LONDON, England (CNN) -- What makes a good business school the best? According to a new survey, the extra quality which distinguishes the top MBA programs is quite simple - ensuring its graduates get the jobs they want.
Chicago, home to the EIU's top-rated MBA program.
The importance of careers services was a key aspect highlighted in the newly-released ranking of 100 full-time MBA programs compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the think tank arms of the famous London-based Economist magazine.
In many ways, the top 100 paints a picture familiar from many similar MBA league tables, with US and, to a lesser extent, European business schools dominating the highest places.
The EIU top 10 contains six U.S. schools, with the University of Chicago's Graduate Business School edging out Stanford's equivalent to top. The University of Navarra's IESE school is third, one of two Spanish institutions in the top 10, with the Madrid-based Instituto de Empresa in ninth.
There are also two UK schools -- Cambridge University's Judge school and Henley Management College -- in the top 10, along with Switzerland's IMD.
However, some of the traditional big hitters, for example Harvard, Columbia, Northwestern's Kellogg school and MIT's Sloan, just fail to dent the top 10.
The IEU compiles its rankings via a complex algorithm which factors in a wealth of questionnaire data from both schools and students, as well as, to a lesser extent, results from previous years.
One finding uncovered in the answers provided by the MBA students was the importance of a helpful careers service.
Chicago, as well as being rated top overall, was ranked best for its careers services, with 97% of its students in jobs within three months of graduation.
Students were effusive in their praise about the help they received. "It goes way beyond anything I expected in preparing us for recruiting," said one. "I had no idea how big this was here."
At other institutions, some were less flattering. "They are horrible, and the worst at trying to find you a job," one student at an unnamed mid-ranked UK school told the survey about the careers service. "If you want one, you've got to find one yourself."
According to the IEU, the changing nature of post-MBA careers means the way the qualifications are assessed and rated has to adapt as well.
Traditionally, most MBA graduates ended up moving straight into high finance or consultancy. However, these days, careers services also need to forge links with previously alien industries such as private equity, real estate or even non-profit social ventures.
Nine of the top 10 schools in the EIU rankings placed their graduates into at least eight different industry sectors in 2007.
Thus, one of the more traditional methods for ranking MBA programs - graduates' post-program starting salaries -- is less relevant, the EIU argues, since a school which places 90% of its graduates into consulting and financial services firms will do well in this way but might actually be too inflexible for many students. E-mail to a friend