Best MBA Programs

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Best MBA Programs

A master of business administration (MBA) degree offers focused leadership and management training to help professionals advance their career and move into new roles.

Earning an MBA prepares graduates for careers in growing areas in business, finance, and management. Professionals with an MBA work as financial managers, marketing managers, and top executives, roles that report median salaries of over $100,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS projects job growth of 9% for these roles from 2020-2030.

Our list ranks the top MBA programs to help prospective applicants find the best fit to reach their professional goals. By researching specialization options, delivery formats, and program lengths, applicants can begin earning their MBA degree. This article also discusses the benefits of an MBA degree, program requirements, and scholarships.

Frequently Asked Questions About an MBA Degree

true Q. What is an MBA good for?

An MBA degree prepares graduates for leadership roles in organizations. MBA holders qualify for decision-making roles that offer above-average salaries.

true Q. How many years does it take to get an MBA degree?

Earning a master of business administration degree typically takes two years of full-time study. Some programs offer accelerated one-year programs.

true Q. Which is better: an MBA or MS in finance?

Both an MBA and an MS in finance prepare graduates for roles like financial manager. However, the wide-ranging business administration training of an MBA can lead to more diverse career opportunities.

Q. What can you do with a master’s in business administration?

Professionals with an MBA work as human resources managers, marketing managers, and executives. They make decisions in diverse industries like healthcare, technology, and finance.

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Featured MBA Programs

What Are the Goals of an MBA Degree?

In an MBA program, graduate students gain leadership and decision-making skills. Coursework in organizational behavior, financial management, and strategic leadership prepares students for management roles. Many programs also incorporate an internship to gain real-world experience and a capstone project to build career-ready skills.

MBA students often focus their education by choosing a concentration area. Many programs offer concentrations in general business, marketing, finance, accounting, human resources, and healthcare management. Degree-seekers can also look for programs with unique specializations like entrepreneurship, business strategy, and consulting. These specializations prepare graduates for focused career paths after earning their MBA degree.

Why Get an MBA Degree?

Earning a master of business administration degree brings many benefits. Graduate students specialize their training and prepare for leadership roles in diverse organizations.

MBA students strengthen their management skills through focused coursework in organizational behavior, operations management, and leadership. This management focus qualifies MBA graduates for new roles.

According to 2019 data, the highest median starting salary for MBA graduates rose to nearly $135,000 per year. An MBA thus translates into greater earning potential.

The leadership training in an MBA program prepares professionals for increased responsibilities in their workplace. Professionals may take on supervisory responsibilities or more decision-making responsibilities.

During an MBA, graduate students can specialize their skills by pursuing a concentration. Options include marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, or human resources management.

With an MBA, graduates can move into supervisory and management roles. An MBA also prepares professionals for leadership positions in business organizations or entrepreneurship opportunities.

Is an MBA worth it?

What Are the Requirements for an MBA Degree?

Applicants considering an MBA degree typically need a bachelor’s degree and standardized test scores. Most schools require GMAT or GRE scores, though some waive that requirement. Applicants often also submit a statement of purpose, professional resume, and recommendation letters.

MBA programs do not require an undergraduate degree in business. However, students may need to complete prerequisite coursework in management, accounting, finance, or statistics before entering the program.

During an MBA program, graduate students complete core, elective, and concentration courses. Many programs also incorporate a capstone project and an internship.

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2021 Best Master of Business Administration (MBA) Programs

  1. The University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $14156

    UT's McCombs School of Business enrolls over 12,500 students, including more than 1,000 MBA students. The school's MBA program provides a personalized course of study for each student.

    Learners complete the two-year, full-time MBA option in a cohort format. The program begins with one semester of core classes. Students explore topics like finance, operations, and marketing. Learners then choose from over 20 concentrations to focus their studies. Choices include finance, analytics, and management.

    UT offers more than 100 electives and more than 10 dual-degree options. Students can choose over 70% of their courses. MBA students complete internships, study abroad programs, and competitions to grow their business skills. Applicants submit essays, recommendation letters, a resume, and self-reported test scores.

  2. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $11313

    UF's Warrington College of Business offers a business administration master's degree. Students can choose from nine program formats. Options include a two-year MBA, along with a 12-month or 10-month accelerated format. Learners can also choose an online MBA option.

    Learners enter the program in cohorts. Coursework covers topics like asset valuation and marketing management. Students can customize their degree with concentrations. Options include human capital, strategy, and finance.

    Applicants submit transcripts and GMAT and GRE scores. UF asks for recommendation letters from supervisors, clients, or mentors. Active-duty military members can submit evaluations instead of recommendation letters.

  3. University of California-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $15002

    UCLA's Anderson School of Management prepares students for leadership positions in diverse industries. The school's master of business administration program takes 22 months to complete. Students receive career support throughout their program and after graduation.

    The MBA program starts with a one-week leadership foundation intensive experience. Learners then take coursework in areas like marketing management and finance. Specialization options include corporate finance, entertainment, and consulting.

    Advanced MBA students can customize the degree with electives. Popular options include digital marketing strategy and technology analytics.

    Most incoming MBA students bring several years of work experience. UCLA also requires two recommendation letters, essays, and GMAT or GRE scores. The program conducts interviews with selected candidates.

  4. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $17862

    Berkeley's Haas School of Business offers a master of business administration that integrates leadership development, experiential learning, and global fluency opportunities. Learners develop decision-making, collaborative, and leadership skills.

    Students complete 14 required courses in diverse business disciplines. The curriculum covers team leadership, business decision-making, and strategic management.

    MBA students choose from nearly 20 applied innovation courses to strengthen their skills. Options like corporate innovation and sustainable investment push learners to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Berkeley's dual-degree options combine an MBA with a degree in law, public health, engineering, or global studies.

    Applicants submit a resume and essays. Other materials include two recommendation letters and GMAT or GRE scores. Berkeley also requires interviews during the admissions process.

  5. University of California-Davis
    Location

    Davis, CA

    Tuition

    $15724

    UC Davis' Graduate School of Management features a business administration master's degree. The degree covers diversity and social and environmental responsibility. Learners can choose a full-time MBA option at Davis. They can also enroll in part-time programs in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area. UC Davis also offers an online MBA program.

    The school uses an IMPACT curriculum. This stands for integrated management project and articulation and critical thinking. Coursework and experiential opportunities focus on sustainability, collaboration, and industry immersions. Students choose from immersion opportunities in areas like biotechnology and sustainable energy. Learners select concentrations like marketing, management, and strategy.

    After their first year in the two-year MBA program, learners build a leadership development plan. They also complete an internship. Applicants submit a resume and two recommendation letters. Prospective students also provide answers to two personal insight questions. Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE test scores.

  6. Ohio State University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $18694

    Ohio State's Fisher College of Business offers a master of business administration. Students learn to bring a global perspective to business challenges. The program provides an immersive, personalized experience that focuses on experiential learning.

    Core coursework covers finance, operations, and strategy. The program also includes experiential courses. Students gain experience through hands-on projects and business labs. Learners also choose personalized electives.

    The STEM MBA specialization blends core business courses with technical skills. Ohio State also offers a flex working professional program. Learners can enroll part time. Students may also choose an online MBA designed for working professionals. Enrollees receive coaching and career support throughout the program.

    Applicants submit academic transcripts, resumes, essays, and a video interview. Recommendation letters are optional. The program conducts live interviews with select candidates. Applicants can also apply for a GMAT or GRE test waiver.

  7. University of Washington
    Location

    Seattle, WA

    Tuition

    $9765

    UW's Foster School of Business features a master of business administration program that connects learners with Seattle businesses.

    Students complete internships and consulting projects with major corporations. The school boasts high job-placement rates for graduates thanks to its career coaching and local business ties.

    The two-year MBA program takes a "learn by doing" approach. Students complete project-based courses and case competitions. Internships also help strengthen their skills. The program does not offer concentrations. However, learners can pursue optional certificates and specializations. Options include a marketing analytics specialization and a product marketing specialization.

    Applicants submit two essays, a resume, two recommendation letters, and a video interview. UW also asks for GMAT or GRE scores. Instead of test scores, applicants can provide a summary of their qualifications.

  8. University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Location

    Madison, WI

    Tuition

    $14169

    UW's School of Business offers a business administration master's degree. The program features in-demand specializations, leadership training, and experiential opportunities. Students complete real-world consulting projects and get one-to-one career preparation.

    Learners complete core business classes and choose specialized courses based on their career goals. Concentration options include marketing and real estate. Enrollees also explore topics like supply chain management and strategic human resource management. An internship provides networking and experiential learning opportunities.

    Applicants submit transcripts, a resume, and professional recommendations. UW also includes recommended and optional essay questions. The program conducts interviews with candidates. Most applicants submit GMAT or GRE scores. Those with at least three years of work experience and a minimum 3.0 GPA qualify for a test-score waiver.

  9. California Polytechnic State University
    Location

    San Luis Obispo, CA

    Tuition

    $20036

    Cal Poly's Orfalea College of Business encourages hands-on learning with mentorship support. The school's master of business administration program covers technology trends, innovative problem-solving, and service experience. MBA students strengthen their technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills through team projects.

    Cal Poly applies a "learn by doing" teaching approach. This MBA program features a 3-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Enrollees benefit from small class sizes and instructor engagement.

    MBA students complete 60 credits of core courses in areas like accounting and finance. Students customize their degree with electives. Choices include negotiation strategy, people analytics, and data management. Students can complete the degree in 2-3 years. Cal Poly also offers an accelerated 10-month pace.

    Applicants submit a statement of purpose summarizing their experience and career objectives. Cal Poly also requires a resume, three recommendation letters, and GMAT or GRE scores.

  10. University of Connecticut
    Location

    Storrs, CT

    Tuition

    $19650

    UConn's School of Business offers a business administration master's degree. The program provides experiential learning opportunities that prepare graduates for business careers. Students choose between part-time, full-time, executive, and online MBA options.

    Learners can complete the full-time MBA program in 20 months. The program includes three STEM-designated concentrations. These concentrations include business analytics and digital marketing strategy. Students can choose a concentration in entrepreneurship, finance, or real estate. Enrollees complete an experiential learning milestone. Learners can choose to complete an individual or group project, participate in an internship or co-op, or start a business.

    UConn offers career coaching to help MBA students meet their professional goals. Applicants submit transcripts and a resume. UConn also requires two recommendation letters and personal essays. The GMAT requirement varies depending on applicants' enrollment option. Most options require two years of work experience.

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