Earlier this week, MBA-focused publication Poets & Quants shared an article highlighting the ten biggest surprises of the recent Financial Times rankings. Darden was featured as “a school with momentum.”

If you have to identify the one business school that made the most consequential rankings gains in the past decade, it would undeniably by the Yale School of Management. So what’s the hot U.S. school right now? The Financial Times ranking is just one of several that point to the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

For years, the school has been known for having the best MBA teaching faculty in the world. Like Harvard Business School, it’s largely a case study school with a far more intimate and collaborative student culture than HBS. The Economist has rated Darden’s MBA program the No. 1 education experience in the world for the eighth consecutive years until 2019 when it came in second. And the school has one of the most visionary leaders in Dean Scott Beardsley, a former senior partner of McKinsey & Co. He has been known to take a real interest in students, even calling up admits to close the deal.

In this year’s Financial Times ranking, Darden advanced another five places to rank 18th, its highest FT rank, moving the school into the Top 20 in the world. No less important, however, this latest improvement comes on top of a nine-place gain the previous year. Just three years ago, Darden finished in 35th place in 2017. Darden’s position–which now puts the school 12th best in the U.S.–was partly enhanced by the addition of last years’ new FT metric on corporate social responsibility in the ranking. Darden came out first last year and second in 2020 behind only IESE Business School for having a substantial amount of teaching on the subject in its core curriculum.

But the school isn’t only doing well on the Financial Times ranking. Just two months ago, Darden jumped four spots in the Bloomberg Businessweek ranking to claim fifth place, its best Businessweek standing ever. And that increase came after the school soared eight places upward a year earlier in the same ranking.

Darden is a school with momentum.

Read the full story.

Based on 20 dimensions from alumni surveys and school data, the Financial Times is one of the most complex MBA rankings. Financial Times ranked Darden the No. 2 MBA program in the world for General Management and No. 1 in the U.S. (and No. 2 globally) for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Rankings overload? We get it! Check out our quick guide to the MBA rankings for a digestible download on business school rankings.

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