The Best Undergraduate Business Schools: A Complete List (2022) — Shemmassian Academic Consulting (2023)

Discover the top-ranked undergraduate business programs and admissions strategies to get your child accepted

Part 1: Introduction

If your child has an entrepreneurial mind, strong leadership skills, and ambitious goals, pursuing a degree in business might be the perfect fit. And now is the perfect time for your child to be a business major—job growth rates for business careers increase at a higher-than-average rate every year and are expected to continue in an upward trend.

You’ve started exploring your child’s education options. But with so many colleges offering a business major, how do you know what the best undergraduate business schools are? What sets a good program apart? And how do you know which school is right for your child?

In this guide, we’ll cover the features of strong business programs, examine the best business schools, and teach you admissions strategies to help your child get into the perfect business program for them.

Benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree in business

First, let’s look at why a business degree is worth it. In NACE’s Job Outlook 2019 survey, the majority of employers were looking to hire business majorsparticularly in finance, accounting, and business administration areas. So if your child decides to pursue business, they’re entering a high-demand career field.

Furthermore, business majors go on to work at the most prestigious companies in the world, like Google, Amazon, or Goldman Sachs. Others will start their own companies like Tesla or Lyft—both founded by business majors. Business school is where your child can acquire the abilities to transform their ideas into a successful business that impacts society and creates their legacy.

What can you do with a business degree?

Business careers are available in nearly every industry. Companies in every sector need strong leaders, managers, advertisers, accountants, and financial advisers—just to name a few. That means business graduates can find themselves working almost anywhere—from prestigious tech firms to government agencies to hospitals to non-profits.

Business schools teach students valuable skills to be successful in the workplace, and these skills are transferrable to many business environments. That’s why business graduates consistently have low unemployment rates.

Of course, one option that draws many students to pursue business is the appeal of entrepreneurship and being their own boss. Business program coursework and training give students the knowledge needed to draw up business plans, manage budgets, hire employees, and run day-to-day operations of their own successful business.

What salary can you earn with a bachelor’s in business?

Upon graduating from business school, students can expect to earn higher-than-average starting salaries—with certain business majors earning slightly more than others. Here’s a list of the projected starting salaries for the class of 2020 in the five most lucrative business majors:

  • Management information systems: $63,445

  • Logistics/supply chain: $59,180

  • Finance: $58,472

  • Business administration/management: $58,166

  • Accounting: $57,734

As business graduates secure jobs and gain work experience, their salary outlook increases. The average salaries for marketing managers, financial managers, and sales managers all exceed $100,000—with only a bachelor’s degree. Of course, many people in business choose to pursue an MBA to increase their potential for earnings and promotions.

Part 2: How to evaluate undergraduate business schools

Types of business majors

A business degree may be focused in many different areas, and the best business schools will offer several different specialized majors under the “business” umbrella. We’ll describe a few of the most popular business majors for you.

  • Accounting: An accountant does more than bookkeep or crunch numbers. Accountants are responsible for analyzing business finances and creating reports for business partners—so strong communication skills are key. In an accounting major, students learn accounting information systems, study tax law, and evaluate risk or profitability in real business case studies.

  • Finance: Students who major in finance will choose a further specialty area like real estate, investment analysis, or corporate finance. They’ll learn to make wise long-term financial plans, understand and predict the economy, create a responsible budget, and work with complex computer systems.

  • Business administration or management: Business owners, managers, or administrators must have strong communication and leadership skills. Students focusing on this area of business will learn how to run an organization—including planning, organizing, and directing its long-term and day-to-day functions.

  • Marketing: Popularized by shows like Mad Men, marketing careers are fast-paced and ever-evolving. Marketing majors study consumer trends and psychology, branding, various mediums—think radio vs. Facebook ads—and how to build successful advertising campaigns.

  • Management information systems: This career is ideal for students wanting to apply their technical skills in a growing business field. MIS majors will study the use of information systems, build databases, develop computer programs, and learn how to explain complex technology to non-techie people.

  • International business: In an increasingly global world and economy, internationally-minded business people are in constant need. They might help a local business expand operations to other countries or manage multinational businesses. International business majors will study global economies, explore other cultures, and learn how to sell products around the world.

You’ll find additional specialized majors offered at different business schools, and each one will appeal to a unique type of student. Encourage your child to explore their interests and consider which field is most suited to their personality when choosing the best business school major for them.

Location-based advantages of undergraduate business schools

When searching for the best business schools, consider the significance of the school’s location and how it matches your child’s interests. For example, if your child dreams of working on Wall Street, it makes sense for them to attend a top business school in New York. By doing so, your child would have access to prestigious internship and shadowing opportunities on Wall Street. They could also benefit from their professor’s local connections—giving them an advantage when applying to jobs after graduation.

Let’s look at a few other notable business hubs to consider when comparing business schools. Most people are familiar with Silicon Valley—home to global technology companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google. Certainly, if your child has their sights set on working in one of these elite companies, choosing a business school in the San Francisco Bay Area would be to their advantage.

Another central point for major companies is Seattle, where businesses like Starbucks, Amazon, Nordstrom, Microsoft, and Boeing have their main headquarters. In fact, University of Washington business students are notorious for landing jobs at Amazon and Microsoft after graduation.

If your child is interested in the business side of the movie or music industries, Los Angeles is one obvious choice to get their foot in the door. For example, USC offers a bachelor’s of business in cinematic arts degree and regularly sends its students to intern at Paramount Pictures and Sony.

Austin might be the ideal destination for your child if entrepreneurship is their final goal. Recognized in recent years as one of the biggest startup cities in the country, Austin prides itself on being a haven for entrepreneurs and boasting a strong collection of innovative minds. It could be the perfect setting for your child to draw up the beginnings of their own successful business.

Keep in mind, your child doesn’t have to attend a business school in one of the above cities to have a successful career in a specific industry. In fact, many of the best business schools we list below aren’t located near these business hotspots. But if your child has leanings toward a specific business field, it’s worth considering which schools would support that goal best by offering location-based pipelines to industry leaders.

Essential features of the best undergraduate business schools

You’re trying to find the best business schools for your child, but it’s hard to know what program features are most important. What qualities should you look for and which aren’t as valuable?

Top business schools recognize a vital business principle—an organization’s success is judged by its outcome. The best business schools will have high graduation rates, high hire rates, and high average starting salaries. And this data should be easily available to prospective students evaluating the program.

The best undergraduate business schools will provide their students with positive, impactful student experiences. If they promote interaction with faculty and one-on-one mentorship in their programs, this indicates their concern for student growth. For example, the Wharton School of Business (UPenn) offers three official mentorship programs to connect students with upperclassmen, alumni, and MBA student mentors.

The best business schools have a strong focus on internships, networking, and career preparation at all stages of students’ undergrad careers. Consider the Dyson School (Cornell), which requires its students to start crafting resumes and building their personal brands as freshmen. Another shining example is the Marshall School’s (USC) alumni-led internship program that gives students invaluable work and cultural experience in Indonesia and Thailand.

What about alumni? The best business schools—ones that empower their students to high prestige—will have strong alumni networks. Successful business people love lending a hand to recent grads of their alma mater. When hundreds of qualified applicants apply for a single position in a top company, having the CEO in your child’s alumni network gives them a leg up over the competition. Elite alumni networks open doors to offices and boardrooms around the globe.

Not only will the best business schools have prestigious alumni they can boast about, but these alumni should be active in giving back to current students—by guest lecturing, offering internship opportunities, mentoring students or attending college-sponsored networking events. Who you know is a big advantage in business. So consider who your child will know by attending a potential business school.

Part 3: List of the best undergraduate business schools (2022)

So, what schools have the best undergraduate business programs? We’ve listed the top business schools as determined by U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 ranking, as well as key program characteristics to help you determine which are the best business schools for your child.

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business

(Suggested reading: How to Get Into UPenn)

Massachusetts Institute of TechnologySloan School of Management

  • U.S. News & World Report Rank (Best Business Programs): 2

  • Location: Cambridge, MA

  • Private or Public: Private

  • Undergraduate acceptance rate: 4.1% (overall)*

  • Cost of attendance: $77,020

  • Student-faculty ratio: 3:1

  • Average hire rate: 95%

  • Average starting salary: $89,710

  • Degree options: BS in Management, Business Analytics, or Finance

  • Notable alumni: Brian Halligan, ’05 — CEO of HubSpot

  • Unique feature: The iDiplomats summer internship program allows students to study innovation and entrepreneurship in an international region of their choice.

*Note: Undergraduates are not admitted directly to Sloan.

(Suggested reading: How to Get Into MIT)

University of California–Berkeley Haas School of Business

  • U.S. News & World Report Rank (Best Business Programs): 3 (tie)

  • Location: Berkeley, CA

  • Private or Public: Public

  • Undergraduate acceptance rate: 14.5% (overall)*

  • Cost of attendance: $41,678 (in-state); $71,432 (out-of-state)

  • Student-faculty ratio: 19:1

  • Average hire rate: 83%

  • Average starting salary: $85,000

  • Degree options: BS in Business Administration—with an optional concentration in global management

  • Notable alumni: Albert Lee, ’04 — co-founder of MyFitnessPal

  • Unique feature: For students with scientific interests, the Haas School of Business offers double bachelor’s degree programs combining business with engineering or biology.

*Note: The majority of Haas students apply having already finished their first or second year at Berkeley. The acceptance rate for Berkeley students applying to Haas is 33%.

(Suggested reading: How to Get into UC Berkeley)

University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Ross School of Business

  • U.S. News & World Report Rank (Best Business Programs): 4

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI

  • Private or Public: Public

  • Undergraduate acceptance rate: 19.6% (overall); 11.2% (business school)

  • Cost of attendance: $32,272 (in-state); $69,326 (in-state)

  • Student-faculty ratio: 14:1

  • Average hire rate: 94%

  • Median starting salary: $85,000

  • Degree options: Bachelor of Business Administration, with specializations available in sales, public policy, and finance

  • Notable alumni: Gregg Kaplan ’92 — Founder of Redbox

  • Unique feature: Through the REAL Invest opportunity, participants help manage student-run investment funds focusing on social ventures or early-stage companies.

New York University Stern School of Business

(Suggested reading: How to Get into NYU)

University of Texas–Austin McCombs School of Business

  • U.S. News & World Report Rank (Best Business Programs): 5 (tie)

  • Location: Austin, TX

  • Private or Public: Public

  • Undergraduate acceptance rate: 31.8% (overall); 15.6% (business school)

  • Cost of attendance: $31,612 (in-state); $64,534 (out-of-state)

  • Student-faculty ratio: 18:1

  • Average hire rate: 86%

  • Average starting salary: $70,840

  • Degree options: BBA in Accounting, Finance, International Business, Management, Management Information Systems (MIS), Marketing, Science & Technology Management, or Supply Chain Management

  • Notable alumni: Mandy Price, ’03 — Co-founder and CEO of Kanarys, Inc.

  • Unique feature: The Social Innovation Initiative trains students to create economic value for organizations while promoting corporate sustainability, environmental investment, and social-minded impact.

Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

  • U.S. News & World Report Rank (Best Business Programs): 7

  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA

  • Private or Public: Private

  • Undergraduate acceptance rate: 15% (overall); 10.4% (business school)

  • Cost of attendance: $77,474

  • Student-faculty ratio: 6:1

  • Average hire rate: 89%

  • Average starting salary: $80,638

  • Degree options: BS in Business Administration, with a choice of 11 concentrations—including business technology, global economics, operations management, and leadership & organizational effectiveness

  • Notable alumni: Cathy Oh, ’04 — Global Head of Marketing and Analytics at Samsung Ads

  • Unique feature: The Tepper School of Business offers an inter-college BS in Computational Finance major for students interested in math and statistics who would enjoy creating mathematical models for use in the finance industry.

Cornell University Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

  • U.S. News & World Report Rank (Best Business Programs): 8 (tie)

  • Location: Ithaca, NY

  • Private or Public: Private

  • Undergraduate acceptance rate: 8.7% (overall); 5.4% (business school)

  • Cost of attendance: $60,383 (in-state); $80,287 (out-of-state)

  • Student-faculty ratio: 9:1

  • Average hire rate: 93%

  • Average starting salary: $76,966

  • Degree options: BS in Applied Economics and Management with a choice of 11 concentrations—including agribusiness management, food industry management, business analytics, strategy, and applied economics & management

  • Notable alumni: Dwane Morgan, ’02 — Director of Global Consumer Insights at Under Armour

  • Unique feature: Students can earn their BS with a “distinction in research” if they participate in the CALS Honors Research Program—where they complete research side-by-side with a faculty mentor and write a master’s style thesis.

(Suggested reading: How to Get Into Cornell)

Indiana University–Bloomington Kelley School of Business

  • U.S. News & World Report Rank (Best Business Programs): 8 (tie)

  • Location: Bloomington, IN

  • Private or Public: Public

  • Undergraduate acceptance rate: 80% (overall); 49% (business school)

  • Cost of attendance: $27,298 (in-state); $54,318 (out-of-state)

  • Student-faculty ratio: 16:1

  • Average hire rate: 94%

  • Average starting salary: $67,000

  • Degree options: 18 bachelor’s degrees available—including economic consulting, information systems, professional sales, public policy analysis, sustainable business, and supply chain management

  • Notable alumni: Shannon Watkins, ’02 — Head of Brand and Creative Services at Aflac

  • Unique feature: First-year business students can apply to live in the Jellison Living Learning Center, where they receive professional mentoring, attend events with company executives, meet top recruiters, and enjoy specialized evening programs geared toward leadership and global awareness.

University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Kenan-Flager Business School

University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce

  • U.S. News & World Report Rank (Best Business Programs): 8 (tie)

  • Location: Charlottesville, VA

  • Private or Public: Public

  • Undergraduate acceptance rate: 20.7% (overall); 11.8% (business school)

  • Cost of attendance: $34,560 (in-state), $69,090 (out-of-state)

  • Student-faculty ratio: 14:1

  • Average hire rate: 88%

  • Average starting salary: $78,989

  • Degree options: BS in Commerce with concentrations in accounting, finance, information technology, management, and marketing

  • Notable alumni: Jeff Dunn, ’01 — VP of Business Strategy and Analytics for the Seattle Seahawks

  • Unique feature: Beyond their concentration, UVA students can further prepare for a specialized career by choosing one of six multi-disciplinary tracks—advertising & digital media, business analytics, entrepreneurship, global commerce, quantitative finance, and real estate.

Honorable mentions include additional top business schools

While those are the best business schools as ranked by the U.S. News & World Report, there are many other prestigious business programs that produce high-quality business education and successful student outcomes. Here a few honorable mentions worth considering:

  • Boston College Carroll School of Management

  • Emory University Goizueta Business School

  • Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

  • Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business

  • University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business

  • University of Southern California Marshall School of Business

    • (Suggested reading: How to Get into USC)

  • Washington University in St. Louis Olin Business School

Part 4: Admissions strategies to get into the best business schools

Now that you’re familiar with the top undergraduate business schools, we’ll cover admissions strategies to help your child get accepted to an elite business program.

Take rigorous classes and earn a competitive GPA

The classes your child takes in high school will communicate a lot to the college they apply to. Are they being challenged or taking the easy road? Do they demonstrate an interest in business by taking classes such as economics, statistics, and psychology? Or are they all over the place with their class choices?

Help your child be strategic about their high school coursework. What classes can they take to display their strengths or passions? Which AP or IB classes might be appropriate—even if they get a B instead of an A?

Speaking of grades, recognize that colleges will evaluate your child’s GPA, but it is only one piece of their holistic application review. Consider the average GPA and ACT or SAT scores of accepted students at the best business schools and how your child’s grades compare. But remember, being exceptional in another area of the application can make up for a slightly lower-than-average GPA.

Demonstrate business skills through extracurricular activities

The best undergraduate business schools look for students who possess strong initiative and leadership skills. Extracurricular activities are the perfect way to demonstrate your child has those qualities in spades.

Here are a few ways your child can show off their business potential:

  • Participate in a business- or economics-focused summer program for high school students.

  • Submit an innovative business idea to compete in high school entrepreneur competitions.

  • Secure an internship at a local business in their preferred field.

  • Start their own business providing a needed product or service to the community.

A quick note on high school students starting businesses—it may seem daunting, but it’s entirely possible. In fact, some innovative teens build million-dollar businesses before they even graduate high school. And they are given their pick of any prestigious business school to attend.

There are many tools available that make it easy for students to build a website and offer their services to a wide audience—like Benjamin Kapelushnik did, the sixteen-year-old founder of, an online high-end sneaker resale marketplace. Or students can create a product to sell locally, which is how Mikaila Ulmer started out. She’s the fifteen-year-old founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade, which has grown from a humble lemonade stand to a successful company selling lemonade in over 1,500 stores nationwide. So encourage your child to pursue their business ideas—they could be the next innovative teen entrepreneur.

If your child shows evidence of business experience—especially a unique and successful business model—in their application, the best business schools will be eager to consider them for admission.

Write essays tailored to the values of each business school

As you noticed from the above descriptions of the top business schools, each program has a unique focus—some emphasize international business, some entrepreneurship, some research, and some social ventures. So, to write successful supplemental essays, your child will need to research each business school and incorporate its specific values in their written statements.

Encourage your child to start early on their supplemental essays to leave plenty of time for editing and refining. They should also choose a few people to offer feedback and proofread—while still maintaining their authentic voice in the final draft.

Submit strong letters of recommendation

When competing against applicants with competitive stats and similar extracurricular experiences, your child’s letters of recommendation might be the deciding factor between getting accepted or rejected. Who to ask for these letters should be a key part of the admissions strategy for your child to get into the best business schools.

If your child completes an internship at a local business, their internship supervisor would make an ideal recommender. As a business person, they can speak to the skills and traits demonstrated by your child that will make them successful in business school.

If an internship supervisor isn’t an option, consider the teachers of any business-related classes your child took in high school—Economics, AP Macroeconomics or AP Microeconomics would be good options. Of course, you’ll want to balance the position or title of a possible recommender with how well or how favorably they know your child.


What is the average GPA for business students?

Business schools typically don’t require the near perfect GPAs that some other schools do. However, top business schools will average 3.6 or 3.7 for incoming students. Your child should ensure they are working hard to maintain a GPA as high as possible but remember this is not the only factor business schools consider. They will be looking for a complete picture of an applicant, especially one that shows a commitment to business and entrepreneurship as well as leadership skills. Extracurriculars can be just as important as GPA.

How do students develop networking skills?

Students can develop networking skills using the old adage, practice makes perfect. In business, networking is crucial and while in school, students can practice those skills in student groups or clubs, by making contacts with professors they think are interesting and by building a network of acquaintances to reach out to later.

Remember that you don’t need to limit your efforts to a “business-only” sphere. Even a professor you didn’t take a class with could be a potential contact. Perhaps that professor is doing interesting research that could be marketed later. Perhaps a friend from English class has a great idea for a film script.

Do companies care about BS or BA?

We’re often asked if a BA or BS in business is better. Typically, companies don’t care much whether your child has a BA or BS degree. They’re both business degrees and the skill conferred in class will be very similar. The BA tends to emphasize the humanities and theoretical skills while the BS is more heavily focused on the practical application of these skills.

Final thoughts

We’ve explored the best undergraduate business schools and what they have to offer your child. By following the suggestions in this guide, you can help your child get into a prestigious business program and start a successful business career.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated: 12/22/2022

Views: 6537

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Birthday: 1994-06-25

Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

Phone: +128413562823324

Job: IT Strategist

Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.