Top 10 MBA Programs in the U.S.

Written by . Posted in Consulting Industry


Master of Business Administration, or better known as MBA, can catapult a consultant’s career and set it in a more progressive direction. In the competitive industry, a MBA from the right university can solidify a consultant’s presence in a firm.

Broader Knowledge, Higher Rewards

Why do consultants choose to go back for an MBA? Is a BA from a reputable university and relevant work experience from a top tier firm a strong enough foundation? For those who are considering higher positions in the consulting industry, it is recommended to get a MBA. Doing so can easily raise one’s professional status and make him or her more suitable for top positions such as senior or partner.

It is no secret that top consulting firms encourage their employees to attain a higher degree of education. In fact, many firms have programs wherein they pay for the consultant’s tuition, given that they go back to the company after graduating and stay for a specific amount of years. This isn’t a bad deal at all, considering that a MBA program can easily run up to $100K. Furthermore, a consultant who chooses to take up the offer has a stable job to go back to, usually with higher compensation due to the MBA.

Besides higher rewards, a MBA can equip a consultant with updated knowledge in order to stay competitive in the industry. Often times, this is a problem for professionals who get stuck or “rusty” from being complacent.

In order to prevent this, many consultants attend seminars, gatherings and expos to stay at the forefront of the sector. Another way of doing this is by getting a MBA. One can easily build new connections, as well as get a fresh perspective on what the consulting industry needs in order to stay sustainable.

Even for former or ex-consultants, a MBA can open up new options for exit strategies outside of the industry. The significance of a MBA is proof that a professional has put in his or her hard work and can be trusted to take on senior positions with complex tasks.

Top 10 MBA Programs You Need to Know About

It is no surprise that prestigious universities offer some of the top MBA programs in the U.S. These are also the same universities that high caliber consulting firms are interested in. In most cases, firms have a direct link with the university and have a history of alumni who have studied in the school and moved on to higher success.

The universities mentioned below are the currently the top 10 MBA programs in the United States:

1. Harvard Considered to have the best MBA program in the U.S. due to a progressive curriculum and successful alumnus.
2. Stanford Noted for having a strict GPA average and a long history of consultants who graduated from the university’s MBA program.
3. University of Chicago- Booth One of the highest average for return of investment in MBA graduates.
4. University of Pennsylvania- Wharton Hub for women who are looking to expand their professional career through the school’s MBA program.
5. Northwestern- Kellogg Strict admissions and an upcoming refurbished MBA curriculum under Dean Sally Blount.
6. MIT Sloan Updated MBA program with case studies and frameworks, ideal for consultants.
7. Columbia New MBA curriculum expected to roll out in 2015 to include strategies for financial crisis.
8. Dartmouth- Tuck The university’s MBA program is known for quality connections and alumnus who pump funds back into the school.
9. Duke- Fuqua Notable alumnus from the MBA program includes Apple CEO Tim Cook.
10. UC Berkley- Haas Comprehensive MBA curriculum, which includes business analytics and critical problem solving.


When it comes to quality education, Harvard continues to set the standard for other universities to follow, including their MBA program. With an acceptance rate of 11.8%, getting into Harvard can be difficult without a strong foundation. Ideally, those who want to proceed with their MBA at Harvard may need to rely on strong connections and relevant experience with a notable consulting firm. It is important to take note that Harvard has been actively promoting their business programs to women who want to meet their professional career goals. As a result, 41% of enrollees in Harvard Business School are women.


Not far from the leader, Stanford also offers an outstanding MBA program for aspiring consultants. Their acceptance rate is very strict, coming in at 6.8%. Located in Silicon Valley, the campus continues to churn out successful business-minded individuals. Maintaining a high GPA is one of the main priorities for many students. 3.73 is the current average GPA for first year-MBA students.

University of Chicago- Booth

University of Chicago- Booth has been developing their MBA program for many years. Now they are currently listed in the top 10 U.S. business schools. Their standard for GMAT scores is at 730, which is the same has Harvard Business School.

Does University of Chicago- Booth’s MBA program match other reputable universities? It’s clear that the answer is yes, as the graduates have reported a very high return-on-investment ranking after completion. This means that the MBA curriculum is applicable to the current global industry standards. For consultants, this is essential for keeping up with new strategies and trends.

University of Pennsylvania- Wharton

University of Pennsylvania- Wharton’s MBA program primarily focuses on finance, compared to other universities that have shifted towards entrepreneurship and technology. Because of this, the school has been given a bad reputation. Before joining the bandwagon, a closer look at the statistics of the university’s MBA program will tell you a different story. 97.8% of graduates received job offers in less than 3 months after completion. Moreover, the average salaries of graduates from the university have increased to $125,000. To drive the point even further, the school has a higher percentage of women- even higher than Harvard and Stanford, which is ideal for today’s standards of equality.

Northwestern- Kellogg

A university currently known for its rapid expansion, Northwestern- Kellogg has set its sights on a new MBA program. University Dean, Sally Blount, has set a $350 million capital campaign to accelerate the school’s business curriculums. Consultants who have their eyes set on this school, should consider that the school has updated its admissions, making it harder for applicants to complete the process.

MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan’s MBA curriculum actively meets the needs of consultants. Individuals can expect to immerse themselves in case studies, group projects and interactive programs with top leaders. There are still core subjects during the first semester for the groundwork, but the rest is mostly application. MIT Sloan’s hands-on approach works well for consultants who are constantly questioning if what they teach in school is really applicable in their industry. The answer is really yes, if they came from MIT Sloan.


Another top university that is also updating its MBA curriculum is Columbia. An updated MBA program, which is set roll out in 2015, will highlight tough strategies related to the financial crisis that the global economy faces today. For consultants, this can be very rewarding knowledge, especially for those who specialize in budget reduction and restructuring. Taking a different route to MIT Sloan’s approach, Columbia will include more in depth discussions and shine light on the technical aspects of business administration and management.

Dartmouth- Tuck

In consulting, where a tightly knit network can boost one’s career, going through an MBA program can easily double your connections. This is what Dartmouth-Tuck is known for. With over 70% of its alumnus providing monetary funding to the school, a consultant may find several opportunities while getting one’s MBA. The university’s acceptance rate is 20.8%, which is at the same level as the highly competitive schools mentioned above.

Duke- Fuqua

Duke- Fuqua is slowly making its way up the list for top MBA programs. Part of what the university is good at is matching its MBA graduates with top companies. World-class executives such as Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) who also took part in the MBA program that Duke- Fuqua offers are a prime example of the type of professionals the university produces.

UC Berkley- Haas

UC Berkley- Hass is known for handpicking selective individuals for their MBA program. The new curriculum, which was updated almost 2 years ago, leans toward the development of key skills such as leadership and communications. They also take an analytical approach, as they provide subjects related to critical problem solving. Consultants who are able to get into UC Berkley- Haas’s MBA program can benefit from a well-versed curriculum.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, consultants who are looking for new ways to increase their value in the industry should consider pursuing a MBA. As top consulting firms continue to promote the higher form of education to their employees, it is a big clue on the type of credentials they are looking for during the recruitment process. As mentioned earlier, a MBA is a strong foundation for a consultant’s career.

It is important to take note that those who take up a consulting firm’s offer to take part in the MBA program (with a fully paid tuition and X amount of years with the company after graduation) should be prepared to commit at least 4-6 years, minimum. In this case, individuals who are using consulting as a stepping stone towards other career opportunities, the MBA program might prove to be a hindrance rather than a boost.

A closer look at the MBA programs that top universities offer, and you may notice that not all curriculum is the same. Therefore, it is important to get advice from peers, other consultants and mentors in order to make sure you get the most out of your selected university. Lastly, whether you use your own hard earned money, or are privileged enough to work for a consulting firm that is willing to cover the tuition, a MBA is considered to be a great investment.

You Might Also Like...