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College Success

Top 10 MBA Programs To Consider & Why [2022]

06.13.2022 • 11 min read

Nick Griffin

Subject Matter Expert

Read about the top MBA programs in the US and why they are worth it. Bonus sections include overseas programs, FAQs and more.

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In This Article

  1. 10 Best MBA Programs in the US

  2. 6 Best MBA Programs Outside the US

  3. 5 Notable MBA Programs

  4. MBA Program FAQs

  5. How To Pay for an MBA Program

Is going back to school to earn your MBA worth the investment?

Many successful entrepreneurs and business leaders credit their MBA for giving them the tools and connections that propelled their careers forward.

By earning your Master’s of Business Administration, you will learn how to make decisions through long-term strategic thinking. By understanding analytics and metacognition strategies, you will have valuable skills that are desirable to any business.

An MBA program also provides a platform for networking with other business leaders. These powerful connections lead to career advancement and creative insight with other professionals.

Enrolling in a top full-time MBA program will give you access to the best education out there. You will learn from professors who are world-renowned in their fields and work on high-caliber projects that change the way people live and work.

The best business schools both in the US and abroad are sure to give you the career advancement you are looking for. The US News & World Report reports each school’s MBA rankings by using criteria such as:

  • Professor ratings

  • Alumni surveys

  • Average GMAT scores

  • Employment data

10 Best MBA Programs in the US

1. University of Chicago

With high rankings in leadership and employability, the Booth School of Business excels at preparing students for their careers. In fact, nearly 84% of students have managed to work full time while in college.

The University of Chicago offers MBA students a tailored and flexible curriculum to meet their diverse needs. The program is so tailored that there is only one required course for all students. Beyond this course, students choose between 13 concentrations—such as entrepreneurship—and various electives.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Chicago, IL1,249$74,919

2. University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has a long-standing reputation of being a top MBA program in the world. At the Wharton School, students graduate from the 21-month program with the largest alumni network in the country.

There are 18 different major concentrations at Wharton, but all students learn what it takes to lead a team. The core curriculum includes learning how to deal with stress and make critical decisions. Instructors teach these lessons inside the classroom and through Ventures—outdoor trips that put students in leadership situations.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Philadelphia, PA1,874$76,000

3. Northwestern University

The Kellogg School of Management encourages global learning. By offering 37 exchange programs in 20 countries, students learn business principles first-hand.

Since most Northwestern MBA students work full time, students can tailor their class schedule by taking evening or weekend courses. No matter which schedule a student takes, the program encourages them to get involved in management research with partnering centers.

MBA students at Northwestern can also pursue a master’s degree in innovation in conjunction with their MBA studies.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Evanston, IL1,425$76,368

4. Stanford University

The prestigious Graduate School of Business at Stanford has an acceptance rate of 6%.

The MBA program offers its students an abundance of choices in their education track. Students learn core business administration principles such as:

  • Human resource management

  • Finance

  • Accounting

  • Analysis

Also, their world-renown faculty teach all courses.

What separates Stanford’s curriculum from other schools is their choice of concentrations such as:

  • Not-for-profit management

  • Real estate management

  • Sports business

Stanford Graduate School of Business also has a Global Experience Requirement. For this requirement, students must live and work outside the US for at least 10 days.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Stanford, CA897$74,706

5. Harvard University

Harvard Business School is based on experiential learning methodology. This method of instruction poses true-to-life problems that students face throughout their education.

MBA students take their learning outside of the classroom by evaluating business models at existing companies. While working in small groups, students look at the intricacies of organizations.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Boston, MA1,742$73,440

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Sloan School of Management upholds the prestigious reputation of MIT. There’s an abundance of opportunities to learn and study globally with businesses abroad.

Students will also learn through research and application in Action Labs, where they take on problems at existing companies. Through competition, students create business plans that offer cash prizes to help fund their education.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Cambridge, MA934$78,954

7. Yale University

The School of Management at Yale believes students should know how to promote change at an organization from the ground up. Instead of business case studies, students do the research to put the data together and find organizational issues.

Beyond analysis skills, students enter ‌a Leadership Development Program that involves mostly a hands-on curriculum. Students are required to visit and work with domestic and international organizations throughout their program.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
New Haven, CT721$74,500

8. Columbia University

The Columbia Business School brings the top minds in New York in front of their students. With frequent guest lectures from entrepreneurs and business executives, students learn what success takes.

Columbia College of Business offers its MBA students an abundance of choices. The course catalog provides hundreds of electives and courses that students can tailor to their desired career path.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
New York, NY1,426$77,376

9. University of California - Berkeley

The Haas School of Business uses its vast network of resources to offer students internships to learn and help fund their education. Outside of internship, students work through a curriculum where the program assigns them projects at local and global companies.

With the experience gained throughout the MBA program, students report feeling prepared for their careers upon graduation. Students who are current executives can earn their MBA in as few as 19 months, while students have up to 3 years to complete the program.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Berkeley, CA638$65,360

10. Dartmouth College

The Tuck School of Business believes that it takes a community to foster success. When students first arrive on campus, the school places them into study teams. Through these teams, students learn to consult with businesses on the challenges they are facing.

The inspiring campus of Dartmouth College provides students with a space to enhance their well-being. On the campus, there is a ski slope, golf course, and an equestrian center available to Dartmouth students.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Hanover, NH581$77,520

6 Best MBA Programs Outside the US

When thinking about top-rated business schools and MBA programs, a savvy prospective student will also consider schools abroad.

There are many highly rated and competitive business schools whose programs rival reputable schools in the US. Beyond reputation, these schools offer students a chance to network globally. They also facilitate a cultural experience–igniting that sense of wonder and adventure.

These top MBA programs in the world will provide you with quality instruction, a challenging curriculum, and an experience of a lifetime. QS World University’s annual publication gives the following rankings and puts out a ranking of schools around the world each year.

1. HEC Paris

Several alumni from HEC Paris have gone on to run Fortune 500 companies after graduation. In fact, the HEC School of Business is one of the most selective programs in Europe.

Being a student at HEC means learning leadership skills by being a leader. HEC runs leadership seminars that students compete in with top industry experts.

The 15-month MBA program at HEC is such high quality that it has a perfect score in the category of return on investment.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Paris, France300$83,388

2. London Business School

The University of London College of Business provides its students with access to global leaders and organizations. With hundreds of global companies being based in London, students have a plethora of internship opportunities to gain valuable work experience.

The 21-month MBA program is at the top of the international list due to the high employability of its students after graduation. Students have quite a bit of choice throughout the program, but one central requirement is that students graduate with second-language proficiency.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
London, United Kingdom511$122,237

3. IE Business School

With a large global reach, the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain has professors from over 120 countries. Students have the option to attend courses on the urban Madrid campus or to learn remotely from anywhere in the world.

The MBA program at IE Business School gives students the option of 14 different program concentrations. Students can complete their program either full time or part time. Full-time, on-campus students in Madrid can complete the flagship International MBA Degree in one year.

All IE MBA programs approach learning in a hands-on format that offers students the chance to connect and learn from top business leaders. Students can choose to learn in all English classes or in a bilingual (English/Spanish) program track.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Madrid, Spain667$77,215

4. INSEAD

INSEAD’s reputable 10-month MBA program provides students with high-caliber instruction while living in beautiful Fontainebleau, France. The MBA program arms students with the skills to lead across cultures.

Students can choose between 75 different electives in order to tailor their program to their career trajectory. Graduates of INSEAD have found careers leading top organizations throughout the world. In fact, INSEAD is a top recruiting pool for both Amazon and Google.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Fontainebleau, France536$98,827

5. University of Navarra

The IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain puts business leadership and culture at the forefront of their program. Students become fluent Spanish speakers through multilingual classes and campus activities.

The MBA program itself is nearly 50% customizable, allowing students to tailor their electives to their anticipated careers. Students learn through labs that bring real-world problems. The success of the IESE Business School shows in salary statistics, with students more than doubling their annual income post-graduation.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Barcelona, Spain598$99,906

6. Oxford University

Oxford’s Said Business School has 95% international students, making it a diverse learning experience. Students participate in cohorts that bring in a variety of global business perspectives.

A crucial component of Oxford’s MBA program is its student treks, where students travel internationally to work and learn from business professionals.

The thought-provoking curriculum ensures students learn how to take on global challenges through collaboration on real-life projects.

LOCATION# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
Oxford, United Kingdom340$123,480

5 Notable MBA Programs

The following top business schools also provide high-quality MBA programs that you should consider as well. Each of the schools listed has a rigorous MBA program with high employability ratings after graduation. These schools are some of the best executive MBA programs out there.

SCHOOL/COLLEGE# OF STUDENTS (FULL-TIME)TUITION (PER YEAR)
New York University (Stern)658$78,700
Duke University (Fuqua)855$70,000
University of Michigan (Ross)747$67,114
Cornell University (Johnson)589$74,026
University of Texas-Austin (McCombs)487$53,856

MBA Program FAQs

Is an MBA Really Worth It?

The simple answer is, yes. Having an MBA will open doors for your career that simply having a bachelor's degree in business will not.

The price tag for these top MBA programs is quite steep, and there are many critics out there that believe the programs are not worth the value. Student loan debt should not be taken lightly. Prospective students should weigh out their own pros and cons when it comes to pursuing their MBA.

By investing in an MBA program, you will have tremendous networking opportunities and learn how to make decisions in difficult situations.

If you still need that bachelor’s degree, consider enrolling in Outlier’s Business Foundation, where you can knock out prereqs and earn transferable credits toward your degree at a fraction of the cost.

Is an MBA Program Difficult?

MBA programs are challenging, there is no doubt about it. This is why having an MBA is so valuable. Consider the challenges you will face in grad school as a way to learn and grow when the stakes are low.

By rising to the challenges of an MBA program, you will become both a better business leader and a more confident and competent person.

How Many Years Is an MBA Program?

Many students in an MBA program are on a two-year track. In the list above there are accelerated MBA programs where you can earn your degree in as little as 9 months.

For those looking to slow the pace of learning and maintain a high GPA, there are options to finish in up to 5 years.

While many people have a job while enrolled in their MBA program, you can find the track that works best for you and your schedule. If working full-time while in school is too much, consider a part-time college job to supplement your income.

How Do I Choose an MBA Program?

This is an important step. Since there are an endless amount of options, it can feel normal to be overwhelmed by the decision to choose one program.

Consider making a list of factors that are important to you such as cost, location, quality of education, flexible schedule, etc. Take this list and prioritize it. Then look for programs that fit your desired criteria.

Are There High-Quality Online MBA Programs?

There are many highly-ranked online MBA programs to choose from. These programs offer students the chance to learn from core faculty on a flexible schedule. All of these schools offer top part-time MBA programs as well.

Check out some of these high-quality online MBA programs:

  • Indiana University (Kelley)

  • University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)

  • Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

  • University of Texas (Naveen Jindal)

  • University of Pittsburgh (Katz)

How To Pay for an MBA Program

Think of paying for the program as merely an obstacle to going back to school, not an insurmountable barrier. Take the time to apply to the programs you’re interested in and then fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

The FAFSA will tell you if there are federal dollars available to you in grants and loans to go back to school. Then talk to the school’s financial aid office about scholarships and grants that you may be eligible for.

Have a conversation with your employer as well. Many businesses will pay for employees to further their education, it is an investment in the company.

By seeking out support and exploring your options, you will find the MBA program that is right for you. So, take the time to invest in your future. It will be well worth it.

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