If you’re considering an undergraduate business degree, there are a lot of options: Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration, Applied Economics, Management – it can get overwhelming. Add to that the choice between residential and online, and it can get hairy. But there are good reasons to go with a residential program.
Don’t get us wrong; online programs have a lot going for them, especially for those whose careers are already underway, who already have networks in place and really just need to credential up. They’re flexible, affordable, and quick.
But when you’re getting your undergraduate degree, residential programs have something that online just can’t deliver: people. Many companies and partnerships have developed between young entrepreneurs who sweated over assignments together, discovered common interests during social events, and learned cooperation and collaboration from being thrust together as roommates. There are studies to back it up: people are more independent and stubborn online, while they are more willing to co-create and compromise in real life. And in an increasingly complex global economy, the spirit of cooperation is more important than ever.
A residential program at a respected, well-connected school means more access to quality internships (the kind where you actually learn something, as opposed to being exploited), facilities for research and idea development, and chances to build relationships with mentors, partners, and future employers. Most of the schools on this list will describe themselves as tight-knit, close, collegial, and competitive, and these are the features you look for in a good business school – the kind of qualities that will mean a lifetime of colleagues and peers you can turn to when you need partners, employees, and employers.
Not every business school gives you those benefits. Yes, some will take your money, give you a degree, and set you adrift without direction or real experience. The schools on this list are not those schools: we’ve chosen the best programs with the best value.
To formulate our list, we use three qualifications:
- early career salaries as reported to payscale.com
- national rankings for business schools
- annual total costs (out-of-state tuition statistics were used for schools with a 2-tier rate)
This formula hits the sweet spot between the most relevant, innovative education and the most reasonable investment for the highest return. When it comes to choosing a business degree, there are plenty of opportunities for bad investments, with their bad debts and regrets. The schools on valuecolleges.com ‘s Top 50 Undergraduate Residential Business Programs won’t leave you with either.
University of California, Berkeley tops valuecolleges.com’s Top 50 Undergraduate Business Schools ranking. Located in sunny California, yes, where those green-fleshed fruits flourish, but we’re not talking about Haas Avocados here, this is UC Berkeley’s premier school of Business – rather where Business Leaders grow. This highly competitive program is featured in worldwide rankings published by U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg Businessweek and The Economist. It is the second oldest business school in the country and provides a solid foundation to undergraduates planning to continue into their own graduate offerings or to transfer to other prestigious institutions. The undergraduate program offers the final 2 years of study leading to a Bachelor of Science. They work in conjunction with the main campus at Berkeley, where freshman and sophomore year are completed. Specializations include: Accounting, Entrepreneurship, International Business, Finance, Management, Real Estate, and Quantitative Analysis, among others.
The Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University offers 5 Bachelor degrees for the undergraduate student majoring in Business: Accounting, Business Management, Finance, Information Systems and Recreation Management. BYU is a private university owned by the Church of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Having a religious background, the school does require 14 hours of religion coursework, and students must abide by a university honor code. With just around 2,000 undergraduate business students, we find they stand out as a top choice based on the tight-knit environment BYU provides. For practicing LDS church members tuition is significantly less expensive, as 70% of student tuition is funded through church tithes. Non-members pay roughly double the LDS tuition rate. However, tuition rates for both groups is an unbelievable low cost (under $5k yearly!) considering the world-class education provided.
Just don’t forget to pack those skis: Provo, Utah is a winter wonderland!
University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School combines academic rigor with realistic opportunities. Students are encouraged into leadership roles and a heavy emphasis on networking with influential alumni makes Carolina a solid choice for a students seeking their undergraduate major in Business. Admission to UNC main is required for the first year and during sophomore year Business majors enter the Kenan-Flagler School. The school is known for their amazing international program portfolio, which prepares students for the global marketplace and offers student exchanges, internships overseas, and summer programs. UNC offers plentiful scholarship support to make this financially feasible for students of all backgrounds.
As if you needed an added bonus, UNC is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a beautiful college town with moderate temperatures and equal distance to the beach and the mountains when you need a break from the grueling academic life!
Carlson, located at the University of Minnesota has an incredible reputation for job placement, so much so that 94% of the 2014 graduating class reported job placement within three months of graduation. A small but welcoming community, Carleson goes beyond the classroom environment and encourages its students to gather outside the academy and become involved and explore the metropolitan area of the Twin Cities – St. Paul and Minneapolis. And after you become acquainted with the local scene, gear up and get your passport ready, because every Carlson student chooses an international experience in their academic career to expand their cultural horizons and engage in some aspect of international business around the world!
From Accountancy to Finance, from Marketing to Strategy, The College of Business at Illinois has many opportunities for those seeking a degree in the field of business. Illinois is a great choice for students looking for a Research 1, big college experience. 55% of undergraduate business students study abroad at least once during their 4 years, a global experience that has been known to enhance a student’s world perspective and improve their resume when seeking work after school. In fact, the placement rate for those in the School of Business is currently reported at 93% for undergraduate students. We at valuecolleges.com are particularly interested in Illinois as their high 20-year return on investment (ROI) of around $500,000 finds them ranking higher than some Ivy League and many other Big Ten universities across the country.
McIntire is an engaging, world-class program as part of the University of Virginia experience. Students have international study opportunities, classes taught by talented faculty and an intense core curriculum relevant in preparing them for the complex world of business. Concentrations at McIntire include: Accounting, Information Technology, Finance, Management and Marketing. The result is a 54-credit B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School. Graduates usually continue on to graduate school, applying for UVA’s own M.S. business programs or other top-tier institutions.
Located in the quaint college town of Charlottesville, VA, students will be studying at one of the most architecturally stunning campuses in the nation. The University was designed in Thomas Jefferson’s Neo-Classical architecture, with academic buildings, gardens and terraced green space. The most outstanding building, the Rotundo, was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
The McCombs School of Business at University of Texas, Austin offers several tracks for students: the Bachelor of Business Administration, Business Honors Program, Bachelor of Business Administration + Master in Professional Accounting, and the Business Foundations Program. Depending if the student’s long term goal is graduate school or not, all programs will prepare them with the foundations of business and emphasis on developing leaders though their innovative program taught by world-renowned faculty. That, coupled with cutting-edge research, global learning opportunities, career services, and the fact that the school is located in an energetic city like Austin, Texas (one of the main organs of the tech boom), students are investing well when choosing this institution for completion of a business undergraduate degree. In-state students have the added bonus of obtaining all that McCombs offers with reduced tuition rates.
The Mays Business School is located at Texas A&M’s College Station campus. They offer 2 main degree tracks with sub-specializations in each. Currently the Bachelor of Business Administration’s (BBAs) fields of study include: Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Management Information Systems, Business Honors and Supply Chain Management. The Bachelor of Science degrees include Agribusiness and University Studies. All students pursue introductory course work and must have basic academic areas met in the humanities, sciences, mathematics and behavioral sciences before focusing on their chosen business track. Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 combined undergraduates and graduate students currently. They are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the premier accrediting agency and service organization of business schools. Consistently showing in national business school rankings, Mays’ mission is to develop future ethical business leaders for a global society in offering a dynamic learning environment for its students and faculty while keeping their school an affordable option for both in- and out-of-state students.
Obviously going to the University of Michigan means going to a Big Ten university setting. You probably understand what that means, but just to clarify, we’re talking big in attendance, big in sports, and big in prestige, too. U of M, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan pops up on many national rankings for several different fields and majors; Business is just one of the most elite programs they offer. The Ross School of Business has an action-based learning philosophy, using top faculty to train students into critical thinking leaders and experts of the business world. Ross students have the opportunity to study entrepreneurship, consulting, marketing among other popular concentrations in their Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) undergraduate degree. Named the MERGE program (Multidisciplinary Exploration and Rigorous Guided Education), the curriculum consists of 3 years of rigorous study combining future business analysis with the opportunity to pursue your own business interest. Most recently, job offers exceeded a 92% success for 2014 graduates, ensuring this to be one of the wiser choices for those considering business schools at the undergraduate level. Opportunity to advance to graduate studies abound, either to stay in-house with the world-class Ross MBA track, or choose to venture to another institution armed with a solid understanding of business fundamentals from this highly credible bachelor program.
University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is ranked #21 in the U.S. News & World Report nationally among all business schools; we rank it slightly higher for the value it provides its students in the form of affordable tuition and high ROI. Smith Business School attracts not only outstanding faculty, but the brightest, most promising applicants. Students can choose between eight different majors, from Accounting to several varieties of Management to International Business. All Business Majors have global learning opportunities as well, so dust off that passport! One of the things that stood out to us here at valuecolleges.com was the generous undergraduate scholarships The Smith School funds. In recent academic years, approximately $1.2 million has been available to applicants specifically enrolled as Business majors.
The W.P. Carey School of Business offers more than 25 degree options among several different campuses in the metropolitan Phoenix locale. Offering both a BS and a BA in business, Arizona State University is certainly a compelling option versus other business schools for those not quite sure where their business focus lies. They have unique concentrations in Tourism, Retail Management, Global Agribusiness as well as the typical majors like, Finance, Accountancy and Marketing. W.P. Carey School of Business was ranked #29 in the Best Business Programs ranking of U.S. News & World Report; however, we find their low tuition and higher-than-average ROI through higher paying starting salaries pushes them up further on the list here at valuecolleges.com.
While the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League private school, believe it or not they are quite generous with their financial aid packages, and that is why they show up fairly high on our ranking of Top 50 Best Value Business Schools. Something many don’t know is that Penn meets 100% of a student’s financial need (as determined through FAFSA), and we are not talking student loans here: we mean grants. That’s right; Penn is committed to making their education available to the most talented and hardworking students, regardless of their economic circumstances.
Wharton turns out the country’s most knowledgeable leaders in the business world. They have 5,000 undergraduates and 10 different departments from Accounting to Health Care Management to Statistics. Their state-of-the-art academic facilities are located in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and Penn includes global learning opportunities for all students.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at the Wisconsin School of Business. They have a vibrant campus in the city of Madison, with cultural offerings both on and off campus. The Wisconsin School of Business has a long tradition of teaching with an applied-learning philosophy. Many clubs and student-led projects within the business school apply the classroom knowledge to real-life challenges and activities. Investment and Real Estate clubs involve real investments. They also have the Accenture Leadership Center, yet another valuable resource on campus for helping students train to be the best, most successful leaders using the same training modules used in high-tier corporations. Being a state school, Wisconsin has an attractively low cost of tuition for a business school of this caliber and that’s why we find them among the Top 50 Best Value Business School options for undergraduates.
The Foster School of Business undergraduate program at the University of Washington ranks #21 in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report national rankings. We found the payscale.com’s report of their 20-year net ROI at over $500k and starting salaries of well over $50k for business majors to be exceptionally high for a public institution, further confirming it a Best Value business school for valuecolleges.com. Foster students build up 90 liberal arts credits and the remaining portion of their degree coursework are in their specific business concentration totaling 180 credits. That gives all business students the skill set to come into the Foster School ready to explore and focus on their chosen concentration only when they have the general educational requirements completed. The Foster School of Business has seven formal options: Accounting, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Human Resources, Marketing, Management, Information Systems, and Operations & Supply Chain Management.
Babson College, located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, is just a stone’s throw from Boston. This independent, not-for-profit entrepreneurial institution offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration through its Undergraduate School, MBA and MS Degrees at its F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, and an Executive Education program for professionals looking to grow in today’s rapidly evolving business environment. In the current 2014-2015 academic year, more than 2,100 undergraduate and 900 graduate students are attending Babson, representing more than 80 different countries.
Babson College is known to be the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The College has redefined what entrepreneurship means to include all improvisers who continually assess how to use their strengths and resources at hand to evolve and reach their goals. Babson also continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® – a methodology that teaches students to balance action, experimentation, and creativity with a deep understanding of business fundamentals and rigorous analysis as the ideal approach to creating economic and social value.
In addition to a three college collaboration with Olin College and Wellesley College, helping to expand educational offerings and promote a more interdisciplinary approach to its learning model, Babson prides itself on its many on-campus Centers designed to provide students with real-life experience to put into practice what they learn in the classroom. These include the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship – Babson’s nerve center for entrepreneurial activity; The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) – helping to advance entrepreneurial leadership of women across organizations worldwide; The Lewis Institute – an integrated resource nurturing collaborations with a shared commitment to making a difference; The Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance – dedicated to advancing the understanding and practice of investments and finance; and more.
Mendoza College of Business, at the University of Notre Dame, might be best known for their variety of both short term and flexible MBA and Master’s degree programs, but don’t forget they do offer a wide range of academic opportunities for undergraduates. Students can choose from Accountancy, Finance, Marketing and several subspecialties within the field of Management. Notre Dame has a terrific 20-year ROI, over $500k, making it a wise choice for students concerned with getting the best long-term value in their education. Located in northern Indiana, the Notre Dame campus is about an hour and a half’s drive to Chicago.
The Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis offers a BS in Business Administration with quite a few majors, including highly sought fields such as Healthcare Management, Marketing, and Finance. Olin emphasizes their focus and commitment, with students beginning the business program right away alongside required core classes. Another selling point is the small size, which allows students and professors to build personal relationship and lifelong connections. Students are allowed the flexibility to pursue minors and double majors in other fields, or to study abroad for their interest in international business.
One of the oldest dedicated business schools in the United States, the Stern School of Business at NYU has been a leader in business education since 1900. Not surprisingly, if you want to work on Wall Street, New York City is the place for it, and the Stern School of Business will get you there. Not only are there ample opportunities in New York for internships, networking, and experience, but Stern is committed to getting its graduates into jobs or MBA programs, with an impressive 98% placement rate.
Located on NYU’s Greenwich Village campus, Stern is surrounded by history and opportunity. Many clubs within the School allows students to express their interests and find colleagues who share them. Expect an ROI of well over $430,000 for your trouble – if you consider a world-class education in the most thrilling city on Earth trouble.
University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management is known as one of the best in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Eller offers majors in technology-related business such as Management Information Systems as well as conventional business majors like Business Administration, Marketing, and Finance. For those interested in residential programs, U of A offers a Living-Learning Community, where business majors share a residence hall and learn community-building and networking skills in their day-to-day life. It’s a unique way to develop relationships for students interested in living on campus.
Graduates of the University of Arizona also benefit from a solid ROI of nearly $400,000, with a reasonable state-university cost.
If you’re interested in a business degree that employers find hard to turn down, and a great value at that, Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management offers a bachelor of science in, well, Applied Economics and Management. Don’t be confused by the name – this is a business degree, and it’s a business degree with an Ivy League reputation, Ivy League connections, and an Ivy League value. Yes, Cornell is a value, because whether you can afford it on your own or not, Cornell will make sure that if you get in, you’ll get your education paid for.
For those of you who don’t want a business major, Dyson also offers specialized business minors for engineering, life science, agribusiness, and real-estate majors for that extra something that will help you get farther faster in your career.
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business offers a uniquely international-focused business program, not surprisingly when their home, the Hariri Building, is named for a former Prime Minister of Lebanon whose son was a Georgetown alum. As an outgrowth of the Walsh School of Foreign Service, and located in Washington, DC, a hub of international relations, the McDonough School emphasizes global connections and service. While Georgetown offers more majors than International Business, including Management, Leadership, and Innovation, as well as Operations and Information management, Washington, DC is a prime location for making business relationships worldwide.
Georgetown also has a unique concern with business ethics, and, as a Catholic university, employs two Jesuit scholars to advise and instruct in ethical business practices. And in case you were worried that ethical business doesn’t pay, a Georgetown degree does, with an ROI of almost $500,000.
The Kelley School of Business has some major accolades going for it, from U.S. News, Bloomberg, and more. It’s a top-flight business school, with many majors, from consulting to supply chain management and everything in between. Besides those selling points, though, Indiana University’s business programs have some fantastic options available for their residential undergrads. Like the University of Arizona, Indiana offers a living-learning community-style housing that engages residents in an intensive, challenging environment meant to develop students daily and nightly. Plus, Kelley’s diversity program encourages and motivates students from a variety of backgrounds to perform their best. All these intangibles make Indiana University a top value for a business bachelor’s.
Established in 1916, Ohio State’s Fisher School of Business has a long history of excellence continuing until today. Since being named after benefactor Max Fisher, the Fisher School of Business has developed a strategic plan to make Ohio’s business programs competitive on a national level, putting Fisher in the top 20 of business schools according to U.S. News & World Report. Fisher offers twelve specializations for business majors, including unusual offerings such as Aviation Management and Logistics, as well as many other highly ranked programs. Students may even create their own Special Area if their interests are not included in the specializations.
Students interested in STEM will find Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana, a prime destination, and for those who are interested in STEM-related business, the Krannert School of Management offers a BS in Innovation Management to prepare for a STEM business career. Krannert includes numerous other majors as well, in a more conventional business vein, such as Industrial Management, Strategy and Organizational Management, and Supply Chain, Information, and Analytics.
As a public university, Purdue’s tuition is a value, but with an ROI of over $590,000, Purdue’s focus on excellence in marketable areas like STEM and Business has proven its spot on this list as a best value.
Virginia Tech offers a business program large enough to need its own college, the Pamplin College of Business, and serves some 3,600 students – around 20% of Virginia’s business degrees (as a state) come from Virginia Tech. It’s not ease or low standards that bring students to Virginia Tech, though: it’s excellence. The Pamplin College is among the best public-university business programs, and Tech’s STEM focus gives their business education a strong science base, with majors in Accounting and Information Systems, and Business Information Technology. Pamplin also offers unique leadership skill building, including two student-led investment groups managing $10 million of Tech’s large endowment. The Pamplin College boasts that this may be the largest student-managed investment in the nation.
Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report both consider Boston College’s Carroll School of Management among the best undergraduate business schools, powered by Boston College’s long-standing reputation for excellence. Like Georgetown, Boston College, a Catholic university, emphasizes business ethics, including the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics. Students can choose from many concentrations, including technology-centric concentrations such as Corporate Reports and Analytics, Information Systems, and Accounting Information Systems. There are also minors in International Studies. A Bachelor’s of Science in Management will carry a Boston College ROI that rivals the Ivy League.
The University of Connecticut’s School of Business is, shockingly, not named after anyone. That doesn’t mean it’s not a best value – it’s UConn, after all, a renowned Public Ivy and one of the best public universities. Students can major in a number of different areas, including Urban Economic Studies, Digital Marketing and Analytics, and Management and Engineering for Manufacturing – majors not available in the average business school. UConn prides itself on the number of PhDs teaching courses and the high amount of research done by faculty and students. And, like its Ivy League neighbors, UConn has an impressive ROI for undergraduates, nearly $450,000.
The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business offers a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. The BBA includes many specializations including Risk Management and Insurance, Management Information Systems, and other marketable fields. The BA in Economics substitutes liberal arts electives for business electives for students who are more interested in the theoretical side of economics, such as public policy or politics.
The Terry College also offers a unique certification in Music Business, taught by figures well-known to Athens’ world-famous music scene and offering job experience and placement in local record labels and clubs. Thousands of students come to Athens for the live music; some come to make the music; and students at the Terry College of Business come to run the music.
Students in the Eli Broad College of Business get a solid contender on the most respected rankings, from U.S. News to Forbes and Bloomberg Business. Michigan State’s business college offers acclaimed programs in Accounting and Information Systems, Finance, Marketing, Management, and Supply Chain Management, with BS and BA degrees depending on the program. Within the college, an independent School of Hospitality Business trains students interested in making careers in the hospitality industry, with specializations available in real estate and development as well.
Named for Eli Broad, the entrepreneur known for building Fortune 500 companies from scratch, the Broad College of Business provides the perfect cross of affordable tuition and solid return on investment, making Michigan State a best value for undergraduate business.
Penn State’s Smeal College of Business wants you to know that corporate recruiters love Penn State grads – according to Bloomberg Businessweek, it’s a top ten source for interns and new hires. As a full college within the university, Smeal College includes numerous research centers, such as the Center for Global Business Studies, the Center for Sports Business and Research, and the Institute for Real Estate Studies, among many more. The Career and Corporate Connections office helps students connect with internships and post-graduation employment, using a wide network of corporate partners and alumni.
With a Public Ivy reputation, and with Smeal College’s strong system for placing students in the corporate world, a business degree from Penn State has an impressive ROI of over $440,000 and a very good market value.
Georgia Tech is a world-renowned center of technology and engineering research in Atlanta, GA, but STEM is only the beginning. The Scheller College of Business is one way to benefit from Tech’s awe-inspiring, almost $800,000 20-year ROI, offering undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees in areas such as Information Technology Management, Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Managing Human Capital. With Georgia Tech’s STEM background, it should come as no surprise that the Scheller College emphasizes technology and innovation in business, preparing students for an ever-changing, global economy that runs on scientific advancement. It’s one of the best values imaginable, and a window into the future of business.
The Price College of Business (that’s not a pun – it’s named for Michael F. Price, an alumnus who donated $18 million to found the program) is a value. One of the best values for undergraduate business degrees, to be exact. The price is right, of course – it’s a state university, with reasonable tuition rates. But the Price College has other, unique opportunities available for students, such as its partnership with JC Penny and First Fidelity bank, sponsors of the JC Penny Leadership Center and the First Fidelity Integrated Business Core, in which students begin businesses and donate profits to charity. Students can also choose majors in fields not always offered by other business schools, such as Sports Management or Energy Management. The Price College has high marks from U.S. News and the Princeton Review, and a strong ROI makes the University of Oklahoma a smart investment for a business degree.
If you’re looking for a residential undergraduate program in sunny Florida, sorry – this is in the Miami Valley, Oxford, Ohio. Nope, all you get here is one of the oldest public universities in the US, one of the original Public Ivies, and an education at one of the most acclaimed universities in the nation. The Farmer School of Business at Miami University is one of the top undergraduate business schools according to Businessweek, and is widely considered a best value. Students choose from eight majors, numerous minors, and special themes, as well as workshops and extracurricular groups. Miami’s ROI is well over $400,000, and the webpage for the Farmer School helpfully, and transparently, provides information about where their graduates get jobs. That takes confidence, and Miami University’s Farmer School of Business has the performance to back it up.
The Marshall School of Business, at the University of Southern California, is recognized worldwide for its quality. First of all, it’s one of the top ten most productive institutions for business research, according to a study from UT Dallas. Secondly, powerful funding and a host of academic centers give students a variety of high-quality fields of study within the school. Thirdly, for those interested in accounting, USC has the related Leventhal School of Accounting for an intensive education in money.
USC’s location in Los Angeles, CA, means that students who are interested in breaking into the entertainment industry have a chance to make real, career-making connections, and the BS in Business Administration, emphasis in Cinematic Arts, is the place to start.
Named for Sam Walton, founder of a certain little retail company that ends with -Mart, the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas puts students in a pretty exceptional position. The University’s location, within shouting distance from Wal-Mart headquarters, means the College is able to develop and sustain relationships with the hundreds of affiliate corporations that have established headquarters and offices in the area. Where Wal-Mart goes, so goes the manufacturing and retail industry, and students at the Walton College have a buffet of options for internships, part-time jobs, and post-graduation employment in professional, corporate positions. According to U.S. News & World Report, the University of Arkansas has the highest rate of success getting its graduates hired, even more than the Ivy League. Not a bad investment for students who want a residential business program with a job placement rate that is the closest to a sure thing in higher education. That’s a definitive best value.
The Raymond A. Mason School of Business, at the College of William and Mary, puts a premium on giving students the support they need to build their own, uniquely-suited degree. The Individual Program of Study allows students to choose from any combination of majors, minors, and concentrations, including unusual offerings such as Innovation and Design Thinking, or international concentrations allowing students to study abroad.
Of course, as the second-oldest college in the US, and one of the original Public Ivy’s, William and Mary offers students an unparalleled value, with public-college price and an Ivy League ROI, to make a degree from the Mason School of Business the first smart investment of your business career.
Bentley University doesn’t have a business school: it is the business school. An entire university devoted to business sounds unusual, but if you want an education in business, get an education in business, right? Bentley is highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and a combination of technological emphasis and small-college attention means that students get a focused, relevant education that they take into a variety of fields. Since Bentley’s curriculum is focused on business, science, and liberal arts, there are a higher than usual number of majors possible, including some students can’t get in other business schools, such as Actuarial Science, Sustainability Science, and majors mixing business and the liberal arts.
As a private university, Bentley is a bit pricy, but the ROI – over $540,000 – makes the initial investment look a lot better. A degree from Bentley may not guarantee that you’ll drive one, but it’ll give you a fair shot.
The Zicklin School of Business, at CUNY’s Baruch College, is the biggest and one of the best in the US. The reputation of Baruch College is impressive and attractive, with Zicklin making up a good portion of that reputation. Students choose from many majors, including a number of specialized Marketing programs, such as Digital Marketing and International Marketing. And of course, Baruch College is located in New York City, the center of finance and business in the US – step out the door and you’re in the heart of Manhattan. An ROI of over $480,000, and entry into the world of commerce easily at hand, make Zicklin an investment value.
Located in Gainesville, FL, the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration prepares students for business careers with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Accounting and Business Administration. Florida has an acclaimed undergraduate education, and several of the Warrington College’s specializations are ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report, including finance and quantitative analysis. The Heavener School of Business, Warrington’s undergraduate business school, boasts relationships with thirty-six colleges worldwide for students to grow from study abroad experience.
UF has a Public Ivy status and a substantial ROI of over $450,000, so students looking for a residential experience with a lot of sunshine and low cost, with a high return on investment, should look into the Warrington College and the Heavener School of Business.
The Fox School of Business, at Temple University, is among the oldest business schools in America. A number of Fox’s undergraduate programs are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, and their faculty’s research is highly productive. Temple, at the center of the historic city of Philadelphia, offers residential students access to a busy, modern economy for internships and job opportunities, not to mention all the amenities and entertainment a major city has to offer college students. As one of the largest comprehensive business schools in the US, the Fox School provides a great variety of majors and interests, and as a state-affiliated school Temple has the reasonable tuition cost of a public institution, adding up to a solid investment in an undergraduate business degree.
In his will, first president George Washington left fifty shares of the Potowmack Company, an engineering firm on which he served as board president, to establish a university in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, by the time the university was founded in 1821, the company had failed and the stocks were worthless. The university was still named in Washington’s honor, and we can’t say it was this early lesson in business that led to the nationally-respected George Washington University School of Business, but with an ROI of over $480,000 a degree from GWU is a much better investment than the one Washington himself made. GWU Business emphasizes global business and Web 3.0 innovation, with Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Accountancy, and Bachelor of Science in Finance degrees, as well as a number of concentrations and minors. Many research centers focus on Real Estate and Urban Development, Entrepreneurial Excellence, and other areas of interest, and students can count on connections in Washington, DC, an international hub.
The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business is acclaimed by everyone who matters in college rankings, from U.S. News and Bloomberg to Princeton and the Economist, with one of the best undergraduate business programs in the US. Tippie stresses Integrity, Innovation, and Impact, offering majors in Accounting, Marketing, Economics, and so on: fundamental, reliable business education. A solid ROI and a Public Ivy reputation, from a university that was an internet pioneer, makes a bachelor’s degree from Tippie a best value.
Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management prepares students for a career in business, with all the majors business students look for. Students begin taking business courses right away, providing time for double majors within the Whitman School or in another area, without having to wait until freshman and sophomore general courses are done. Syracuse has a long history of excellence and innovation, as a center of the original 19th century’s women’s movement, and the Whitman School has been praised by the major ranking agencies, as well as being recognized as a top choice for veterans. Residential students will experience an active, vivacious campus life, with many student organizations to build connections and networks. A solid ROI and a solid education in business fundamentals: Syracuse is an investment worth considering.
The Lundquist College of Business, at the University of Oregon, bills itself as a uniquely Oregonian business school, placing environmental responsibility and sustainability, active lifestyles, financial stewardship, and community engagement at the top of their values. Because of the location in the Pacific Northwest, one of the key technology hubs, programs at the Lundquist prepare students for business in the future, with concentrations in areas like Information Systems and Operational Management, Entrepreneurship, and Finance, though an exceptional Sports Business concentration is also available. If you want a career in the tech industry, or you’re a residential student who wants the Pacific Northwest lifestyle of hiking, biking, coffee and drizzle, Oregon is the best place to start.
Boulder, Colorado is the land of entrepreneurs, and the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado makes innovative education and engaged students its top priority. Students major in Accounting, Marketing, Finance, and Management & Entrepreneurship, but the lessons they learn in class are only part of the story. Students have developed interdisciplinary partnerships with fellow students in science, engineering, and other fields to to practice sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Alumni take active part in the education of current students with projects and internships, while faculty researchers act as leaders in business theory and ideas. The Leeds School is committed to giving students an education that will not just get them a job, but teach them to make their own careers and jobs for others.
As with Boston College (#26 above), Boston University’s strongest selling point is Boston: a business and economic powerhouse, with the highest proportion of researchers and PhDs in the nation, and a history of greatness as one of the first major US cities. Questrom focuses on the future of business: healthcare, digital technology, and social enterprise and sustainability, with curricula designed to prepare students for the fluid, unpredictable global economy. BU’s undergraduate program starts hard and finishes harder, from freshman year to the final project, in which students collaboratively design a product or service and build their business from the bottom up. Plus, the location in a major metropolitan city means opportunities for networking that only a place like Boston can provide, making Boston University a top investment for undergraduate business.
Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business is located in Silicon Valley.
Do we need to go on? Okay, we’ll go on. Santa Clara is the oldest university in California, and while the Jesuits who founded it certainly couldn’t see the future, putting their institution in what would become Silicon Valley turned out to be a godsend. Santa Clara’s location means connections to the heart of the tech industry, where students can visit offices, intern, and network with the people who make technology happen. As a Jesuit university, Santa Clara also emphasizes the liberal arts, ethics, and integrity, giving students a sense of social consciousness and engagement that will be valuable in innumerable ways to their future.
The Trulaske College of Business, at the University of Missouri, uses its hundred years of experience to build a program that will prepare students for the future of business. A commitment to global entrepreneurship is reflected in the Asian Equity Research Institute (which follows Chinese companies listed in the US) and the Center for the Digital Globe, two research centers in the Trulaske College. Trulaske offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, with marketable majors such as Finance, Real Estate, and International Business. All students complete an internship, and multiple programs prepare students with professional development and career services. For a public-university price, students get a strong return on investment and a place in the future of business.
Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business is ambitious and motivated to become an elite business school, and in recent years has made great strides in raising its profile and gaining praise from the college rankings complex. Recognized as a top value by many sources, Auburn’s business programs are interested in providing unique offerings and educational excellence. Of particular note are the aviation-related programs, uncommon in business schools: students can major in Aviation Management or Professional Flight Management, offered by a university that has been pioneering aviation education for decades. If you’re interested in more conventional business majors, such as Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, or Supply Chain Management, those are there of course, with high marks for value and quality, as well as an attractive ROI of over $400,000.
The Florida State University College of Business has high rankings from U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, and numerous professional business and accounting organizations. Students at FSU can choose from thirteen undergraduate majors, with unusual offerings such as Retail Management, Professional Sales, and Real Estate. Of course, being Florida, FSU also offers majors in PGA Golf Management, Hospitality Management, and Risk Management/Insurance (what can we say: with hurricanes, flooding, and alligators, there’s a big market for insurance in Florida). Residents may come to Florida for the sunshine, but Tallahassee, the state capital, has business opportunities in spades, and with Florida’s massive hospitality industry, there’s always potential for FSU business students.