Business administration is one of the most popular college majors for undergraduates. Those that want to further their business education and maximize their earning potential go on to pursue a master's or doctoral degrees in the field. The brightest students strive for spots in the classrooms of the nation's top business schools which all offer impressive faculty, stellar career prospects and a network of prominent alumni.
Booth School of Business (University of Chicago)
Formerly the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, it was renamed following a $300 million gift from 1971 graduate David G. Booth. The donation was the largest in the school's history and the largest to any business school in the world. Booth credits his University of Chicago business education for the success of his investment firm, Dimensional Fund Advisors, which has $120 billion in assets. Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked Booth School as the number one business school in America four times in a row. US News & World Report put it in fourth place (tied with Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management) for 2013. Booth School boasts the nation's oldest doctoral program in business as well as six faculty members who have won Nobel Prizes. In addition to two Chicago campuses, the school also offers degree and open enrollment programs in London and Singapore.
Harvard Business School
With a self-funded research budget of more than $70 million, it is no surprise that The Harvard Business School is one of the top business schools in America. The school was ranked second best after the University of Chicago's Booth School by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2012. It is tied for the first place spot with Stanford Graduate School of Business in US News and World Report's 2013 ranking. Harvard Business School takes pride in being the first to use the case method, an interactive learning process that uses current, real-world business situations, to educate business students. The school's faculty members author or co-author about 35 books and more than 300 academic papers each year. Only 13% of applicants are accepted into Harvard Business School and 95% of students are employed within three months of graduation.
Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)
Founded in 1881, by entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Wharton, the University of Pennsylvania's business school has the distinction of being the world's first collegiate school of business. The school was ranked third best in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2013 and US News and World Report in 2013. Wharton School alumni number 90,000 and reside worldwide. Those who get into this academic institution shell out $53,926 annually for their education. Students polled by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2012 gave Wharton School A+ marks for its career services and leadership. Wharton offers undergraduate, MBA and doctoral degrees in addition to an executive education program.
Stanford Graduate School of Business
This ultra-selective school only admits seven percent of applicants. The Stanford Graduate School of Business was ranked number one in 2013 by US News & World Report, a tie with Harvard Business School. It took the fourth place spot in the 2012 ranking by Bloomberg Businessweek. The school offers master's, MBA, Ph.D. and executive education programs. Tuition is $55,200 per year, but the expense is worth every penny according to the student body. Stanford Graduate School of Business was listed as number one for best career prospects and best classroom experience in the Princeton Review's "The Best in Business Schools: 2013 Edition."
Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University)
A global approach to business education is a top priority at this school, which was ranked among the top five best business schools in the nation by both US News and World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek. Eighty-five percent of Kellogg students participate in study abroad opportunities, and the school has international campuses in China, Israel, Canada and Germany. Tuition is priced at $54,000 a year, but more than 83% of students are employed upon graduation. With a degree from Kellogg School of Management in hand, they can expect an average starting base salary of $111,928. One notable alum is also its namesake. John L. Kellogg, past president of Kellogg's and the son of the company's founder, donated $10 million to the school in 1979, at which time it was renamed in his honor.
The Bottom Line
The top business schools in America have a few things in common, including low acceptance rates, high tuition and world-class academic programs. Graduates of these prestigious institutions of higher learning are almost guaranteed successful and financially rewarding futures in their chosen professions.