Top 25 US Full-Time MBA Programs of 2021

Scroll on to learn everything you need to know about the best MBA programs in one, convenient listing. Then read our coverage of MBA rankings, view reports on major MBA industries, and check out exclusive data on the top MBA employers of 2018-2020.

Harvard Business School

MBA rankings come and go, but Harvard Business School is recognized as the long-term #1 business school in the world.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Median GMAT: 730
  • Average GPA: 3.7
  • Class Size: 732
  • Acceptance Rate: 12%

Stanford GSB

Stanford is famous for its ties to Silicon Valley, venture capital investing, and tech startups. But the business school at Stanford University is much broader than this, teaching students an interdisciplinary, interpersonal curriculum.

  • Location: Stanford, California
  • Average GMAT: 733
  • Average GPA: 3.8
  • Class Size: 436
  • Acceptance Rate: 7.2%

MBA Industry Reports

Menlo Coaching’s research team produces detailed industry reports on popular post-MBA career tracks, including management consulting and investment banking. Based on real student profiles, the data collected goes far beyond official employment reports to give you valuable insights into each MBA program’s job placement history in your target field.

UPenn Wharton

Wharton is good in almost every area. Yes, finance, but also entrepreneurship, technology (don’t forget their San Francisco campus!), social impact, and more.

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Average GMAT: 722
  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Class Size: 916
  • Acceptance Rate: 25%

Northwestern Kellogg

Kellogg School of Management is rightly famous for its team-based approach and the location in Evanston, which combines access to Chicago with a relaxed college town setting.

  • Location: Evanston, Illinois
  • Average GMAT: 727
  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Class Size: 559
  • Acceptance Rate: 20%

University of Chicago Booth

The Booth program is known for its academic and analytical rigor, and the fact that its flexible curriculum has only a single strictly required course, with students customizing everything else.

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Average GMAT: 724
  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Class Size: 621
  • Acceptance Rate: 22%

Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School is about access to New York City and its resources, like executives who come to campus as guest lecturers, entrepreneurs in residence, or to hire in-semester interns

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Average GMAT: 726
  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Class Size: 782
  • Acceptance Rate: 16.2%

MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan is strong in technology — in all senses of the word. Tech at MIT doesn’t just mean Google, Facebook and Amazon, but also physical product design for consumers and industry.

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Average GMAT: 720
  • Median GPA: 3.54
  • Class Size: 484
  • Acceptance Rate: 22%

Dartmouth Tuck

The Tuck MBA bring together a small number of students for an intense bonding experience in its Hanover, NH location, creating a fanatically loyal alumni group that donates to the school at 2-3x the average, and pulls out all of the stops to help other Tuckies.

  • Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Average GMAT: 720
  • Average GPA: 3.48
  • Class Size: 289
  • Acceptance Rate: 34.8%

Berkeley Haas

Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is on the forefront of diversity, both through its connection to the very progressive host university, UC Berkeley, and through its own initiatives, like appointing a Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. Its Bay Area location allows excellent placement within the tech industry.

  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • Average GMAT: 727
  • Average GPA: 3.65
  • Class Size: 331
  • Acceptance Rate: 23.3%

UVA Darden

UVA Darden, sometimes known affectionately as “the bootcamp,” puts students through a highly rigorous case method program (which makes the students very appealing to employers with a similar style, including banks and consulting firms).

  • Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Average GMAT: 703
  • Average GPA: 3.5
  • Class Size: 404
  • Acceptance Rate: 5

Yale School of Management (Yale SOM)

Yale SOM seeks to educate “leaders for business and society,” with a special focus on training future managers about the impact of their decisions on society at large. Full time MBA students at the SOM also have access to the full resources of Yale University.

  • Location: New Haven, Connecticut
  • Median GMAT: 720
  • Median GPA: 3.65
  • Class Size: 350
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%

Duke Fuqua

Fuqua focuses on admitting MBA students who have a high “decency quotient”, considering not just their professional achievements, but also whether they treat their colleagues, friends, classmates and others with respect.

  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • Work Experience: 5.6
  • GPA Range (Middle 80%): 3.07-3.86
  • Class Size: 408
  • Acceptance Rate: 25%

University of Michigan Ross

The Ross business school is a part of the much larger University of Michigan, whose huge alumni footprint creates networking opportunities with people in almost any company or location, anywhere. “Go Blue, Go Anywhere!”

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Average GMAT: 710
  • Average GPA: 3.5
  • Class Size: 358
  • Acceptance Rate: 37%

University of Texas, Austin McCombs

UT Austin’s McCombs School of Business is the “Harvard Business School of Texas,” and rather well respected outside the state, too. The Austin location provides great access to the city’s booming tech and VC scene.

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Average GMAT: 704
  • Average GPA: 3.44
  • Class Size: 241

Cornell University, Johnson

Johnson’s host university, Cornell, has a fantastic reputation as part of the Ivy League, and getting your full time MBA at Cornell Johnson will allow you to experience Ithaca’s liberal New York state, college-town vibe to the fullest.

  • Location: Ithaca, New York
  • Median GMAT: 700
  • GPA Median: 3.34
  • Class Size: 292
  • Acceptance Rate: 39.6%

UCLA Anderson

UCLA Anderson is the leading business school in Los Angeles, and it has excellent placement in the LA offices of McKinsey, BCG, and Bain, as well as top investment banks.

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Average GMAT: 706
  • GPA Range (Middle 80%): 3.1 -3.8
  • Class Size: 360
  • Acceptance Rate: 35.3%

NYU Stern

One of NYU Stern’s highlights is beyond doubt its downtown location in New York City — it even outshines Columbia in this regard. A major benefit of the NYC location for the Stern School of Business is its strong relationship with industries in the luxury retail sector.

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Average GMAT: 723
  • Average GPA: 3.6
  • Class Size: 317
  • Acceptance Rate: 28.7%

Carnegie Mellon Tepper

Tepper’s host institution, Carnegie Mellon University, is one of the leading universities in the country for computer science and related fields such as automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence. If you’re interested in this space, Tepper’s full time program can provide you with the technical and analytical skills needed to succeed.

  • Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Average GMAT: 680
  • Average GPA: 3.32
  • Class Size: 141
  • Acceptance Rate: 27.4%

UNC Kenan-Flagler

The real estate program in Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina is truly top-notch. If you’re interested in real estate programs, you owe it to yourself to look into what UNC Kenan-Flagler has to offer in this regard. They currently place 12% of their students in real estate, the highest rate of any major full time business school program.

  • Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Average GMAT: 694
  • Average GPA: 3.4
  • Class Size: 344
  • Acceptance Rate: 50.6%

Emory Goizueta

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School not only has a reputation for its MBA program, but also for its undergraduate business program, which has an excellent placement record with about 20% of undergraduates going into consulting and 27% into finance. The strength of the graduate and undergraduate programs combined will broaden your network and improve visibility with employers.

  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • GMAT Range (middle 80%): 640-670
  • Class Size: 150-180
  • Acceptance Rate: 46.1%

USC Marshall

A top factor when considering a full time degree at University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business is the large network that comes along with its host institution. You’ll find great support through the USC alumni as part of what students lovingly call their “Trojan family”. This strong network is especially present in LA, and can be a useful tool while job searching.

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Average GMAT: 707
  • Average GPA: 3.55
  • Class Size: 217
  • Acceptance Rate: 24.3%

Georgetown McDonough

Georgetown University McDonough takes global experience to another level due to its prime location in Washington DC. Not only will you be among a culturally diverse population, you will also gain exposure to other cultures through the program’s strong ties with the diplomatic community.

  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Average GMAT: 691.4
  • Average GPA: 3.34
  • Class Size: 247
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%

Indiana Kelley

Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business makes it a priority that you get the best return on investment on your MBA. To ensure that you make the most out of the full time program, Kelley’s admissions staff will give you the guidance you need even before you arrive on campus.

  • Location: Bloomington, Indiana
  • Average GMAT: 652
  • Average GPA: 3.32
  • Class Size: 92
  • Acceptance Rate: 42.7%

UW Foster

The University of Washington, Foster School of Business has the highest percentage of tech placement of any MBA program–it places a whopping 44% of its graduates into the technology industry! This high rate is driven by recruiting into large companies like Amazon and Microsoft’s Seattle offices.

  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Average GMAT: 692
  • Average GPA: 3.37
  • Class Size: 110
  • Acceptance Rate: 41.3%

Rice Jones

One of the top features of the Rice Jones MBA is that its location in Houston makes it ideal for those of you interested in the energy industry. In Houston, you will find companies in both the traditional oil and gas sector, as well as the renewable energy sector. The city is also home to 20 Fortune 500 headquarters.

  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Average GMAT: 689
  • Average GPA: 3.41
  • Class Size: 174
  • Acceptance Rate: 35.7%

MBA Rankings – Useful Tools or Hot Garbage?

As an MBA applicant, you might be tempted to rely solely on MBA rankings when making your school selection. But that would be a mistake.

While some aspects of the various MBA rankings can be useful in your initial research, you have to realize that rankings are mainly designed to benefit the organization that publishes the list, rather than you, the applicant. Further, most of the rankings are arbitrary nonsense, built on very, very shaky foundations.

As you might already be able to tell, we have mixed feelings about the overall usefulness of MBA rankings, and we want to be sure that they are consulted responsibly. So we have combed through the data, studied methodologies and underlying goals, and prepared breakdowns on the most popular listings that you are likely to encounter during your research, including global MBA rankings and rankings focused solely on US schools. You can read about our general findings on this page, with more links to focused pages below. We have also included some tips on how to choose a business school that is right for you—rankings be damned!

And if you want something that’s almost like a ranking, but a bit more applicant-focused, see our directory of top MBA programs, which doesn’t focus on a ranking formula, but on the curriculum, class profile, employment report and culture of each MBA program, with each school profile page containing resources including video interviews with students and admissions staff.

You can read in-depth analysis of each major ranking on their individual pages:

How to Use MBA Rankings

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MBA rankings capture something real, in the sense that an HBS MBA commands more respect than a Columbia Business School MBA, which in turn is respected more than one from UCLA Anderson. If you are totally new to MBA world, a ranking can quickly orient you on which business schools are considered most desirable by applicants and post-MBA employers.

The ranking also correlates strongly with the selectivity of those business schools and your chances of admission. You know that you’ll need a great profile in order to be a realistic candidate for top programs, since those programs attract large numbers of highly qualified applicants. So if you’re applying with a low GPA, low GMAT and average work experience, you should not be targeting the programs at the very top of the rankings.

Beyond that? Once you generate a short list of target schools, you should put the MBA rankings aside.

U.S. News MBA Rankings

MBA Ranking Concerns & Considerations

In general, there are some broad considerations that you should make when looking at MBA rankings.

MBA Programs Manipulate Rankings

The easiest way for MBA programs to manipulate MBA rankings is to focus on raising their average GMAT and average GPA. There are always candidates in the applicant pool who have great stats, but slightly weaker professional experience. Admitting a few more students with this profile can help a school to boost its ranking, with the school hoping that they can “fake it until they make it” — after the ratings increase, and the increase in applications to the business school, they hope they can make things right by admitting students who have both great stats and great experiences.


MBA ranking methodology

Another way to manipulate rankings is to recruit students who obviously have high post-MBA earning potential. The most famous example of this was the Adam Allcock scandal, in which Stanford GSB awarded large financial aid packages to students with extremely high pre-MBA earnings, despite a stated policy that only need-based financial aid was available. The suspected motivation? Stanford wanted to give high earning private equity professionals a reason to prefer Stanford over Harvard, therefore helping Stanford to show the highest post-MBA earnings of any school.

Strategies like these can influence rankings, but don’t make the program more valuable to its students.

MBA Rankings Ignore Fit

If you are having a miserable time during your two years, you will not get the full benefits of the degree. Don’t forget that a lot of the value of an MBA program is the network you build with your peers. It’s easier to build a strong network when you’re surrounded by people you admire and want to spend time with.

MBA Rankings Are Designed to Generate Ad Revenue

The ultimate purpose of MBA rankings is to generate page views and advertising revenue for the organizations that publish them. For this purpose, it’s great if the rankings are controversial, with many schools rising and falling each year so that everyone has to monitor the rankings obsessively for updates.

But, factors that influence the value of an MBA program actually change very slowly. For example, it takes time for top business schools to recruit new faculty, build relationships with new post-MBA employers, and raise donations from alumni to support expanded resources for the students. This means that the value of a given MBA program changes slowly, with very, very few events actually justifying a dramatic change over a single year.

So How Can You Find the Best MBA Program?

Once you determine roughly which schools you are qualified to attend, we encourage you to focus on the practical questions that will help you figure out which program will provide value to your career. These are simple, practical questions:


Answering these questions will help you find a business school that can enhance your career.

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