The city of Chicago lives up to its name in so many ways. The Windy City is one of the largest and most diverse cities in the United States. World Business Chicago ranks Chicago as the most diversified economy in the U.S.  College Choice’s informative rankings will help you navigate the ins and outs of MBA programs in one of America’s largest cities.
What kind of MBA in Chicago should you get?
The variety of MBA options in Chicago mimics the business landscape of the rest of the country. Some programs take a year to complete while others take two. Furthermore, business schools offer many degree concentrations that further differentiate each student’s MBA experience. Joint programs like the JD/MBA are also an option for Master of Business Administration students.
The New York Times suggests choosing an MBA program based on where you eventually want to work.  For example, if you want to work at McKinsey & Company, you should go to Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. There are high correlations between certain business schools and individual companies.
And now there are many online MBA degrees as well as outstanding hybrids. Weigh your options and assess what kind of MBA works best for your schedule, your budget, and your passions.
How much money can you make with an MBA in Chicago?
We all know that money matters. At least two factors should determine where you get your MBA. First, you should calculate your projected salary and the ROI.  Tuition, scholarships, and the length of the program matter. You should think economically about the cost and rewards of your MBA program.
We can help you out in that department. According to Payscale.com, individuals with an MBA make on average $85k per year. However, this number can reach figures closer to $115k depending on where you work and in what capacity. Regardless, an MBA degree will set you up for a lucrative future.
What are the best MBA Programs in Chicago?
The following rankings demonstrate the best schools to earn an MBA in the Chicago area. While most of the schools are located closer to the heart of the city, a few reside outside of the city limits. All of them, however, take the field of business to the next level.
In constructing this list, the staff at College Choice took into consideration a number of key factors: overall tuition rates, retention rates, program reputation, and starting salaries of graduates. We take our methodology seriously and only glean data from the best. This includes U.S. News and World Report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com, and more.
See our rankings methodology page.
Related MBA Rankings
University of Chicago
College Choice Score: 100.00
You can earn your Master of Business Administration from a number of schools in the Chicago area. However, the MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is College Choice’s number one school in Chicago. Chicago Booth offers the Full-Time MBA, Evening MBA, Weekend MBA, and Executive MBA.
MBA grads from Booth School of Business have the highest salaries among MBAs in the city of Chicago. The average starting salary for Booth MBAs is $122,000. The curriculum takes on foundational courses as well as more specific electives. Here’s a look at a few courses:
- Financial Econometrics
- Quantitative Marketing Research Methods
- Revenue Management
- International Financial Policy
The University of Chicago gives you the best of the academic, business, and international worlds. Booth’s International Business Exchange Program (IBEP) distinguishes the business school from many others. Chicago Booth allows you to take your MBA to the next level with the opportunity to study internationally at one of its 33 partner schools in 20 countries.
College Choice Score: 97.75
Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management is just 15 miles from Chicago in Evanston, Illinois. Kellogg functions on a cross-disciplinary model that allows for more integration of thought and experiences. The school values innovation and entrepreneurship to solve real-world problems.
Kellogg’s MBA program gives you options. You get to determine what kind of MBA experience you want to have, how long you want to be in an MBA program, and what you want to your MBA focus to be. The Full-Time MBA is offered in one year or two years. There is also a join JD/MBA option that you can complete in three years. Core focus areas include:
Northwestern Kellogg has 37 exchange programs across 20 countries. Kellogg MBA students partner with international companies and have access to one of the largest global networks. Kellogg School of Management gives you many options to customize your MBA experience.
College Choice Score: 48.61
A DePaul MBA at Kellstadt Graduate School is more than a degree. It is an experience. At Kellstadt, high quality professors and business professionals will be your teachers and mentors. DePaul’s business professors contribute substantial research in their field.
Kellstadt’s Graduate School has 20 MBA concentrations. One of the MBA concentrations is Organizational Diversity. The interdisciplinary concentration is essential as the business industry and companies become more diverse. The Organizational Diversity concentration will make your MBA extremely valuable in cities with diverse populations like Chicago. Other concentrations include:
- Applied Economics
- Hospitality Leadership
- International Business
- Management Information Systems
At DePaul you get to choose from the Part-Time, Full-Time, Evening, or Weekend MBAs. Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranks DePaul Kellstadt third among MBA programs in Chicago. With a DePaul Kellstadt MBA you can look to be hired by companies such as Google, Northern Trust Bank, Deloitte, Abbot Laboratories, or Kraft General Foods.
Loyola University Chicago
College Choice Score: 44.43
Loyola University is within the Jesuit Catholic tradition. The Quinlan School of Business at Loyola seeks to prepare business leaders who have a sense of ethical and social responsibility. If you are looking for an MBA that couples academic excellence and social responsibility, then Quinlan School of Business is an ideal option.
Students who have matriculated through Quinlan School of Business are presidents, CEOs, founders, and vice-presidents of thriving companies. With an MBA degree from Quinlan, you can also become the next founder, CEO, or president of the next innovative company. The engaging and rigorous curriculum includes classes like:
- Financial Accounting for Decision Making
- Operations Management
- International Finance
- Global Logistics
To further the mission of Quinlan School of Business, the school has seven leadership centers. These centers include the Center for Risk Management, the Center for International Business, the Center for Financial and Policy Studies, the Family Business Center, the Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility, the Supply and Value Chain Center, and the CME Group Foundation Business Analytics Lab. As a Quinlan MBA student, you have access to all of these centers.
University of Illinois at Chicago
College Choice Score: 42.31
The Liautaud Graduate School of Business is the business school for the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The school was established in 1965. UIC Liautaud offers the Full-Time, Accelerated Cohort Program, the Weekend MBA, and the Flexible MBA Program.
If you are interested in getting into the business industry quickly, then you can enroll in the Accelerated MBA Program. However, if you are a business professional looking to grow your skills, the Weekend MBA or the Flexible MBA may be better suited for you. At Liautaud, you will build on the core curriculum in your MBA program. Courses include:
- Financial Accounting
- Corporate Finance
- Operations Management
UIC Liautaud’s MBA program has a distinguished faculty that embodies diversity across the board. The diversity of thought, gender, and color displayed in Liautaud’s faculty represents the diversity of Chicago.
Northern Illinois University
College Choice Score: 40.22
Northern Illinois University College of Business is a place “Where the Classroom Meets the Business World.” With an NIU MBA, you can join the many alumni who are recruited and promoted to top positions in companies, corporations, and organizations. MBA grads are so successful at Northern Illinois University that their own classmates have recruited them to new businesses.
The school has five MBA formats. In each MBA format, students can have an international experience. NIU’s international trips include university lectures, company visits, and government briefings. International experiences allow you to connect and communicate with a wide variety of people. Courses within the curriculum include:
- Strategic Management and Policy
- Operations Analysis
- Managerial Accounting Concepts
- Marketing Management
NIU College of Business takes your professional development seriously. As an MBA student, you will develop into a professional business leader through consulting and capstone projects, interactive classroom activities, and mentorship and networking. The program helps MBA students to connect their academic courses to the real world through its Colloquium Executive Lecture Series.
St. Xavier University
College Choice Score: 40.10
St. Xavier University is a Catholic University that encourages students to search for truth, engage reason and faith, and participate in social action. The school offers the Master of Business Administration degree through Graham School of Management.
In Graham’s MBA curriculum, students take practical and management theory courses to fulfill common core requirements. Students will then choose four courses from one the program’s 11 MBA concentrations. The average starting salary for Graham MBAs is $66,200. You can take some of the following courses:
- Internet and Social Media Marketing
- Forensic Accounting
- Health Administration
One unique feature about St. Xavier University’s MBA program is the MBA at Chicago Police Department program. St. Xavier partners with the Chicago Police Department of Education and Training to offer an MBA, undergraduate degree and certificate. This program is one example of how MBA students can live out St. Xavier’s mission in society.
College Choice Score: 37.75
At Roosevelt University’s Walter E. Heller College of Business your MBA experience is a team experience. The school emphasis shared responsibility between students and instructors and between classmates. At Roosevelt you will develop excellent teamwork skills that will be used in your future business or organization.
At the Walter E. Heller College of Business you have the freedom to go beyond the MBA program concentrations. MBA students can choose concentrations from other graduate programs at Roosevelt University. The school allows you to choose interdisciplinary focus areas such as:
- Hospitality Management
- Managing Nonprofit Organizations
Heller College of Business has eight clubs and organizations that foster networking and collaboration among particular interests. In some of the clubs and organizations, membership extends across the globe. For example NET IMPACT is an international nonprofit organization that inspires people to use the power of business to “create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world.”
Illinois Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 33.23
Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart School of Business was established in 1969. Stuart offers the Full-Time Master of Business Administration and the Accelerated Master of Business Administration. MBA students at Stuart are cultivated in an environment where technology is central. This is important because technology is critical in the business industry.
Stuart’s Full-Time MBA is comprised of 11 core courses and five elective/concentration courses. This curriculum also incorporates numerous global business courses that help MBA students think outside of the box. Highlight courses here include:
- Business Innovation in the Next Economy
- Emerging Issues in the Global Business Environment,
- Creating and Financing New Technology Ventures
- Business Study Mission to China
IIT Stuart connects its MBA students to industry professionals through events, student projects, faculty research partnerships and recruiting opportunities. Students can research with faculty as they work with companies and corporations. Stuart business faculty collaborate with industry partners through four of the school’s research and academic centers.
National Louis University
College Choice Score: 33.15
National Louis University is a private nonprofit institution founded in 1886. The school is located in downtown Chicago. NLU’s College of Professional Studies and Advancement offers the MBA, the MBA in Entrepreneurship, and the MBA in Nonprofit Management.
The MBA program at NLU helps students develop skills such as dynamic environment management, problem solving, strategic integration, effective communication, teamwork, and ethical responsibility. At the completion of coursework, MBA students work in teams to run a company as a simulation exam. Although NLU’s campus is in downtown Chicago, the school allows students to take classes online or through a hybrid approach. Specific courses include:
- Financial Markets
- Technology and Leadership
- Managerial Accounting
A distinguishing feature of National Louis’ MBA program is its focus on leadership. At NLU you will be trained to become a better business leader by working through classes on “Leadership and Organizational Behavior,” and by working with faculty members who demonstrate leadership.