Global MBA Rankings 2018 - QS vs U.S. News & World Report

Find out the differences between the QS and U.S. News & World Report MBA rankings

The QS Global MBA Rankings 2018 offer a new and unique lens through which to view the top MBA programs across the world. They represent the most evolved, and carefully honed MBA rankings we have ever released.

However, we readily admit that no single ranking can ever give a complete picture of an MBA program or business school. For prospective students, we believe it is valuable to compare and contrast rankings, concentrating on the indicators that are really important to them.

We continue our comparisons of the established MBA rankings on the market. This time, it’s the turn of the U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Rankings 2018 (other comparisons include the FT, The Economist and Bloomberg Businessweek).

The U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) rankings concentrate solely on US business schools. As such, in the table below, we have listed only the top-10 US business schools from the QS Global MBA Rankings for the sake of a like-for-like comparison. The QS global rank of the school is included in parentheses:


How do the QS Global MBA Rankings compare with the U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Rankings 2018

RankQS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2018RankU.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Rankings 2018
1Harvard Business School (1)=1Harvard Business School
2Stanford Graduate School of Business (4)=1UPenn Wharton
3UPenn Wharton (6)3Chicago Booth
4MIT Sloan (7)=4MIT Sloan
5Columbia Business School (8)=4Northwestern University Kellogg
6UC Berkeley Haas (11)=4Stanford Graduate School of Business
7Chicago Booth (12)7UC Berkeley Haas
8UCLA Anderson (13)8Dartmouth College (Tuck)
9Northwestern University Kellogg (14)=9Columbia Business School
10Michigan Ross (15)=9Yale School of Management 


Harvard tops both rankings, although USNWR have them in a tie with UPenn Wharton. In all, eight business schools in the US top-10 of our rankings also appear in the USNWR top 10. The only exceptions are UCLA (8th) and Michigan Ross (10th), 15th and 11th respectively on the USNWR rankings, which make way for Tuck and Yale SOM.


How does the QS Global MBA Rankings 2018 methodology compare with U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Rankings 2018?

Weighting CategoryQS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings 2018U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Rankings 2018
Academic opinion10% 
Admissions selectivity  25%
Alumni opinion  
Alumni outcomes10% 
Business school leader opinion 2525%
Career progress  
Career services rating  
Employer opinion35%15%
Employment rate5%21%
Entrepreneurship 5% 
Faculty quality  
Gender parity5% 
Return on investment20% 
Salary 14%
Student/ recent graduate opinion  

Learn more about the QS Global MBA Rankings 2018 methodology.


What does the U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Rankings 2018 concentrate on?

This year USNWR ranked 93 AACSB-accredited business schools. In comparison, the QS Global MBA Rankings 2018 analyzed over 250 programs with 232 ranked.

Unlike the other established rankings, the USNWR rankings put a heavy focus on admission selectivity (25%) and business school leader opinion (25%).

As highlighted by the table above, both the USNWR rankings and the QS Global MBA Rankings 2018 share similar weightings in terms of salary/return on investment, and the combined weighting of employer opinion and employment rate. While the other half of the criteria that make up the overall ranking differ, it is understandable that both have similar outcomes towards the top end of the rankings.


What are the negatives of the U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Rankings 2018?

One of the criticisms often levelled at the USNWR rankings, is that the criteria used often means that the differences between programs become negligible (especially the further you go down the list). The amount of schools tied for positions in the rankings serves to back this up.

When a methodology allows for schools to be ranked so close together, it comes as little surprise to see dramatic year-on-year swings in terms of a school’s position.

QS CEO, Nunzio Quacquarelli, also sees fault with the importance the rankings place on admissions selectivity. “The focus on admissions selectivity conflicts with the ‘Berlin Principles’ of education rankings which emphasize the need to focus in educational outputs rather than inputs. Why? Because inputs like GMAT scores or admissions standards force schools to focus their admissions criteria on these narrow measures of candidate quality, rather than the whole person and their fit with the school.”

Quacquarelli says that a result of having such a heavy weighting on the indicator has meant that, “Some top US business schools started admitting MBA candidates with no work experience, because this helped them drive up their average GMAT score, and hence their ranking. GMAT scores are very useful for admissions officers, but arguably should not be used in a ranking.”


How the QS Global MBA Rankings 2018 and U.S. News & World Report Best Business Schools Rankings 2018 can work in harmony:

As with all major rankings, the criteria will overlap in places, and in others will be completely different. USNWR is a long-established and well-read ranking of graduate programs in the US.

The USNWR rankings provide a good view of the quality of students applying for admission onto MBAs. The QS Global MBA Rankings 2018 tend to put more focus on alumni outcomes, as we believe this is central to the life goals of many prospective students. We track over 49,000 CEOs, executives and board members at the biggest companies in the world and their association with relevant programs.  

All rankings can be picked apart in terms of what they do and do not measure or include. That is why we believe having more rankings on the market, rather than less, is beneficial to potential MBAs. 

Written by Phil Cottrell

Phil is the editor of and has a breadth of editorial and digital marketing experience. He has worked across a variety of industries from e-commerce and commercial real estate to managing all content for a C-suite careers site aimed at UK and US professionals.

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