As an observer of this industry, we have developed strong opinions about “the best” schools and today we’re going to share with you a short list of our current favorite MBA programs – or maybe this is a list of our current favorite MBA adcoms.
You already know that we think rankings are a joke and anyway, the rankings data is unreliable, and we believe that people who are overfocused on rankings are misguided souls and the bottom line is that you should be doing your own research. Even despite all that, we published our own list of “best bschools” awhile back which is potentially useful to BSers everywhere as a gauge of who the schools are accepting and how difficult it is to get in (not just looking at acceptance rates which don’t tell half the picture).
Today is just a lovefest. We’ve done enough dissing of schools lately and we wanted to spread some good will around.
We wanted to recognize the winners – in our book, at least. There are certain schools that are doing it right – that have either started moving in the right direction again, possibly after some missteps in the past, or who are making changes that are applicant-friendly. Who are closer to a 10 on the have-a-clue scale than some of their peers are right now.
Here’s the schools (and admissions teams) that we’re particularly enamored of today:
Darden Admissions Director Sara Neher does these great videos offering super helpful admissions tips – and she’s done them for years, so there’s this whole archive of videos you can
waste your time viewing access for insights into their application process. She actually gives real advice too! (Unlike some schools we’ve seen recently.) Darden is consistent in how they run things in admissions, they’re accessible to you BSers in offering regular online chats with their team, and they’re genuinely nice. Not that people at other schools aren’t nice, but at Darden, they’re REALLY nice. You can see the Darden essay questions and our own repository of Darden advice here.
Another consistent school whose admissions director, Dawna Clarke, also does helpful videos is Tuck . Tuck may not be seen as the most innovative school around in terms of constantly tweaking their program or chasing the latest fad, but they offer a solid education with really smart people and an emphasis on the essentials of business. They are also exceedingly generous in their admissions policies, including one of the applicant-friendliest policies of any school in how they evaluate GMAT scores. You can pick up our Tuck MBA Application Guide if you want to hear us spew forth more of our love for this school, or just check out our page with the Tuck MBA essay questions and other school info here.
We’ve said it before, and we feel even more strongly now: The SOM is one to watch. This is a school that’s got some real energy going. The (relatively) new dean, and their new building, have sparked a fire, and there are faculty and adminstrators alike flocking to New Haven to help bring life to Snyder’s vision. Yale is an interesting place at the moment, which is NOT what we have been saying about them over the past decade. We also like how transparent the admissions team is (though we still don’t agree with Admissions Director Bruce DelMonico’s statement about GMAT retakes). We go into more detail on why we like them – and of course on the Yale application itself – in our Yale MBA strategy guide, or you can start by checking out our page with the Yale MBA essay questions and other school info.
Ah, Columbia. After raking them over the coals on a regular basis starting several years back, we now are seeing real change. This school has redeemed itself in our eyes and we have no qualms whatsoever in recommending today that anyone go full speed ahead with an application there. It still feels that the school itself may be a little complacent (read: school leadership) but the admissions team is now made up of A-listers and we’ve seen signs of change coming from the student body, too. (We finally got this long-overdue post up about last week about gender dynamics at bschools where Columbia features prominently – and positively.) Our Columbia MBA application guide is incredibly detailed, as is our Columbia essays and insights page – we may have done more Columbia essay critiques here on the blahg than any other school.
That’s a pretty impressive list already. Wondering who gets the #1 spot?
You’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out. (Update: It’s posted here!)
(If you want to make a guess, the comments are open – we’ll be curious to see what people think!)
Here's what others have said about this:
My guess for # 1 spot is Fuqua.
I don’t have the experience Snark has with all the adcoms and admission policies but as a Fuqua applicant, it has been a pleasure to apply to Duke.
Great essay questions that allow me to tell the school who I am, reputation as a reapplicant-friendly school, and application fee reduction for visiting the campus or attending information session are some of the policies that stood out to me.
My guess is Stanford. It has always been, and will be the #1 school on Snark’s list.
Interesting to see the guesses for the #1 spot! We’ll have to see if either of you two are right. 😉
My guess will be Ross! Barring the recent criticism of their recommendation questions, the ES and Ross lovefest on the blahg comes up every few weeks :).
Another good guess! We’ll have to see!
I too thought Ross…then I remembered the recent Snarkicism directed at Michigan for the single Letter of Rec…
Could be HBS for the recent GMAT/GRE transparency, but ranking HBS #1 seems, well, kind of lame.
I’m gonna go with Booth here. Just a gut feeling.
“Snarkicism” – we’re gonna have to remember that one!!!
My instinct says Ross. But, I could be wrong. I didn’t expect CBS to be #2.