BusinessWeek's 2006 MBA Rankings

As measured by student and recruiter satisfaction, Chicago takes the top spot (a credit to Dean Ted Snyder), followed by Wharton and Kellogg. Interestingly, BusinessWeek has Haas ahead of Tuck and Columbia this year, in part because of Haas's aggressive schmoozing of recruiters (the school now appoints them with their own "account managers").

On the trend in MBA applications:

The changes at Chicago reflect a broader reappraisal of curriculums at B-schools around the country. For three years, B-school programs have been plagued by declining applications, a lukewarm market for MBA talent, and an epic bout of soul-searching over the value of the degree. Critics inside and outside the academy have criticized the standard B-school curriculum as at best irrelevant and at worst seriously misguided. Recruiters, who in another era would have gladly plunked down more than $100,000 for a top B-school grad, had been getting restless, claiming many lacked basic management skills. With the very future of the degree in doubt, many schools have been forced to make their programs mesh better with the demands and complexities of the real world.

Today the MBA is on the road to recovery. True, demand for the degree is a long way from the 2002 peak. But after a three-year decline, applications to full-time programs surged in 2006. In all, nearly two-thirds of schools that responded to a survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council reported an increase, compared with just 21% in 2005. And MBA grads are winning lofty pay packages not seen since the bubble years of the late 1990s. "The job market for MBAs is the strongest it's been in many years," says Steve Canale, General Electric Co.'s (GE ) top recruiter. "Supply is tight, and demand is up. It's Economics 101."

More here and here.