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The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators

There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…


More graduate degrees in business are awarded each year than in any other field in the U.S., and new business schools are accredited by the dozen every year. To identify the best ones, we compiled data from more than 13,150 current students, 18,540 alumni, and 1,460 recruiters across 177 distinct B-school programs. The result is our deepest and broadest set of data ever.
This year, we’ve revised the way we rank schools. For the first time, we surveyed MBAs after graduation for more insight into what graduates can expect in their future careers. We detailed some of the standout findings about MBA alumni in a separate report—including a broad pay difference between male and female MBAs that starts small, but gets bigger as they continue their careers.
You can dig into an exhaustive explanation of our ranking methodology below, which also details how it differs from previous years. Briefly, the Full-Time MBA Rankings are based on five parts:Older elements of our ranking, including a tally of faculty research, have been scrapped because they don’t get at our fundamental question: How well does this business school channel its graduates into good jobs?
  • Employer Survey (35 percent of total score):  recruiter feedback on the skills they look for in MBAs, and which programs best equip their students with those skills
  • Alumni Survey (30 percent):  feedback from the classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 on how their MBAs have affected their careers, their compensation change over time, and their midcareer job satisfaction
  • Student Survey (15 percent):  the class of 2015’s take on academics, career services, campus climate, and more
  • Job Placement Rate (10 percent):  the most recent data on how many MBAs seeking full-time jobs get them within three months of graduation
  • Starting Salary (10 percent):  most recent data on how much MBAs make in their first jobs after graduation, adjusted for industry and regional variation
With a sharper focus on what people most hope to get after business school, we think we’ve created the most effective ranking yet for helping career-oriented students choose an MBA program.

Full-Time MBA: U.S.

RankSchoolEmployer survey rank (35%)Alumni survey rank (30%)Student survey rank (15%)Salary rank (10%)Job placement rank (10%)Ranking index score
2Chicago (Booth)129106198.47
3Northwestern (Kellogg)211653498.24
4MIT (Sloan)5151831696.05
5Pennsylvania (Wharton)614274795.92
8Duke (Fuqua)7712115194.07
9UC Berkeley (Haas)114474991.83
10Michigan (Ross)8285103291.74
12Virginia (Darden)10189131387.8
13UCLA (Anderson)1963164087.28
14Dartmouth (Tuck)2181781185.96
15Emory (Goizueta)2951317982.24
16Cornell (Johnson)181035153082.07
17North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)172211233681.82
18Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)133125124280.48
19Rice (Jones)4032304680.31
20Washington (Foster)12344119579.74
21Texas at Austin (McCombs)221337212479.68
22Texas A&M (Mays)24163337479.56
23Georgia Tech (Scheller)28308251076.78
24NYU (Stern)233526182776.06
25USC (Marshall)164022344875.38
26Georgetown (McDonough)252632274175.27
27Brigham Young (Marriott)312421362374.17
28Indiana (Kelley)342715224472.06
29North Carolina State (Jenkins)202538595971.67
30Michigan State (Broad)3939741671.41
31Notre Dame (Mendoza)322142244571.05
32Southern Methodist (Cox)353328352070.67
33Maryland (Smith)42471403969.74
34Vanderbilt (Owen)492330262669.08
35Washington in St. Louis (Olin)48175332267.54
36Rochester (Simon)38434344865.16
37William & Mary (Mason)155644566165.16
38Texas Christian (Neeley)562034472264.81
39Ohio State (Fisher)375146291763.65
40George Washington264659505363.01
41Florida (Hough)554531451962.29
42Texas at Dallas (Jindal)365736551861.82
43Penn State (Smeal)305466205260.4
44Pittsburgh (Katz)52483953360.27
45Minnesota (Carlson)336824285660.24
48Boston University (Questrom)643748333157.87
49Arizona State (W.P. Carey)416261312856.53
51Georgia (Terry)585920526353.68
52Oklahoma (Price)661272653352.91
53Purdue (Krannert)505256386752.87
54UC Irvine (Merage)735029485852.41
55Iowa (Tippie)606445461552.27
58American (Kogod)434162637050.11
59Utah (Eccles)704260622949.54
61Northeastern (D'Amore-McKim)675563581248.85
63Cincinnati (Lindner)684465721447.65
64Tennessee (Haslam)456571515746.62
65UC San Diego (Rady)726049645045.88
66Missouri (Trulaske)517155716939.97
67Syracuse (Whitman)476368677139.22
68Chapman (Argyros)447467684738.54
70Willamette (Atkinson)616673736634.84
71Colorado (Leeds)746769617231.95
72Fordham (Gabelli)536970667330.84
73Kentucky (Gatton)637274706828.66
74Pepperdine (Graziadio)627352577427.02

Full-Time MBA: International

RankSchoolEmployer survey rank (35%)Alumni survey rank (30%)Student survey rank (15%)Salary rank (10%)Job placement rank (10%)Ranking index score
1Western (Ivey)11861111100
2London Business School4673399.1
6Oxford (Saïd)819162386.16
8Cambridge (Judge)1375101282.5
10HEC Paris714214979.75
12SDA Bocconi12224121875.99
14St. Gallen198287265.52
16McGill (Desautels)171613181363.98
18Toronto (Rotman)32127202760.66
20Imperial College London2822228653.51
22National University of Singapore2942928152.37
24Concordia (Molson)181920292247.78
26Erasmus (Rotterdam)252317242444.64
28Copenhagen Business School242818222540.44
29HEC Montréal212519252837.7

Part-Time MBA

We also ranked part-time MBA programs, which differ from the traditional two-year MBA mainly because of their students, who often require flexibility and want to use the degree to advance within their company. They tend to be a little older than full-timers, and more than half return to their pre-MBA job, compared with one in 10 full-time graduates. Refer to our full methodology below for more in-depth information on how we composed these rankings.
RankSchoolStudent survey rank (50%)Alumni survey rank (50%)Ranking index score
1Northwestern (Kellogg)29100
2Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)8199.32
3Rice (Jones)11998.66
4Georgetown (McDonough)10297.97
5UCLA (Anderson)3797.91
6Chicago (Booth)9397.65
7Southern Methodist (Cox)51295.42
8Emory (Goizueta)71094.5
9UC Berkeley (Haas)41691.77
10USC (Marshall)62286.82
11Michigan - Ann Arbor (Ross)112385.23
13San Diego30482.24
14Washington in St. Louis (Olin)161882.15
15Texas at Austin (McCombs)261181.9
16Rollins (Crummer)123180.88
17Elon (Love)251380.49
18Washington (Foster)202079.19
19Ohio State (Fisher)173377
20UNC Charlotte (Belk)232576.14

Life After an MBA

So what kind of career does an MBA get you? New data from thousands of MBA students and alumni let us answer that question comprehensively. Most MBAs have no trouble landing jobs: Three months after graduation, 88 percent of MBAs have been hired—and offered a nice pay bump. Graduates saw an 81 percent jump over their median compensation before B-school. After six to eight years, pay typically increased another 64 percent, to about $169,000 a year.
Below, you’ll see several charts that offer a look at aggregate results for things such as debt levels and first jobs from 103 full-time MBA programs in the U.S. and abroad. Type a school name into the search box to dive into an individual MBA program.Those splashy salaries are awarded to a specific group of professionals, however. Sixty percent of full-time MBA graduates had jobs in technology, consulting, and financial services. Despite initiatives at many B-schools to fuel entrepreneurship, a mere 4 percent of students started their own business when they graduated, and 5 percent went to work for a startup. B-school isn’t feeding many of the fastest-growing global industries, either: Only 5 percent of graduates went into health care.

by Jonathan Rodkin and Francesca Levy
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