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 & School Change 2014 2013 2012 2011
  1. Chicago (Booth) +1 2 2 2 2
  2. Pennsylvania (Wharton) -1 1 1 1 1
  3. Northwestern (Kellogg) ——- 3 3 3 3
  4. Duke (Fuqua) ——- 4 4 4 4
  5. Columbia ——- 5 4 5 5
  6. Michigan (Ross) +1 7 8 8 8
  7. New York (Stern) -1 6 6 7 6
  8. UCLA (Anderson) ——- 8 7 6 6
  9. UC-Berkeley (Haas) ——- 9 10 9 9
10. UNC (Kenan-Flagler) ——- 10 10 9 9
11. Virginia (Darden) NR NR 12 11 14
12. Cornell (Johnson) +1 13 19 13 15
13. Southern Methodist (Cox) +3 16 15 21 23
13. St. Joseph (Haub) +2 15 19 NR NR
15. MIT (Sloan) NR NR NR NR NR
15. Notre Dame (Mendoza) NR NR NR NR NR
17. Texas-Austin (McCombs) -4 13 17 15 18
18. Seattle (Albers) NR NR 19 23 18
18. Xavier (Williams) NR NR 19 23 NR
20. Indiana (Kelley) NR NR NR NR NR
20. Southern Cal (Marshall) -9 11 11 10 11
20. Washington (Foster) NR NR NR NR NR
23. Washington (Olin) -11 12 14 19 NR
23. Emory (Goizueta) -7 17 15 15 13

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.


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