Timothy Peck 8 min read 11th Grade, 12th Grade, College Lists

10 Best Colleges for Business Majors

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If you have dreams of starting your own company, becoming a leader of industry, or simply want to transition from college to a traditional corporate job, an undergraduate business degree is worth exploring. With so many opportunities available to students graduating with a business degree, it comes as no surprise that approximately one in five undergrads majors in business. 

 

What is Business School?

 

Undergraduates pursuing business degrees are taught foundational skills and begin building professional networks that will carry them into employment, or help them work toward a graduate-level degree later. While building core skills is the primary purpose of an undergraduate business degree, many students will concentrate in a particular area. Typical concentrations include subjects such as accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, international business, marketing, and supply chain management. 

 

Because business is such a wide-ranging degree, programs vary from school to school. Every institution has unique mission statements, course offerings, internship programs, and international opportunities. Students will find variety in how material is taught as well, with some schools prioritizing classroom learning while others focus on experiential learning. Business schools also differ in how they fit in with a college’s other programs; for example, Cornell’s Agribusiness Management Minor ties in with the school’s world-renowned College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

 

What to Look for in a Business School

 

With hundreds of schools offering undergraduate business degrees, finding the right school for you can be challenging. Here are a few characteristics to look for when considering colleges. 

 

Fit: Whether you’re pursuing a bachelor’s in business or in art, you’ll want to choose a school that meets your specific needs. For example, a student studying business at Cornell’s more rural campus is going to have a different college experience than someone studying at USC’s urban campus. Similarly, a student studying at a school like MIT with approximately 4,000 students will have a contrasting experience from someone studying among the 50,000+ students at the University Texas–Austin. 

 

Learning Style: Everyone learns differently, and it’s important to seek out a school that meshes with the way you learn. Do you thrive in small classes and require personal attention from teachers? A small school might make sense. Do you pick up skills better when you get first-hand experience with them, or are you able to simply read about an ability and apply it? Sit in a few classes and see if a school is suited to your style. 

 

Offerings: Different schools have different programs and offerings. As mentioned earlier, if you’re interested in Agribusiness, Cornell is an excellent choice; however, if you want to break into the film world, you’d be hard pressed to find a better program than USC’s Business Cinematic Arts. Similarly, if international business is an interest, it’s worth looking into a school’s study abroad program. 

 

Outcome: College is one of the largest investments most people make. Outcome is a reliable way of gauging how that investment will pay off in the future. Many colleges publish the percentage of their graduates who go onto employment or continue on to pursue a higher degree. Many also publish the average earnings of recent graduates. 

 

How We Made Our List and Rankings

 

We feel like the ten schools listed below represent the gold standard for business majors. With that said, you should not treat this list as the end-all, be-all on the subject. For the ten incredible schools on our list, there are tens of others that could have easily made it. Furthermore, just because a school is on this list doesn’t make it the best school for you; it’s important to take your fit factors into consideration, like size, location, and selectivity, among others. 

 

All that aside, we arrived at our rankings by considering a number of factors: 

 

Prestige: You don’t need to concentrate in marketing to know that graduating from a school like MIT gives you a leg up when applying to jobs. Along with name recognition, the schools below have robust and active alums who can help graduates get their foot in the door. 

 

Outcome: Outcome is one of the most easily measured metrics when comparing colleges for business majors. College is expensive, and graduates from the schools listed below find employment at a high rate and on average earn salaries well above their peers. 

 

Courses: From a multitude of concentrations to the opportunity to explore areas outside of the business world, we looked for schools that graduate intellectually-curious, well-rounded students prepared to lead in all types of industries.  

 

Experience: If all a student has done is read books for the past four years, they’re in trouble when it comes to making real-world decisions. The best business schools give students hands-on experience with real-world decisions so they are prepared to be a high-functioning employee immediately upon entering the workforce. 

 

10 Best Colleges for Business Majors

 

1. University of Pennsylvania

Loction: Philadelphia, PA

Enrollment: 22,376

Acceptance Rate: 8%

 

The educational ideals and intellectual audacity of University of Pennsylvania founder, Ben Franklin, still resonate at the school today. UPenn is a place where outstanding liberal arts coursework is balanced with a pre-professional education, and the university’s business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, is no exception. 

 

Students at the Wharton School will take one-third of their classes at Penn’s 11 other schools in disciplines ranging from art history to chemistry, allowing students to follow their interests, gain a wide breadth of knowledge, and set themselves up for success in whatever career path they choose to follow. 

 

The Wharton School has the distinction of being the world’s first collegiate business school, is home to the U.S.’s first collegiate center for entrepreneurship, and continues its tradition of excellence today. Looking for another reason to attend Wharton? Their 2018 class entered jobs in over 19 different industries, earning an average annual salary of $80,354.

 

2. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor 

Loction: Ann Arbor, MI

Enrollment: 30,318

Acceptance Rate: 23%

 

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business cultivates the next leaders of industry by putting them in real-world situations. In what the university calls action-based learning, Ross students are challenged to start, advise, lead, and invest in real-world businesses with real stakes while under faculty supervision.  

 

The Ross School of Business also fosters an environment of diversity and inclusion, enabling students to gain exposure to a diverse spectrum of perspectives, ideas, and possibilities. The result is students who are capable of exploring identity, culture, and the concept of similarities and differences through a business organizational lens.

 

Ultimately, graduates of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business are prepared to become leaders in business and the community, and powerfully change the world.

 

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Loction: Cambridge, MA

Enrollment: 4,602

Acceptance Rate: 7%

 

MIT’s Sloan School of Management is where technology and business intersect, and the world’s brightest minds come together to solve challenges, whether it’s bringing a startup to life, getting a prototype to market, or positioning yourself to lead. 

 

MIT’s business programs are designed to impart on students a deep understanding of management that’s grounded in the scientific method and refined in the real world. One of the great advantages of attending MIT is that it’s a global hub of innovation and students in the Sloan School of Management are an active part of this innovative ecosystem.  

 

Upon graduation, attendees of the Sloan School of Management are analytical thinkers, effective communicators, and creative problem solvers who are prepared to tackle the challenges of a changing global landscape. 

 

4. University of Southern California

Loction: Los Angeles, CA

Enrollment: 47,310

Acceptance Rate: 13%

 

The USC Marshall School of Business allows students to study in one of the world’s most vibrant and unique metropolises, which is also home to a broad array of industry. It’s not merely Los Angeles that attracts business students to the Marshall School, international experience is also prioritized. Over 80% of undergraduates study abroad during their time at the school, and all freshmen are offered a first-year international experience. 

 

Founded in 1920, today USC’s Marshall School is at the forefront of business education while remaining grounded in core beliefs such as being faithful, scholarly, skillful, courageous, and ambitious. Students at the Marshall School of Business learn through a curriculum focused on balancing academic instruction and hands-on experience—acquiring applicable knowledge that will benefit them throughout their careers. 

 

5. University of Texas–Austin

Loction: Austin, TX 

Enrollment: 51,832

Acceptance Rate: 39%

 

The McCombs School of Business, or simply the McCombs School, at the University of Texas–Austin helps students develop new skills, challenge themselves, and impart themselves on the community in the U.S.’s fastest-growing city

 

In addition to a superior education, variety is another quality students will find at the McCombs School, as it offers 10 unique majors: 

 

  • Accounting
  • Canfield Business Honors Program
  • Finance
  • Integrated Masters in Professional Accounting
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Science and Technology Management
  • Supply Chain Management

 

In a global economy, a successful career depends on an understanding of the world around us. Another perk of the the McCombs School is its partnerships in 25+ countries, including those in continents North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. 

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6. Carnegie Mellon University

Loction: Pittsburgh, PA

Enrollment: 14,625

Acceptance Rate: 17%

 

Who wouldn’t want to attend business school at a college founded by one of history’s great industrialists, Andrew Carnegie? While there’s no guarantee you’ll make the history books, an education from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business is a foundation for success.  

 

The Tepper School of Business prides itself on its small classes, which allows for unparalleled support, guidance, and connections formed between students and staff. In fact, connections are easily made at Carnegie Mellon which is at a confluence of business, technology, and analytics. A collaborative environment, Tepper Students are encouraged to work with students from across the university, creating a diverse learning environment for an exceptional education in 21st-century business.

 

7. Cornell University

Loction: Ithaca, NY 

Enrollment: 23,600

Acceptance Rate: 11%

 

Small classes, individualized experiences, and lasting relationships are a hallmark of Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Because of this, graduates of Dyson are part of a tight-knit global network all living the school’s motto, Our business is a better world

 

One of the most notable characteristics of Dyson is its flexible degree requirement, which gives students an opportunity to enrich their educational experience by pursuing other academic interests. The flexible degree requirement is a reflection of Ezra Cornell’s (co-founder of Cornell University) goal to found an institution “…where any person can find instruction in any study.”  

 

Remaining true to Ezra Cornell’s vision, students have the opportunity to enroll in more than 4,000 courses offered by more than 100 departments at Cornell, allowing students to go explore a world of ideas. Within the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, students will find 11 concentrations: 

 

  • Accounting
  • Agribusiness Management
  • Applied Economics and Management
  • Business Analytics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental, Energy, and Resource Economics
  • Finance
  • Food Industry Management
  • International Trade and Development
  • Marketing
  • Strategy

 

8. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

Loction: Chapel Hill, NC 

Enrollment: 30,011

Acceptance Rate: 22%

 

UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School imparts on students skills such as problem-solving, analytic and strategic thinking, collaboration, and teamwork that prepares them for successful careers in almost any field—from finance to work with nonprofits.  

 

Students at Kenan-Flagler engage in active learning, taking lessons outside of the classroom and applying them to real-world situations. Because of this, Kenan-Flagler graduates have first-hand experience forming strategies, making decisions, and presenting solutions to actual business problems. 

 

A good business student knows that a college degree is an investment, and a degree from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is a safe one. Kenan-Flagler graduates have earned a fantastic reputation for their knowledge, work ethic, and ability to work within a team. Consequently, 2019’s graduating class is 98% employed and earning an average annual salary of $68,115.

 

9. Washington University in St. Louis

Loction: St. Louis, MO 

Enrollment: 15,852

Acceptance Rate: 15%

 

Washington University in St. Louis’s Olin School of Business has a longstanding tradition of funneling excellent students into the workforce. An active and engaged global alumni network in combination with the high-quality candidates turned out of the Olin School means students are quickly snatched up following graduation—the school has a 97% placement rate. 

 

Experiential learning is a tenet of the Olin School of Business; students are partnered with classmates and faculty to work on real-world consulting projects for a broad spectrum of businesses. Through experiential learning, Olin graduates enter the workforce with the skills and aptitude needed to thrive, drive results, and make tough decisions in today’s fast-paced economy. 

 

10. Georgetown University 

Loction: Washington, DC

Enrollment: 19,204

Acceptance Rate: 15%

 

The McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University is committed to helping create bold, innovative, caring, and committed business leaders. One way they facilitate this is through cutting-edge research, rigorous academics, and by continuing the Jesuit tradition of collaboration. It’s this collaborative environment that encourages students to think outside the box, embrace new ideas, and forge relationships that last long past graduation. 

 

Students at the McDonough School are also encouraged to think globally, which is only enhanced by the school’s proximity to Washington, D.C., a place where business, government, and international relations intersect. The highlight program of the Georgetown McDonough School is the Global Business Experience, which offers students a chance to travel abroad to consult within either a specific industry or with a particular Fortune 500 company. 

 

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.