Whether you’re looking to start your own business or join the ranks of an established company, an MBA can help you get a foot in the door and show you have what it takes. However, schools aren’t created equal, and some locations could be much more effective at helping you reach your dream.
It’s not just about the name on your graduation certificate (although that helps). It’s about the real-world skills you’ll be able to learn in an MBA program and how you can apply that to your career path in the business world.
Top Programs in the U.S.
The current top-ranked MBA programs in the country are…
- Harvard Business School
- Stanford University
- University of Chicago (Booth)
- University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
- Northwestern University
- University of California, Berkeley (Haas)
- Dartmouth College (Tuck)
- Yale University
- Columbia University
- University of Virginia (Darden)
- Duke University (Fuqua)
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)
- Cornell University (Johnson)
- University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson)
These schools have been chosen based on peer assessment, mean starting salary, employment rates of graduates, and mean GMAT scores.
However, just because Harvard or Stanford is at the “top,” doesn’t mean it might be the right program for you.
Do Your Homework
Serious students know that doing research doesn’t start after you’ve been accepted – it’s starts before you’ve even applied. It’s important to make an informed decision when choosing MBA schools, to ensure you enroll in a program matches your academic, personal, and career goals.
Questions to Ask
To help narrow down your choices, you want to ask questions such as: what percent of students in your chosen schools actually graduate? How many of them ultimately wind up in an administrative position? What’s the average salary?
You might value the environment of a school, and ask questions like: How diverse is the campus? What is the relationship between students and faculty? How supportive is the alumni network? Or, for many financially-minded applicants: How expensive was the program, and if most students took out loans, how long did it take them to pay off?
Your choice of an MBA program will decide the course of the rest of your life – and these are questions that should be answered first.