What’s the Best Business School? For This Year’s M.B.A. Rankings, It’s Not Who You Think.

Patrick Thomas:

pending an annual rite for programs and prospective students.

Harvard Business School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Columbia Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, among others, opted to skip the most recent rankings by the Economist and the Financial Times. Several schools said Covid-19 made it difficult to gather the data they must submit to be ranked.

More than bragging rights hang in the balance—though there are plenty of those, too. Schools say a good showing in rankings can draw interest from prospective students, stoking application volumes, as well as plaudits or pans from alumni who continue to track their alma mater long after leaving campus.

Overall, 62% of programs plan to participate in some rankings, while 10% don’t plan to cooperate for any lists this year, according to a survey of business-school admissions officials by Kaplan, the education subsidiary of the Graham Holdings Co.

Bloomberg Businessweek suspended its 2020 ranking, the only major list to do so. Dozens of notable schools were missing from the Economist’s list published last month. Nine schools that normally take part in the FT’s list chose not to participate, a spokeswoman said.