Forbes released its biennial business school rankings this week with a new number one: the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The school claims the top spot on the Forbes list for the first time in the history of the ranking; it was ranked second in both 2005 and 2001. In the last Forbes ranking, published in 2015, Wharton was seventh. The Stanford Graduate School of Business, which took first place in the previous two rankings, came in second place this year. Harvard Business School fell one spot from second place in 2015 and was ranked third.
The Forbes ranking methodology is based on the return on investment for the class that graduated five years prior—in this case, the Class of 2012. The total compensation for the Wharton Class of 2012 was $225K, higher than any other school in the world, and its five-year gain (i.e., what graduates earned in their first five years of post-MBA employment compared to the “opportunity cost” they incurred by attending business school) was $97,100. The average five-year gain among the top 25 schools Forbes examined was $70,100, more than $8K higher than in 2015. The average payback time for the MBA investment of graduates of the top 25 schools was 3.9 years after graduation, largely similar to 2015’s average of four years.