U.S. News Now Ranks Chicago Booth EMBA No. 1

The new Wharton San Francisco campus near the base of the Bay Bridge

The new Wharton San Francisco campus near the base of the Bay Bridge

How is that possible? Some critics believe it’s because the Jesuit universities all scratch each other’s backs in the U.S. News survey (see Is There A Jesuit Business School Conspiracy?). That may also explain by Seattle University and Xavier University in Cincinnati, both Jesuit schools, also rank ahead of far more prominent and respected business schools. Knowing that only seven votes can get a program on the list, the deans and MBA directors of those schools are naming each other to make sure they gain a valuable marketing tool to promote their programs.


The highly flawed survey, susceptible as it is to voting manipulation, also fails to recognize some excellent EMBA programs that many applicants should consider over some of the schools on the list. Yale University’s Executive MBA with a focus in one of three areas–healthcare, asset management and sustainability–is certainly a better choice for many applicants over some of the second-tier EMBAs on the U.S. News ranking. Another example would be Vanderbilt University’s two executive offerings: its 21-month EMBA held every other weekend in Nashville or its Americas MBA for Executives which meets on alternating Saturdays for one year and then has four 10-day global immersions with other business schools in Brazil, Canada and Mexico.

Critics also argue that the ranking essentially treats all these programs the same, though they can be significantly different from each other. That’s especially true in the case of the two leaders: Wharton and Booth. Wharton has EMBA programs at both its home campus in Philadelphia and a satellite campus in San Francisco. Classes are held every other Friday and Saturday over two years. The West Coast offering puts students up  on Friday nights at the swanky Le Meridien. Both programs are a full-blown MBA experience with an intense schedule taught by the school’s best professors. They  include global modular courses in cities around the world and a global consulting practicum lasting six months with a team of MBAs from a partner institution abroad. None of this comes cheap. The cost of the two-year program for classes entering this May is $181,500.

Booth takes a slightly different approach. Like Wharton, the school holds classes every other week on Fridays and Saturdays, but it’s 21-month program is offered on campuses in Chicago, London, and Singapore. Regardless of the campus chosen, all the Booth EMBA students participate in four one-week international sessions, during which all three campuses meet to take classes, work in groups, and experience the local culture together. The cost for classes entering this June: $174,000, not including airfare for the residential weeks in London, Hong Kong or Chicago.

U.S. News’s 2015 Ranking Of The Top EMBA Programs

Rank & SchoolChange2014201320122011
  1. Chicago (Booth)+12222
  2. Pennsylvania (Wharton)-11111
  3. Northwestern (Kellogg)——-3333
  4. Duke (Fuqua)——-4444
  5. Columbia——-5455
  6. Michigan (Ross)+17888
  7. New York (Stern)-16676
  8. UCLA (Anderson)——-8766
  9. UC-Berkeley (Haas)——-91099
10. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)——-101099
11. Virginia (Darden)NRNR121114
12. Cornell (Johnson)+113191315
13. Southern Methodist (Cox)+316152123
13. St. Joseph (Haub)+21519NRNR
15. Notre Dame (Mendoza)NRNRNRNRNR
17. Texas-Austin (McCombs)-413171518
18. Seattle (Albers)NRNR192318
18. Xavier (Williams)NRNR1923NR
20. Indiana (Kelley)NRNRNRNRNR
20. Southern Cal (Marshall)-911111011
20. Washington (Foster)NRNRNRNRNR
23. Washington (Olin)-11121419NR
23. Emory (Goizueta)-717151513

Source: U.S. News & World Report 2016 MBA ranking

Note: To increase the shelf life of the ranking, U.S. News calls this a 2016 ranking but it is published in 2015 and based on data collected in 2014. NR–Not ranked.


  • Brad Gomez

    It is clear the Jesuit programs never got the message about gaming the specialty rankings, they are gaming the law school specialty rankings as well.

  • MyGoodness

    I am sorry and I know it has been said but EMBA rankings are just complete bunk and useless! First, the degree is an MBA and not an EMBA???? It is the same degree as full-timers earn and so for the love of all things holy just look at the full time rankings to make your decision. Not one EMBA program grants an Executive MBA Degree – this whole ranking is amateur hour especially when the methodologies are scrubbed. The E is for executive and is merely the format and target audience for the degree. Most of these schools really tout degree equivalency with the full time program and many would say these programs are harder especially when considering most participants have crazy full time work schedules and family lives as well. Having completed top tier EMBA, I found the full-timers were great especially because a number of them approach the executive MBA students for jobs, networking, and other introductions since many EMBA students already have the jobs the full-timers are seeking.

  • Biki the Bikuri

    Where is Yale?

    • JohnAByrne

      Good question. Because Yale’s EMBA is focused on specific industries I think it hasn’t yet gotten enough of a reputation among the deans and program directors who fill out these surveys. Obviously, the Yale EMBA is top notch. It’s a question of survey design and the inherent flaws in the U.S. News methodology.

      • Sam

        Yale SOM did not use to make it to the rankings in the past because they did not meet the class size and other independent infrastructure criteria needed for most rankings. They have recently constructed a new building for the school of management and have increased their intake and claim that they will now start showing up on rankings. It is a strong program.

        • Truetale

          It is indeed an excellent program. However as “MyGoodness” says perfectly well in his/her post on this thread, disregard EMBA rankings, as they are nonsense! Look at he full time rankings for Yale SOM and any other EMBA program that is of interest.

  • Russell Perkins

    What’s the most respected school from which to obtain an Executive MBA for professionals in the upstream oil and gas industry in North America?