Darden ranked third worldwide by The Economist magazine

Business school achieves highest ranking yet; high quality instruction fuels honor, Bruner says


The Darden School of Business is the number three Master of Business Administration (MBA) program in the world, according to the 2012 Economist magazine rankings released last week. This ranking marks the highest Darden has ever received, one spot up from its number four ranking last year.

The Economist ranks full-time MBA programs based on data it collects from the schools and surveys of current students and alumni. Rankings consider four categories: the new career opportunities and networking potential each program offers, graduates’ salary levels, and students’ educational experience and personal development.

Darden School Dean Bob Bruner said the University’s “unique Academical Village” contributed to the Darden School’s high ranking, and the quality of Darden’s instruction in particular separated it as a leading program.

“If you look at all of the rankings and the guidebooks and blog sites and the Internet chatter you would objectively conclude that Darden is the number one business teaching school in the world,” Bruner said.

Darden was ranked the best in the world in the category of educational experience, which was determined by students “reporting they receive more quality education,” said Peter Rodriguez, Darden’s senior associate dean for degree programs.

Unlike Forbes, another business-oriented magazine that ranks MBA programs, The Economist puts more emphasis on the student experience in its rankings. Forbes ranked Darden the ninth best business school in the country in 2011.

“[The Economist asks] for data related to the student experience, like where alumni live around the world, and how many alumni give to the alumni fund,” said Sara Neher, a dean in Darden’s admissions office. “Forbes purely survey alumni outside of school and ask how much they were making before and how much they make five years after business school and they subtract tuition.”

The Darden School focuses on creating leaders as its main priority in the Darden School experience, Bruner said. “We really value the whole person,” he said. “By that I mean creating the principled leader rather than the narrowed technician.”

Shortly after publishing the rankings, The Economist released a correction. It had originally ranked Darden as the overall second best MBA program and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth third. In The Economist’s correction, they reversed the positions of the Darden School and the Tuck School, but the Darden School will remain number two in its print edition.

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