Wharton MBA vs Harvard MBA: Which Business School is Best?

The most simple and basic difference between the Wharton MBA and Harvard MBA Schools is that the Wharton is the school of facts whereas the Harvard is the school of stories. Wharton’s teaching methodology revolves around numbers and it is a fact carved B-School and Harvard, on the other hand, employs ‘case-study’ method of teaching. In the words of J.J. Cutler, deputy dean of Wharton’s MBA Admissions and Career Services, “We are a fact-based and data-driven school. We do not have a charisma-style approach. We let the data drive us and help lead us to the solutions.”

Comparison of Facts between Wharton MBA and Harvard MBA

Criterion HBS Wharton
Applications (Class of 2017) 9,686 6,590
Enrolled 948 861
Female students, international students 41 pc, 34 pc 43 pc, 32 pc
GMAT range, median GMAT, median GPA 510-790, 725, 3.7 620-790, 732, NA
Work experience, range 4.1 years, NA 5 years, 0-16 years
Most common educational degree Business/economics Humanities

Sources: Various websites

So, now you know the basic difference between the Required GMAT Score, Acceptance Rate, Female Ratio, International Students Percentage etc. of Wharton and Harvard MBA. These two B-Schools are located at two different locations i.e. Philadelphia and Boston. The Harvard and Wharton MBA institutes are known for the best practice admissions offices, Course Structure, Faculties, Career Services Staff and alumni offices. The faculties and other services at both the B-Schools are second to none.  The Wharton MBA School believes more in facts and it’s more leaning towards conventional research side whereas Harvard teaching methods are closer to professional practice and practical relevance.


Over the years, the Wharton rankings have improved in many of the world rankings like Business Week, Financial Times, US News & World Report, etc. Most recently, the Wharton rankings have slipped a bit and lost its top position to the Harvard MBA. Harvard rankings are better and it is at top position by some of the rankings as given in the below table:

MBA Rankings Harvard Wharton
Poets & Quants 1 4
BusinessWeek 2 4
Forbes 3 5
U.S. News & World Report 1 5
Financial Times 3 2
The Economist 7 3

Program Fee

The Wharton Program fee is around $105,000 and for Harvard MBA the program fee is around $102,000 (data is for the class entering in 2016).

Post-graduation Salary

The students from these two top institutes mostly work with financial services sector and   earn a median starting base salary of $125,000-$130,000 annually and most often get sign-on bonuses of about $25000.

Brand and prestige

Both the B-Schools have prestige and almost equal brand value but Harvard MBA has a little edge over Wharton MBA outside the USA. Harvard School of Business holds a better brand value amongst the international students. Wharton is known to be mainly a finance school but now it’s changing its reputation by working on its marketing strategies.

So, when you are deciding about the B-Schools and want to choose between the two, just think the above factors in mind and evaluate your options. You should choose the one which is in-sync with your career plans and long term goals.