If you’re interested in becoming a business major, join the club: business is one of the most popular majors on college campuses. About 20% of recent graduates have a degree in the field.
Part of the appeal of a business degree is how valuable related skills can be on the job market. Business includes degrees in areas including finance, accounting, marketing, and management. And according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 8 of the 10 top majors in demand by employers are business related.
Where should budding business leaders apply? Below are the best colleges for business in the country, chosen for their value and outcomes for undergraduate business majors.
The Top 10 Best Colleges for Business Majors
CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College
- Location: New York City
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 29%
- Graduation rate: 70%
University of Pennsylvania
- Location: Philadelphia
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 7%
- Graduation rate: 96%
University of Notre Dame
- Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 19%
- Graduation rate: 97%
- Location: Washington, D.C.
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 16%
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 27%
- Graduation rate: 93%
Washington and Lee University
- Location: Lexington, Virginia
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 22%
- Graduation rate: 92%
- Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 24%
- Graduation rate: 88.7%
Texas A&M University
- Location: College Station, Texas
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 71%
- Graduation rate: 82%
- Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 58%
- Graduation rate: 80%
University of Southern California
- Location: Los Angeles
- Undergraduate Acceptance Rate: 16%
- Graduation rate: 92%
Best Colleges for Business Reviews
Learn more about the top ten colleges for business below, what makes them unique, and why they made this list.
CUNY – Baruch College Review
Three-quarters of City University of New York-Baruch’s 15,000 undergrads study in the college’s well-known Zicklin School of Business. Students there benefit from its New York City location–they’re just a few miles from Wall Street and close to the headquarters of many major corporations.
All CUNY colleges stand out in Money’s Best Colleges ranking for their affordability. At Baruch, the average price after grants and scholarships is about $5,000 a year. Recent alumni who studied business report average salaries of about $59,000, according to Payscale.
CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College and COVID-19:
In accordance with New York State’s PAUSE executive order, the Baruch College campus is closed to students, faculty, and staff. All courses are being offered remotely, as are all administrative and support services.
University of Pennsylvania Review
It would be hard to find a list of the best colleges for business that doesn’t include the Wharton School Of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Thanks in part to Wharton’s distinguished MBA program, the University of Pennsylvania draws some of the country’s leading thinkers on business topics, and that means undergraduates have access to an impressive roster of faculty members. Recent graduates from the business program earn average salaries of about $82,000, according to Payscale, one of the highest averages in the country.
Like all elite, private institutions, Penn has a high price tag: Tuition alone is $57,770. But the college also awards a significant amount in grants, bringing the average price of attendance for those with financial aid down to about $26,000.
University of Pennsylvania _ Wharton School of Business and COVID-19:
The Wharton School of business is planning on offering courses through its Remote Plus model. Students unable or preferring not to return to campus will be able to access their courses online. Classes with more than 48 students enrolled will be offered online only while classes with less than 48 students may use a combination of in-person and online teaching. Classrooms will be redesigned to accommodate to provide appropriate distancing.
University of Notre Dame Review
Notre Dame has an undergraduate business program and an MBA within the Mendoza School of Business, and business students earn a $70,900 introductory salary upon graduation, according to Payscale. The full cost, which includes tuition, fees, books, supplies and room & board, is roughly $76,000 for undergraduates.
University of Notre Dame – Mendoza School of Business and COVID-19:
Notre Dame is planning on having most of its students attend in-person courses, although all lessons will be recorded and the university is working to be able to present courses completely online if necessary. The university is also planning on using non-traditional spaces, such as auditoriums as classrooms in order to accommodate social distancing guidelines. Students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear a mask, do a daily symptom check, and observe the personal hygiene guidelines.
Georgetown University Review
Georgetown’s location in the nation’s capital helps the business programs there get an infusion of lessons in global leadership and international relations. Students at the McDonough School of Business can participate in international consulting projects and internships around the world. About one in five undergraduates study in a program that falls under the umbrella of business majors, according to Money’s calculations.
Payscale reports the young alumni who studied business earn average salaries of $76,000.
Georgetown University – McDonough School of Business and COVID-19:
As with most undergraduate and graduate courses of study at Georgetown, the McDonough School of Business will be offering a hybrid-flexible approach to learning, allowing students to either attend classes in-person, practicing social distancing, and personal protection policies, or online.
Bentley University Review
Bentley specializes in teaching business. The university emphasizes experiential learning: Internships are a regular part of coursework, and the school has its own trading room, complete with dual-screen monitors and Bloomberg terminals, to train students in trading, portfolio construction, corporate finance, and risk management.
After financial aid, the average price to attend is about $39,000, and graduates report average salaries of about $65,000.
Bentley University and COVID-19:
Bentley University is reopening its campus and beginning classes on August 31, offering courses in-person taking social distancing into consideration or in a hybrid in-person/online format. Classes will be taught on campus until Thanksgiving break. After Thanksgiving, all courses will be taught online.
Washington and Lee University Review
An elite liberal arts college, Washington and Lee’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics offers business courses within a larger liberal arts curriculum. That alone makes it somewhat unique: many top liberal arts colleges do not have a business school. The university says about 40% of students on campus major in one of the William’s School’s four disciplines.
Recent graduates report salaries on par with the country’s best-known business schools–about $71,000, according to Payscale.
Washington and Lee Williams School of Business and COVID-19:
Washington and Lee University is scheduled to begin its classes on August 24 with in-person coursework Students are to receive information on social distancing, must wear masks in all campus buildings, and observe proper hygiene techniques. Classes will be offered in-person until Thanksgiving break, after which all courses will be offered online.
Babson College Review
Babson only offers one undergraduate degree: a B.S. in business. The curriculum is focused on hands-on learning. For example, freshmen team up to build businesses from the ground up, and any profits they make go to charity. This year Babson College celebrated its 100th anniversary and recently received a large $50 million donation to establish the Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership.
The full price of attendance is nearly $75,000. Half of the students receive grants to lower the cost, according to Money’s data. The average price after financial aid is about $32,000. Graduates earn starting salaries of about $70,000 on average, according to Payscale.
Babson College and COVID-19:
Babson will be offering hybrid classes, which combine in-person and remote teaching, as well as fully online classes. For in-person sessions, the number of students will be reduced to accommodate social distancing guidelines. Classes will be offered until Thanksgiving break, after which all classes will be offered remotely.
Texas A&M University Review
Texas A&M University may be one of the biggest schools in the country, but it’s alumni are a tight-knit group. That’s especially true of graduates of the May Business School, where officials say alumni are happy to help open doors for newer graduates.
Those connections seem valuable: the school reports 86% of recent graduates are either working or in graduate schools. According to Payscale, recent business grads earn about $60,000.
Texas A&M University Mays School of Business and COVID-19:
Texas A&M is not requiring students to be on campus and is offering both remote, face-to-face (via Zoom) and in-person courses. The University hopes to provide 50% of its students with at least one in-person course. Classroom capacities are being set at 33% capacity to ensure social distancing and students and faculty must wear face masks in all university buildings.
Rutgers University Review
Nine out of 10 graduates of Rutgers Business School have a job within six months of graduation, the university reports. As New Jersey’s flagship public school, the majority of students are from the Garden State, and the university produces many of the state’s business leaders.
Students who receive financial aid pay about $17,000 in tuition, fees, room & board. Students who major in business report average starting salaries of $61,000, according to Payscale.
Rutgers University and COVID-19:
For the fall 2020 semester, Rutgers has switched almost all of its courses to remote instruction, with a limited number of in-person courses available. On-campus housing will be limited to a select number of students and will not be available on all campuses. Rutgers is also offering a 15% reduction in its “Campus fees,” and all campus events have been postponed.
University of Southern California Review
Among the dozens of degrees available at USC, business is a runaway favorite. About 25% of the 20,000 undergraduates declare a major in the area of business, according to Money’s calculations. One unique part of USC’s Marshall School of Business is its World Bachelor in Business, in which students split their time between the Los Angeles campus, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Bocconi University in Milan. They graduate with a degree from all three.
University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business and COVID-19:
USC is planning on starting its fall semester on August 17, and extend it until Thanksgiving break. Most courses will be offered online, and on-campus housing will be limited. The university is recommending that students reconsider living on or near campus. Each graduate school will be developing its own class schedules as well.
How We Found the Best Colleges for Business
In order to find the best colleges for business, we started with Money’s 2019-2020 Best Colleges ranking. To find the country’s best higher education values, Money weighed more than 19,000 data points, including tuition fees, family borrowing, graduation rates, and career earnings.
To then focus on business programs, we looked at how many business degrees a college awards each year, both as a raw number and as a share of all the degrees awarded. We also weighed the earnings business-degree holders report to Payscale.com.
Do You Need a Business Degree to Start a Business?
You do not need a business degree to start a business. Anyone can start a business. That said, if you’re interested in entrepreneurship, many business schools offer valuable networks and support services, such as small business incubators, to help students get started. Aside from starting your own business, business schools prepare students for careers in finance, accounting, economics, sales, marketing, and more.
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Summary: Best Colleges for Business
- CUNY – Bernard M. Baruch University in New York City
- University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
- University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana
- Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
- Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts
- Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia
- Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts
- Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas
- Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey
- University of Southern California in Los Angeles