Top MBA business schools in the USA

America is the home of the MBA, and the top business schools in the USA are also some of the best in the world. They consistently deliver the highest average salaries for their graduates, lead the pack when it comes to innovation in business education and hold the advantage of lying in the largest economy in the world. Despite a growth in popularity of European and Asian business schools in recent years, the United States remains the king.

In short

Considering the USA as your MBA destination?

There are many reasons for this, but perhaps chief among them is the rise in salary that an MBA from here can provide graduates with. The post-MBA salary for graduates from the top business schools in the USA sits comfortably north of $100,000, which is good news for your bank balance but also represents excellent ROI on your MBA. Read more about what an MBA is exactly in our article “What is an MBA?“.

When it comes to business schools, prestige is important. For executive positions you will likely be competing against a number of people who also hold an MBA, and along with your academic and work credentials employers will also judge you based on the strength of the institution that you attended. And business schools don’t come much more famous than Columbia. It is world-renowned, located in the heart of New York City and boasts an illustrious list of alumni that includes 14 billionaires – the third highest number of any b-school.

Not only do students here benefit from an award-winning faculty and one of the most diverse student populations of any leading business school, but also enjoy access to one of the biggest business communities in the world in New York City (average MBA graduate salaries sit north of $200,000). Whilst that substantial salary boost is an obvious attraction to potential students, being located in Manhattan brings the added benefit of hosting more campus visits by business leaders than any of the other top business schools in the USA. But before you start frantically filling out your application form, it’s worth pointing out that the Columbia MBA is also amongst the most competitive in the world, with an acceptance rate of less than 20%.

Without Harvard Business School there might have been no MBA – and subsequently no! The first ever MBA was established at this very business school back in 1908, and it’s little surprise that a name as prestigious as Harvard popularised what is now the foremost business qualification in the world. The university has been constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries since being founded in the 17th century and its business school regularly tops global rankings. Harvard is seemingly always a step ahead of other top business schools in the USA, with its MBA program ranked at #1, #5 and #7 in the world by the Financial Times, QS and The Times Higher Education respectively.

Although the prestige of a business school remains an important factor in your postgraduate career, you can’t rely on that alone. Harvard combines its significant reputation with pioneering teaching methods such as the Harvard Case Method, which presents real-life challenges that have faced global organizations and places you in the role of decision maker. The school also publishes the long-running Harvard Business Review, an influential magazine that is translated into fourteen languages and read by business leaders and executives the world over. Put simply, Harvard is a name synonymous with business, and it’s easy to understand why its global reach and influence is as strong today as it has ever been.

Pioneers of the one-year MBA, which was first launched here in 1965, there’s no doubt that Kellogg School of Management is one of the top business schools in the USA. It is primarily based within the main Evanston campus of its parent university, Northwestern University, in a sprawling 231 acre site on the shores of Lake Michigan in Illinois. Thanks to its partnerships with universities all over the world, Kellogg has a vast global network that allows for exchange programs, worldwide exploration student trips and on-campus global opportunities. Of all the business schools in the list, Kellogg is arguably the one with the greatest global outlook and range of foreign study opportunities for its MBA candidates.

The Executive MBA on offer at Kellogg marks it out as a world leader in business education. Thanks to their Global EMBA Network, students have the opportunity to study at seven campuses dotted around the world who offer dual degree options with Kellogg. The school’s joint EMBA with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has been ranked #1 in the world in two of the past three years by the Financial Times, with three more of the school’s various EMBA programs also appearing in the top 50. For experienced businessmen or women looking for a globally-focused program that can launch them to the next level in their career, Kellogg is often top of the list.

What’s different about Yale School of Management? Well, aside from being one of the top business schools in the USA and part of the fabled Ivy League of American universities, it also shrugs off the idea that business school intakes are always dominated by men. 42% of a recent MBA class were female, making it more gender balanced than most other leading business schools. It is also different in the sense that a higher proportion of Yale students go on to pursue nonprofit ventures than those graduating from other b-schools, with the school ranked #1 for Nonprofit Programs according to U.S. News.

Another key difference that sets Yale apart is the integration of its business school with the wider university. Whilst most business school students see little or no interaction with non-business students, at Yale the collaboration of individuals from different sections of the university is actively encouraged. This is particularly important in the context of training leaders, for whom it is especially important to be able to bring together people from different disciplines and backgrounds to achieve success.

Furthermore, studying an international element as part of your MBA is mandatory at Yale. That could involve spending a semester at a partner business school abroad, participating in an intensive week of workshops in a global business hub or completing a class project with students from around the world. With so many characteristics that set it apart from rivals, it’s easy to see why the Yale SOM MBA is considered as one of the leading business qualifications in the world.

The Haas School of Business, part of the University of California, is a leading global business school with an unbeatable location right on the doorstep of Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. They foster close links with the 2,000+ tech companies peppered throughout this world-famous region, putting its graduates at an instant advantage over others when it comes to securing a lucrative postgraduate job at the likes of Apple, Google or Facebook. And that fact, as we’ll see, is borne out by the numbers.

Haas is ranked #10 in the world by the Financial Times and #11 by The Economist, yet of this elite clutch of schools it may just represent the best value for money when it comes to your MBA. The Financial Times ranking of Global MBAs indicates that Haas School of Business graduates have the sixth highest average postgrad salaries in the world, yet its tuition fees are $68,444 – considerably cheaper than the fees at other leading institutions. And although a whopping 32% of the most recent MBA class now work in tech, Consulting (25.1%) and Financial Services (15.0%) are also well-represented when it comes to the top industries for its graduates. If you’re targeting a spot at one of the top business schools in the USA but are put off by the skyhigh tuition fees, then the more affordable Haas MBA could be the one for you.

Has reading about these top business schools in the USA piqued your interest in pursuing an MBA? Here on MBAGRADSCHOOLS you can easily browse through hundreds of business schools and connect with their current students in the Ambassadors section of the website.

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