The Ivy Coach Daily

June 1, 2024

Top 24 MBA Schools in the U.S.

The glass facade of MIT’s Sloan School building is featured.
The M7 consists of Booth, Columbia, Harvard, Kellogg, Sloan, Stanford, and Wharton (photo credit: Vitor Pamplona).

What are the top MBA programs in the country? The list below, drawn from the U.S. News and World Report 2024 Best Business Programs ranking, contains some unsurprising names that dominate many different disciplines in higher education. In fact, nearly every school on this list also operates a highly selective undergraduate college. This continuity between the undergraduate and graduate level is a reflection of institutional prestige, which matters just as much when it comes to MBA programs as does the quality of the education received. 

Heralding institutional prestige might sound misdirected, but we assure you, corporate sectors in any industry value elite name brands. The schools that top this list, including the famed M7 (more on that later!), have strong relationships with major corporate recruiters and plenty of alumni in the ranks of Fortune 500 companies. A common misconception about elite education is that the quality of the education is best at top schools. While you certainly will be taught by impressive faculty and receive a great education in business at these schools, what you’re really paying for is the employability and networking potential that comes with an elite MBA. It is not worth trading in on this prestige for a lesser school!

The Top 25 MBA Programs in 2024

Below is the 2024 U.S. News and World Report 2024 Best Business Programs ranking:

Business School2024 US News Rank
Stanford University#1 (tie)
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)#1 (tie)
Northwestern University (Kellogg)#3 (tie)
University of Chicago (Booth)#3 (tie)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)#5
Harvard University#6
New York University (Stern)#7 (tie)
University of California, Berkeley (Haas)#7 (tie)
Yale University#7 (tie)
Dartmouth College (Tuck)#10 (tie)
University of Virginia (Darden)#10 (tie)
Columbia University#12 (tie)
Duke University (Fuqua)#12 (tie)
University of Michigan — Ann Arbor (Ross)#12 (tie)
Cornell University (Johnson)#15
Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)#16 (tie)
University of Texas — Austin (McCombs)#16 (tie)
Emory University (Goizueta)#18 (tie)
University of Southern California (Marshall)#18 (tie)
Indiana University (Kelley)#20 (tie)
University of California—Los Angeles (Anderson)#20 (tie)
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)#20 (tie)
Vanderbilt University (Owen)#20 (tie)
Georgetown University (McDonough)#24
Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller)#25

Which MBA Program Specializes in What?

According to U.S. News and World Report, Wharton leads the charge in the study of Finance and Real Estate among schools on this list. Sloan is the best school for Information Systems, Production-Operations, Business Analytics, and Supply Chain Management. Tepper excels in Product Management, while McDonough is the place for International Studies. Harvard and Yale place first in Management and Nonprofit Management, respectively. Stanford is a leader in the study of Entrepreneurship. Kellogg contains the best Marketing program in the world, and McCombs specializes in accounting.

What is the Mysterious M7?

The M7 (the M standing for “magnificent” or “magic 7) is a collection of top business schools whose deans and staff meet twice a year. The purpose of these meetings is shrouded in mystery. Do they pool resources? Collaborate on admissions strategies? Gossip? Only the deans themselves could say for sure, but the widespread speculation caused by all of this mystery is exactly what they want. It’s the same strategy employed by Ivy League colleges: when a set of programs achieve enough prestige, history, secrecy, and famous alumni, everyone wants in, and companies highly prize those who do get in! The smoke and mirrors create even further buzz.

The M7 consists of Booth, Columbia, Harvard, Kellogg, Sloan, Stanford, and Wharton, all schools ranked highly on the list above. Interestingly, Columbia’s program is objectively worse than several non-M7 schools, but it is buoyed by the prestige of the group (and its Ivy League patina), that its relative educational deficiencies are ignored by many. There’s a lesson to be learned here: rankings come and go, but investments made in prestigious schools outlast individual admissions cycles. 

How Ivy Coach Helps Students Get Into the MBA of Their Dreams

At Ivy Coach, we are well-versed in the elusive qualities that make certain MBA candidates stand out over others. If you’re interested in Ivy Coach’s assistance in optimizing your case for admission to an elite MBA, fill out our complimentary consultation form, and we’ll be in touch.

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