Columbia was fourth in both U.S. News and Financial Times but only eighth in The Economist. Yale School of Management, which earned top billing from the Financial Times and finished fifth overall by was ranked at No. 23 by U.S. News. It was 18th last year in the Poets&Quants ranking.

“The vastly different methodologies of primary rankings from U.S. News, Financial Times, and The Economist makes the Poets&Quants ranking a tremendously valuable tool by developing a composite and equalizing outliers,” said Kristy Bleizeffer, P&Q staff writer. “Given the shake-up in the rankings space, the thoughtful analysis from Poets&Quants is more important than ever.”

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Could that kind of combined metric be used for other ratings? Say, best colleges for undergraduates? Perhaps. Each of the three outlets, she points out, use (or used) their own systems for determining best EMBA institution, with U.S. News surveying deans and faculty, the Financial Times leaning on colleges and alumni, and The Economist weighing compensation of graduates. Poets&Quants then combined scores to come up with a final total.

One of the main drawbacks, however, was that many of those on the list were unranked in one or more categories because they chose not to participate. So although UC-Berkeley was No. 1 on The Economist rankings in 2020 and No. 7 on U.S. News, it only landed at No. 15 because it was not ranked in the Financial Times report. No matter. Poets&Quants reported that it had its biggest class size ever for this year, helped by the changing business landscape brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rounding out the Top 10 were UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, and the business schools at Georgetown University (McDonough), Emory University (Goizueta), Duke University (Fuqua) and Fordham University (Gabelli), which soared 10 spots into the No. 10 position this year. Bleizeffer notes that most execs searching out programs remain close to home so they are not necessarily seeking out the best in the country, however, they can still see how well they stack up nationally.

A concern for institutions offering EMBA programs, especially those that are not in the top tier, is how COVID accelerated an increase in the pools of those pursuing fully online MBA options. But according to the Poets&Quants report, most agree that execs want to have face-to-face experiences again and not be attending such a key part of learning all remotely. One positive trend is the number of women who are entering the EMBA space, an increase of 3% year over year, though still lagging far behind men.


1. Northwestern Kellogg School of Management (100)

2. Columbia Business School (96.63)

3. Michigan Ross School of Business (94.95)

4. New York University Stern School of Business (93.60)

5. Yale School of Management (92.93)

6. UCLA Anderson School of Management (91.58)

7. Georgetown McDonough School of Business (89.90)

8. Emory Goizueta Business School (88.89)

9. Duke’s The Fuqua School of Business (86.53)

10. Fordham Gabelli School of Business (77.44)

11. Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business (76.77)

12. (tie) University of Pennsylvania The Wharton School and University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business (65.32)

14. MIT Sloan School of Management (64.31)

15. Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management (62.29)

16. Arizona State University Carey School of Business (60.61)

17. University of California-Irvine Merage School of Business (59.26)

18. University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business (57.24)

19. University of Georgia Terry College of Business (56.57)

20. Texas A&M Mays Business School (55.89)

21. Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management (55.22)

22. University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business (53.54)

23. University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management (52.86)

24. (tie) University of Washington Foster School of Business and Rutgers University Business School (51.85)

26. University of Florida Warrington College of Business (49.83)

27. University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business (48.82)

28. Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business (47.47)

29. Michigan State University Broad College of Business (47.14)

30. University of Chicago Booth School of Business (33.00)

31. Texas Christian University Neeley School of Business (32.66)

32. Washington University Olin Business School (31.65)

33. University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School (30.30)

34. (tie) Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business and University of Virginia Darden School of Business (29.63)

36. Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management (28.96)

37. Marquette University School of Business (28.28)

38. University of Maryland Smith School of Business (27.95)

39. Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business (27.61)

40. (tie) Penn State University Smeal College of Business, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and San Francisco State University School of Business (27.27)

43. University of Utah Eccles School of Business (26.94)

44. (tie) University of Tennessee Haslam College of Business and Boston University Questrom School of Business (26.60)

46. (tie) Seattle University Albers School of Business, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and Xavier University Williams School of Business 26.26)

49. Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business (24.92)

50. (tie) St. Joseph’s University Haub School of Business and Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School (24.58)

52. (tie) University of Miami Herbert Business School and Ohio State University Fisher College of Business (23.57)

54. University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business (23.23)

55. Purdue University Krannert School of Management (22.90)

56. Kennesaw State University Coles College of Business (22.22)

57. University of California-San Diego Rady School of Management (21.89

58. University of Iowa Tippie College of Business (20.88)

59. Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College New York (20.54)

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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