The University of Virginia Darden School of Business has achieved a remarkable feat by ranking as the third best business school in the United States, according to the latest Bloomberg Businessweek Best B-Schools 2023-24 ranking. This is the highest rank the school has ever received from the publication and a significant jump from the tenth place last year.
Darden’s Excellence in Compensation, Learning and Networking
The Bloomberg Businessweek ranking is based on input from graduating students, recent alumni and employers who recruit MBAs, as well as data on compensation, learning, networking, entrepreneurship and diversity. Among these factors, compensation is the most important, followed by learning and networking.
Darden’s impressive rise in the ranking was driven by its large gains in three of these subcategories. The school rose to fourth place in compensation (up six places from last year), fourth place in learning (up six places from last year) and eleventh place in networking (up eleven places from last year).
The school’s high score in compensation reflects the increased starting salaries of its graduates, which tied with Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Columbia, Dartmouth and Harvard for the highest median salary of $175,000. This is a significant increase from the previous median salary of $144,500.
The school’s high score in learning 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”. Darden is known for its excellence in teaching and its unique version of the case method, which allows students to shape their own journeys and learn from each other while confronting practical business problems.
The school’s high score in networking reflects its strong alumni network and robust community at the school. Students praised the “career outcomes”, “leadership from student organizations” and “opportunities to connect with alumni and industry leaders”.
Darden’s Leadership Among Public Universities
Darden remains the number one ranked business school among public universities, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. This is a testament to the school’s commitment to providing a world-class education that is accessible and affordable to a diverse group of students.
Darden offers generous financial aid packages to its students, including scholarships, fellowships and loans. The school also has a variety of programs and initiatives to support students from underrepresented backgrounds, such as women, minorities, veterans and first-generation college students.
Darden also leverages its public mission to create positive impact in society through its research, teaching and outreach activities. The school has several centers and institutes that focus on topics such as innovation, entrepreneurship, ethics, sustainability and global leadership.
Darden’s Positive Momentum Amid Challenges
Darden’s remarkable achievement comes amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the normal operations of business schools around the world. The school adapted quickly to the changing situation by offering hybrid and online learning options to its students, while maintaining its high standards of quality and rigor.
The school also continued to innovate and expand its offerings to meet the evolving needs of the market. The school launched 16 new courses for the 2021-22 academic year, covering topics such as marketing, supply chains, cybersecurity and more. The school also introduced new formats and delivery modes for its executive education programs, such as online courses, microcredentials and custom solutions.
Darden’s interim dean Jeanne Liedtka expressed her gratitude for the recognition from Bloomberg Businessweek and credited the efforts of dean Scott Beardsley (who is on sabbatical at Oxford), faculty and staff for creating an environment where learning and scholarship are collaborative and mutually reinforcing.
“It’s always gratifying when the positive momentum we feel here at Darden is validated by external sources,” Liedtka said.