Best MBA Programs
An MBA can open a lot of doors for students hoping to further their careers in business. The best MBA programs can help students broaden their career prospects, increase their earning potential, and more.
Top MBA programs will offer students an excellent business education from experienced faculty. Moreover, many graduates of the best MBA programs go on to hold executive positions in the corporate sphere. So, if you want to compete for coveted corporate positions and increase your salary, you might consider applying to the best MBA programs.
If you plan on applying to top MBA programs, it’s important to start strategizing early. Application deadlines for the best MBA programs begin in September, though there are multiple rounds of application deadlines that vary by school.
In this article, we’ll give you all the details on the best MBA programs. We’ll discuss:
- Top MBA programs in USA
- Different types of MBAs
- MBA rankings and what they mean
- How to choose the best MBA programs
What is an MBA?
Before diving into the best MBA programs, let’s first define the topic at hand. What exactly is an MBA? A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate professional degree in the field of business and management.
To complete an MBA, students will first need a Bachelor’s degree. However, to study in one of the best MBA programs, you don’t necessarily need an undergraduate degree in business; your Bachelor’s degree could be in any field for many of the best MBA programs, as long as your application makes a strong case for your candidacy.
One of the best parts of an MBA is its flexibility. There are full-time, part-time, and online options available. So, many of the best MBA programs are accessible for students no matter their circumstances, whether working full-time or coming right out of their undergraduate degree.
Is MBA prestigious?
An MBA can help students compete for higher positions and salaries in business. As such, there is certainly some prestige attached to the degree. However, an MBA is also a relatively popular graduate degree.
Still, prestige is in the eye of the beholder. So, while there are more students earning MBAs, a degree from the best MBA programs can still help you to climb the business career ladder quicker.
In general, any graduate degree requires extra work and dedication, so those who earn them will often have an edge in their fields. However, an MBA takes just two years to complete, whereas a J.D., M.D., or Ph.D. take three to four times longer. When compared to these types of graduate degrees, some may consider an MBA “less prestigious.”
Mainly, when it comes to prestige, people often think of exclusivity. And while an MBA used to be a highly exclusive degree, that’s no longer the case. In recent years, with the rise in online programs, more and more students are earning MBAs. However, the best MBA programs in the US will certainly bolster your resume.
Does it matter where you get your MBA from?
In general, yes—where you get your MBA matters. However, a degree from the best MBA programs equally will not guarantee you a position at a Fortune 500 company.
The best MBA programs give their graduates a competitive edge in the job market. Moreover, business schools are very intentional about the brand they create, the specializations they offer, and the professional networks they build. So, where you get your MBA will influence the opportunities you may pursue after graduation.
Centering your needs
That being said, the best MBA programs for you could vary based on your life circumstances. Perhaps you’re working full-time, have children, and need to study part-time or even online. This could affect what programs are the best MBA programs for you.
However, even in these cases, the top MBA programs in USA offer flexible options. So, when considering the best MBA courses for you, prestige matters less than your personal needs.
For example, if you’re interested in entrepreneurship, you’ll want to check out the best MBA programs for entrepreneurship. But, no matter your interest or career goals, there will be plenty of top MBA programs in the world to fit your needs. In fact, you can even pursue a specialized MBA in order to hone in on your concentration.
If you’re still weighing the pros and cons of attending one of the top MBA programs in the world, check out this article.
Which MBA is best in USA?
As you search for the best MBA programs, you might look at online MBA rankings. These MBA rankings can tell us which schools are considered the top MBA programs in USA. They can also help students find the top MBA programs in the world.
Currently, the U.S. News MBA rankings feature the University of Chicago (Booth) as the best MBA program in USA. Booth is also one of the top MBA programs in the world, offering students a dynamic education in every facet of business administration.
The U.S. News MBA rankings consider the top MBA programs in USA across all specialties. However, rankings for specialized programs may not be found on the U.S. News MBA rankings list. We’ll get into some options for those types of specializations later on in this article.
But, for now, let’s dive into some details on the MBA programs found on the U.S. News MBA rankings list. We’ll also discuss the top MBA programs in California, the top MBA programs in Texas, and the best MBA programs in Florida.
What are the top 20 MBA Programs?
When it comes to prestige and recognition, not all programs are created equal. However, the following list of the top 20 best MBA programs according to the U.S. News MBA rankings are among the best MBA programs in the world.
So, let’s check out the 20 Top MBA programs:
Top 20 MBA Programs
1. University of Chicago (Booth)
As #1 on our list of the best MBA programs, Booth at the University of Chicago has ample program options: part-time, full-time, executive, and even a Ph.D. in business. As the top program on our list, you can expect the Booth MBA acceptance rate to be selective. While the stats aren’t published by the university, the Booth MBA acceptance rate is presumably low. With the aim of educating leaders who want to change the world, Booth has campuses in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong.
2. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
Dedicated to educating empathetic leaders in business, Kellogg at Northwestern University offers flexible study options to interested students. Students can choose to study full-time, evening and weekends, or an executive MBA. Additionally, Kellogg offers a 10-month Master’s in Management program from which students can go on to complete an MBA should they choose.
3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
Students at Wharton can expect to kickstart their career in the school’s lauded MBA programs. In fact, by the time of graduation, about 82% of graduates are employed. The Wharton School offers a variety of concentrations for MBA students as well. From business analytics to ethics, there’s a plethora of educational paths students can take in the Wharton MBA programs at UPenn.
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
This well-known STEM school also happens to offer one of the best MBA programs around. The MIT Sloan School of Management offers a full-time, two-year MBA program. There are three deadlines applicants are able to choose from when applying to the MIT Sloan School of Management. This gives interested students ample opportunities to gather their materials. Deadlines to apply to the MIT Sloan School of Management are in September, January, and April.
5. Harvard University
It’s probably no surprise that this Ivy League school offers one of the top MBA programs in the world. And, when it comes to prestige, nothing sounds more prestigious than a degree from Harvard University. This full-time MBA focuses on real-world practice with a general management curriculum.
6. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has a diverse group of students: 43% women, 31% U.S. minorities, and 43% international. They all come together to form the 287 students completing an MBA at the Tuck School of Business. And, with an education that centers on team building and leading across cultures, students will not only learn from their faculty but from each other. Check out the Tuck School of Business site to learn what life would be on campus.
7. Stanford University
The MBA program at Stanford is redefining the business school experiences. Students are challenged to “lead from the heart.” And, while an emphasis is placed on collaboration not competition, in order to get in, you’ll first have to overcome the Stanford MBA acceptance rate. As expected from such an elite university, the Stanford MBA acceptance rate is low. In fact, it’s the most selective among the top MBA programs in USA. The Stanford MBA acceptance rate is 6%.
8. University of Michigan—Ann Arbor (Ross)
If you study at Michigan Ross, your career outlook is promising. In fact, 99% of graduates receive job offers within 3 months of graduating. Students will receive an education based on action over theory. At UMich, students will gain plenty of experience in order to graduate confident business leaders.
9. Yale University
At the Yale School of Management, students will gain a well-rounded education from one of the top MBA programs in USA with a full-time, two-year program. During the first year at Yale School of Management, students will study the core curriculum to gain foundation knowledge in business management and leadership. In the second year at the Yale School of Management, students will focus on studying electives, based on their concentrations of interest.
10. New York University (Stern)
There are plenty of options when it comes to completing an MBA at the NYU Stern School of Business. MBA programs include full-time, tech, fashion & luxury, dual degrees, and part-time. These unique offerings make the NYU Stern School of Business stand out among the best MBA programs. If you’re looking for a graduate degree that’s tailored to your passions as well as your academic and career goals, then an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business could be a perfect fit.
11. Columbia University
Studying in such a global city, students will have ample opportunities to learn from NYC. Similar to other top MBA programs, an MBA at Columbia Business School will allow students to gain a foundational education in business, while also learning about specific industries. The MBA program also offers a unique mentorship opportunity with C-level executives through their Executives in Residence program.
12. Duke University (Fuqua)
Full-time, accelerated, global executive, and weekend executive are among the many flexible options that Duke Fuqua School of Business offers its MBA students. Education centers around business, certainly, however, an emphasis is placed on building leaders that move their teams to a common purpose. As one of the larger programs on our top MBA programs list, Fuqua enrolls 2,000 students in their many program options.
13. University of California, Berkeley (Haas)
This MBA program focuses on bolstering students’ emotional intelligence alongside analytical skills. Like many other top MBA programs in USA, Berkeley Haas educates students to become successful business leaders in a constantly changing world. Therefore, coursework among the many different MBA options will focus on analysis and leadership development.
14. University of Virginia (Darden)
Another school with “purpose-driven leadership” ranks among the best MBA programs. The Darden School of Business focuses on global business and social transformation. They offer a full-time, part-time, and executive MBA.
15. Cornell University (Johnson)
The SC Johnson School of Business at Cornell has been turning ambition into impact since its founding in 1946. The Johnson School is known for their consulting, entrepreneurship, investment banking, and technology expertise. Students can choose to study from the various full-time, executive, or specialized MBA degree options.
16. University of Southern California (Marshall)
One of the few southern schools making our top MBA programs in USA list is the Marshall School of Business located in South Carolina. Their MBA options include full-time, part-time, executive, one-year, and even online. The program is taught by experienced faculty with research and practical experience.
17. Emory University (Goizueta)
With over 100 years’ experience in teaching business, the Goizueta Business School is no stranger to educating leaders in the field. Seeing business as a way to create a meaningful impact on society, they offer many MBA options to those interested. Students of the Goizueta Business School will be a part of a diverse community of leaders seeking social change through business.
18. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
Since 2008, more than 400 startups have launched from graduates of the Tepper School of Business. This is likely because of the program’s emphasis on creativity and entrepreneurship. Tepper also understands that business nowadays is driven by technology and innovation. They aim to educate ethical leaders who will thrive in an ever-changing world.
19. University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson)
Known as a creative hub, Los Angeles offers business learners ample inspiration to be innovative and unique thinkers. The UCLA MBA at Anderson School of Management offers plenty of flexible learning options for every type of student. For example, options for pursuing a UCLA MBA while still working full-time could include either a fully employed MBA or an executive MBA. However, if you’re interested in gaining a UCLA MBA at Anderson, you should know that you’ll need to be on board with the program’s core qualities: share success, think fearlessly, and drive change.
20. The University of Texas at Austin (McCombs)
Located in Austin, Texas, McCombs School of Business is another of our top MBA programs that offers students a creative city setting in which to learn. They offer a full-time, evening, and executive MBA at their Austin campus. Additionally, there are MBA options at UT’s campuses in Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Not afraid to stir things up on the business front, McCombs School of Business encourages students to master the skills needed to attain their dreams, however big they might be.
A degree from one of the top MBA programs in the world will certainly make you stand out. However, you want to make sure that it’s the best program for you. Consider if you want a specialized or generalist MBA. Additionally, dive into the different offerings each school has. Even if it didn’t make our list, there could be a better program specific to you and your interests, needs, and career goals. Do your research and compare programs in order to see which is your dream school.
What are the top 5 MBA programs?
Now that we’ve looked at the best MBA programs in the world, let’s focus on the top five from that list according to the U.S. News MBA rankings.
Here are the five top MBA programs:
Top 5 MBA Programs
1. University of Chicago
At any of the top MBA programs in the world, applicants can expect the selection process to be competitive. The University of Chicago is no different, with the Booth MBA acceptance rate quite selective. However, if you gain acceptance, you can expect an excellent education.
All of the four options for MBA programs at Booth are taught by an exceptional faculty. In fact, ten Booth professors have won the Nobel Prize. And even though the faculty holds such high accolades, students note that they are extremely approachable, creating a classroom dynamic where students are active learners. Even more than professors, the faculty become students’ mentors.
2. Northwestern Kellogg
Similar to Booth, Northwestern Kellogg offers its students global opportunities. In fact, students can participate in various global experiences during the MBA program if they choose. Kellogg offers exchange programs where students can expand their business knowledge by experiencing a foreign culture firsthand. They also offer a “global lab” where students can take part in a capstone project that focuses on global impact.
3. UPenn Wharton
The Wharton School at UPenn offers a full-time MBA completion in 20 months. This includes a highly recommended summer internship. The program is often customized, as 40% of students decide to complete two majors. Many others also choose to pursue a global experience within a dual-degree program. So, whatever interests you have outside of business, you can likely combine them into your MBA experience at Wharton.
4. MIT Sloan
“Invent with intent” is the slogan of MIT Sloan, which may be unsurprising when you consider the great innovative minds that have had an MIT education. Students are encouraged to become leaders who use their business skills to build a smarter future. Of course, gaining acceptance, like at any of the best MBA programs in the world, is competitive. Sloan is looking for the brightest and most motivated minds to complete their MBA program.
5. Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School offers MBA students a unique edge over the competition. Career and Professional Development provides students with custom advice to meet their interests, needs, and goals as well as career coaching. It may be because of this opportunity that 69% of students go on to change industries after graduating with their MBA from Harvard.
MBA Rankings by State
Location may be an important factor when it comes to choosing the best MBA programs for you. Since MBA programs usually take 2 years or more, you want to choose a place that you want to be for a long time. However, there are plenty of great MBA programs, no matter the state. In fact, for students without much flexibility, there are even ample options for the best online MBA programs to accommodate any schedule.
You may recognize some of the top MBA programs in California and top MBA programs in Texas, as they appeared in our top 20 best MBA programs list. However, we’re going to give you more options in both of those states. We’ll also feature some of the best MBA programs in Florida.
Let’s first head to the West Coast and start off by exploring some of the top MBA programs in California.
Top MBA Programs in California
We’ve got a couple familiar names on the list, but let’s check out the 5 top MBA programs in California.
Top Californian MBA Programs
1. Stanford University
While Stanford can’t be considered to have one of the best online MBA programs (they only offer an online certificate), they certainly have one of the top MBA programs in California for full-time students. Students will partake in experiential learning while also being educated by world-renowned researchers and leaders in business. The school also encourages students to take full advantage of the program by building their community with other students.
2. UC Berkeley (Haas)
It’s no surprise that a highly-recognized UC school like Haas at Berkeley has one of the top MBA programs in California. Students will gain a foundational education where they learn one of the most valuable skills in business: become the leader you’d like to follow.
3. USC (Marshall)
Located in Los Angeles, one advantage of attending Marshall is the many days of sunshine you’ll enjoy while completing your MBA. Additionally, Marshall offers plenty of flexible MBA options and a large network that helps students find career opportunities and make valuable connections.
4. UCLA (Anderson)
Next on our list of best MBA programs in California is UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. One of the greatest advantages to an Anderson education is the wide range of connections you’ll make. Alumni include top global leaders, and as a UCLA MBA student there, you’d be a part of that elite network.
5. UC Irvine (Merage)
Top programs offered at Merage include accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, and business analytics. However, no matter which concentration you might hone in on, all MBAs will prepare students to lead in a digitally driven world.
Top MBA Programs in Texas
There are plenty of top MBA programs in Texas. And, while the first on our list will look familiar from our top 20 list, the four others are new.
Let’s look at the best MBA programs in Texas:
Top Texan MBA Programs
1. UT Austin (McCombs)
In addition to making the top MBA programs in Texas and top MBA programs in general lists, McCombs also ranks high when it comes to accessibility. U.S. News MBA rankings for the working profession place McCombs at #6 in the nation. And, if you’re looking for a good campus vibe, McCombs likely won’t disappoint—it’s #1 in MBA Campus Environment.
2. Rice (Jones)
In addition to having excellent on-campus MBA programs, Jones Graduate School of Business also has one of the best online MBA programs in the nation. Students generally enroll after years of work experience but can complete the MBA in two-years’ time.
3. UT Dallas (Jindal)
With a location in Dallas, students studying at Jindal will make up a part of the largest of the UT Dallas schools. And, the career opportunities are promising for those at #3 of the top MBA programs in Texas. In fact, 87% of MBA students at Jindal found more career opportunities after graduation.
4. Southern Methodist University (Cox)
Ranking as #2 according to U.S. News MBA rankings for Full-Time MBA at a private university in Texas, it’s clear why Cox makes our top MBA programs in Texas list. Cox sets high expectations for its students, and more often than not, students excel in this experiential learning environment. And, the curriculum enables students to cater their schedule in order to have the best MBA courses for their needs, interests, and goals.
5. Texas A&M College Station (Mays)
The large Aggie network will play to students’ advantage when completing their MBA at Mays Business School. Students will develop their personalized leadership styles through the curriculum. Students can choose to study an MBA that is full-time, professional, executive, or even an MBA + MS Analytics option.
Best MBA Programs in Florida
Although no schools in Florida made the top 20 on the Best MBA Programs according to the U.S. News MBA rankings, there are plenty of the best MBA programs in Florida for all students’ needs.
Top Floridian MBA Programs
1. University of Florida (Warrington)
What makes Warrington College of Business the first on our best MBA programs in Florida list? Well, not only do they have an excellent on-campus program, they also rank #4 in the nation’s best online MBA programs. With a small class size, students will get personalized attention.
2. University of South Florida (Muma)
Another one of our best MBA programs in Florida also happens to have plenty of flexible options for working students. Muma College of Business students can study evenings, weekends, online, or in their Executive MBA program.
3. University of Miami (Herbert)
Those studying an MBA at the Miami Herbert Business School can expect an emphasis on sustainability education. The program prepares its MBA students to be leaders who take on the pressing social and environmental issues facing the world today. Check out the myriad of MBA programs at Herbert.
4. Rollins College (Crummer)
The Executive MBA at Crummer allows students to finish in 20 months. The Professional MBA is a part-time MBA meant for working students. Additionally, Crummer offers a Flex MBA where the half of the classes can be taken online. And, finally there is also an option specific to career changers with little experience called the Early Advantage MBA. Compare programs to see which is your best fit.
5. Florida State University
As the last of our best MBA programs in Florida, Florida State University has ample flexibility when it comes to study options. In fact, FSU has another high ranking online MBA program. In addition to providing students with business foundational knowledge, each student can choose the best MBA courses for them according to their individual career goals or specialization interests.
Considering different kinds of MBA programs
When choosing among the top MBA programs, you should look for the best MBA programs for your needs and goals. In fact, in many ways, this may be more important than the MBA rankings of the top MBA programs in the world.
Below, we break down the different MBA program formats and specializations among the top MBA programs.
There are several MBA program formats, and the best MBA programs increasingly offer more ways for students to enroll. In general, the most common ones are among top MBA programs are:
MBA Program Formats
Two-year, full-time MBA programs
This is the traditional format for the best MBA programs. One key benefit is that two-year programs allowed for increased networking opportunities and the potential for a broader curriculum. However, two-year programs are generally more expensive and can be difficult to manage alongside work and family responsibilities. Some schools, like the Tuck School of Business, only offer two-year, full-time programs.
One-year, full-time MBA programs
Some of the best MBA programs are only one year long. This allows for an accelerated education. Some specialized MBA programs fall into this category. For example, the Yale School of Management offers an advanced management master’s degree that is among the best MBA programs.
Part-time MBA programs
Part-time MBA programs usually offer course times that accommodate working professionals. While they can take longer to complete, they can be a great option if you want to work while earning a degree from one of the best MBA programs.
Executive MBA programs
An executive MBA program is often part-time as well, as it is geared towards working professionals in leadership roles. The content often focuses on leadership and management topics. The Jones School of Business at Rice University offers a two-year executive MBA that is one of the top MBA programs in Texas.
Online MBA programs
Online MBA programs are held virtually to create additional flexibility for students. While these are another great option for busy, working professionals, the virtual component can compromise the depth of networking you experience during the program. Still, the best MBA programs are increasingly offering virtual options to become more accessible to those who live around the globe or cannot commute to a campus.
4+1 MBA programs
A 4+1 MBA program allows undergraduate students to earn an MBA directly after completing their undergraduate career in business. This is another accelerated way to earn an MBA. However, many of the best MBA programs encourage students to gain practical, on-the-ground experience prior to enrolling in a program. At 4+1 programs, students are admitted to business school as part of their undergraduate education and don’t have time to gain this experience.
Within these program formats, there are many different MBA courses and specializations. Below, we’ll explore some of the most common specializations of the best MBA programs.
The standard curriculum at the best MBA programs covers a mixture of hard skills like accounting and finance and soft skills like leadership skills and people management. In contrast, specialized programs tend to focus more heavily on one skill set or area of interest. As such, these programs are best suited for folks who have a specific career goal in mind that requires specialized knowledge. Similar to choosing a major in undergrad, those interested in the best MBA programs might want to choose a specialization.
The most common specializations among the best MBA programs are:
MBA Program Specializations
The top MBA programs that focus on management seek to give graduates the skills to manage people, operations, and other facets of a business.
A business analytics specialization prepares graduates to collect and analyze data that helps improve business decisions and processes. At the best MBA programs, this specialization includes the best MBA courses for those wishing to increase their earning potential.
The international business specialization is ideal for candidates who hope to work abroad or in companies that have connections internationally. Many of the best MBA programs tend to have a global focus.
The best MBA programs with marketing specializations are designed to give candidates the skills to increase sales for a company.
Consultants generally bring expertise to companies from an outsider’s perspective, offering new perspectives and guidance on how to address business challenges. Often, companies look to hire consultants from the best MBA programs.
A finance specialization targets the skills around financial planning, investing, mergers and acquisitions, and other lucrative parts of the business world. The best MBA programs often include a finance course, but a specialization allows for deeper study of the topic.
The best MBA programs for entrepreneurship assist students in developing the knowledge to successfully launch their own businesses.
Operations focuses on the daily processes and structures that make a business run smoothly and effectively.
Human Resource Management
A human resource management specialization in the best MBA programs will prepare graduates to manage people within an organization. Graduates will understand both the interpersonal dynamics of employee success and the compliance concerns associated with HR.
IT or Technology Management
An IT or Technology management specialization allows graduates to contribute to running the technology operations of a business, including cyber security or product development. Many of the best MBA programs also offer this specialization, as technology is a fast-growing and ever-evolving field.
Once you have figured out the program format and specialization, if any, that you need to achieve your career goals, you’ll want to find the right school. In the following sections, we’ll explore the top MBA programs in different areas.
Best Online MBA Programs
Some of the best MBA programs in the world also offer online MBA programs. Indeed, the best online MBA programs offer access to a rigorous curriculum, flexible schedule, and critical networking opportunities with top professors and driven students. While an online MBA has some limitations, these courses are some of the best MBA programs for students who don’t have time to leave the workforce and pursue a full-time degree.
The best online MBA programs cover several areas of business management, including marketing, finance, accounting, human resources, strategy, organizational behavior, and investing.
The following are the five top MBA programs in the US that are online, according to the U.S. News MBA rankings:
Top Online MBA Programs
Indiana University- Bloomington (Kelley)
The direct online MBA program at the Kelley School of Business, part of Indiana University – Bloomington, offers students a flexible education mixed with a core curriculum in business management. Indeed, 50% of students’ courses are electives, allowing for specialization while still foregrounding fundamental skills in various business administration topics.
UNC-Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
Tied for #1 among the best online MBA programs is the MBA program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. One core benefit of this program is that students develop personalized career management plans to reach their professional goals. In addition, students have the option to take some courses in person if their schedules permit.
At the Marshall School of Business’ online MBA program, associated with the University of Southern California, students follow a core curriculum that covers all major aspects of business administration. In addition, classes are completed in a mixture of asynchronous and synchronous activities that allow for both flexibility and time for connecting with world-renowned faculty at one of the best MBA programs.
University of Florida (Warrington)
At the Warrington College of Business’ online MBA program, students have access to experiential learning opportunities and global immersion programs that enhance the virtual experience. Additionally, every student has access to a dedicated career counselor. As one of the best online MBA programs in terms of value, the University of Florida offers the lowest cost-per-credit rate for its programs, making it a more affordable option. Additionally, the Warrington College of Business has some of the best MBA programs in Florida.
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
Rounding out the top 5 best online MBA programs is the part-time program at the Tepper School of Business, part of Carnegie Mellon University. This program is structured in a hybrid format with online live classes alongside Access Weekends where students attend classes and networking sessions in person or virtually. The part-time online MBA program has a technology focus that prepares students for the future of business analytics.
More of the top MBA programs have begun to offer virtual options. If you choose to apply to the best MBA programs that are virtual, consider making an enhanced effort to reach out to classmates and professors. After all, many argue that the benefit of attending one of the best MBA programs is connecting with talented, successful individuals.
Best MBA Program for Entrepreneurship
If you are planning to start, grow, or evolve a business someday, then you may want to consider the best MBA programs for entrepreneurship. The best MBA programs in this specialization prepare students to find capital for their ventures, assess the risk and viability of an idea, and consider legal structures needed to run a business. The top MBA programs also tend to provide experiential learning opportunities that allow students to apply content to hypothetical and real business cases.
The following schools offer the best MBA programs for entrepreneurship, according to the U.S. News MBA rankings:
Top MBAs for Entrepreneurship
Babson College (Olin)
The F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College offers several formats of its top MBA programs. Students can complete their curriculum both full-time and part-time, online or in person. As part of their entrepreneurship concentration, students can focus on a specific industry such as retail, nonprofit, or global business.
One of the top MBA programs in California is located at Stanford University, where students can choose from over 60 of the best MBA courses in entrepreneurship. The program also requires a global experience before graduation, immersing students in international settings that allow them to compete in an increasingly global market. As a result of all the program has to offer, the Stanford MBA acceptance rate is the lowest in the USA at 6%. However, don’t let the Stanford MBA acceptance rate deter you from applying.
At the MIT Sloan School of Management, students can attend one of the best MBA programs focused on innovation. Graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s two-year, full-time program have some of the highest employment rates post-graduation, with nearly 84% of graduates being employed. They can also take advantage of several certificate programs available to graduate students, including one in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is known for its many strong programs. The university’s business programs are also among the top MBA programs. The Harvard Business School’s two-year, full-time, residential MBA is one of the best MBA programs for entrepreneurship. Indeed, nearly 50% of its graduates go on to create ventures, and nearly 80% are employed upon graduation.
UC Berkeley (Haas)
Students looking for the best MBA programs at the hotspot of entrepreneurial endeavors should look no further than the Haas School of Business’ MBA programs at the University of California – Berkeley. Located near San Francisco, headquarters of Google and Visa, the Haas School offers connections to jobs and internships that can propel a student’s career forward. The Haas@Work program places students at local and global companies. Additionally, nearly a third of students are international, providing for a diverse and globally connected learning environment. Without a doubt, the Haas School’s programs are among the top MBA programs in California.
Enrolling in one of the top MBA programs for entrepreneurship can be exciting, but it can also be a riskier investment. If you want to invest in an education that is likely to result in a significant salary increase, you might want to consider the best MBA programs for business analytics. Next, we’ll explore this growing field and the career opportunities it opens up.
Best MBA Program for Business Analytics
Those interested in the intersection between business and technology wish to enroll in one of the best MBA programs in business analytics. A growing field, business analytics seeks to use data to inform business decisions. Students of the best MBA programs in business analytics will learn how to perform data visualization, data management, data mining, and predictive modeling, among other skills.
Aside from the field’s cutting edge nature, the best MBA programs in business analytics also prepare students for some of the highest paying careers in business. Some of these roles include business analyst, data architect, and data engineer. Pursuing a high-paying career can offset the high cost of the top MBA programs in USA.
Here are the top MBA programs in business analytics according to the U.S. News MBA rankings:
Top MBAs for Business Analytics
At the MIT Sloan School of Management, students benefit from MIT’s STEM focus in the Master of Business Analytics program. An accelerated 12-month program, this is the one of the top MBA programs for those interested in data science. It was created in conjunction with MIT’s Operations Research Center, an interdisciplinary center formed in 1953.
Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)
Offering both part-time and full-time options, the Tepper School of Business’ Master of Science in Business Analytics is one of the top MBA programs in the USA. It offers students expertise in machine learning and large-scale data management alongside business expertise in corporate communication and business operations.
Georgia Tech (Scheller)
The Scheller College of Business’ MBA programs emphasize collaboration and hands-on learning. Situated at the Georgia Institute of Technology, located in Atlanta, students benefit from some of the top career counselors in the industry. As a public school, Georgia Tech also has some of the most affordable tuition rates among the top MBA programs in the USA. In addition, 90% of graduates are employed full time upon graduation, making a Scheller MBA an incredible investment.
At the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School’s MBA program offers 21 concentrations. Among these is the business analytics major, which includes some of the best MBA courses in topics like healthcare data, data ethics, and financial reporting.
In addition to being located in one of the financial capitals of the world, New York City, the NYU Stern School of Business has a specialized program in Quantitative Management that combines data analytics with a core business curriculum. While a degree from the NYU Stern School of Business is one of the priciest in the field, the program is undoubtedly one of the top MBA programs in the world. In addition, the program is online, making it accessible to many international candidates.
If crunching data is not exciting to you, then you may wish to consider the best MBA programs for softer skills like people management. Indeed, many executive MBA programs focus on these skills. In the next section, we’ll explore the best MBA programs for executives looking to sharpen their leadership skills and enhance their networks.
Best Executive MBA Programs
Among the most common types of top MBA programs are executive MBAs. Most commonly part-time in format, executive MBA programs are geared towards experienced professionals looking to advance their leadership skills, gain coaching on tough management situations, and network with other leaders. While traditional MBA students can be recent graduates or even come directly from an undergraduate program in business, EMBA students at the top MBA programs tend to be 12 to 20 years out of college.
While executive MBAs can help advance a professional’s career significantly by earning them promotions and higher salaries, they are also a huge investment of time and money. Therefore, the decision to enroll in an executive MBA is a serious one.
If you decide to enroll, consider these top MBA programs for executives, as reported by the U.S. News MBA rankings:
Top MBAs for Executives
Though the University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia, executive MBA candidates have the option to attend one of three cohorts in Philadelphia, San Francisco, or globally via virtual platforms. With the largest network of business program alumni in the world, it’s no surprise that Wharton offers one of the top MBA programs in the USA.
The Kellogg School of Management’s EMBA program also offers a global network of alumni. Though Northwestern University is located in Chicago, Kellogg also offers its program from a satellite campus in Miami. As such, it is also one of the best MBA programs in Florida.
The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business has campuses in Chicago, London, and Hong Kong. With only 200 students per class, the program offers an intimate, yet global, education. The Booth MBA acceptance rate is around 23%. As one of the best MBA programs for executives, the program is highly selective.
Columbia University, located in New York City, boasts an executive MBA that is one of the top MBA programs in the world. The Executives in Residence program, which is part of the Columbia Business School, brings 26 of the world’s top executives into contact with MBA students for high-powered networking.
At the Fuqua School of Business, students can choose between a global executive MBA and a weekend executive MBA. Both of these top MBA programs are hybrid. Global executive MBA candidates complete international residences, while weekend executive MBA candidates perform their in-person component at Duke University’s Durham campus.
If you’re looking for the best MBA programs that are flexible in nature, consider looking at the top MBA programs in USA that are part-time. Below, we’ll explore some of those top MBA programs and how they function to meet the needs of busy working professionals.
Best Part-Time MBA Programs
If you are a working professional hoping to get an MBA, part-time programs might be the right option for you. Some of the top MBA programs in USA are part-time, meaning that they run at a slower pace with evening and weekend schedules to accommodate those with full-time jobs.
Whereas a full-time MBA program can take one or two years to complete, part-time MBAs can take two to three years to earn a degree. While part-time programs are a great option for those with jobs or families, they can be difficult to juggle alongside those responsibilities. However, the best MBA programs will also provide excellent advising and can aid in career advancement.
The top part-time options among the best MBA programs according to the U.S. News MBA rankings are:
Top Part-time MBAs
UC Berkeley (Haas)
Ranked #1 in part-time top MBA programs for six years in a row, the Haas School of Business at Berkeley is committed to both flexibility and rigor. Students can choose from evening and weekend classes in person or a virtual flex cohort with only a few in-person required weekend gatherings. Both options require three years to complete.
At the Booth School of Business, students can choose between evening or weekend classes. They also have the option to take 25% of classes virtually. Additionally, they have the flexibility to start in any quarter, allowing for a convenient enrollment timeline. The Booth MBA acceptance rate may be selective, but its top MBA programs are highly accessible.
Kellogg’s part-time MBA programs are not only some of the best MBA programs but are committed to accessibility and flexibility. In fact, the school recently announced they would be test-optional for GMAT scores. Additionally, students can apply for an accelerated track so that they can earn a degree part-time from one of the best MBA programs in only a year.
The NYU Stern School of Business allows students to complete their MBA as slow or as fast as they would like. Students can take two to six years to complete their degrees. Meanwhile, they still have access to a number of experiential education programs and international study opportunities. These are just a few of the reasons NYU Stern offers one of the best MBA programs.
Those looking for top MBA programs in California should consider a UCLA MBA from the Anderson School of Management. Referred to as the fully employed MBA, students who enroll can choose from three flexible schedules and more than 20 international study programs. Additionally, a UCLA MBA is shown to increase graduates’ earnings by 59% on average within four months of graduation. These results, paired with the University of California – Los Angeles’ relatively affordable tuition, make a UCLA MBA one of the best MBA programs.
Now that we have explored the best MBA programs in a number of formats and specializations, we’ll consider how to choose the best MBA programs to apply to.
What are the best MBA rankings?
When searching for the best MBA programs in the world, you may wonder what source to trust for MBA rankings. All the MBA rankings featured in this article are U.S. News MBA rankings. While many sources exist for information on the best MBA programs, the U.S. News MBA rankings are one of the most trusted sources. Other ranking sources include Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.
In order to gather the best information for your needs, make sure to study what factors play into MBA rankings. For example, some MBA rankings prioritize graduate earnings and job placement, while others may focus on faculty prestige or student ratings. The U.S. News MBA rankings are based on dean and senior faculty members ratings of peer institutions.
Ultimately, each individual must determine the factors that matter most when choosing from the best MBA programs in the world. Since enrolling in one of the best MBA programs is an expensive commitment, it’s important to make a decision that meets your individual short-term and long-term needs. Next, we’ll explore how to choose from the best MBA programs and find the right program for you.
Choosing the best MBA program for you
Without a doubt, the key to choosing among the best MBA programs is to develop a list of your priorities and goals. Then, you can find the best MBA programs for your needs, ensuring that you apply only to the top MBA programs that can provide your desired resources and experiences.
Here are some top considerations when choosing which of the top MBA programs to apply to:
Top Considerations for Choosing MBA
Consider where you are in your career and what type of specialization, if any, would help you meet your career goals. Perhaps you want to start your own business, and enrolling in one of the best MBA programs for entrepreneurship could help. Or, perhaps you are a banker looking to learn more about system risk, in which case you could enroll in the Yale School of Management’s master’s degree in system risk.
Look at your schedule and responsibilities over the next few years. If you can afford to focus only on school, then it might make sense to attend one of the best MBA programs full-time. If you require the flexibility to complete coursework on your own schedule, then consider applying to the best online MBA programs.
If you are hoping to attend a residential program, then considering the location of the best MBA programs might make sense. For example, if you hope to go to school in Texas, then investigate the top MBA programs in Texas. On the other hand, many of the top MBA programs have international campuses, which may be another enticing factor for you.
Resources and Opportunities
Sometimes, a specific resource or opportunity might draw you to one of the best MBA programs. For example, some of the best MBA programs in the world offer opportunities for hands-on learning. The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, for instance, includes a group capstone project to ensure students exercise their knowledge in a teamwork capacity.
An education from one of the best MBA programs in the world is a significant financial investment. Indeed, earning a degree from top MBA programs like those at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, and Yale School of Management will easily cost more than $200,000. If your anticipated salary increase makes up for this cost, then enrolling in one of the best MBA programs might be worth it. If you aren’t sure, then perhaps there are other ways to gain similar credentials and experience without going deeply into debt from one of the best MBA programs.
When applying to the best MBA programs, you might wish to consider acceptance rates. Like undergraduate college lists, you’ll want to apply to programs with a range of acceptance rates to ensure you have a balanced list. Without a doubt, the Booth MBA acceptance rate and Stanford MBA acceptance rate are among the lowest, whereas the Sellinger School at Loyola University Maryland had a 100% acceptance rate for Fall 2020.
Overall, there are many considerations to make when deciding which of the best MBA programs to apply to. However, the most important considerations are the ones that matter to you. Rather than seeking a perfect option, prioritize the factors that have the greatest weight in your decision-making. With so many excellent options, you’re bound to find several options among the top MBA programs that meet your needs.
Best MBA Program – Takeaways
In this article, we explored many facets of the best MBA programs. We broke down the meaning and value of an MBA. Then, we explored the best MBA programs in the world and the top MBA programs in the USA. We also looked at the best MBA programs for specializations and formats.
With so much information available about the best MBA programs, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Our team is here to help you through every aspect of applying to the best MBA programs. We have a dedicated team who will guide you through every part of the MBA admissions process to ensure you have the best chance of getting into your dream MBA program. Whether you are looking at undergraduate or graduate programs, we can assist you in applying to and choosing the right school for you.
This article was written by Sarah Kaminski and senior advisor, Courtney Ng. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.