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What Are the Top Tier Business Colleges in the U.S.?

Programs at top tier business colleges can give you the practical knowledge you need to solve complex business problems and advance your career. Learn what to expect from a top-ranking business college, and find out about some of the best schools in the country.

How to Choose a Top Business School

Since top tier business schools often prepare you for global career opportunities, you may want to find a program that teaches you how to deal with diversity and global business issues. Consider programs that emphasize critical-thinking skills and provide hands-on leadership practice through case studies, learning teams and field projects. Look for schools with recognized faculty who have worked in a specific field, received awards and published significant contributions to business, as well as schools with up-to-date research centers, academic facilities and technology.

Solid career prospects are an important quality of a top business college, so you may also want to research your prospective school's employment statistics for graduates in your program. Accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) may also be important for future employers or universities wanting to verify your business education's quality.

What are the Three Top Business Colleges?

Stanford University in California

The faculty consists of experienced field leaders, as well as three Nobel Laureates and four National Academy of Sciences members. Collaborating in teams, you can learn to creatively solve problems and appreciate diverse viewpoints. U.S. News & World Report ranked Stanford as the number seven university in the country on its 2019 list of national universities, and it ranked the graduate business programs as number one. Programs include:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Management
  • Ph.D. in Accounting
  • Ph.D. in Economic Analysis and Policy
  • Ph.D. in Finance
  • Ph.D. in Marketing
  • Ph.D. in Operations, Information and Technology
  • Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior
  • Ph.D. in Political Economics

Harvard University in Cambridge

U.S. News & World Report ranked Harvard as both the number two national university and the number three graduate business school in 2019. The business school's faculty members have real-world experience and have successfully entered the business world. You can apply what you learn in classes to case studies that demonstrate your leadership abilities, and you can personalize your program through elective courses or concentrations. Available business programs include:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Doctor of Business Administration
  • Ph.D. in Business Economics
  • Ph.D. in Health Policy Management
  • Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate school of business in the world, the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania offers both undergraduate and graduate business programs. U.S. News & World Report ranked the university as the number one graduate business school in 2019. Undergraduates can choose from various majors, and MBA students can select from multiple areas of concentrations. Programs include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Economics
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Ph.D. in Accounting
  • Ph.D. in Applied Economics
  • Ph.D. in Ethics and Legal Studies
  • Ph.D. in Finance
  • Ph.D. in Health Care Management and Economics
  • Ph.D. in Management
  • Ph.D. in Marketing
  • Ph.D. in Operations, Information Management and Decision Processes
  • Ph.D. in Statistics

Other Top Business Schools

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
University of Chicago 4-year, Private Chicago, IL$59,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4-year, Private Cambridge, MA$55,000
Northwestern University 4-year, Private Evanston, IL$55,000
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, Public Berkeley, CA$14,000
Columbia University 4-year, Private New York, NY$48,000
Dartmouth College 4-year, Private Hanover, NH$54,000
University of Virginia 4-year, Public Charlottesville, VA$19,000
New York University 4-year, Private New York, NY$45,000
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 4-year, Public Ann Arbor, MI$23,000
Duke University 4-year, Private Durham, NC$55,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education