Sneak Peek: P&Q’s Best Business Schools of 2020

Undergraduate students at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce at a job fair. Courtesy photo

For the fourth time, Poets&Quants will publish its ranking of the Best Undergraduate Business Programs in the U.S. And for the fourth consecutive year, the ranking has grown and will include 97 schools — nine more than last year. The rankings will be published in entirety on Wednesday, December 18.

As with previous years, in addition to the rankings, in-depth school profiles will be published. Also, reported articles breaking down all new data gathered during the rankings project will be published the same day of the ranking and the following days after the rankings. A wealth of proprietary data based on the school and alumni surveys — including average SAT scores, employment data, acceptance rates, and average high school GPAs — will also be published.

As always, P&Q will make available all the data used in its ranking as well as additional information such as the schools enrolling the most U.S. minorities, international students, and first-generation college students. After the rankings go live, a series of stories will also explore which schools leave students in the most debt and which ones offer the most generous scholarship grants.


Last year, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School topped the list for the second consecutive year. Wharton was followed by the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and the University of Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business, respectively. This year’s list features three schools that were not in last year’s top ten. (See the 2018 rankings here.)

Poets&Quants Best Undergraduate Business Schools ranking is based on three key categories — admissions standards, the college experience, and career outcomes. Each category is weighted equally in the methodology (see How We Crunched The Numbers). This year, just as we did in the previous two years, admissions standards are broken down by business school acceptance rates (30%), average SATs (35%), and percentage of students graduating in the top 10% of their high school class (35%).

The college and business school experience is based entirely on responses to our extensive alumni survey, which includes thousands of responses from alumni graduating between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. The final third of the ranking is determined by career outcomes. The percentage of students with full-time employment within three months of graduation is given a 50% weight, while annual salary and signing bonus average is given a 30% weight and the percentage of students completing a business-related internship before graduation is weighted 20%.


Business still remains the most popular major in the U.S. According to the most recent data (updated last March) from the National Center for Education Statistics, 372,000 business degrees were awarded during the 2015-2016 academic year. The next highest category was “health professions and related categories,” which awarded 229,000 during the same academic year.

Of course, no ranking is perfect and a college decision should not be made on a ranking alone. P&Q publishes a wealth of data-based insights on the schools and in-depth school profiles so readers may use this information as a launching place to explore and target their best choices for a quality business education. When the rankings are published next week, take the time to go through the stories and data to begin or aid the college search.


  • Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
  • Cornell University (Dyson)
  • Georgetown University (McDonough)
  • New York University (Stern)
  • University of Michigan (Ross)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
  • University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  • University of Virginia (McIntire)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)

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