Forbes ranks Auburn University’s College of Business among best for 2011

AUBURN – Forbes has released its biennial survey of top business schools and the Auburn University College of Business came in at 58th overall, up from 64th in 2009. Among the nation’s publicly supported business schools, Auburn ranks 27th. The ranking measures the best five-year return on investment for MBA graduates of the class of 2006.

For this year’s survey, Forbes sent out 16,000 questionnaires to graduates of master of business administration programs around the world. To determine the five-year MBA gain, Forbes compared their earnings in their first five years out of business school to costs such as tuition, required fees and foregone compensation.

Although the financial payback for all MBA graduates has slowed in recent years, the Auburn MBA continues to be one of the best ways to jump-start a career. According to the survey results, Auburn graduates had an average pre-MBA salary of $28,000. That average rose to $71,000 five years after graduating with an MBA. According to Forbes’ calculations, it took 3.1 years to recover the cost of the graduate education, tied for the fastest payback with the other ranked schools.

The top eight schools in the ranking were private universities, with Harvard University edging out 2009’s leader, Stanford University, for the number one spot. The top public MBA program was again the University of Virginia, at ninth overall. The Southeastern Conference was well represented with seven member institutions in this year’s ranking.

Bill Hardgrave, Auburn University College of Business dean and Wells Fargo Professor, credits the ranking to the quality students the program attracts and to the faculty and staff who work tirelessly on their behalf.

“While this latest ranking is just one measure of the excellence of our program, it confirms that we are on the right path. Recognition from such a high-profile business publication as Forbes validates our commitment to innovative, yet practical, education,” said Hardgrave. “While we are certainly pleased, we continue to look for ways to build upon and add value to our on-campus MBA program.”

Dan Gropper, associate dean, MBA Programs and the David and Meredith Luck Professor, said, “The Forbes survey indicates that our students double or triple their pre-MBA salaries within 5 years. This rate of return is very strong – among the strongest in the entire group of ranked schools. It is encouraging to see such a positive return on investment, and this is a tribute to our students and faculty.”

The Forbes ranking adds to the national recognition that the college has received. U.S. News has ranked Auburn 24th among the nation’s public undergraduate business programs and 32nd among the nation’s public graduate business schools. In its latest report, the Financial Times ranked Auburn’s EMBA program 35th in the nation and 75th in the world, up from 40th and 80th respectively, in 2009. In May, Modern Healthcare magazine named the Auburn University College of Business among the nation’s top graduate business schools for physician-executives. Eighth among MBA programs, the Auburn Physicians Executive MBA, or PEMBA, program has been ranked every year since the survey began in 2003.

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(Contributed by Dina Kanellos Roberts.)

Contact: Dina Kanellos Roberts, (334) 844-2203 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (