Are you looking to advance in your financial or business career? If so, further education is a surefire way to increase your credibility in the job market. With an MBA program, you will learn transferable skills that can directly influence your growth as a professional. Below, learn more about the best business schools in America today and find the best program that fits your specific needs.

Overall, what are the best business schools in 2021? According to the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings, the most prestigious MBAs can be found at the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Harvard University, MIT and the University of Chicago.

What Factors Determine the Best Business Schools?

U.S. News & World Report utilizes a variety of factors when determining the best MBA programs in the country. The components that make up a great business school include:

  • Mean GPA and GMAT scores
  • Employment data for graduates
  • Tuition and fees
  • Enrollment data
  • Average starting salary

For the past three years, Harvard has held the top spot as the United States’ premier business school. However, the Crimson were dethroned in 2019 by one of the most reputable universities in the world with twice the acceptance rate, according to CNBC.

Penn has one of the best business schools

1. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

After ranking third in 2018, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School rose to the top for the first time in its history. Here’s why:

The employment rate for alumni three months after graduation is at 94.6%, while their average starting salary is $165,528. Moreover, the acceptance rate is a staggering 20.7%. This compares with Harvard’s acceptance rate of 10.4%. With an overall score of 100 according to U.S. News & World Report, Penn’s Wharton School is proving to have the best MBA program in the country.

2. Stanford Graduate School of Business

There is always a lot of talk about Harvard, but Stanford University actually came in second on the U.S. News list for 2019. The Stanford Graduate School of Business has the second-best average starting salary for alumni at $162,704. It also has some of the cheapest tuition and fees at $70,590.

The average undergraduate GPA is 3.73, so Stanford Graduate School of Business is a bit more selective in the students it admits. The next highest is Harvard at 3.71, while Penn’s Wharton School has an average undergrad GPA of 3.6.

The Stanford Graduate School of Business has the best MBA program on the West Coast, but it’s extremely difficult to gain acceptance. The school currently only accepts 6.1% of applicants.

Harvard has one of the best business schools

3. Harvard Business School (Tie)

After three years at the top, Harvard University’s business school dropped two places into a tie for third in 2021. The average starting salary for its graduates is comparatively low at $159,314. This is the fourth-highest in the country, below Penn’s Wharton School, Stanford and the 12th-ranked University of Virginia.

On the other hand, Harvard does have the highest number of full-time students on the list at 1,873. This may play a role in its employment rate three months after graduation, which is 89.3%.

It’s true that Harvard’s Business School is no longer the outright leader as the best business school in the U.S. Nevertheless, it’s still Harvard. Graduating with an MBA from Harvard is, and will always be, the gold standard for business professionals around the world.

3. University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Tie)

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is the leading MBA program in the Midwest. In fact, Forbes ranks the Booth School as the best in the country.

Its acceptance rate is at 22.9% and the average undergraduate GPA is 3.58. As you can see, it’s one of the more accepting programs near the top of the list. It’s also one of the less expensive MBA’s with tuition and fees at $73,209.

Its most impressive statistic is its employment rate three months after graduation at 95.5%. This is by far the best on the list.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management (Tie)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has always been known for its science and engineering programs, but it’s proven to be no slouch in the business department either. The Sloan School of Management has 813 full-time students with a 93.5% employment rate three months after graduation.

The average starting salary for these graduates is currently at $159,245. Furthermore, MIT has a middle-of-the-road acceptance rate in comparison to the rest of the field. The average undergraduate GPA is 3.57, but the Sloan School’s acceptance rate is only 13.1%.

Other Business Schools Gaining Recognition

Outside of the top five best business school in the country, there are a few schools that are consistently rising in the rankings. For example, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business is gaining recognition for its return on investment.

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business provides one of the best MBAs you can find with an easier path to acceptance. (It has an average undergrad GPA of 3.48 and a 27.1% acceptance rate.) Other standouts include Dartmouth College, New York University, Cornell University, Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley.

The Best Business Schools and Your Path to Professional Success

The job market is as competitive as ever. Therefore, finding the best business schools in the country can give you an upper hand in the future.

Are you finding it difficult to afford the tuition of the MBA program of your choice? If so, sign up for our daily e-letter to learn more about investment trends. We can guide you on a path to financial freedom through the help of our seasoned experts.