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Revealed: The Best U.S Business Schools

New alumni data reveals the top United States business schools - from MBA graduates' perspectives. Stanford topped the list, while Fuqua and Tuck broke into the top-ten.

The United States’ best business schools were revealed yesterday – according to their MBA alumni.

A survey of more than 17,000 graduates from the class of 2008, who went into the teeth of the recession, collected opinions on salary data, job preparedness and satisfaction with education.

The U.S is at the forefront of the world’s best MBA ranking programs, which have defined schools based on numerous variables. But new data offers a view from the other side.

Stanford Graduate School of Business has topped the chart. The school, which is the most selective in the U.S, ranked in the top-five across all three levels of satisfaction.

Stanford MBAs had the fattest pay-checks; with median total compensation of $221,000 five years out of the program. The school's top employers in 2012 were consultancies Bain, Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey, as well as tech giants Apple and Google. These companies are considered the most desirable among MBAs.

But alumni from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley had the highest level of job satisfaction. Haas’ top employers are Google, eBay, McKinsey, BCG and Deloitte. The school finished second overall.

Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and Chicago’s Booth School of Business hit the top-ten overall, at sixth and tenth place respectively.

But Tucks’ and Booths’ results were dented by low rankings for job satisfaction. However, Tuck alumni’s giving-rate topped 70% participation for the third straight year, nearly triple the average of others schools. Tuck is renowned for its strong graduate network.

The survey, which will be published in Forbes May 5 edition, will ease fears of a declining interest in management education. GMAT test-takers, the standard entry to most business schools, hit a five-year low in 2013. The drop was worst in the U.S, at 23%.

However, alumni are overwhelmingly satisfied with their MBA education. Forbes averaged the satisfaction scores among the 50 U.S schools with the highest responses to determine the overall rankings. Most publications use a yearly survey.  

Carnegie Mellon came third, Michigan State came fourth, and Indiana Kelley came fifth. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business came seventh, Rice Jones eighth and the Wisconsin School of Business ninth. Booth completes the table at tenth.