Choosing an MBA program is no easy task. With hundreds of universities now offering MBA programs for students interested in pursuing business careers, there are so many choices that picking just one program can be difficult.
However, some MBA programs and universities simply stand out. Whether they teach unique aspects of business, have a stellar reputation, offer something no other MBA program can, or see high success after students graduate, these MBA programs are truly the best for many reasons.
The following are the top overall MBA programs, selected for their quality, their business preparation across specialties, and their graduates’ success and satisfaction.
1. Stanford University – Graduate School of Business
Stanford University is one of the nation’s most storied and prestigious universities, and its graduate-level MBA program offered through the Graduate School of Business is the best of the best. This 24-month program is the toughest to be accepted into in the U.S. – but once you’re in, you’ll experience an unparalleled level of education.
MBA students who attend Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) study under a faculty that’s incredibly impressive. With a roster of business professors that include Nobel Prize winners, John Bates Clark Award winners, and members of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, the GSB puts students in touch with the very best in the field. In addition to studying the fundamentals of business like leadership, accounting, and group management, Stanford MBA students also have the opportunity to put their skills to use in leadership and skills labs, market strategy courses, and experiential learning courses.
With an average salary range of $140,000 and $150,000 for MBA graduates, Stanford’s advanced business degree program is one that’ll prepare any student for a lucrative and exciting career in business.
2. Harvard University – Harvard Business School
Harvard University is one of the best-known educational institutions in the world, and it’s one of the top choices when it comes to earning an MBA. Backed by Ivy League education standards and all of the resources available on-campus at Harvard University, the Harvard Business School offers MBA students plenty of potential as they study during this 24-month program.
Students of the Harvard Business School spend two years on-campus in an MBA program designed to prepare students for leadership in global businesses. During those two years, MBA students undertake leadership challenges, work with the local community, and get immersed into a rigorous curriculum that’s meant to put knowledge into practice with practical applications and innovative entrepreneurship. And if you’d like to incorporate another passion or interest into your MBA studies, Harvard Business School also allows students to earn dual degrees, combining an MBA with an advanced degree from Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, or the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
With Harvard Business School MBA students reporting average post-graduation salaries between $130,000 and $140,000, it’s clear that this business education program is one that sets its graduates up for success as they become executives and leaders in their industries.
3. University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School of Business
There’s a reason so many business professionals know the Wharton School of Business – this University of Pennsylvania institution is one of the very best MBA programs in the world, and its graduates go on to become innovators. This intensive MBA program welcomes students from every corner of the world and takes just 20 months to complete.
To earn an MBA from Wharton School of Business, most accepted students have five years of work experience under their belts. Hands-on experience is central to Wharton’s program, and a three- to four-month internship is recommended for all MBA students. With more than 19 specializations to choose from, an optional global immersion program, and cross-cultural MBA study focused on countries large and small, the Wharton program encourages students to develop skills in valuable areas like consulting and entrepreneurship.
Wharton graduates put their MBAs to good use in plenty of different industries around the world – and they’re known for bringing in average annual salaries of $130,000 to $140,000 after putting in the work at the University of Pennsylvania.
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Management
MIT is a challenging educational institution for any student, but its MBA program offered through the Sloan School of Management is truly for business professionals who want a challenge. The 24-month MBA program, which accepts students with an average of five years of work experience, has coursework designed for every background, every industry, and every interest.
MIT students can choose between the traditional full-time MIT Sloan School of Management MBA program or a one-year immersive Fellows program that’s designed for mid-career business executives. No matter which MBA option you choose, MIT’s coursework is designed to to prepare you for work in for-profit and non-profit organizations. Every class is led by one of MIT’s expert faculty members and includes a combination of hands-on projects, collaboration with businesses and managers, and unique specialization options like finance, management, or entrepreneurship. Every year, MBA students participate in the Sloan Innovation Period, or a week of experiential learning meant to spur education outside the classroom. And the opportunities don’t end there – every Sloan student is able to customize their MBA program, choosing courses and learning labs that suit individual interests.
Graduates of the Sloan School of Management MBA program can net an annual salary between $120,000 and $130,000 thanks to the valuable skills they earn while studying. With an immersive final year of study, MIT MBA graduates are wholly prepared to take on any business venture – and their innovation is often unmatched.
5. The University of Chicago – Booth School of Business
The University of Chicago offers one of the most rigorous and difficult educations of all college and universities, and that’s no exception when it comes to the university’s MBA program. Offered through the Booth School of Business, the University of Chicago puts its students right to work with challenging coursework on campus, encouraging curiosity and questioning.
During the 21-month MBA program, Booth School of Business students are taught how to evaluate both common problems and opportunities that arise in all kinds of businesses. Students learn how to use crucial business tools, gaining skills in every area from accounting and finance to psychology and group management to statistics and data analysis. Uncertainty is key to this MBA program, as the University of Chicago aims to prepare MBA students for the unexpected in order to confront everyday changes and shifts in the business world.
After just under two years of study at the University of Chicago, MBA graduates from the Booth School of Business report earning an average salary of $120,000 to $130,000. But beyond these impressive salaries, this is an MBA program that prepares its students for every kind of business challenge, encouraging graduates to challenge the status quo.
6. Columbia University – Columbia Business School
New York, NY
Another renowned Ivy League educational institution, Columbia University is home to some of the world’s best and brightest students – and the MBA program within the Columbia Business School is also top tier. Intended to prepare students who already have a few years of experience in the workforce, the Columbia Business School’s MBA coursework takes just two years to complete.
The options and opportunities within this MBA program are vast. There are over 200 different business electives students can take, and every class includes leadership, team building, and management skills to help students build both knowledge and practical skills. Columbia also lets students explore every possibility while earning their MBA, offering courses and concentrations in accounting, finance, healthcare management, ethics management, media, marketing, real estate, retail, and investing – and many, many more. During the first year of the MBA program, students will follow an intense core curriculum that cements fundamental management skills. And in the final year of study, students focus more heavily on their specific career goals and interests.
After completing the Columbia Business School’s MBA program, graduates earn an average annual salary of between $120,000 and $130,000 thanks to the diversity of their education and their ability to become specialized in any field or a variety of fields.
7. University of California, Los Angeles – Anderson School of Management
Los Angeles, CA
Backed by an award-winning faculty, state-of-the-art research facilities, and a host of successful alumni in every area of business, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) MBA program is one of the most selective and competitive – and for good reason. The 21-month MBA program offered at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management may have been founded during the Great Depression, but today it’s one of the best MBA programs in the world.
The UCLA Anderson School of Management’s MBA program is led by a faculty of educators and researchers with vast experience in the business world. Students explore different areas and specializations, like finance, decision making, economics, technology management, and organizational behavior in the classroom. Leadership is the primary focus of UCLA’s MBA curriculum, so students are put to the test as they hone new leadership skills in groups and in real-world settings with challenges that make students get active with real businesses. And there’s plenty of teamwork, too, as MBA students collaborate in classes and on projects.
With Anderson School graduates reporting average salaries each year of $110,000 to $120,000, students who earn an MBA from UCLA are set for success at management levels and beyond.
8. Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University is home to one of the top MBA programs in the world, and its global focus ensures its students are ready to compete with international businesses in any industry. Centered near Chicago, Northwestern offers an MBA program that creates leaders year after year – leaders who are known for leading large companies and tackling new markets.
Northwestern’s MBA program takes 21 months to complete and is offered through the Kellogg School of Management. Unlike other MBA programs that encourage students to spend significant time learning the basics, Kellogg School students can start focusing on their specialization or passion immediately. There are a number of choices for MBA students, including five different full-time MBA programs, an accelerated year-long MBA program, an Evening and Weekend Program for working students, and joint degree options. No matter which specialization you choose, this MBA program encourages collaborative learning both in the classroom and online, connecting students with businesses and business professionals around the world through technology and research.
And there’s clearly success ahead for MBA graduates who study at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management – graduates earn an average annual salary of $120,000 to $130,000, putting them right in the thick of competition with in-demand business leaders.
9. University of Michigan – Ross School of Business
Ann Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan is known worldwide for one of its most popular programs: the MBA program offered through the Ross School of Business. The Ross School of Business is one of the world’s best business schools for both undergraduate and graduate students, and you truly can’t beat the MBA studies and coursework offered at this prestigious school.
The Michigan Ross MBA program takes 20 months to complete, making it one of the quicker full-time programs offered by the top universities. Designed for students who are both just out of undergraduate studies and who’ve been getting experience in the workforce, the Ross School coursework is centered on helping students reach absolutely any career goal. Students are given plenty of resources, from in-class help from leaders in the business world to extracurricular groups devoted to business specializations. And the Ross School offers more opportunities for MBA students to start a business, advise other business professionals, and lead businesses than any other top program.
Once you’ve completed the Ross School of Business MBA program, you’ll find yourself within the ranks of fellow Michigan graduates who earn an average annual salary of $120,000 to $130,000.
10. Yale University – Yale School of Management
New Haven, CT
Yale University is an Ivy League institution, and its graduate divisions are just as renowned and revered as its undergraduate education. For MBA students, Yale offers a two-year (24 months) MBA program via the Yale School of Management, and it’s one of the top advanced business programs in the US.
This full-time residential MBA program is highly competitive, but it’s also packed with informative lessons and experiences. MBA students can choose which courses they want to take, and Yale’s emphasis on cross-disciplinary study encourages students to explore different fields that intersect with or influence businesses. Yale employs a unique integrated approach to MBA education, which means students spend their classroom days exploring case studies, data, and ongoing issues in present-day businesses. Yale School of Management also puts its MBA students through leadership development, global studies, and international business experiences so they’re ready to master absolutely any challenge in any setting.
MBA graduates from the Yale School of Management see the value of their advanced degree reflected in their stellar salaries, which are reported to range between $120,000 and $130,000 on average each year – and with real-world collaboration happening before you even finish your coursework, you’ll be highly prepared for any career path.
11. University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business
At the University of California, Berkeley, you’ll find the second-oldest business school in the US – and today, this business school is home to incredible MBA programs unmatched by other universities. UC Berkeley offers plenty of options for every kind of student, from a traditional full-time, two-year MBA program to concurrent and dual-degree programs to MBA exchange programs with Columbia University.
Over the course of 21 months, the MBA program offered at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business encourages students to practice innovative thinking, collaboration, and leadership skills. From studying local businesses in the San Francisco area to practicing creative problem-solving to exploring the Haas School’s rigorous management curriculum, MBA students gain both theoretical and practical knowledge. In addition to learning business fundamentals, Haas MBA students also participate in “active learning experiences” that are meant to put skills into action and practice. Every class includes a global focus, incorporating Berkeley’s own diversity and the diversity found in business.
The Haas School of Business prepares its graduates for success in ventures throughout Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and the entire international business community. And with your MBA in hand, you’ll join the ranks of other UC Berkeley MBA graduates who earn an average annual salary between $120,000 and $130,000.
12. Duke University – Fuqua School of Business
If you’re looking for an MBA program that’ll prepare you to conduct business in any country, any setting, and any industry, there’s absolutely no better choice than Duke University. This prestigious southern university, which is home to the Fuqua School of Business, is where you’ll find the top internationally-focused MBA program in the US. At Duke, MBA students can choose to pursue a full-time, two-year MBA, a Daytime MBA, or the incredibly unique Cross Continent MBA, which sends students to six international destinations to learn about business by experiencing it firsthand.
The MBA program at Duke’s Fuqua School is a blend of everything students need to be successful after graduation: classroom lectures, research opportunities, simulations, intensive projects, and experiential learning, all of which cement coursework in different ways. The goal is for MBA students to develop both initiative and strong decision making skills so they can lead confidently. With 10 different concentrations to choose from, you can earn an MBA in finance, corporate investment, consulting, energy and environment, entrepreneurship, marketing, and so many more specializations. On top of its classroom excellence, the Fuqua School’s MBA program also offers plenty of resources outside of courses to help prepare students, like internships and local business connections – and even an opportunity to pitch new business ventures to on-campus investors.
After graduation, Duke MBA students can find themselves earning an average annual post-grad salary between $120,000 and $130,000. With experience in international business, you’ll be prepared for any multinational business or a career exploring the field in any country in the world.
13. New York University – Stern School of Business
New York, NY
New York University (NYU) is one of the most exciting universities centered in the heart of New York City – but it’s also one of the most selective and competitive MBA programs, attracting students from all avenues of the world to study business in one of the world’s top cities. And NYU’s Stern School of Business offers an MBA program that’s truly unique.
The full-time MBA program at NYU’s Stern School places students in a collaborative community that’s focused on hands-on experience. And, unlike many other MBA program, NYU’s curriculum is specifically designed for individuals who want to make a total career change or take the next steps to further their current career, making it ideal for those with work experience on their resume. You’ll learn from a renowned faculty staffed with business professionals and scholars, and your coursework is entirely customizable. NYU allows MBA students to pick and choose what they want to study, giving you the freedom to explore any avenue. And with an alumni network that’s filled with over 110,000 people, MBA students can connect with former NYU students who are excelling in business for mentorship, internships, and career help.
Once you’ve earning your MBA from the Stern School of Business, you’ll be prepared to attain business excellence and you’ll have put yourself on track to become a skilled, experienced executive. NYU MBA graduates report that the average salary earned each year is between $120,000 and $130,000.
14. University of Texas at Austin – McCombs School of Business
Austin is a city on the rise, and it’s hiding one of the best education opportunities for those who want to earn an MBA: the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business. Though best known as a public university for students interested in any field, the MBA program offered by UT Austin is one of the very best in the US.
It’s the curriculum that makes the McCombs School of Business such a fantastic place to learn. The university itself is one of the world’s top research institutions, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity to delve deeply into business concepts and practices. The faculty is packed with new scholars who bring a sense of fresh innovation into the classroom. And with opportunities like MBA leadership programs, an MBA Investment Fund, Venture and Marketing Fellows, investment competitions, and Venture Labs all happening on campus, MBA students can keep learning even after classes end. The emphasis at UT Austin is preparing MBA students to enter the business world with forward-thinking approaches and future-driven skills, making it the perfect place to prepare for a long, innovative future ahead.
Once back in the workforce, UT Austin MBA graduates are prepared to lead and innovate – and they’re also ready to take their earning potential higher. Earning an MBA from the McCombs School of Business can earn graduates an average annual salary between $110,000 and $120,000.
15. University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business
Los Angeles, CA
Set in the heart of Los Angeles and surrounded by businesses of every size and shape, the University of Southern California (USC) is in a unique position to put business students right at the center of the business world. And this makes the MBA program offered by USC’s Marshall School of Business one of the very best available.
The 22-month MBA program emphasizes practical training and preparation, meaning there’s a big focus on experiential learning. USC MBA students study under a faculty of more than 243 business pros and scholars, all of whom put students to work tackling real business problems and researching new innovations and approaches. You’ll explore a variety of core and elective courses during the program, and you’ll also get to travel the world to spend a week abroad as part of the Marshall School’s global study component. MBA students can also work with USC alumni, getting firsthand experience and mentoring from former USC students who’ve already entered the workforce.
USC will prepare MBA students for a practical career in a demanding field – but you’ll also be ready for anything employers or businesses throw your way. And with an MBA in hand, USC graduates earn an average annual salary of $110,000 and $119,000, taking their careers to new heights.
Did you find this article helpful?