Compiled and Written By TopManagementDegrees.com Staff
Last Updated: Feb 19, 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.
Top MBA Programs and Schools
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 Business School – Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard University's Business School offers on of the top MBA programs in the country to students interested in taking on leadership positions in prestigious organizations. Students complete the program in two years of full-time study focused on general management and practical experience. In the first year, students take courses such as financial reporting and control and leadership and organizational behavior; in the second year, they take elective curriculum in classes such as business analysis and valuation using financial statements, managing with data science, and mastering strategy execution. To apply, students must provide GMAT or GRE scores and submit transcripts from all previous undergraduate or graduate schools.
TMD Ranking Score: 100.00
#2 Stanford University Graduate School of Business – Stanford, California
A two year top online MBA program, Stanford University's Graduate School of Business offers their MBA on a full-time basis. To gain admission into the program the admissions office requires students to submit their GMAT or GRE scores, letters of reference, an application fee, and transcripts demonstrating the completion of an undergraduate degree. Learners study topics in information technology, global management, public management, and political economics, among others. The school offers a combination of both loans and fellowships to incoming students, though the program does require that all students pay at least some portion of their tuition out of pocket.
TMD Ranking Score: 97.41
#3 University of Chicago Booth School of Business – Chicago, Illinois
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business established this top MBA program for students hoping to take on managerial roles at leading organizations. The program takes 21 total months to complete, and students take between three and four courses per quarter. The program also offers a total of 13 concentrations in the MBA, with one required course in leadership effectiveness and development. Courses in the program include supply chain strategy and practice, theory of financial decisions, operations strategy and performance analysis, and consumer behavior. Those who want to gain admission to the program need to fill out the online application and sit for an interview.
TMD Ranking Score: 94.78
#4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management – Cambridge, Massachusetts
One of the top MBA programs in the U.S., the Sloan School of Management's MBA provides students with a highly regarded educational experience. In order to finish the program, students must complete a total of 144 elective units, with most units constituting between three and 12 total units. Example units include economic analysis for business decisions; industrial economics for strategic decisions; global climate change: economics, science, and policy; and engineering, economics, and regulation of the electric power sector. To apply, prospective students must include a cover letter, a CV, a video statement introducing themselves, and official transcripts and test scores.
TMD Ranking Score: 93.60
#5 Columbia University Business School – New York, New York
Columbia University's Business School offers a top online MBA degree to candidates invested in personal and professional development. Students can enroll in the program year around. Their application materials must include GRE or GMAT scores, transcripts from all postsecondary schools, and letters of recommendation. Some examples of classes a student might encounter include managerial statistics, real estate finance, operations management, and global economic environment. Classes take an hour and a half long, with about a 15 minute break in between each. The students in Columbia's program learn from world-class faculty who work to continue changing the business world for the better.
TMD Ranking Score: 93.55
#6 Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management – Evanston, Illinois
The top MBA degree at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management offers students both a one-year and a two-year option. The one-year program starts in June and ends in June of the next year and includes concentration options in data analytics, entrepreneurship, and growth and scaling, among others. The two-year program begins in September and finishes in June of the next year. Students interested in applying need to write two essays, one dedicated to clarifying their leadership experience and another dedicated to showing how they have grown as a professional and individual in recent years. Other admission requirements include a resume and a passing TOEFL or IELTS score for international students.
TMD Ranking Score: 93.24
#7 University of California, âBerkeley Haas School of Business – Berkeley, California
The University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business provides students with one of the top MBA programs in the U.S. Among other possible classes, students take ethics and responsibility in business, economics for business decision making, macroeconomics in the global economy, and fundamentals of design thinking. The program boasts that its graduates often earn salaries between $125,000 and $171,000 per year, giving them a significant return on investment for their MBA. The program offers support services to students such as career coaches, peer advisors, and relationship managers. Students also enjoy access to on-campus events that foster networking development to promote further career opportunities.
TMD Ranking Score: 92.22
#8 Yale University School of Management – New Haven, Connecticut
As a top MBA program in the U.S., the degree offered by Yale University's School of Management comes with career services that help foster professional growth through networking and events for graduates. The program's courses highlight essential business concepts such as managing groups and teams, modeling managerial decisions, sourcing and managing funds, and probability modeling and statistics. The school's application deadlines occur three times a year: in September, January, and April, with decisions in December, April, and May, respectively. Veterans interested in the program receive financial assistance through application fee waivers and increased participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
TMD Ranking Score: 90.02
#9 Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business – Hanover, New Hampshire
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College offers students options for grants, loans, and scholarships irrespective of their financial circumstances. Awards are based solely on academic merit, and students do not need to hold U.S. citizenship to receive them. Of its 287 current students, 45% are women, 20% U.S. minorities, and 35% international students. This diversity allows for a cross-pollination effect that enhances individual learning. Students must take some required courses and some electives. Electives include research to practice seminar: global structure and conduct of firms, countries and companies in the international economy, and financial reporting and statement analysis.
TMD Ranking Score: 89.34
#10 Duke University Fuqua School of Business – Durham, North Carolina
Students should consider the top MBA program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. Students elect one of 14 total concentrations and can participate in one of the program's more than 50 clubs. Admission to the program requires the completion of essays, test scores, the student's employment history, and proof of their educational background through the submission of transcripts. Applicants receive a notification of their acceptance in October, December, March, or April — depending on the date of their application. Possible classes include financial accounting, game theory for strategic advantage, health and policy management, and supply chain management.
TMD Ranking Score: 88.60
#11 Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business – Ithaca, New York
Cornell University's SC Johnson College of Business offers its top MBA program to students over a one-year or two-year period, depending on the students credentials and preferences. Students take a variety of courses, including those with topics such as microeconomics for management, managerial finance, leading teams, data analytics and modeling, and marketing management. Those interested in the one-year program must already hold an advanced certificate or degree prior to program entrance. Students in either track must take courses during the summer. Cornell University holds its accreditation status from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
TMD Ranking Score: 87.42
#12 University of California, âLos Angeles Anderson School of Management – Los Angeles, California
To apply to the University of California's top MBA program, students must meet the minimum requirements: qualifying GMAT and GRE scores, full-time work experience, at least two letters of recommendation, a successful interview, and essays responding to a questionnaire. International students who do not speak English as a first language also need to provide either their TOEFL or IELTS scores. The program consists of classes with studies in communication for leaders, operations technology management, leadership foundations, and managerial economics. To complete the program, learners must also address a practical business challenge through the completion of a capstone project.
TMD Ranking Score: 84.33
#13 New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business – New York, New York
New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business's top MBA program caters to individuals seeking managerial and leadership positions at some of the best organizations in the country. Students in the program complete coursework in topics focused on financial accounting and reporting, firms and markets, operations management, and leadership in organizations. For program entrance, incoming students must already possess an undergraduate degree, submit essays and official test scores, and speak fluent English. The program selects students based on their academic achievements, their professional background and aims, and their character. Veterans qualify for a variety of different benefits, including educational assistance.
TMD Ranking Score: 83.90
#14 University of Pennsylvania Wharton School – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Offering a top MBA program, the Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania lists a variety of loans and scholarships for students and highly recommends that learners consider the cost of the program with their family. The school offers three rounds of admission, with decisions in December, March, and May. The school boasts that graduates of the program earn an median annual salary of about $125,000, with just under 16% of students finding work outside of the U.S. The school also list of variety of resources available to graduate students, including career tracks, lists of careers available in multiple industries, programs and workshops, and recruiting events that allow students to network.
TMD Ranking Score: 82.01
#15 University of Virginia Darden School of Business – Charlottesville, Virginia
The University of Virginia's Darden School of Business provides students with the option to enter one of the country's top MBA programs. In addition to core curriculum, students take elective coursework in entrepreneurship, innovation, and strategy; leadership and organizational behavior, global economies and markets, and management communications. To apply, incoming students should provide their GRE or GMAT scores, a resume outlining their career experience, English proficiency test scores for international students, and a personal essay that demonstrates the students writing ability. Members of the military receive in-state tuition benefits and a books stipend totaling $1,000 per year.
TMD Ranking Score: 80.38
#16 Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
A top MBA program, Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business's master's in business administration requires the completion of courses in topics such as statistical decision making, managing networks and organizations, probability and statistics, and financial and managerial accounting. Student application materials should include a filled out application form, a written essay, at least one professional recommendation, and an updated resume. Students who do not speak English as a first language should also submit either their TOEFL or IELTS scores. Graduates of the program go on to earn an average salary of $119,000 per year in careers dedicated to finance, management, and marketing.
TMD Ranking Score: 79.00
#17 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-âFlagler Business School – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill provides a top MBA program to students hoping to advance their careers to the next level. Students complete coursework in class topics such as management communication: presentation skills, ethics and governance, shaping leaders for career success, and data analytics and decision making. For admission into the master's in business administration program, the selection committee looks for individuals who can work in teams, those with a history of results-driven success, and high-achieving individuals with academic promise. For students in financial need, the school offers merit-based scholarships and access to both private scholarships and government loans.
TMD Ranking Score: 76.88
#18 University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business – Ann Arbor, Michigan
As one of the top MBA programs in the U.S., the master's in business administration at the University of Michigan caters to ambitious students intent on furthering their careers through a qualitative education. The program emphasizes learning by experience through courses such as integrated product development, a class that sees student teams working together to develop a research project within a specific, predetermined market. Additional experiential learning occurs in courses such as business leadership in changing times, new venture creation, and big data management tools. The school offers a career development office to graduates in order to help them find work after completing the program.
TMD Ranking Score: 73.44
#19 University of Texas at âAustin McCombs School of Business – Austin, Texas
The University of Texas offers one of the country's top MBA programs to students who plan to move into leadership positions at reputable private, nonprofit, and government organizations. The program offers over 20 total concentrations, each with a focus on career transition, growth, or entrepreneurship. After two years of full-time study, students complete the program ready for managerial roles. Students in the program possess an average of almost six years of work experience, a 3.5 cumulative GPA score, and a 700 GMAT score. The program also highlights the fact that just under 30% of its students come from countries outside of the U.S.
TMD Ranking Score: 73.31
#20 Emory University Goizueta Business School – Atlanta, Georgia
Students taking the top MBA program from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University enjoy very small class sizes (a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1), a dedicated career coach, and a program designed for professional development. Students can choose either the one-year or the two-year option. In the one year program, students take classes such as security analysis and portfolio management, fixed income portfolio management, forecasting and predictive analytics, and decision modeling. For program entrance, students need to hold a GMAT score in the upper 80th percentile and an average GPA score of a 3.5. Military students do not need to pay for their application.
TMD Ranking Score: 72.07
#21 University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business – Seattle, Washington
The Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington offers this top MBA program to learners dedicated to professional growth and development. The program includes a one-year and a two-year curriculum. Students learn about the nature of leadership and management through studies in microeconomics of competition and strategy, statistics for business decisions, applied strategy: business consulting project, and leading teams and organizations. The school offers students multiple funding options, including Foster Scholarships, private and federal loans, and third-party scholarships. Applicants need to submit GRE or GMAT scores and provide two letters of recommendation; they receive decisions concerning acceptance in December, March, and May.
TMD Ranking Score: 70.02
#22 Georgetown University McDonough School of Business – Washington, District of Columbia
To complete a top MBA program from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, students need to complete a variety of courses, including financial markets and corp decision making, firm analysis and strategy, leadership and social intelligence, and marketing analysis and customer strategy. Learners must complete the 15 classes in the core plus the required number of electives. Prospective students should submit either their GRE or GMAT scores, transcripts from previously attended postsecondary schools, a resume and application fee, and letters of recommendation from either former professors or employers who can attest to the student's ability.
TMD Ranking Score: 68.07
#23 Indiana University Kelley School of Business – Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University's Kelly School of Business offers one of the top MBA programs in the country to students hoping to growth professionally. Subjects covered in the core curriculum include quantitative analysis for business decisions, strategic management, economic foundations, and business communication. While taking the core, students work through the coursework in small teams designed to cultivate a sense of camaraderie and develop interpersonal skills. The school offers some merit-based scholarships to those with demonstrated academic performance. Metrics used to determine eligibility include GMAT scores, the student's work background, the quality of a student's application, and academic achievement.
TMD Ranking Score: 66.38
#24 Purdue University Krannert School of Management – West Lafayette, Indiana
To receive a degree in one of the nation's top MBA programs, students can attend Purdue University's Krannert School of Management. Learners can specialize in one of a number of concentrations, including management information systems, strategic management, and human resource management. Sample coursework in the program includes launching global leaders, managerial communication skills, organizational behavior, and accounting for managers. Admission to the program requires that students complete two essays: one defining "integrity" and another explaining any gaps in their application. The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
TMD Ranking Score: 61.86
#25 Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business – Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State's W.P. Cary School of Business offers this top MBA program to students from a variety of backgrounds. Students explore course topics in multiple areas, including the art of managing resources to create value: managerial finance, digital innovations and transformation: information systems, and financial performance reporting and analysis: financial accounting. The school offers graduate assistantships on a limited basis to offset the cost of tuition; students who receive these assistantships work about 10 total hours per week. To apply, students should submit the online application and their official transcripts and GRE and/or GMAT scores. Learners who speak English as a second language also need to submit proof of their English proficiency.
TMD Ranking Score: 60.58
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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
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- 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.