Our 2016 ranking of the top fifty MBA programs in the United States is based on the firm belief that two years in a business program is one of the best investments you can make in yourself and your career, whether that be in entrepreneurship or in the offices and boardrooms of the world’s great companies. MBA programs continue to be in high demand, and that will likely not change anytime soon. Our rankings took into consideration factors such as cost of attendance (annual tuition), where each school falls in existing ranking data, and each program’s reputation and track record in the business community. Our data was gathered from sources such as U.S. News & World Report, individual school websites, The Economist, Bloomberg Business, PayScale.com, and other public sources. If you want to work with the best, give your ideas their best opportunity for success, or any combination of the two, we believe the programs in this list are some of the best places in the country to start.
University of California Davis
The University of California Davis is a public research university with a 5,300-acre campus just west of Sacramento. The MBA curriculum at Davis focuses on an Integrated Management Project and Critical Thinking (IMPACT). Through this curriculum, student teams work on 10-week projects for real client firms. UC Davis offers self-guided concentrations for the MBA degree, as well as concurrent degrees, a leadership program, and an international study trip.
Annual tuition: $48,734
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, was founded in 1766 and has several campuses across the state. The full-time MBA program is located on the Newark Campus and includes hands-on experience as well as a wide variety of concentrations to choose from. The Rutgers Business School has strong ties with top companies in New York and New Jersey, making it easier for graduates to find jobs. Global study opportunities are also available in China, Costa Rica, India, France, and Germany.
Annual tuition: $45,232
Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University is a private research university in Dallas that was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Cox School of Business at SMU offers a full-time MBA program as well as an accelerated one-year option. The full-time degree experience includes the Global Leadership Program, which allows students to travel to one of five geographic regions and meet with high-level corporate and government leaders. The Cox School at SMU is also distinguished by its innovative spirit and its strong professional network.
Annual tuition: $44,200
University of Rochester
The University of Rochester is a nonsectarian private research university in New York. The full-time MBA program at Rochester’s Simon Business School is geared toward professionals undergoing a career transition, as well as students with three to eight years of work experience. A summer internship and the option to choose from 13 degree concentrations help students focus their study based on their own desires and interests. The program runs on a cohort format and is made up of 20 courses that are usually completed in 22 months.
Annual tuition: $51,667
University of Maryland
The University of Maryland is a public institution in College Park, about four miles from Washington, D.C. The university has proven its commitment to student success by adjust its curriculum to meet the changing needs of the business world. Global opportunities, case competitions, and other real-world learning experiences supplement the highly influential curriculum. Students can choose to combine their MBA degrees with JD, MS, MPP, or MSW degrees.
Annual tuition: $47,655
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University, now located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a private, independent, nonprofit institution. After finishing the MBA program at Wake Forest, students benefit from a 96 percent average compensation increase and one of the most diverse groups of recruiters in the nation. The full-time MBA program enrolls around 50 students each year, with an average work experience of four years. WFU aspires to educate the whole person by incorporating personal assessments and development opportunities outside the classroom.
Annual tuition: $41,316
Michigan State University
Michigan State University, located in East Lansing, is the nation’s seventh-largest university by enrollment. MSU’s Eli Broad School of Management enrolls about 900 Master’s degree candidates. The full time MBA program at Michigan State takes an action-based experiential learning approach, challenging and empowering students to work as a team to create solutions to real business problems. MBA students can major in Finance, Supply Chain Management, Marketing, Human Resource Management, or Consulting.
Annual tuition: $44,860
University of Ilinois Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system. The MBA curriculum at Illinois focuses on business fundamentals during the first year, while second-year students are able to customize their degrees by choosing elective classes both inside and outside of the College of Business. Urbana-Champaign has the world’s largest student-run consultancy, proving the university’s commitment to experiential learning. The university offers several competitive and substantial scholarships.
Annual tuition: $32,974
University of Iowa
The University of Iowa, located in Iowa City, was founded in 1847 and is the oldest university in the state. The MBA program at the University of Iowa is organized through three career academies: Marketing, Finance, and Business Analytics. Each academy functions by identifying employer needs and using skills development, practical experience, and a professional development plan to meet those needs. Among the class of 2015, 98 percent had found a job within three months of graduation.
Annual tuition: $35,950
Boston College is a private Jesuit research university that was originally a liberal arts college and preparatory school. The university was founded in 1863 and is located six miles from downtown Boston. BC’s Carroll School of Management offers full- and part-time MBA options. Internships, part-time work, special projects, and enriching study trips are abundantly available for Boston College students and alumni.
Annual tuition: $43,770
Boston University is a private research institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Since its founding in 1839, Boston U has produced multiple Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, Academy, Emmy, and Tony Award winners, as well as other notable alumni. Within BU’s Questrom School of Business, a two-year MBA degree is available, with specializations in Health Sector Management and Public & Nonprofit Management. Students can also pair an MBA degree with a non-business degree, or even choose to spend a year studying internationally.
Annual tuition: $45,686
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, originally founded as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, has its main campus in Columbus and several regional campuses around the state. Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business allows MBA students to choose a major or design their own. Only about 120 students enroll in the MBA program each year, meaning that class sizes are small and professors are able to provide personal support for their students. The program does not confine itself to a single method of learning, but is made up of case analysis, lecture and discussion, team projects, experiential learning, and simulations.
Annual tuition: $48,080
Rice University, officially known as William Marsh Rice University, is a private research institution in Houston, Texas. The university’s mission focuses on using unconventional wisdom to impact the world. The Texas Rice Jones Graduate School of Business offers a full time MBA program that includes core courses, action learning projects, and specialized concentrations in areas such as finance, energy, global business, and real estate. Coordinated degree programs couple the Rice MBA with degrees in science, engineering, and medicine.
Annual tuition: $50,400
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota is located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The U of M’s Carlson School of Management was one of the first business schools to offer experiential learning as part of its curriculum. The school now utilizes four Enterprise Programs to allow students to make real-world contributions to client businesses. Classes, career guidance, and leadership development come together in the full-time MBA program, transforming students into more capable and prepared professionals.
Annual tuition: $45,000
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university with five campuses in the Phoenix area. The nation’s largest public university by enrollment, ASU offers a variety of MBA degree options including full-time, part-time, and online study, as well as executive and custom corporate tracks. Over 800 students are currently pursuing an MBA degree through ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. The Carey School keeps the experience personal by never forming classes of more than 50 students.
Annual tuition: $41,044
Temple is a public research university in Philadelphia. Temple’s Fox School of Business seeks to transform students so that they are able to responsibly face local, national, and global challenges. Through the MBA program, Temple University trains students based on skills that top corporations look for when hiring. The full-time MBA emphasizes global engagement through an interactive and multidisciplinary approach.
Annual tuition: $29,079
Carnegie Mellon University
A private research university in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1900 as the Carnegie Technical Schools. Later named the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the school eventually merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business emphasizes the powerful combination of leadership skills and strategic analytics. Tepper’s small size allows for a highly personalized MBA program equipped with leadership coaching and mentoring.
Annual tuition: $58,300
University of Southern California
Located in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit research institution. USC’s Marshall School of Business offers a core curriculum that can be completed by the end of the fall semester, exposing students to business fundaments early in the degree program. USC’s PRIME global experience allows MBA students to visit an overseas site and compare business practices with those of the United States. Some students also have the opportunity to work on an Asian economic research project.
Annual tuition: $51,786
Dating to 1789, Georgetown is the oldest Jesuit university in the United States. It is located in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Many U.S. government officials (including former president Bill Clinton) have graduated from Georgetown, and more than 10,000 graduate students currently attend the university. Four undergraduate and four graduate schools make up Georgetown, one of which is the Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business. The McDonough School offers several full- and part-time MBA programs and encourages pursuers of these degrees to participate in one or more of the many MBA-related extracurricular organizations.
Annual tuition: $52,200
Indiana University, whose main campus is in Bloomington, offers an MBA degree through the Kelley School of Business. The Kelley School guides students to success through a culture of collaboration. Indiana University’s Kelley School is the business school with the largest alumni network in the world. The full time MBA program builds effective leaders by incorporating an innovative Academy structure, individualized leadership coaching, and personalized career development. Leadership opportunities are available not only within the academic realm, but also through the various student clubs and organizations on campus.
Annual tuition: $44,460
Vanderbilt University, informally known as Vandy, is a private research university in Nashville. Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management values humility and a willingness to learn. The school is also committed to helping women succeed in business careers, recently visiting the White House to participate in a conference on the subject. The MBA curriculum at Vanderbilt combines rigor and flexibility, providing the opportunity to make the most out of the educational experience. The curriculum runs on a system of seven-week intensive courses, typically lasting two years in total.
Annual tuition: $47,950
Pennsylvania State University
The Pennsylvania State University, or Penn State, is a public university whose mission includes teaching, research, and public service. The Penn State Smeal College of Business allows students and faculty to make discoveries that make a difference, while operating under the core values of integrity, diversity, and sustainability. The MBA at Penn State is designed to meet business needs, including principled leadership, functional expertise, and an integrated and global perspective. This focus is one of the reasons why 91 percent of 2015 graduates had a job offer by three months after graduation.
Annual tuition: $36,962
University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas, a public institution with high research activity, has its main campus in Richardson, 18 miles north of downtown Dallas. With 15 concentrations and 14 joint degrees, the MBA program at UT Dallas lets students decide where their degree will take them. The full-time program takes 16 months to complete and operates in cohorts of 60 students. Dallas students enjoy connections to renowned professors, as well as a mentor program that adds a personal element to professional growth.
Annual tuition: $30,866
University of California Los Angeles
The University of California Los Angeles was established in 1919 and is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. UCLA’s Anderson School of Management promotes a collaborative, bold, and change-oriented culture. With freedom in the sequencing of core classes and the opportunity to choose from several tracks and specializations, MBA students at UCLA can take control of their education. Exciting elective options also allow students to customize their experience.
Annual tuition: $56,159
Duke is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. The school has historical ties to the United Methodist Church, but is not currently affiliated with any church. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business sets out to train business leaders who make bold decisions for the good of everyone involved. The traditional Daytime MBA program lasts 22 months and offers 14 concentrations to choose from. Other MBA options at Duke include Weekend Executive, Global Executive, and Cross Continent programs.
Annual tuition: $58,000
Washington University St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis, named after George Washington, has produced twenty-two Nobel laureates. Washington’s Olin Business School focuses on research and applied learning. The full-time MBA program seeks to help students discover passion and purpose while preparing them to have an impact on the world. In addition to exposing students to business fundamentals and developing their critical thinking skills, Olin trains aspiring business leaders to reformulate and solve complex problems.
Annual tuition: $51,500
University of North Carolina
Founded in 1789, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a Public Ivy school and one of the oldest public universities in the United States. The MBA program at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School trains students through a balance of competition and collaboration. UNC not only leads students toward business success, but also helps them redefine success with the greater good in mind. This shift in perspective is one reason why 250 MBA volunteers at UNC contributed 2,000 hours of community service in 2015.
Annual tuition: $52,470
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public university in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s Ross School of Business has nearly 3,000 students enrolled and more than 70 clubs and organizations. The MBA program challenges students to solve complex problems and to lead and learn through practical and global experiences. Students in their second year can completely customize their curriculum after having taken a few electives in their first year.
Annual tuition: $59,450
Emory University, founded in 1836 and named in honor of a Methodist bishop, is a private research university in Atlanta, Georgia. Emory’s Goizueta Business School combines world-class education, an intimate learning environment, and its location in a dynamic city to form impactful business leaders. Graduates of Emory’s MBA program benefit from a strong alumni network and the widely recognized and well-respected Emory brand. The full-time MBA program can be completed in one or two years.
Annual tuition: $48,100
Georgia Tech, or the Georgia Institute of Technology, is a public research university in Atlanta. The Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech offers MBA programs that combine an understanding of innovative technology with a strong belief in teamwork, diversity, and real-world application. Georgia Tech’s full-time MBA program takes 22 months to complete and is geared toward individuals who are changing careers. This program builds an intimate community of motivated students and allows for customization and enhancement of the educational experience.
Annual tuition: $38,352
University of Florida
The University of Florida is located on a 2,000-acre campus in Gainesville. The Hough Graduate School of Business at UF aspires to brings dreams and reality together by instilling in students the habit of consistently striving for excellence. Full-time MBA programs are available in one- and two-year formats. Both programs focus on being immediately applicable to business success, even in their earliest stages.
Annual tuition: $30,075
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University, owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a private university in Provo, Utah. Through BYU’s Marriott School, MBA students cover their core classes in the first year, work an internship the following summer, and spend their second year focusing on one of five specialized majors. Joint JD/MBA and MBA/MS degrees are also available. BYU students get the chance to apply what they learn through competitions, emphasis-oriented clubs, and travel opportunities.
Annual tuition: $23,240
University of Washington
Seattle’s University of Washington was founded in 1861 and is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast. The Foster School of Business at UW seeks to create opportunities for students and provide a transformational educational experience that focuses on leadership, strategic thinking, and entrepreneurship. UW’s full-time MBA program not only claims one of the highest job placement rates in the country, but also allows students to build their own curriculum that will guide them toward the jobs they want. Students come into UW prepared, sketching out a study plan before beginning their first year.
Annual tuition: $43,086
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a Public Ivy institution founded by U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. UVA’s Darden School of Business offers an MBA program based on four-part case method rather than on class lectures. For each case presented, students first consider the problem on their own, then discuss areas of uncertainty with their learning team and the entire class, finally reflecting on how the student’s original ideas changed throughout the process. Outside of the classroom, students have the opportunity to engage in local and global business projects and exchange programs.
Annual tuition: $54,698
Cornell is a private Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management offers MBA programs in one- and two-year formats, as well as an immersion learning experience. The MBA program at Cornell can also be shaped by a variety of dual degree programs. Cornell emphasizes the collaborative nature of the MBA experience, bringing together faculty and students from various disciplines through learning centers and institutes.
Annual tuition: $58,192
Yale, a private Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut, has graduated such notable alumni as U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, and foreign heads of state. Yale’s MBA curriculum provides a broad and realistic perspective by incorporating team teaching and a raw case method. This method addresses real business problems from several different viewpoints, acknowledges the complexity of the situation, and calls on collaborative discussion to arrive at a creative solution. A community of ambitious and enthusiastic leaders makes for a supportive environment in which students are eager to help one another.
Annual tuition: $58,975
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame is Catholic research university near South Bend, Indiana. The traditional two-year MBA features a mentor program, which allows students to connect with Notre Dame MBA alumni currently working in the same field. Each of the program’s four semesters is made up of two seven-week modules, including room for electives and the option to take a special Interterm Intensive course. Small class sizes and one of the world’s largest alumni networks give students opportunities for close collaboration as well as global connections.
Annual tuition: $46,800
New York University
NYU is a nonprofit, nonsectarian university with its main campus in Greenwich Village. New York University’s Stern School of Business encourages disruptive thinking and experimentation. The MBA degree can be customized by way of a flexible core curriculum and more than 20 specialization options. The university also offers real-world and international experience through fellowships, study abroad opportunities, and trips with student clubs.
Annual tuition: $60,744
Originally founded as King’s College in 1754, Columbia University is now a private Ivy League research university in New York City. The Columbia Business School is one of twenty schools within the university and has more than 100 student organizations. Both faculty members and experienced adjunct instructors provide consistent and practical guidance to MBA students. Columbia’s Career Management Center helps students find internships and full-time employment.
Annual tuition: $63,148
Dartmouth College is an Ivy League institution in Hanover, New Hampshire. By requiring team-based projects and offering opportunities to work cross-culturally, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth produces leaders who are capable of working with people from various backgrounds. Dartmouth’s MBA program pushes students to excellence through such innovative methods as self-analysis and peer coaching as well as traditional instruction. Students must complete a core curriculum, but the program also allows for flexibility, with over 100 elective courses to choose from.
Annual tuition: $61,605
University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin, the state’s official university, was founded in Madison in 1848, the same year Wisconsin achieved statehood. Students progress through Wisconsin’s full-time MBA program alongside their student cohort, focusing on specialization courses in the second year. The Leadership Catalyst program at Wisconsin pushes students to discover their own definition of leadership and develop skills in individual, team, and organizational leadership. UW’s MBA Career Management Center provides support for those seeking jobs and internship placements.
Annual tuition: $26,678
Massacusetts Institute of Technology
MIT, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a private research university in Cambridge. The school was founded in 1861 and operated under a European polytechnic university model. The MIT Sloan School of Management offers a two-year MBA program that pushes students to achieve their own potential and surpass expectations in a collaborative environment. Three academic tracks are available within the MBA program, including Enterprise Management, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Finance.
Annual tuition: $63,454
Northwestern University is a private institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The school has campuses in Evanston and Chicago, as well as internationally. Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management offers several MBA options, including one- and two-year programs and dual degrees that combine business management with technology and law. Instead of narrowing the curriculum, the MBA program at Northwestern retains a broad scope of management education so that graduates can lead with an understanding of how all parts of an organization work together.
Annual tuition: $61,596
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University is the fourth-largest university in the United States and is located in College Station, Texas. The full-time, 16-month MBA program at Texas A&M features small cohorts, an emphasis on applied learning, and access to a global network. The accelerated structure of the program allows students to complete most of their coursework in the first year, before they start summer internships. The Mays Business School also offers several experiential learning programs, such as Aggies on Wall Street and the MBA Venture Challenge.
Annual tuition: $20,319
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a Public Ivy institution that was founded in 1883. A world-renowned faculty, a location in a unique city, and hands-on learning opportunities attract aspiring business leaders to the full-time MBA program at UT Austin. About half of the MBA student body chooses to major in one of UT Austin’s business-focused or interdisciplinary majors. Students in the program are assigned to cohorts and study teams as they learn to work together, support each other, and expand their professional networks.
Annual tuition: $48,832
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university established in 1890. Chicago’s Booth School of Business emphasizes the practice of inquiry for the gaining of insight and for the purpose of making an impact. The 21-month MBA program enrolls nearly 600 students on average each year. The program is highly customizable, with only one required course, and 13 concentrations to choose from. International programs are available, ranging in duration from a few weeks to one whole term.
Annual tuition: $61,520
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League university in Philadelphia. U Penn’s Wharton School of Business combines challenge and flexibility to transform students into confident and competent leaders. The MBA curriculum includes more than 15 interdisciplinary programs and over 200 elective courses to choose from. The school’s new student life structure helps students build community even in a large university setting.
Annual tuition: $62,424
Stanford University is a private research institution in California. The MBA program at Stanford involves a personalized curriculum and a strong support system of advisors and coaches. The program requires a global experience and offers a variety of trips and projects to choose from. The Career Management Center at Stanford assists students in making a personalized career plan and working toward their goals—both during their time at the university and after they graduate.
Annual tuition: $61,875
University of California Berkeley
The University of California Berkeley is a public university that was founded for the purpose of contributing to the glory and happiness of future generations. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business offers a full-time MBA program that instills leadership, fresh thinking, and a commitment to a positive impact. These skills come out of a collaborative community of students and faculty, a rigorous general management curriculum, and an openness to creativity and innovation. Much of this entrepreneurial spirit is owed to Berkeley’s location in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Annual tuition: $54,066
Harvard University, established in 1636 and located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. The Harvard Business School not only equips students with the skills they need to succeed, but also encourages engagement with local and global challenges, inspiring students and graduates to make a positive difference with their education. In addition to the case method of study, Harvard employs the field method, creating in first-year students the habit of translating their ideas into practice. Harvard also offers several joint degree programs with the MBA.
Annual tuition: $58,875