Substantial Jumps in Compensation, Learning, Networking Categories Propel Increase
Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked the University of Virginia Darden School of Business the No. 3 business school in the United States in its new Best B-Schools 2023-24 ranking. The ranking, which measures Full-Time MBA programs, is the highest the publication has ever given the School and up six places from the prior year.
Darden remains the No. 1 ranked business school among public universities, according to Bloomberg. This latest accolade comes just seven months after the School secured the most Top 10 rankings of any business school in The Princeton Review’s annual assessment.
Bloomberg Businessweek uses input from graduating students, recent alumni and employers who recruit MBAs to determine its ranking, weighting compensation as the most important factor, followed by learning, networking, entrepreneurship and diversity.
“The big move was a result of recent alumni reporting higher starting salaries upon graduation. Darden’s median starting salary, according to this year’s ranking, of $175,000—up from $144,500—tied with Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Columbia, Dartmouth and Harvard for the highest.”
Bloomberg Businessweek Best B-Schools 2023–24
The dramatic rise in rankings was driven by the School’s large gains in three of the subcategories that contribute to the overall score. Darden rose to No. 4 in compensation (up six places from No. 10), No. 4 in learning (up six places from No. 10) and No. 11 in networking (up 11 places from No. 22).
“It’s always gratifying when the positive momentum we feel here at Darden is validated by external sources,” said Interim Dean Jeanne Liedtka. “Dean [Scott] Beardsley, who is on sabbatical at Oxford, and Darden faculty and staff have created an environment where both learning and scholarship are collaborative and mutually reinforcing — all for the benefit of students.”
Darden has long been known for excellence in teaching, garnering the top U.S. ranking for educational experience for 10 straight years in the now-retired MBA rankings published by The Economist. Darden’s unique version of the case method allows students to shape their own journeys and learn from each other, confronting practical business problems while guided skillfully by faculty. Bloomberg Businessweek noted that the School’s high score on its learning index “is supported by comments from students, who remarked on the ‘great professors and academic environment’ and the ‘focus on the actual quality of the educational instruction.’ ”
In addition to metrics, the new ranking includes a qualitative section, with students and alumni sharing “what’s best” about the MBA program. Comments about Darden included:
- “Career outcomes, alumni network and robust/engrained community at the school.”
- “Great professors and academic environment, great leadership from student organizations.”
- “Faculty, collegial environment on grounds, quality of cases and the case method in general.”
- “The opportunity to interact with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.”
- “The focus on the actual quality of the educational instruction.”
In the article accompanying the ranking, Bloomberg Businessweek noted the “greater urgency” sustainability and climate change have taken on at business schools. Darden ranked No. 1 for carbon footprint in the 2023 Global MBA ranking issued by Financial Times.
The application for admission to the Full-Time MBA Class of 2026 is now open.
About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia