Best Undergraduate Business Programs

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Originally Published on September 11, 2018:

Are you interested in studying undergraduate business? If so, we encourage you to check out the 2023 US News & World Report ranking for “Best Undergraduate Business Programs.”

But it’s not for the reason you might think — to see which universities appear at or near the top of the list. Instead, it’s to see which universities are not listed among our nation’s finest for undergraduate business. After all, many of America’s highly selective universities don’t offer undergraduate business.

2023 US News 10 Best Undergraduate Business Programs

The 2023 US News & World Report ranking for the best undergraduate business programs is as follows:

1. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Tied)

2. University of California, Berkeley (Tied)

4. University of Michigan — Ann Arbor

5. Carnegie Mellon University (Tied)

5. New York University’s Stern School of Business (Tied)

7. University of Texas at Austin

8. Cornell University (Tied)

8. Indiana University — Bloomington (Tied)

8. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Tied)

8. University of Southern California (Tied)

8. University of Virginia (Tied) 

Most Top Schools Don’t Offer Undergraduate Business

But note the glaring omissions from the list of the top undergraduate business programs. While you’ll see some top public universities, you won’t see many of the top private universities, like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton University, or Dartmouth College. Or so many other elite universities.

The reason? These schools don’t offer undergraduate business as a major. Most of America’s highly selective universities instead offer liberal arts curriculums, and business is a trade — not a liberal art. Depending on the year, these schools might offer some undergraduate business coursework, often through the university’s graduate school, but not an undergraduate business major.

Expressing An Interest in Business to Schools Without Undergraduate Business Programs Hurts

As such, when students apply for undergraduate admission to schools like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and other top institutions and express interest in studying undergraduate business in their ‘Why Do You Want to Go to This College‘ essays, admissions officers are likely to roll their eyes. It means these students should have done their homework on these institutions’ offerings. 

Ivy Coach’s Assistance for Undergraduate Business Applicants

If you’re interested in studying undergraduate business, fill out Ivy Coach‘s free consultation form, and we’ll contact you to discuss our service offerings.


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  • C. Horwarth says:

    Cornell has not had an undergraduate business school until ‘recently’ you say? Try 1911! Wharton was 1881. So yes, 1911, is more ‘recent’ than 1881, but it is still over 100 years old. Sheesh!

    • Ivy Coach says:

      It wasn’t a named undergraduate business school until 2010. That was ten years ago. In fact, it was eight years prior to the writing of this blog. Back in 1911, students studied agricultural economics. Sheesh!

      • Barry Miltom says:

        Dyson’s acceptance rate is 2.9%, so it beats Wharton- and everyone else- in level of difficulty to get in. My best friend just got into Princeton and Wharton, but rejected from Dyson.

        • Ed Davis says:

          A ‘named’ school only means someone gave a school a lot of money and the school wants it so they name it for a hefty (usually) price in the name of the donor- it has nothing to do with when a school began. Case in point: Cornell’s Hotel School is 100 years old and most respected in the world (ask anyone in the industry) but was just named a few MONTHS ago. The modern business program at Cornell’s Dyson School was implemented over 50 years ago. That is according to long-tenured ex-Dean Ed McLaughlin. It’s acceptance rate was the lowest in the country at 5%, Wharton was 6%. YouTube has plenty of students showing their simultaneous acceptances to Wharton and rejections or waitlists from Dyson. They have NOT done the best job at branding-I will give you that- but they have a helluva good school- every bit as good as Wharton without the miserable quant grind (I know as I attended). My niece will graduate next month from Dyson and was offered 3 six-figure salary jobs. She had loads of fun but did admit cold was not part of that. It is a small school- but a very selective and impressive school. Wharton admits high test scores to a fault and Dyson hires leaders. If I am a recruiter I want a leader not a mathematician.

  • Ed Davis says:

    The Most Selective Undergraduate Business Schools In 2021
    P&Q Rank School Acceptance Rate 2021 Acceptance rate:

    1. Cornell University (Dyson SC Johnson) 5.44%

    2. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 6.03

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