Compiled and Written By TopManagementDegrees.com Staff
Last Updated: Apr 21, 2020
Enrolling in a master's in business administration program provides a great foundation for doctoral study or for profitable managerial roles in various industries. As of May 2018, management occupations boast a median annual salary of $104,240 and a higher-than-average projected job growth rate of 7%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
The list of top business schools and MBA programs ranked below shifts yearly as the business education landscape changes. This 2020 rankings page highlights the top MBA programs in the U.S. and offers guidance in choosing an MBA that fits your lifestyle and career goals.
The Best MBA Degree Programs
|1||Harvard University||Cambridge, MA|
|2||Yale University||New Haven, CT|
|3||University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA|
|4||Columbia University||New York, NY|
|5||Cornell University||Ithaca, NY|
|6||Stanford University||Stanford, CA|
|7||Duke University||Durham, NC|
|8||Northwestern University||Evanston, IL|
|9||Brown University||Providence, RI|
|10||University of Chicago||Chicago, IL|
Top MBA Programs and Schools for 2020
Note: A detailed explanation of the methodology we used to determine the Top 25 MBA programs can be found at the end of the ranking.
#1 Harvard University – Cambridge, MA
Consistently ranked among the most prestigious higher education institutions in the U.S., Harvard also offers one of the best MBA programs in the country.
This two-year, full-time MBA implements a case method system, which allows enrollees to confront problems in class and then apply what they learn to field experiences. Learners use the case method system in courses like leadership and corporate accountability, the entrepreneurial manager, and technology and operations management. They also participate in an immersive, semester-long seminar to consult for a global company.
Harvard only considers applicants with previous work experience. Prospective students must also GRE or GMAT scores and participate in an interview for admission.
Average Net Price: $47,562
#2 Yale University – New Haven, CT
Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale's School of Management offers several business degrees, including one of the best MBA programs in the country. The full-time degree follows an integrated curriculum, with students taking required core courses during their first year and electives during their second year.
Foundational courses cover topics like management, accounting, and statistics. Students also take organizational perspectives courses before moving on to the second year. Learners can optionally use electives to pursue a management science concentration.
All students complete a global studies requirement before graduation, choosing from a 10-day international experience, global social entrepreneurship courses, or an exchange program at universities like the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Average Net Price: $42,100
#3 University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA
The MBA program at Philadelphia-based Penn offers 18 concentrations in areas including business economics and public policy, multinational management, and organizational effectiveness. Students may also create their own concentration.
The 19-credit curriculum consists of nine core credits and 10 electives. Enrollees can choose to study abroad, take global modular courses, or participate in a global immersion program. The university also features an MBA career management team to aid learners in finding employment. Historically, 100% of students receive job offers, with the majority of graduates working in financial services, technology, and consulting.
Penn does not require work experience, but each incoming student must possess an average of five years in a professional environment. Applicants must also submit GRE or GMAT scores.
Average Net Price: $38,630
#4 Columbia University – New York, NY
At Columbia, the MBA program features a 60-credit curriculum comprising 18 core and 42 elective credits. Students can complete the degree in four terms, or just less than two years.
The first term covers core topics like leadership, ethics, finance, and marketing. MBA candidates can tailor the rest of the degree to their professional goals. Although the program does not offer formal concentrations, degree-seekers can choose courses that follow career-focused paths.
This program features a cluster system, which groups 65-70 incoming learners who take the same core courses. These clusters further break down into learning teams of five enrollees. Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores. While Columbia does not require work experience, most incoming students possess 3-8 years of professional experience.
Average Net Price: $48,390
#5 Cornell University – Ithaca, NY
Cornell's SC Johnson College of Business offers a two-year, full-time MBA on campus in Ithaca, New York. The degree features 12 focus areas, such as emerging markets, private equity and venture capital, and consulting and strategy.
After completing core courses during their first term, students jump into immersion learning experiences that combine theoretical classes with practical work. Learners can choose from several options for these experiences, including investment research or a sustainable global enterprise.
Each enrollee dedicates the summer between their first and second years to an internship. During their final year, many MBA candidates choose to study in New York City for intensive courses in fintech or digital management.
Prospective students who already possess considerable experience and want to enter their careers more quickly may also consider the school's accelerated one-year MBA option.
Average Net Price: $29,584
#6 Stanford University – Stanford, CA
Stanford's MBA degree takes two years to complete and consists of core courses in leadership and management, a global experience requirement, and electives.
The first-year curriculum covers several foundational topics, like managerial skills, organizational behavior, and strategic leadership. During their second year, students take more advanced classes and electives. They may also choose to take two-week compressed courses or classes outside of the MBA curriculum.
The global experience may consist of a four-week global management immersion, 10-day seminars, or global study trips to countries like the UK and Greece. Each learner can also opt to pursue a dual degree by adding a juris doctor, master of education, or master of public policy to their MBA.
Average Net Price: $51,354
#7 Duke University – Durham, NC
Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke offers a daytime MBA program in a fast-paced format. After students complete a month of immersion and orientation requirements in July and August, they enroll in six-week courses. The full program takes 22 months to complete.
Learners start with general management courses during their first year before pursuing concentration courses. Duke offers 16 concentrations in areas including energy finance, social entrepreneurship, and decision sciences. MBA students can also supplement their degrees with optional certificates in finance and health sector management.
Duke encourages students to learn from one another, creating 4-5-person teams for group projects during the first semester. Enrollees can complete experiential learning opportunities, such as consulting or serving on a board. They can alternatively opt to complete a global study program.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $54,712
#8 Northwestern University – Evanston, IL
Based just north of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern features a few different MBA programs, including a full-time, two year MBA. The degree prepares graduates to find employment in the business and technology fields, with 98% of alumni receiving job offers within three months of graduation.
The program allows students to choose from seven concentrations, including economics, strategy, and managing operations. They can also opt to follow a pathway that prepares learners for emerging fields, like data analytics, venture capital and private equity, and social impact.
MBA candidates can optionally enroll full time at an international university as exchange students or participate in shorter business immersion experiences. Prospective students do not need work experience to apply. They should, however, submit GRE or GMAT scores.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $54,620
#9 Brown University – Providence, RI
At Brown, students can enroll in a 15-month executive MBA program designed for mid-career professionals. Degree-seekers enroll in five face-to-face learning periods that span 1-2 weeks and take place on Brown's main campus in Providence and in Madrid and Cape Town. In between those periods, learners complete coursework online.
Students enter the program with a professional background, so Brown offers specialized courses, rather than a foundational curriculum. Classes include managing communities of work, the rise of China, and society and culture in the age of globalization.
The experience in Cape Town, South Africa, allows enrollees to apply business knowledge and skills to real-world situations. At the end of the program, students take part in a key reflection project. This culminating academic experience allows each student to solve a business problem in an area of interest.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $55,332
#10 University of Chicago – Chicago, IL
UChicago's Booth School of Business offers a full-time MBA program that students can complete in 21 months. The degree follows a flexible curriculum, allowing learners to choose from 13 concentrations in areas such as business analytics, econometrics and statistics, and international business.
Students may also take lab courses, like a global social impact practicum or a healthcare analytics lab. These courses give students practical learning experience working in teams to complete project-based experiential opportunities.
Students can take advantage of several MBA career resources through UChicago. The university offers career coaching, career development training, and workshops to help learners craft their resumes and cover letters. About 98.4% of alumni received job offers within three months of graduation.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $58,968
#11 Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, MD
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the MBA program at Johns Hopkins focuses on experiential learning and comprises 54 credits. Students can complete the program in two years.
The program begins with a foundations week, which includes a behavioral science boot camp, data science boot camp, and an intro to experiential learning. Later in the program, students complete an innovation field project that includes a three-week, in-person experience during which MBA candidates use business data analytics skills to solve business problems.
Learners can also participate in a global immersion experience, leadership development expeditions, a big data consulting project, or a citylab initiative. About 93.2% of graduates find employment within three months of graduation. Graduates also earn an average salary of $108,931.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $55,816
#12 Vanderbilt University – Nashville, TN
Students who attend Nashville-based Vanderbilt can enroll in a full-time MBA program that lasts 21 months. Approximately 97% of graduates receive job offers within three months and earn an average salary of nearly $119,000.
After orientation, MBA candidates complete four short terms each year. Each student must complete an internship during their summer break. The Vanderbilt MBA offers eight concentrations in areas including strategy, marketing, and healthcare.
Students can further customize the degree through specializations and emphasis areas in brand management, corporate finance, entrepreneurship, and real estate. The curriculum also provides international study and immersion learning opportunities.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $47,686
#13 University of Southern California – Los Angeles, CA
The Marshall School of Business at USC provides several learning opportunities for business students, including a full-time MBA. The program spreads the core curriculum over five terms, and enrollees can specialize their degrees with electives and independent projects.
The curriculum requires a few signature courses, including the international PRIME course. During this course, students travel to a foreign country to analyze business models during an immersive week. A problem-solving and decision-making course requires students to work in teams to provide consulting services to real businesses.
Degree-seekers can also participate in experiential learning electives. Learners interested in finance may take the graduate student investment fund course, which allows students to manage the university's endowment fund. MBA candidates who value work that alleviates poverty and homelessness can apply for the society and business fellowship program.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $45,561
#14 Washington University in St. Louis – Saint Louis, MO
At Washington University, students can enroll in a full-time MBA program through the university's Olin School of Business. Degree-seekers typically graduate in two years, though students can also choose from 14-month or 18-month tracks.
All students start with a six-week global immersion program that takes them to St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Barcelona, Paris, and Lima. This experience begins with an orientation and proceeds with intensive, immersive courses on topics related to international business.
The remainder of the degree focuses on experiential learning in corporate consulting, nonprofit consulting and governance, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Enrollees can optionally complete a consulting practicum and participate in St. Louis' small business initiative. Each MBA candidate must complete an internship during the summer between their first and second years.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $52,875
#15 Rice University – Houston, TX
Located in Houston, Texas, Rice offers a full-time MBA that prepares students for high-paying business careers. About 92.3% of Rice MBA alumni accepted job offers with an average starting salary of nearly $125,000.
The degree spans two years, with students taking foundational courses during their first year. During their second year, MBA candidates enroll in concentration courses. Rice offers nine concentrations in areas including energy, entrepreneurship, and strategic management.
Learners partake in global field experiences during the summer to work on immersive business projects around the world. Students can also participate in an active learning project or a team-based consulting project that lasts 13 weeks. An optional leadership and team coaching project allows MBA candidates to practice their management skills.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $38,438
#16 Carnegie Mellon University – Pittsburgh, PA
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, CMU enrolls about 200 students in its master of business administration program offered through the Tepper School of Business. The degree focuses on leadership development and holds STEM designation, prioritizing data and analytics within its curriculum.
The full-time program lasts 21 months and requires each enrollee to choose at least one concentration, though candidates can select up to four. Concentration options include business technologies, operations research, and sustainability.
During their final year, learners can choose from several capstone options. They can study abroad for four weeks in Germany or China, participate in a "management game," or take a strategic management course. About 94% of graduates receive job offers within three months of graduating, earning an average salary of over $126,000.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $44,667
#17 University of Notre Dame – Notre, Dame, IN
At ND, students can enroll in a two-year, full-time MBA that begins with an integral leadership development program. This program lasts four days and assesses each enrollee's leadership skills, preparing them for the curriculum ahead.
Students participate in "MBA treks" that take them to companies like Google in San Francisco or JP Morgan in New York. MBA candidates may also complete global immersions in Asia, South America, or South Africa.
The curriculum allows students to choose from several tracks, including business analytics, investments, consulting, and innovation and entrepreneurship. About 85% of students obtain fellowships, which provide financial assistance.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $53,218
#18 Lehigh University – Bethlehem, PA
Located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh allows professionals to work full time while pursuing a hybrid "FLEX" MBA program. Approximately 180 students enroll in the program each year, which features a part-time format and takes about 3.5 years to complete.
Learners can attend classes on campus or stream courses online in real time. These synchronous courses allow students to participate in class discussions. Classes meet in the evenings so as not to disrupt a full-time workday.
MBA candidates can choose from seven concentrations in areas such as corporate entrepreneurship, international business, and project management. Enrollees can also take advantage of the professional development program, which helps clarify and sharpen their career pathways.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $26,880
#19 Emory University – Atlanta, GA
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Emory designed its full-time MBA program for professionals looking to change careers. The curriculum emphasizes leadership and career development and takes two years to complete.
The program begins with a two-week onboarding orientation. After that, students can choose from 20 concentrations in areas including alternative investments, capital markets, healthcare consulting, social enterprise, and organizational management. Throughout the program, learners solve problems in teams through Emory's IMPACT 360 project.
Each student takes part in an experiential global module during the spring semester. This experience allows them to travel to countries like India, South Africa, and Japan while completing internships or working on special projects. MBA candidates also participate in an advanced leadership academy, which includes a sailing trip in the Virgin Islands.
Individuals who want to focus on their existing career pathways can enroll in a one-year accelerated MBA program.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $42,628
#20 Dartmouth College – Hanover, NH
Dartmouth enrolls about 280 students in its MBA program, which prioritizes practical learning. During their first spring semester, learners complete a first-year project in which they take on consulting jobs at multinational corporations and nonprofits. Some students also opt to complete this project abroad or at the Normandy Institute.
After completing their first year of foundation courses, MBA candidates can take advantage of the global consulting course, during which they work with foreign nongovernmental organizations, global insight expeditions, and private equity and entrepreneurship opportunities.
About 98% of graduates receive job offers within three months of graduating, earning an average annual salary of nearly $140,000. Most graduates work in consulting, financial services, and technology.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $53,829
#21 Villanova University – Villanova, PA
Based in Pennsylvania, Villanova offers a full-time, 48-credit MBA program that students can complete in 21 months. The program allows degree-seekers to choose from 10 specializations, including sustainability, international business, cybersecurity, and healthcare.
All enrollees take foundational courses in their first year, and they can choose electives later in the program. MBA candidates also complete two consulting projects during a social enterprise practicum. Learners partner with nonprofits and multinational organizations to meet this requirement.
Incoming students can apply for a fellowship program that covers MBA degree costs and pays MBA candidates for research. Learners who prefer to keep their jobs while pursuing the degree should consider the Flex Track MBA. This option allows degree-seekers to enroll part time and graduate in three years.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $19,005
#22 University of Rochester – Rochester, NY
Rochester's Simon Business School offers a full-time MBA with specializations in finance, marketing, and consulting, along with 10 possible minors.
All MBA candidates take a required project course, which allows them to apply business theories in a real-world environment. The curriculum also includes a three-month term abroad in Finland, Germany, or Japan. This experience teaches students about the global marketplace while expanding their professional network.
About 91% of graduates accepted employment within three months of graduation, earning an average base salary of $142,000. Most graduates work in consulting, finance and accounting, and marketing and sales.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $40,328
#23 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, MI
Based in Ann Arbor, U-M offers a full-time master of business administration through the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. About 89% of students enter the program to change careers. The majority of graduates go on to work in consulting, finance, or technology.
The curriculum prioritizes action-based learning to prepare students for the business world. Courses give enrollees the tools they need to develop their own business ideas. Learners can also take part in consulting services and investment funds.
Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores. While U-M does not strictly require work experience, the admissions department considers applicants' professional backgrounds when making admission decisions.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $34,903
#24 New York University – New York, NY
Based in Manhattan, NYU's MBA degree program offers access to some of the biggest businesses in the world and enrolls about 350 students each year.
MBA candidates can choose from 20 specializations, including corporate finance, digital marketing, entertainment and media, luxury marketing, and law and business. Students may participate in several experiential learning opportunities, such as managing investment funds or completing a team consulting project.
Students may enroll in one- or two-week global intensive courses in January and May in countries like Argentina, Australia, or China. They can also opt to pursue a dual degree, supplementing their MBA with either a master of public administration or master of fine arts from the university's film and television school.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $45,426
#25 Georgetown University – Washington, DC
Located in the nation's capital, Georgetown offers a full-time master of business administration that prioritizes global business. Students can pursue study abroad opportunities in areas like Peru, Ghana, Spain, and China.
The degree consists of 60 credits, including 36 credits of core coursework. Students complete one- and two-week intensive learning experiences that allow them to explore nontraditional MBA topics, like data visualization and national security.
MBA candidates may also supplement their degrees with certificates in nonmarket strategy and consumer analytics and insight. A venture fellows program allows enrollees to take on a yearlong apprenticeship at a local venture capital firm.
About 95% of alumni receive a job offer within three months of graduation, earning an average full-time salary of about $124,000 per year. Most graduates work in consulting, financial services, and technology.
Avg. Net Price of Program: $50,012
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Why an MBA?
Many entry-level management positions require only a bachelor's degree; however, an MBA signals greater preparedness and specialization, and thereby makes you a much more competitive candidate for management roles. Many top MBA programs also provide internships and other networking opportunities that can help you get hired. Some college graduates go directly into an MBA program, while others work in the private or public sector for years before seeking career and salary advancement through this advanced degree.
MBA core courses often include managerial economics, competitive strategy, and operations management. MBA coursework emphasizes communication, leadership, and other soft skills, plus hard skills such as software for accounting, scheduling, and other managerial tasks.
MBA-holders work in nearly every industry from healthcare to education to manufacturing. Some schools offer multiple MBA tracks or concentrations with curricula tailored to particular industry areas such as information technology, real estate, or healthcare management. See below for additional information about MBA concentrations.
Learn More About MBA Programs and Business Schools
- Top 50 Most Affordable MBA Programs
- Top Online MBA Programs
- Shortest Affordable MBA Programs
- Do Affordable Online MBA Programs Offer a Good ROI?
How to Find the Right MBA Program
As you research MBA programs, pay careful attention to program curricula, identifying programs offering coursework or concentrations that interest you. If you seek career advancement in a particular industry, look for top business schools that offer a corresponding MBA concentration. If you want to start or expand a business, an MBA in entrepreneurship may help. If you plan to pursue a marketing or accounting position, choose an MBA concentrated on those skill sets.
Pay attention to capstone requirements also, noting that thesis-based degrees can take more time than non-thesis projects. Internship-based capstone projects can bolster the resumes of less experienced business graduates, whereas students interested in business research or doctoral study may find a thesis-based MBA program provides helpful preparation.
MBA programs also vary when it comes to learning platforms and attendance options. Students can earn an MBA on campus, online, or through a hybrid program that combines these formats. On-campus programs often translate into better mentorship and peer networking opportunities, but online MBA programs allow students to save on commuting and on-campus housing costs by taking courses from the convenience of their home.
Online MBA programs prove particularly popular with working professionals who want to keep their day jobs as they pursue their MBA. Busy, working students may want to find a program allowing part-time attendance, while students motivated to earn their degree quickly may want to select an accelerated MBA program.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Business Administration?
Traditional full-time MBA programs typically require 43-60 credits and take four semesters (two years) to complete. Accelerated MBA programs reduce this timeline considerably by running shorter, intensive courses throughout the year, including over winter and summer breaks.
Working adults may opt for part-time MBA programs (which typically take three years) or for executive MBA programs geared toward experienced professionals. Both of these MBA types usually offer flexible online attendance formats so that students can continue working while pursuing their degree.
Some students pursue a dual MBA program that takes three or more years but grants both an MBA and a second degree in a related subject. Some undergraduates earn their bachelor's and their MBA simultaneously through a five-year dual degree program. Most MBA programs require a capstone project consisting of a thesis and/or a practical internship experience.
This Super MBA Ranking examined almost 490 US MBA programs based on their prestige and quality. Each school was ranked on their scoring in the six leading on-campus MBA ranking systems today. MBA ranking scores were taken from the US News and World Report Best Graduate Business School Ranking, the Bloomberg Businessweek Best Business Schools Full-Time MBA Ranking, the Forbes Best Business Schools Ranking, the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking, the Economist Global Full-Time MBA Ranking, and the Eduniversal Best Full-Time MBA in North America Ranking.
Each ranking system emphasizes certain criteria that it deems most important, in order to quantify which MBA program is best. By averaging all the scores, this list provides a more subjective score without the idiosyncratic elements of each ranking system's methodology. The data for each list was compiled and placed on a 100 point scale. Then all the data was calculated with equal weight and averaged to find the Top Management Degrees Score. This score provided the ranking order for this list.
Professional Organizations in Business Administration
Many MBA students and graduates join professional organizations to stay current on business news, network with other business professionals, and pursue continuing education opportunities. The professional organizations below also offer conferences, certifications, publications, and other online career resources. Some organizations feature student chapters and membership discounts.
A leading association for management professionals, AMA offers 26 courses on relevant topics. AMA also boasts a women's leadership center, a resource library, and corporate training services.
ACMP establishes and publishes ethical and practical standards for change management professionals. This association also features networking opportunities, professional development programs, webinars, and conferences.
Designed for organizations and professionals interested in forging strategic business partnerships, ASAP provides many relevant resources including continuing education, conferences, and publications.
Aspiring to integrate scholarship and practice, SMS runs conferences that bring together diverse professionals interested in strategic management. SMS also publishes journals and provides awards and research funding.
A nonprofit founded in 1959, AIB provides events, publications, and a career center for global management professionals. AIB boasts 17 chapters across the globe and offers interest groups focused on research methods and women in AIB.