/PRNewswire/ — Today, FORTUNE Education published its first-ever Best MBA Programs ranking, with Harvard University taking top honors, followed by Stanford University and The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. The Howard University School of Business (No. 30) was named the nation’s most underrated full-time MBA program by FORTUNE’s editors.

FORTUNE produced a ranking that gets back to the core of why professionals decide to pursue MBAs: To better position their careers and significantly improve lifetime earnings. The payoff of an MBA continues to increase, and FORTUNE’s research finds an extraordinary rise in starting salaries for MBAs.

FORTUNE Education Editorial Director Lance Lambert says, “Employers still want MBA grads and they’re willing to pony up for them. But not all programs are equal. That’s why in this fast-changing digital world, FORTUNE set out to find the top business schools. We looked for programs that not only see their graduates head into good jobs right out of the gate, but also have a track record of placing alumni into the highest echelons of Corporate America.”

FORTUNE’s Top 10 MBA Programs of 2021 are:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  4. University of Chicago (Booth)
  5. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  6. Columbia University
  7. New York University (Stern)
  8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
  9. Yale University
  10. Dartmouth College (Tuck)

View the complete ranking here.

FORTUNE invited around 100 traditional full-time MBA programs to participate in the 2021 ranking. In all, 69 programs completed the questionnaire. That information, along with data collected from companies and executives, was used as the core of the ranking. A FORTUNE 1000 Score, based on the number of alumni who are C-Level employees at FORTUNE 1000 companies, accounts for 10% of each school’s score. An Outcomes Score, based on alumni starting salary and placement rates, accounts for 65%, and a Brand Score, based on Ipsos survey results of business professionals’ opinions of the schools, accounts for 25%. View the complete methodology here.

Curated by a team of expert journalists, FORTUNE Education is a destination for articles, insights, and ongoing reporting about what prospective students should know in order to make the best, most impactful decisions for their careers. FORTUNE Education also produces rankings and ratings of graduate, post-graduate, executive education, and personal and professional improvement programs, informed by FORTUNE‘s unparalleled understanding of which skills matter to businesses today. 

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 drives the conversation about business. With a global perspective, the guiding wisdom of history, and an unflinching eye to the future, we report and reveal the stories that matter today-and that will matter even more tomorrow. With the trusted power to convene and challenge those who are shaping industry, commerce and society around the world, FORTUNE lights the path for global leaders-and gives them the tools to make business better. For more information, visit www.fortune.com.