The Best 10 MBAs in the US

The Best 10 MBAs in the US

What Is an MBA?

The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is a postgraduate qualification designed for those hoping to excel in the business world.

Students choose to complete an MBA for many reasons:

  • It opens up a wealth of networking opportunities through the curriculum activities and university alumni.

  • Those who complete an MBA are statistically more likely to get hired into senior job roles, with a higher salary.

  • It teaches all elements of creating and running a business, making it a great resource for aspiring entrepreneurs.

  • As a postgraduate course, an MBA is ideal for personal development and for establishing a clear-cut career path.

Which MBA Is Right for Me?

There are thousands of MBA programs to choose from, but not all of them are the same.

Before starting your applications, you need to make sure you are applying to the right one.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you want to study in a particular state? – Sure, the course might sound perfect, but there is also a lot of extra-curricular work, so you need to be in an area that suits you – interest in technology or interest in luxury? Hot weather or seasons? Family-friendly or big city living?

  • What will your specialization be? – Do you want a program that emphasizes global markets, or are you content with the US market? Do you want to create your own curriculum that focuses on specific topics?

Top 10 US MBAs
Top 10 US MBAs

The Top 10 MBA Programs in the US

The list is in alphabetical order.

1. The University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 12
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 6
Course fee: $123,000
Course duration: 21 months
Class size: 291
Percentage of women: 43%

This MBA consists of 12 core modules. The main focus of this program is finance, corporate social responsibility and leadership.

Elective modules can be taken from the spring semester onwards, and all students are required to take part in at least one Applied Innovation elective.

Examples of these are:

  • Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund
  • Cleantech to Market
  • Real Estate Investment Analysis
  • Hedge Funds Strategy
  • The Start-Up Lab


The Applied Innovation electives connect you to some of the biggest companies and businessmen in America, meaning that there are excellent networking opportunities.

The location of the university campus is near Google, Adobe and Visa, to name but a few.


The program is focused on business in America. To make your experience relevant to the global market, you have to enroll in global co-curricular activities.

2. The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 10
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 5
Course fee: $72,000
Course duration: 21 months
Class size: 593
Percentage of women: 40%

The University of Chicago promises that its MBA is the most flexible in the world and offers you all the freedom you need to succeed.

The curriculum specialties include accounting, economic, psychology, sociology and statistics.

The only compulsory module is LEAD, which is designed to identify your leadership and communication skills.

Outside of that, you are free to choose the modules that interest you most, based around the core specialties mentioned above.


This MBA is fully customizable, so you only learn what you need to achieve your goals.


There are very few electives that focus on global markets. The ones that do are targeted to the Chinese market.

3. Columbia University, Columbia Business School

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 8
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 8
Course fee: $154,752
Course duration: 24 months
Class size: 754
Percentage of women: 38%

The primary focus of Columbia's MBA is entrepreneurship.

The program also offers several global electives, including Global Immersion, which allows you to spend a week in a different country to learn about its culture and business customs.

The second semester is mostly made up of electives, which gives you a lot of flexibility to study what interests you. Columbia also offers several co-curricular opportunities to facilitate your learning experience.


NYC is a prime business city with plenty of networking and job opportunities. This particular MBA also offers global modules, should you wish to work outside of the US.


The university has a careers office, but the majority of your career development and planning comes from you.

Unlike other universities, there are no modules to help you find your core skill set or definitive plan to success.

4. Harvard Business School

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 1
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 4
Course fee: $146,880
Course duration: 24 months
Class size: 938
Percentage of women: 43%

As an institute that always ranks at the top, the Harvard MBA comes with high expectations.

The two-year program is designed to make you the best decision-maker and leader you can be.

In the first year, 28% of the program focuses on global markets; the second year, it is 38%. Both years also offer immersion weeks in various locations around the world.


Harvard is considered to be the best university in the world, especially within the business world.

Harvard's MBA has the most emphasis on the global market than others in the top rankings.


The curriculum is intense, and as a traditional campus university, co-curricular activities are widely encouraged. You need to dedicate 100% of your time to this MBA to achieve the greatest success.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 1
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 3
Course fee: $154,336
Course duration: 24 months
Class size: 416
Percentage of women: 42%

There are three core tracks in this MBA:

  1. Finance
  2. Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  3. Enterprise Management

Once you have completed your first-semester core modules, you are free to create your own curriculum for the remaining three semesters.

As well as elective modules, you can choose to take a specific track route, complete an MIT certificate in subjects such as sustainability, healthcare or statistics, or combine your MBA with another master's degree.


This is a customizable MBA from a very prestigious school.

As this is MIT, the program is very practical and 'hands-on' so you have plenty of opportunities to hone your skills.


As it is so 'hands-on' you will spend a lot of time with your group preparing – there might not be a lot of independent study time.

top university MBA courses
Top university MBA courses

6. New York University (NYU), Stern School of Business

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 22
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 13
Course fee: $148,368
Course duration: 24 months
Class size: 350
Percentage of women: 37%

The Stern NYU MBA is a truly immersive program.

The program curriculum starts with LAUNCH, a course designed to change your mindset into that of a business person.

The first-year required modules are Financial Accounting & Reporting and Statistics & Data Analysis.

The rest of the course is then yours to create.

Following the completion of the first two modules, you then choose five other modules from a list of eight.

To complete your first year, NYU will assist you in securing a summer internship at any location in the world.

For your second year of study, you select up to three specializations and can choose from over 200 electives; five of those can be taken at any NYU graduate school.

There are 25 specializations including:

  • Luxury Marketing
  • Corporate Finance
  • Entertainment and Media
  • Real Estate
  • Supply Chain Management and Global Sourcing

Your electives can complement your specializations or serve as additional interests.

Stern also offers semesters abroad with its exchange program or the Doing Business IN… course, which consists of a week or two-week intensive trip at one of the university's overseas partnered locations.

Stern also offers a Fashion and Luxury MBA and a Tech MBA for those wanting to specialize in those markets.


This MBA is fully flexible, with lots of support initiatives to help you plan your career.


As there are so many options, you may have difficulty deciding which specializations and electives to take.

7. Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 11
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 7
Course fee: $146,808
Course duration: 21 months
Class size: 474
Percentage of women: 43%

The Kellogg School of Management MBA emphasizes global markets, and there are several opportunities to experience these markets first-hand throughout the program.

The curriculum is made up of nine core modules covering economics, finance, marketing and strategy, as well as a series of electives.

To focus your study, you can choose from eight majors, such as managing organizations, marketing, accounting, strategy and operations. Or you can select a 'pathway' to focus your program.

Pathways include, but are not limited to:

  1. Asset Management
  2. Energy and Sustainability
  3. Healthcare
  4. Real Estate
  5. Venture Capital and Private Equity

A one-year full-time MBA is available for those who have completed the relevant coursework as an undergraduate.

This program starts in June. You will have to complete five courses before joining the second-year MBA students in September.


This MBA allows you to focus on the specific area you want to operate within. It also incorporates global markets in most of the modules.


This program only offers one slot for work experience which is over the summer, after your first year.

It is an 8 to 12-week placement. Other universities provide more and shorter opportunities, allowing you to gain different experiences and perspectives.

8. The University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 2
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 1
Course fee: $162,756
Course duration: 20 months
Class size: 856
Percentage of women: 47%

The Wharton MBA core modules focus on leadership, economics, statistics and communication.

There are five fixed core modules and 25 flexible core modules, as well as over 200 electives.

The curriculum was redesigned in 2012, so all the resources and content are up-to-date. Coursework and assessments are dependent on the tutor and the topic, giving even more variation to the curriculum.


The Wharton MBA continuously sits at the top of all the relevant rankings. It is also one of the few universities with an almost 50/50 male to female ratio.

The course also runs an extensive career program, ensuring you leave with a solid career plan.


It is one of the most expensive MBAs in the country – more than Harvard and MIT.

9. Stanford University – Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB)

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 3
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 1
Course fee: $146,124
Course duration: 24 months
Class size: 417
Percentage of women: 47%

The Stanford ethos for this MBA is collaboration and innovation.

Like many other curriculums, the first year compromises of core modules, while the second year is filled with electives, seminars and the option to pair your MBA with another master's program.

A compulsory Global Experience is required for graduation; this is either a Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX), which you complete by yourself, or a Global Study Trip (GST) where you travel with some of your peers for an intensive group-learning experience.

Past GMIXs include a four-week trip with UNICEF to Israel and Palestine, while GST locations were Hong Kong, Switzerland and Ghana.


The Stanford MBA is another program that has an almost 50/50 male to female ratio. It also has unique global experiences and a flexible curriculum.


The focus of the program is predominately managerial. While there are modules designed for entrepreneurs, it is not the focus.

10. UCLA, Anderson School of Management

Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2020: 25
QS Global MBA Ranking 2020: 9
Course fee: $130,228
Course duration: 21 months
Class size: 360
Percentage of women: 34%

Separating this MBA from the rest is its onboarding program, which starts in the summer.

During this time, you will complete the first two modules of your MBA – Leadership Foundations and Managerial Accounting – as well as your career plan.

There are also classes which aim to develop skills such as PowerPoint and financial modeling.

The first year is made up of management and finance modules, while the second year is built around your specialization.

To finish your MBA, you need to complete a global requirement. This can be done one of three ways:

  1. Global Immersion Course
  2. International Applied Management Research field project
  3. Enrollment in global management electives


Career development and planning are part of the curriculum, unlike many other American Universities.

The global element of the course is flexible and accommodates those students who may not be able to commit to an internship overseas.


This MBA seems to have everything – it is in the mid-range for pricing, gives equal footings to all specializations, has an incredibly flexible curriculum, and BCG, Google and Goldman Sachs actively recruit from this program.

Final Thoughts

To some extent, the MBA curriculums are standardized. To work in business, you need to be proficient in all elements of the business cycle. What makes an MBA right for you, depends on you.

As mentioned earlier, you need to consider the location of the MBA and what you want to specialize in.

Both NYU Stern and Columbia are in the heart of New York, giving an advantage to those wishing to enter the fashion or luxury industries.

California is preferable for those interested in specializing in technology.

Alternatively, the resources available at Ivy League schools, such as Harvard and MIT, may sway your choice.

Before starting any admissions, take the time to thoroughly research your choices. Speak to as many people as you can, attend open days and ask all the questions.

An MBA is a big investment financially and personally, but it could also change your life, so it needs to be the right one.

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