7th Annual MBA Program Rankings

The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is a degree that generates headlines in publications across the business press. Articles from U.S. News & World Reports to Forbes try to dissect what the best MBA programs are and why. Rankings can focus on how innovative a school’s curriculum is, the percent of graduates with a job in hand before graduation, or the return on investment (ROI) for one program versus another. Whatever the angle of the headline, the MBA degree piques reader interest and sells magazines.

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Discover information on start dates, credit transfer processes, initial salary expectations, financial aid opportunities, GMAT requirements, tuition fees, student-to-faculty ratios, and average post-graduation employment rates.

Why is there so much interest in finding the best MBA programs? Few degrees can have such an immediate impact on career trajectory and earning potential. But an MBA is a big investment of time and money and not every newly-minted graduate will get a huge boost in salary at graduation. This creates intense discussion on which program is the “right” one.

An MBA is not a one-size-fits-all degree. Tuition costs can range from $208 at Texas A&M’s Corpus Christi campus to $132,000 at Dartmouth College. There are plenty of other choices potential students must think through beyond cost. Should they attend full-time or part-time? On campus or online? To find the MBA program that will work best for you, you need to get past the headlines and dig into the details of what these degrees offer. This site will help you do just that.

Click through our discussion and rankings on topics from tuition costs, best alumni, GMAT score, and faculty strength to start considering what you want from an MBA program. Once you have a handful of schools in mind, you can dig deep into the data to get to know a program in-depth. This research will make sure you get the very most from your MBA experience.

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Discover information on start dates, credit transfer processes, initial salary expectations, financial aid opportunities, GMAT requirements, tuition fees, student-to-faculty ratios, and average post-graduation employment rates.

How Much is Tuition for the Best MBA Programs?

If you plan on attending B-School, it’s best to start thinking about fiscal responsibility. A prospective MBA Student in needs to weigh their options with regard to tuition rates. A highly reputable MBA program can pave the way for a great starting salary by way of recruitment from Fortune 500 companies. An MBA program can provide the flexibility of completing a program while being employed in your respective career.

With that being said, the lowest in-state tuition for MBA programs is $6,660.00 compared to the highest average in-state tuition of $170,330.00.

There’s a significant tuition range for in-state programs. The average in-state tuition is $39,291.07 compared to an average out-of-state tuition of $53,580.91 for traditional MBA programs.

If you have the option of attending a highly reputable in-state program, it may be worthwhile to save close to $14,000 in tuition costs. If an in-state program isn’t available to you, then a well-respected MBA program may be the best option for aspiring B-Students.

The average in-state MBA program in is $39,291.07 compared to the average out-of-state program of $53,580.91.

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How Much is Tuition for MBA Programs?

The least expensive MBA is available from Augusta University. In-state tuition totals $6,660.00.

Compare that bill to the $170,330.00. in tuition costs you wrack up if you attend Columbia University‘s MBA program.

Both programs are accredited by the AACSB, which ensures they pursue excellence and continuous improvement in their degree programs. So why pay Columbia University‘s higher price?

Columbia University notes that its program has the same rigorous curriculum that its full-time students complete. It’s taught by the same faculty and Access Weekends six times a year allow MBA students to start classes with the professors who will teach you all semester. They also help students network with their classmates, other MBA students and alumni to build their personal network.

See our expanded report of the most affordable MBA programs

10 Least Expensive MBA Programs

  1. Augusta University - $6,660.00
  2. Fayetteville State University - $6,900.00
  3. Lamar University - $8,432.00
  4. Georgia College & State University - $8,640.00
  5. University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras - $8,650.00
  6. Columbus State University - $8,748.00
  7. California State University, Chico - $8,800.00
  8. University of the District of Columbia - $9,156.00
  9. Tennessee State University - $9,276.00
  10. Humboldt State University - $9,294.00

10 Most Expensive MBA Programs

  1. Columbia University - $170,330.00
  2. Stanford University - $164,460.00
  3. New York University - $162,991.00
  4. Dartmouth College - $155,040.00
  5. Yale University - $146,180.00
  6. Duke University - $145,253.00
  7. Cornell University - $143,880.00
  8. Carnegie Mellon University - $141,812.00
  9. University of Virginia-Darden - $139,200.00
  10. University of California, Los Angeles - $139,014.00

Average GMAT Scores Campus MBA Programs

Everyone with MBA ambitions makes the purchase of a GMAT study program or guide with trepidation. The score on this one test can make a big difference in the schools you’ll be able to get into. But with more than 173 ranked MBA programs available, you have a wide range of options. Whether you’ve already taken the test and want to see what schools have average scores in your range or you’ve got a dream school in mind and want to see if you’re likely to get in, the information below will help you research your options.

The range of average GMAT scores for MBA programs is wide. On the low end of the scale, Prairie View A&M University‘s MBA program has an average GMAT score of 385.00 .

On the high end, the Stanford University has an average GMAT score of 385.00. But remember, the GMAT score is not the only decision-making criteria for admissions officers. Undergraduate grades, work experience, references and essays are all important parts of the package schools look at when they consider applicants. If you’re not great at taking tests, work on boosting other parts of your application.

See our expanded report of the most selective MBA Programs

10 MBA Programs with the Lowest GMAT Scores

  1. Prairie View A&M University - 385
  2. University of St. Thomas-Houston - 387
  3. Montana State University - 394
  4. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - 400
  5. Southeastern Oklahoma State University - 400
  6. Whitworth University - 400
  7. National University College - 400
  8. Northcentral University - 400
  9. University of Montevallo - 400
  10. Jackson State University - 400

10 MBA Programs with the Highest GMAT Scores

  1. Stanford University - 737
  2. Northwestern University - 728
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 724
  4. University of Pennsylvania - 730
  5. Harvard University - 729
  6. The University of Chicago - 726
  7. Yale University - 725
  8. Brown University - 722
  9. Columbia University - 720
  10. University of California, Los Angeles - 719

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Student / Faculty Ratios for Campus MBA Programs

The faculty/student ratio has become an increasingly important criteria for selective MBA candidates. This ratio is important because many schools use the case-discussion approach to business instruction. With this teaching method, students are asked to read a case write-up of a business experiencing a problem, do their own analysis and prepare a solution to the problem. In-class case discussions are often heated, as the solution to the problem is unclear. But students won’t get much time to participate in these discussions if class sizes are enormous.

More broadly, a higher faculty/student ratio indicates a university pays more faculty members to instruct students and to offer additional guidance. This can be seen as a direct reflection of an institution’s attitude towards their students’ success. For aspiring MBA students who want faculty mentorship, a higher faculty/student ratio is important.

Faculty/student ratios vary dramatically from one MBA program to another. Western Kentucky University, for instance, has about one professor for every 285 students. The University of Arizona, on the other hand, has about one professor for every 2.9 students. It’s easy to see which program provides students with more faculty interaction.

See our expanded report student / faculty ratios

10 MBA Programs with the Highest Student / Faculty Ratios

  1. West Texas A&M University - 20:1
  2. University of Dallas - 19:1
  3. New York Institute of Technology - 14:1
  4. Cornell University - 14:1
  5. University of Colorado Denver - 13:1
  6. Duke University - 13:1
  7. University of Central Missouri - 12:1
  8. University of Illinois at Springfield - 11:1
  9. The University of Texas at Dallas - 11:1
  10. Mercer University-Macon and Atlanta Campuses - 11:1

10 MBA Programs with the Lowest Student / Faculty Ratios

  1. Johns Hopkins University - 1:2
  2. Thunderbird School of Global Management - 1:1
  3. University of Rochester - 2:1
  4. Clark University - 3:1
  5. Illinois Institute of Technology - 3:1
  6. Carnegie Mellon University - 4:1
  7. Brandeis University - 4:1
  8. University of Dallas - 5:1
  9. University of St. Thomas-Houston - 5:1
  10. Case Western Reserve University - 5:1

Alumni and Student Enrollment for Campus MBA Programs

The number of students enrolled in an MBA program varies widely from one school to another. You may wonder why enrollment matters if you’ll be attending class from the comfort of your own home, not sitting in the back of a huge auditorium. But it does matter.

Larger programs generally have the breadth of faculty and resources to offer more areas of focus. If you want to take classes specific a certain industry or functional area, you may need a larger program to meet your needs. Schools with a higher student enrollment also have a larger alumni base. When you’re looking for a new job after graduation or an introduction to a new company later in your career, that larger alumni base can help.

On the other hand, smaller MBA programs can focus their resources and become the best option in their niche. They can be more personal, making sure that no student falls through the cracks. And while they have fewer alumni, students in small programs are often more tightly knit and their alumni more loyal. Both large and small MBA programs have their benefits. Dig into the data here to find what’s right for you.

MBA programs vary substantially between the percent of students who attend full-time versus part-time. Again, this issue may not seem important if you will not be sitting in a classroom together, but it can make a difference. MBA programs assign group project because anyone graduating with a business degree must be able to collaborate in the workplace.

If you are working full-time and taking MBA classes at night but are grouped with classmates studying full-time and who have more free time on their hands, friction may arise. Their preferred meeting times and the amount of time they spend on “camaraderie” rather than focused work may not meet your needs.

The smallest full-time MBA program is University of Richmond, with only 2 students in the program. (Longwood has a part-time MBA program too, but it’s small as well.) The University of Southern California has a much larger full-time MBA program with 2,102 students. Between these numbers is a range of program sizes. One will be right for you.

See our expanded report on Alumni and Student Enrollment

10 MBA Programs with the Highest Full-Time Student Enrollment

  1. University of Southern California - 2,102
  2. Columbia University - 2,070
  3. Cornell University - 1,953
  4. Duke University - 1,920
  5. Harvard University - 1,868
  6. University of Pennsylvania - 1,740
  7. The University of Texas at Austin - 1,690
  8. Baruch College-The City University of New York - 1,412
  9. University of Utah - 1,300
  10. Northwestern University - 1,289

10 MBA Programs with the Lowest Full-Time Student Enrollment

  1. Lawrence Technological University - 2
  2. University of Richmond - 2
  3. Winston-Salem State University - 2
  4. University of Houston-Clear Lake - 5
  5. University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee - 5
  6. Lamar University - 5
  7. The University of Akron - 6
  8. Berry College - 7
  9. Central Washington University - 9
  10. Colorado State University-Pueblo - 9

Faculty Strength for MBA Programs

An MBA program is only as strong as the background of its professors. Some of the best business professors have a nice balance of industry experience and teaching in an academic setting. They have the ability to back their in-class lesson plans with real-world application. That is a powerful combination for someone entering the business field. Knowing that your professor is an industry influencer and has extensive teaching experience in the field of is a clear sign that a program delivers high-quality education.

Start your research into the faculty strength of the best MBA programs you’re considering by looking into the number of full-time faculty the program employs. Indiana University Bloomington/Indianapolis campus has the highest number of full-time faculty of any MBA program – 322. Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, on the other hand, has only 4 full-time professors.

But the number of full-time professors is not all you should consider. A program without a large full-time faculty may have several part-time professors to help with the teaching load. You should also consider qualifications of the faculty, such as the percentage of professors who have a doctorate degree.

See our expanded report on Best Faculty

Ranking Methodology

No two ranking system are the same. You don’t have to be a savvy MBA applicant to ensure your B-School is accredited by reputable agencies. MBAGuide.org provides a comprehensive resource for tailoring your B-School choices around your particular preferences.

In other words, we don’t rely too heavily on the major ranking systems; instead, MBA Guide allows B-Students to search real-time data and narrow down program choices using their own preferences. This is one of the key differentiators between our guide other MBA resource guides. Ours is tailored to a students most sought-after criteria.

You’ve told us what matters to you most and we’ve provided rankings that take into account price, program reputation, student commitment, and graduation rate. By factoring in the program rankings from trusted publications, we’ve compiled a unique list of U.S.-based, MBA program rankings you won’t find anywhere else.

After pulling together the rankings from the publications, we’ve added cost of tuition, alumni strength, faculty strength, student / teacher ratio and GMAT scores. The result? A robust list of affordable best MBA programs that prospective B-students can rely on as they seek to further their studies and careers in business.

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