Top Undergraduate Business Programs in the US

Published November 2021

College admissions is a complex process with many nuances. However, with careful research and diligence, applicants and their families can become more comfortable with their approach of this monumental life decision.

According to National Center for Education Statistics, the business major is among the most popular in the United States for bachelor’s degrees. Since the Great Recession, students have become more focused on pursuing pre-professional majors that have a more direct path to particular careers.

Here are some of the most well-regarded bachelor’s of business programs in the United States.

The Best Undergraduate Business Programs

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Wharton is the first collegiate business school globally and continuously holds a top leadership position in business education. Founded in 1881, the school name is so famous that it is often mentioned without bringing up the word “Penn” which is the university that is associated with it. Wharton offers a flexible curriculum and offers joint degrees with international studies, engineering, life sciences, nursing and the opportunity to design your own dual degree program. With approximately 2600 undergraduates which outnumber the MBA candidates, Wharton is an outstanding place to pursue a business degree due to its top-notch faculty and strong career placement.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management

Although MIT is well known for science and engineering, it also has a great business program. All students who start at MIT for college are undeclared and can select a major by the end of freshman year. MIT Sloan generally has quite a small class of business students of only about 120 undergraduates. Course 15, which is the name of their undergraduate education for business majors, was created over 100 years ago at MIT to give students an overview of management skills. Options for majors in business include management, business analytics and finance. The school thrives on quantitative research, which is essential for adopting critical thinking and converting abstract information into meaningful actions.

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Haas School of Business offers an undergraduate program that provides students with the technical abilities and knowledge they need to understand and navigate the modern business world. Their location near Silicon Valley is very appealing especially for those looking to enter the field of technology. Their program for business is only two years long, as you have to enter for the junior year. The competition is quite severe for the business administration major – there are only about 250 spots for students already enrolled at the college and 100 for transfers from community colleges each year. Students from California enjoy a low tuition rate for being state residents while receiving a world-class business education.

University of Michigan Ross School of Business

The Michigan Ross BBA has about 500 undergraduates per year. About half of the students are from the state of Michigan. Michigan is popular due to its combination of being a large state university in a college town with both strong academics and athletics. Students are in core classes with a group of the same 80 students. Half of the classes are at other schools on campus which give students a grounding in liberal arts education.

New York University, Stern School of Business

New York City is the center of the business world in the United States. NYU Stern offers BS degrees in Business, Business and Political economy, and Business, Technology and Entrepreneurship, as well as a BS in Business/MS in Accounting and a BS in Business/BFA in Film and Television. They have about 2800 undergraduates in total.

NYU greatly emphasizes international learning – they have over a dozen academic centers around the world including Abu Dhabi, Florence, London and Shanghai. approximately half of the students study abroad at least one semester via NYU. 95% of the students have a job within six months of graduation.

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

Carnegie Mellon is well regarded for engineering and drama a well as business! It has about 600 undergraduates total in the Tepper School of Business. Students can concentrate in accounting, business analytics and technology, entrepreneurship, finance, global economics and business, marketing management, operations management and strategic management.

The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business

Texas McCombs is enormous – it has approximately 5000 undergraduates. Texas BBA students benefit from top-notch programs in areas such as accounting, management information systems, and quantitative analysis. They also offer the Canfield Business Honors Program (CBHP) which was created to challenge students with exceptional skills. Their core course are modeled after those in the MBA program and courses are often taught by senior faculty. Being an in-state Texas resident can result in many returns on investment due to the low tuition rates.

Cornell University, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Dyson School undergraduates all choose the major of applied economics and management (AEM). It has a unique offering of being part of two colleges at Cornell – both the SC Johnson College of Business and the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences. There are over 100 courses for bachelor’s degree students, and approximately 700 undergraduates. Dyson offers a Leadership by Design program to enhance students’ abilities to connect with the world – including activities such as lecture series and a university-wide competition emphasizing United Nations’ sustainable goals.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler

At UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, there are about 350 students who major in business each year. To be admitted, students first spend at least one year in the College of Arts and Sciences before applying to major in business at the beginning of sophomore year. Decisions are then released in mid-October for the next spring or fall and are based on final completion of any required pre-requisites such as calculus. Core courses in the business major include operations management and corporate strategy.

Indiana University Bloomington, Kelley School of Business

At Kelley, students will get an all-encompassing understanding of how organizations operate, learn strategic management, and acquire accounting skills. They offer the Brian D. Jellision Living Learning Center (JLLC), which is a residential program involving first-year business students as well as freshmen interested in business who interact via study groups and travel excursions. The school has about 2000 students per class, and over 700 companies recruit their students.

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

Some of the world’s most respected global leaders are McDonough School of Business alumni. The school has about 1300 undergraduates. Georgetown is well known for its commitment to the humanities and international relations but excels in business as well. They especially emphasize a global perspective – students can take a Global Business Experience course which allows students to work together as a team to consult for an international organization as well as engage via the Global Social Internship Program to spend several weeks with an organization abroad in experiential learning.

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

There are approximately 800 undergraduates at WashU’s Olin Business School. Students can major in accounting, economics and strategy, entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare management, organization and strategic management, marketing, or operations and supply chain management. Immersion courses allow students to explore topics such as business and government in Washington, DC.

University of Southern California, Marshall Business School

The USC Marshall School of Business is an ideal place for those wanting to pursue this field in Los Angeles. Their 3500 undergraduates have special opportunities to engage in business. One option is the Business Cinematic Arts (BCA) program which involves receiving a business degree with an emphasis in the film industry. World Bachelor in Business is also an innovative program involving three universities, three continents and three degrees. Year One is in Los Angeles at USC, Year Two is at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and Year Three is at Universita Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy. Year Four is in any of those three locations.

Conclusion

Choosing the right business program can seem daunting. It is crucial to assess the curricula and job outcomes that best align with your future goals. However, the universities on this list are all top in the business field and offer in-depth knowledge and prepare students well to navigate the world of business.

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