In this guide, we will evaluate 10 highly ranked undergraduate business schools. We will review what each institution is known for, what types of students may enjoy an education there, and many other pros and cons.
These 10 business schools are the ones that top list after list of “the best business schools for undergraduates,” including lists by US News, Niche, and Poets and Quants.
- We present these schools in alphabetical order and de-emphasize the importance of their placements on these lists.
- This is because there is no one school or program that will be the best for every business student.
A school’s “name recognition” may be helpful for students post-graduation, but so is a program that aligns with their career goals and the skills they want to acquire in school. Poet and Quants interviewed several deans and assistant deans from well-known business schools, and they tended to agree.
We encourage you to focus on these factors and really think about what you want out of your education as you read about these schools below. For practical reasons, we end each school section with employment statistics from Poets and Quants and/or the school’s website.
1. Haas School of Business – University of California, Berkeley
The Haas School of Business reflects the broader culture of innovation in Berkeley.
Unlike some other programs, undergraduate students at Haas receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the end of their four years. Haas’ unique degree and distinctive culture combine entrepreneurial spirit with scientific inquiry.
- The program educates students in business with an emphasis on breaking molds and disrupting the existing order of business, if doing so is appropriate and beneficial.
- Haas also encourages students to collaborate with one another and to think deeply about the ethical consequences of their decisions and actions.
- While Haas’ B.S. in Business Administration does not offer specific majors, students have several options to supplement their degree.
The Management, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Program (M.E.T.) is for students who are interested in business and engineering.
Admitted students may choose one of seven engineering tracks/majors, for example, Civil Engineering (CE) or Bioengineering (BioE) to complete alongside their business major.
At the end of the M.E.T. program, students receive two B.S. degrees: one from Berkeley’s College of Engineering and one from the Haas School of Business.
- This program is highly rigorous. We recommend it for students who are truly passionate about both fields of study and are confident they can handle intensive coursework from two very different disciplines.
Similar to the M.E.T. program, students in the Biology+Business Program receive two degrees at the end of their education.
They will earn a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology. Further, they specialize their biology degree by choosing one of five focuses: Biochemistry & Molecular Bio, Cell and Developmental Bio, Genetics, Immunology and Pathogenesis, or Neurobiology.
This program is ideal for students who are interested in adapting the life sciences for commercialization and application. It is competitive and should be considered if students like both business and biology.
The Global Management Program (GMP) is designed for students who want to learn about business on a global scale. The program is structured and requires students to participate in certain requirements throughout their undergraduate education.
- For example, during the summer before their freshman year, students who are admitted into the Global Management Program participate in eight weeks of summer courses.
- During the freshman year, they spend their fall semester studying abroad in London, and they will be enrolled in a class with other GMP students once they are back in Berkeley for spring semester.
- Lastly, in the junior and senior years, course work shifts to upper-level business classes with a focus on international business.
In the Class of 2018, 86% of Haas students accepted jobs within 90 days of graduation, 8% were seeking jobs, 3% pursued graduate studies, and 3% was marked as “other.” The average starting salary is $77,028.
2. McCombs School of Business – University of Texas, Austin
McCombs students graduate with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. McCombs is a great option for students who know what areas of business they are interested in and would like to narrow down on an area of focus.
There are 10 majors to choose from in the program, and each major is specific and tailored to different needs and interests.
- For more traditional business students, McCombs offers majors in Accounting, Finance, International Business, Management, and Marketing.
For students who want to combine business with other studies, there are the Management Information Systems (MIS), Science and Technology Management (STM), and Supply Chain Management majors.
- Lastly, for students who are looking for a challenge or for continuing education, McCombs has the Canfield Business Honors Program (BHP) and the Integrated Master’s in Professional Accounting majors.
- The Canfield BHP offers an accelerated curriculum, smaller class sizes, and classes taught by renowned professors.
In addition to these majors, students may choose to further customize their degree with certificate programs, including certificates in Business and Public Policy, Undergraduate Real Estate, and Business of Healthcare.
95% of McCombs students have jobs within 90 days of graduation, and the average starting salary, including bonus, is $72,620.
3. McIntire School of Commerce – University of Virginia
Students who value having a well-rounded educational experience will enjoy McIntire’s curriculum structure, which proceeds from broad to specific, and culminates in a Bachelor of Science in Commerce.
The first two years at McIntire are dedicated to coursework in the liberal arts and on building a solid educational foundation. Students also take business and business-related classes (for example, economics and business theory) as freshmen and sophomores, but the core of their business education does not begin until the junior year.
- In this way, McIntire is similar to many Ivy League schools, where students complete the Core Curriculum courses before moving on to their specializations or majors.
During their third year, students start McIntire’s Integrated Core Experience (ICE) curriculum. ICE is unique and beneficial in several ways.
- First, it focuses on real-world experiences and offers opportunities for students to gain experience solving actual business problems.
- Second, this problem-solving experience occurs in smaller student groups alongside seven faculty members and business leaders who work in the industry. This means students are able to receive more one-on-one mentorship.
- Lastly, the ICE courses function as a series, so student learning builds from one course to the next.
Students declare a business concentration in one or more areas in their fourth year.
They can choose from Accounting, Finance, Information Technology, Management, and Marketing. As you can tell, these concentrations remain in traditional business realms.
For students who want to cross disciplines, there are six tracks of differing specialties that students may complete (up to two) to supplement their degree.
- Again, McIntire tries to focus on real-world experiences in these tracks and on providing marketable skill sets for students in the job market.
This focus on real-world experiences seems to pay off as 97% of McIntire students have jobs within 90 days of graduation, and the average starting salary, including bonus, is $85,591.
4. Mendoza College of Business – University of Notre Dame
Mendoza College of Business is comparable to McIntire in that the school also values a well-rounded education.
During the first year of undergrad, students complete Notre Dame’s Core Curriculum: “Ways of Knowing.” This curriculum includes courses on liberal arts, social sciences, math, and Catholicism.
Students start taking classes at Mendoza during year two and continue on in the college through year four.
- Mendoza has six majors students may choose from: Accountancy, Business Analytics, Business Technology, Finance, Management Consulting, and Marketing. Mendoza does not have many options for interdisciplinary business majors, but it does have several ways students can customize their degree.
Mendoza allows students to declare second majors and minors in other fields (it does not allow students to take another business major, so their education will remain versatile and well-rounded).
- The college even asked departments that offer minors to explain the ways their field of study can augment a business degree, and then the college compiled the reasons in a list for students to review.
- Mendoza also offers two business minors that students can elect on top of their business major. One is in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIEN) and the other is in Real Estate.
As a whole, Mendoza has fewer formal requirements and a less formal structure than the schools we have written about above. All students have a set of required courses and must complete a minimum of 128 credit hours to earn their Bachelor’s in Business Administration.
But students are encouraged to be independent and to seek advising, explore their options, and take charge of creating their own learning plans.
- This is especially important if they are interested in interdisciplinary studies, which requires intentional planning and research on what courses will effectively communicate knowledge in meaningful ways.
- This structure allows for greater flexibility and is a good fit for students who are self-directed, proactive, and excited about being able to shape their learning.
98% of Mendoza students have jobs within 90 days of graduation, and the average total salary, including bonus, is $74,800.
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5. Olin Business School – Washington University
Students admitted into Olin hit the ground running right away toward their B.S. in Business Administration.
Olin is an early entry program, which means business course work begins during the first semester of freshman year, and students are able to receive four full years of business education.
Its curriculum structure would be beneficial for students who know they want to pursue business but are unsure of the specifics.
- Foundational course work during the freshman year gives students a basic introduction to the different business majors; it educates while allowing time for exploration about what majors they want to pursue.
At the same time, business students looking for a holistic education do not necessarily have to worry. Olin is not so narrowly focused that it does not allow room for other studies: students must take at least 40 percent of their classes in areas outside of business.
During the second year, students use their foundational knowledge to make an informed decision about what major they want to choose: Accounting, Economics and Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Healthcare Management, Organization and Strategic Management, Marketing, Operations and Supply Chain Management.
- Students may double-major in two business majors or combine with another major from the university’s five other undergraduate schools.
- Olin also offers students a wide array of options for combining their BSBA with a graduate business degree.
- Interested students apply for admission during their third year for one of five programs: Master of Accounting, Master of Science in Customer Analytics, Master of Science in Finance, Master of Science in Supply Chain Management, or MBA.
Like McIntire, Olin values hands-on experience. This is why it offers many external opportunities for experiential learning, in addition to incorporating it into the course work.
The third year is focused on capitalizing hands-on experience and marketability for the career sector students are set on. They may choose to deepen their knowledge in an area of interest, take electives, work with a client on a project, or study abroad.
97% of Olin students have a job within 90 days of graduation, and the average salary, including bonus, is $86,090.
6. Ross School of Business – University of Michigan
Students graduate from the Ross School of Business with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration.
Ross provides a comprehensive, general education in business, and students follow a preset curriculum, where about half the credits are business courses taken at Ross for the BBA and about half are taken at other schools or colleges on the UM campus.
These latter credits may be applied toward non-business majors or minors for a dual degree, if students desire. Like Haas, Ross does not offer business majors, but offers several ways for augmentation through its focused programs.
- The Cappo Sales Track prepares students for careers in sales. The Carson Scholars Program allows students to explore the relationship between business and government, particularly public policy. And the Och Initiative for Women in Finance supports women who are interested in pursuing a career in finance.
In addition, there are schools on campus, organizations and initiatives that partner with each other, and businesses to provide students with experience around certain business topics. Students may browse these here.
A key feature of the Ross School of Business is its set of resources, projects, and programs that are dedicated to giving students real-world experiences: Ross Experiences in Action-Based Learning (REAL).
REAL has several subdivisions, all of which give students opportunities for hands-on learning. For example, REAL.START features projects that let students engage in developing and starting original business ventures.
- REAL.ADVISE has projects where students are able to interact, consult with, and learn from businesses.
REAL.INVEST offers support in learning how to manage a student-run investment fund. Lastly, REAL.LEAD offers chances for students to work with a corporate partner to run a business.
97% of Ross students have a job within 90 days of graduation, and the average starting salary, including bonus, is $82,012.
7. Sloan School of Management – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
A note on terminology: At MIT, undergraduate students elect majors called “Courses.”
For example, Course 4 corresponds to a major in architecture, while Course 5 corresponds to a major in chemistry.
While MIT is well-renowned in many STEM fields, it also has a highly regarded business school – the Sloan School of Management.
- Admitted students who wish to study business at Sloan do not need to submit an additional application.
- Instead, they would choose to major in Course 15-1 (Bachelor of Science in Management), 15-2 (Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics, or 15-3 (Bachelor of Science in Finance).
Sloan advertises its program as “management for the science-minded,” and it certainly has more of a scientific bent than more traditional business schools. The mission of Sloan is not necessarily to train students in business for the sake of business.
- Rather, it aims to provide students who are interested in innovation and scientific inquiry with the necessary management/business knowledge to make their ideas heard.
This makes it a good fit for students who have a passion for both fields.
It is also a good fit for students who value collaboration and/or who benefit from small class sizes and more one-on-one interactions with professors. This is because an average of 124 MIT students declare a major in Course 15.
8. Stern School of Business – New York University (NYU)
The Stern School of Business is a robust institution with great degree options. The school also confers some geographical advantages to its students.
Its location in one of the most active cities in the U.S. means that students will be exposed to a diverse array of people, perspectives, and potential business connections.
- Stern offers two different business degree options for high school students who are thinking of applying.
The first is the B.S. in Business. This option has 13 majors, which range from the traditional (accounting, finance, etc.) to the less common (sustainable business, computing and data science, etc.).
Unique to the B.S. in Business are two sets of course requirements, the International Studies Program (ISP) and the Social Impact Core. ISP consists of one course that educates students on global perspectives of business and a business trip abroad with the whole class cohort during their junior year.
ISP is a wonderful opportunity as there are few business programs that send a whole class abroad as a central feature of their curriculum. Some previous ISP class trips include trips to Rome, Tokyo, Bueno Aires, and many others.
- The Social Impact Core reflects Stern’s commitment to assessing the social ramifications and effects of business ventures.
- On top of the 13 majors, students can engage in interdisciplinary studies with other areas of study in business by electing one of Stern’s eight tracks.
The other degree option at Stern is the B.S. in Business and Political Economy (BPE).
- This is a good fit for students who want to pursue careers in international business and are keen on doing study abroad during their undergraduate education.
- The degree requires more than one business trip abroad during the junior year.
BPE students must take two semesters of study abroad. While it does not have majors, BPE’s curriculum is holistic and is centered on five core concepts to provide breadth of knowledge: liberal arts core, business core, economics core, politics core, and the social impact core, which include the same four courses required in the B.S. in Business degree.
- Both B.S. in Business and Business and Political Economy students have the opportunity to apply to one of Stern’s dual degree programs if it aligns with their goals.
One program culminates in a BS degree plus a master’s degree in Accounting, and the other is a dual BS business degree and a BFA in Film and Television.
97% of Stern students have a job within 90 days of graduation, and the average starting salary, including bonus, is $85,930.
9. Tepper School of Business – Carnegie Mellon
The Tepper School of Business prides itself on its emphasis on “analytical and qualitative skills.”
Like MIT’s program, Tepper’s business education is technologically driven and mathematically minded.
- Much of this spirit comes through in the business administration breadth requirements, which every Tepper student must complete.
These breadth requirements focus on “five diverse categories,” which are cognition, choice, and behavior; creative production and reflection; cultural analysis; political and social institutions; and science and technology.
As you can see, on the whole, Tepper values innovative thinking, teaches students to question the status quo, and promotes characteristics like communication and collaboration over competition among students.
- On the business side, students graduate with a B.S. in Business Administration. There are 11 business concentrations to choose from.
Each concentration provides specialized course work and career training for the specified business field.
- Tepper may be a good fit for students who are looking for a less traditional business education, one where technology, ingenuity, and science are also core aspects of learning and doing.
92% of Tepper students have a job within 90 days of graduation, and the average starting salary, with a bonus, is $89,930.
10. Wharton – University of Pennsylvania
Wharton’s name speaks for itself. It has been named the top undergraduate business school for the past two years.
True to these expectations, the Wharton program is dynamic and flexible, and it is infused with academic excellence.
Wharton is proud to be able to claim that all of its undergraduate business classes are taught by professors, whereas some other business schools have courses that are taught by graduate students.
- Wharton students also have access to some MBA-level classes.
Students receive a B.S. in Economics at the end of their educational career. The program is extremely comprehensive.
- Students kick-start their first semester with leadership training and development in the Wharton 101 class. This education continues to be incorporated throughout all years at Wharton.
- Those who want to utilize UPenn’s Ivy League-quality education in other disciplines may elect to do a preset dual degree – either in Management and Technology, Life Sciences and Management, International Studies and Business, or Nursing and Health Care Management. If they are passionate about another field, students can design their own dual degree or pursue a minor.
- For students interested in research, there are many business-specific research programs available, including ones where students collaborate, learn with, and get hands-on experiences with renowned Wharton faculty members.
Amazingly, Wharton has over twenty concentrations for students to choose from to customize and tailor their B.S. degree. These numerous concentrations – along with the dual degree and minor options – mean that students will most likely find their niche.
98% of Wharton students have a job within 90 days of graduation, and the average starting salary, including bonus, is $91,353.
Other Top Undergraduate Business Schools
|Case Western Reserve University|
|Georgia Institute of Technology|
|Indiana University – Bloomington|
|University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill|
|Loyola Marymount University|
|Michigan State University|
|Ohio State University|
|Pennsylvania State University|
|Santa Clara University|
|Southern Methodist University|
|Texas A&M University|
|University of California, Irvine|
|University of California, Los Angeles|
|University of California, San Diego|
|University of Colorado|
|University of Connecticut|
|University of Florida|
|University of Georgia|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
|University of Iowa|
|University of Maryland|
|University of Massachusetts at Amherst|
|University of Minnesota, Twin Cities|
|University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill|
|University of Pittsburgh|
|University of Richmond|
|University of Southern California|
|University of Wisconsin|
|Wake Forest University|
|Washington and Lee University|
|Washington University in St. Louis|
|William and Mary|
Conclusion: Best Undergraduate Business Schools
We hope this guide has been helpful for your decision-making process.
Think of undergrad business school as an investment. If you do it right, you’ll find yourself the beneficiary of a prosperous journey.