Businessweek was originally published to be a resource for business managers. However, in the 1970s, the magazine shifted its strategy and added consumers outside the business world. As of 1975, the magazine was carrying more advertising pages annually than any other magazine in the United States. Businessweek began publishing its annual rankings of United States business school MBA programs in 1988.
Stephen B. Shepard served as editor-in-chief from 1984 until 2005 when he was chosen to be the founding dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Under Shepard, Businessweek's readership grew to more than six million in the late 1980s. He was succeeded by Stephen J. Adler of The Wall Street Journal. In 2006, Businessweek started publishing annual rankings of undergraduate business programs in addition to its MBA program listing.