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Has the bloom of a Harvard MBA fallen off the rose?

Harvard Business School has taken a mighty dive in the latest MBA rankings put together by Bloomberg Businessweek. And it’s the students that are most to blame.

Ranked second a year ago, Harvard fell all the way to eighth this time around, influenced heavily by its student survey. HBS students ranked it 25th overall, down from 12th in 2013, due mainly to its atmosphere and makeup. Harvard students said the business school caters to the elite and tends to neglect women and minorities.

[efc_twitter text="The biggest problem appears to be the socioeconomic climate at Harvard."] The school is made up of the haves and the have-nots, with the latter group unable to participate in important extracurricular activities due to cost pressures, said one student. Bloomberg surveyed 113 schools. HBS finished 112th in the “climate for all socioeconomic backgrounds” category.

“Diversity to HBS means playing around with grades and other measures of success until the numbers look right, rather than tackling the underlying issues,” added another student.

Harvard was ranked much higher by recruiters at hiring companies, who placed the school seventh on their list. Still, there are six schools whose graduates are more enticing than HBS. That’s a bit of a surprise.

The one area where Harvard didn’t fall shorter than expected is applications. Nearly 10,000 people applied to its business school last year, with fewer than 10% being admitted.

Meanwhile, the winner of the survey was Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, which took the top spot after finishing sixth a year ago. There was a lot of movement in the ranking this year as Bloomberg changed its methodology to include more data on how well MBAs do in the workplace, which certainly makes sense.

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AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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