Benjamin Franklin remarked, “Early to bed, early to rise will make a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” but here at Best College Reviews we believe choosing the right MBA program will certainly help. Many of the world’s most powerful people hold an MBA, numerous publications rank MBA programs, and to succeed in the business world having an MBA in hand (or mounted in the office) is a must. The difficulty comes in choosing the right MBA program. It may be challenging in light of the plethora of possibilities. This is where Best College Reviews becomes your knight in shining armor. Though prestige is assuredly important, our best MBA programs ranking also include values significant to the student: flexibility, affordability, and of course, outcomes.
*Our methodology for ranking the best traditional MBAs can be found at the end of our ranking.
1. Indiana University – Bloomington
Coming in at #1 in both our Online and Traditional MBA rankings, Kelley School of Business has everything a business student is looking for. It is one of the most affordable programs amongst comparative universities at $44,460 per year with Indiana state residents only paying $25,500. Within three months of graduation, 94% of students had accepted jobs with a starting median annual salary of $102,000. Kelley School of Business also boasts the largest business school alumni network in the world with 102,064 living alumni. Affordability, high rate of return, and flexibility make Kelley one of the most student friendly business schools in the nation.
2. Emory University
Named after Roberto C. Goizueta, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company from 1981 to 1997 and one of the most respected business leaders of the 20th century, Goizueta Business School offers one of the most student-friendly MBA’s. High ranking outcomes include a median starting salary of $104,400, and 97% of students accepting a job within three months of graduation. There are many options for students looking for flexibility, including an evening program, one-year degree, or two-year degree.
3. University of Texas – Austin
Options abound at McCombs School of Business with six formats to choose from: attend full time in Austin, or join a part-time program with other working professionals in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and Mexico City. Texas residents receive a discount on the already low yearly tuition cost of $48,832, and the returns are high to boot with a starting median salary of $105,500. Worth highlighting, McCombs School of Business ranked the highest on our list of job acceptance with 100% of students accepting job offers within three months of graduation.
4. University of Washington
Conveniently located in the thriving business community of Seattle, home to big names like Amazon, Microsoft, Nordstrom, and Starbucks, Foster School of Business students build a personalized curriculum suited to career goals. With an average class size of 105 students, Foster offers a unique place to study. Outcomes are high with 96% of graduates accepting job offers and a median starting salary of $105,000. Tuition at Foster is $44,175 per year, offering Washington residents an instate discount. Lastly, there is an evening MBA program for the working professional.
5. University of California – Berkley
With one of the highest starting median salaries of $120,000, including the options of a night and weekend program, Haas School of Business is one of the most student friendly, yet prestigious MBA programs in the nation. Living up to one of their goals to “support developing innovative leadership,” Haas recently launched a groundbreaking MBA course called “Problem Finding, Problem Solving,” which gives students valuable tools to ask critical questions and deliver results.
6. Brigham Young University
A first year MBA student at Marriott School of Business will take classes focused on increasing critical thinking skills and significant managerial training before choosing an emphasis in one of five majors. This two year program combines affordability with high job placement; 95% of graduates had accepted jobs within three months of graduation. Members of the LDS church receive a tuition discount, but the program is not confined to LDS church members. Graduates of Marriott School of Business had a median starting salary of $97,000.
7. Rice University
Jones Graduate School of Business offers a low student-to-faculty ratio of nine to one. The faculty maintains an important balance of tenure-track professors, executives with significant classroom experience, and highly-cited academic researchers; graduate students have the opportunity to work closely with the faculty. Graduates see an annual median salary of $101,229, and 94% accepted jobs within three months of graduation. Jones School has also recently launched the Military Scholars Program, providing scholarships to cover tuition, fees, and expected living expenses for members of the military interested in pursuing an MBA at Jones.
8. Georgetown University
McDonough School of Business extends several programs to students including a full-time MBA, evening MBA, executive MBA, and global executive MBA. Students are educated with McDonough’s unique Global Business Experience where students have the opportunity to focus on vital skills in business within an ethical framework. Sending prepared graduates out into the world wit this combination of traits has led to a median base salary of $102,177.
9. Cornell University
Found at the largest Ivy League School, Johnson at Cornell was founded in 1946. With over 13,600 alumni, a $168 million endowment, and 60 corporate partners, Johnson has prestige. Beyond the prestigious name, Johnson is student friendly, providing several different MBA options, including both a 1-year and 2-year degree, as well as the option to customize a degree based on the student’s goals. Upon graduation, 90% of graduates accepted jobs within three months, and the median starting salary is $110,700.
10. Carnegie Mellon
Tepper School of Business offers students three MBA options: full-time, part-time on-line hybrid, and part-time on campus. Students can choose the option that best fit their schedule and goals without sacrificing the quality of education. Ranking high with a starting median salary of $112,000, yearly tuition at Tepper is $58,300. By providing personalized leadership coaching, Tepper focuses on developing the student’s leadership skills, strategic thinking, and executive communication making it a balanced and successful program.
11. New York University
Students looking to be prepared for their MBA in one of the centers of the business world should consider Stern School of Business. At Stern students can get a head start by applying for Summer Start, a program that offers formal summer training to a small group of students looking for an advantage. In addition to their Summer Start program, Stern also offers a part-time option. Graduates have a starting median salary of $107,450, with 96% accepting jobs within three months of graduation. With over 100,000 alumni in over 125 countries, including 500 CEOs, Stern offers one of the best alumni networks in the country.
12. Notre Dame
Mendoza College of Business has options for every student, with a one-year program, two-year program, executive MBA, and dual MBA degrees. Students pay $47,450 per year, making a Mendoza education affordable. Graduates have an 89% job acceptance rate. With the International Immersion Program, students have the opportunity to travel to Brazil, Chile, or China during their education. Combined with their MBA Mentor Program, which pairs MBA students with alumni working in the same field, unique opportunities abound at Mendoza.
13. University of Maryland
Located only eight miles from the White House, the Robert H. Smith School of Business has a learning community connected to the largest alumni network in Washington D.C., making it an ideal place to learn and connect. Smith School of Business offers several flexibility options including both an online or evening/weekend program. Tuition is $47,655 per year, with an instate discount offered for Maryland residents. Starting median salary for graduates is $95,000, and 88.1% job acceptance within three months.
14. Vanderbilt University
Finding it’s place in the top half of our rankings, Owen Graduate School of Management offers a perfect blend of affordability with high outcomes: tuition is $47,950 per year, graduate job acceptance rate is 93%, and graduates see a starting median salary of $100,513. Opening the doors in 1969 with only 10 students, Owen Graduate School of Management has grown into a top-ranking business school. The school was renamed in 1977 in honor of Lulu and Ralph Owen, former chairman of American Express.
15. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Kenan-Flagler Business School gives students the opportunity of both a full-time program as well as an on-line program. North Carolina residents will receive an instate discount off of the $55,546 yearly tuition. A top-ranking starting median salary of $100,000 place Kenan-Flagler as one of the best business schools in the nation. Faculty at Kenan-Flagler are well-known in the field of research, in both academic and corporate circles. The University of North Carolina is located in the beautiful college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and was the nation’s first public university.
16. Harvard University
Ranking high for starting median salaries, Harvard Business School graduates earn an average of $120,000 per year. There are 1,868 MBA students and 217 full-time faculty at Harvard Business School, making it one of the larger programs in the country. Students at Harvard are taught using a broad variety of methods and practices including case studies, field-based learning, international immersions, multimedia simulations, and many more opportunities. This academic powerhouse lives up to its Ivy League reputation with high outcomes; 89% of graduates have accepted a job offer within three months of graduation.
17. University of Virginia
Home to the Darden Center for Global Initiatives, which manages the global academic offerings in the MBA program, Darden School of Business has a global mindset. Darden is connected with 79 countries and 25 partner schools around the world, and its alumni network has alumni in over 90 countries. Tuition is $57,950 per year, and Virginia residents receive an in-state discount. Graduate starting median salary in 2013 was $111,171, making Darden one of the top-ranked business schools in the nation.
18. Duke University
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business offers students several MBA options including a weekend MBA program and the Cross Continent program – designed to help full-time working professionals from all over the world earn an MBA in only 16 months. Students from more than 25 countries serve as a peer network from five locations around the world. This diverse professional network is unique to Duke University. Outcomes include a starting median salary of $110,000, with 87% of graduates accepting jobs within three months of graduation. Typically, there are 437 students per MBA class, with an average age of 29.
19. University of Chicago
Student friendly with high outcomes, Booth School of Business offers MBA students a full-time program, evening program, weekend program, and executive MBA program. With 90.8% of students accepting a job within three months of graduation, and a starting median salary of $115,000, students can expect success. Notably, there are five total campuses: two in Chicago, and three international ones located in London, Singapore, a Hong Kong. A great boast of Booth School of Business is the fact that seven faculty have won Nobel Prizes for innovative ideas and contributions to the business world.
20. Northwestern University
Founded in 1908 in downtown Chicago as a part-time evening program, Kellogg School of Management has become one of the best business schools in the nation. They continue to give students opportunity for a part-time evening program as well as several other flexible options. Graduates can expect high outcomes, with 91.5% of graduates accepting employment within three months of graduation and a starting median salary of $114,769. Notable faculty include: Dale T. Mortensen, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2010, and Ali Babacan, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey.
21. Stanford University
Located in sunny California, on the southern side of the San Francisco Bay, Stanford Graduate School of Business boasts the top median starting salary on the list of $125,000 annually. Graduates can expect success at Stanford, with 95% accepting jobs within three months of graduation. There are 28,190 alumni, with alumni chapters all around the world. Stanford Graduate School of Business is the second wealthiest business school in the nation with a $1.3 billion endowment fund.
22. University of Pennsylvania
Wharton was the first business school in the United States, established in 1881 through a donation from Joseph Wharton, and is a private Ivy League university. Outcomes are high with 96.1% of graduates accepting jobs within three months of graduation and a starting median salary of $125,000. Tuition is $68,210 per year. Also worth noting is the fact that Wharton School has an impressive alumni network with over 92,000 alumni on six continents and 150 countries.
23. Georgia Institute of Technology
The need to integrate technology in a highly competitive world is something Scheller College of Business understands. It is known internationally as a “leader in business education that’s grounded in a deep understanding of how advances in technology affect the way business is conducted.” Tuition is an affordable $40,744 per year, with Georgia residents receiving a discount, and outcomes remain high with 87% of graduates accepting jobs within three months of graduation. Scheller also offers students flexibility with the option of attending an evening program.
24. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, founded in 1935, is located in the heart of sunny southern California. The annual starting median salary amongst graduates is $111,000 with 84.7% accepting employment within three months of graduation. Tuition is competitive at $53,148 per year. Anderson School of Management graduates have gone on to work for The Walt Disney Co., Miramax, NBC Universal, and Lionsgate Entertainment to mention a few.
25. Villanova University
Villanova was founded in 1842 by the Order of St. Augustine and is one of the most well-known liberal arts universities in the nation. It is located in a suburb northwest of Philadelphia. Students needing options will find many at Villanova University’s School of Business. Students seeking an MBA can choose between a full-time, part-time, on-line, executive, post-MBA certificate, or a joint program. Amongst graduates from the Class of 2013, 91% accepted a job within three months of graduation. Tuition is $57,236 per year.
26. Yale University
One of the foremost Ivy League Universities in the nation, graduates from Yale School of Management are in the top-tier as far as starting annual median salary at $110,000. The MBA program is a two year program featuring an integrated curriculum coupled by the challenging intellectual climate at Yale. Yale School of Management has also pioneered a form of open-ended on-line case study, called the “raw case” to support the curriculum. There are 90 faculty members in the MBA program.
27. University of Michigan
Graduates from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business see a starting median salary of $110,000 and 81.4% have accepted jobs within three months of graduation. Tuition is $59,778 per year, with Michigan residents receiving an in-state discount. Ross School of Business offers an evening/weekend program for students looking for flexibility while working on their MBA. There is a large alumni network, with over 45,000 alumni in 88 countries worldwide. Also to be considered is the numerous and diverse faculty at Ross at 151 full-time faculty.
Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has outcomes comparable with its Ivy League competitors. Graduates see an annual starting salary of $115,000 with 91% accepting a job within three months of graduation. Tuition is $61,605 per year. Students at Tuck receive the prestige of an Ivy League education while receiving a “face-to-face” and individualized education. Tuck has regional alumni advisory boards in Latin America and Europe, ready to help students find employment and advance in their careers.
29. Columbia University
Founded in 1916 with 11 faculty members and 61 students, Columbia Business School has rich history. It is located on Broadway Street in New York City, New York. This thriving business metropolis sets the perfect backdrop for MBA students. Graduates of this Ivy League University see a median starting salary of $110,000, and a 90% job acceptance rate. Columbia Business School is affiliated with 13 Nobel Prize for Economics winners, including three of the current faculty.
30. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
One of the most selective and prestigious MBA programs in the world, Sloan School of Management has students from over 60 countries every year. The school has published MIT Sloan Management Review for over 50 years, a leading academic journal focused on the management of innovation. Named after Alfred P. Sloan, a 1895 MIT graduate who was chairman of General Motors, and has been credited with creating the modern corporation, Sloan School of Management graduates predictably have high outcomes. Tuition at Sloan is $63,750 and the median starting base salary is high at $120,000. Also worth noting is 87.4% of graduates accept jobs within three months of graduation.
Best Traditional MBA Ranking Methodology
- Tuition (30%)
- All statistics are based on one year’s tuition, not the whole program.
- Additional fees, health care and room and board are not included.
- All statistics are based on job acceptance within three months of graduation and were gathered from schools’ Employment Reports.
Job Acceptance Rate (30%)
- All statistics were gathered from schools’ Employment Reports and do not included signing bonuses.
Starting Median Salary (30%)
- Flexible Options (10%)
- Schools were given points in this category if they offered online, weekend, evening, part time, 1 or 2 year degrees, etc.