Fortune MBA Rankings
Fortune Information Technology & Data Rankings
Fortune Health Rankings
Fortune Leadership Rankings
Fortune Bootcamp Overviews
An MBA, or master of business administration, is an internationally recognized graduate-level degree in business leadership and management that can help you advance in your current industry or change fields. Most MBA programs have a core curriculum focusing on business fundamentals, and full-time programs typically take two years to complete.
A full-time MBA program requires students to completely immerse themselves in their coursework, group studies, and typically complete an internship. These sacrifices can pay off; the median salary of MBA grads, at $115,000, is 77% higher than people with a bachelor’s degree alone. And some recent MBA grads are fetching $200,000 or more.
Pursuing an MBA can be hard for students because they must transition back to academia, find the right balance between school and personal obligations, and make the most of networking and other opportunities that are a core part of business school programs. Learn more about what you should consider before you apply.
Some students from top-ranked business schools fetch pay packages exceeding $400,000 in their first roles out of school, depending on their chosen industry. In 2021, Harvard Business School grads netted average pay packages of $217,000, Wharton’s graduating class had a median base salary at $155,000, and more than one-third of Stanford’s latest class went into finance, where they earned $310,000 pay packages.
Most full-time MBA programs are designed to be treated like a job, with a full schedule of coursework and other school-related obligations like group projects. If you don’t want to give up a paycheck while attending school, a part-time, online or executive MBA program may be a better fit.
Part-time MBA students continue working and earning a salary, while applying lessons learned in the classroom in their current roles. These programs are best for people who want to advance within their current company or industry. Full-time MBA students fully immerse themselves in their business education, pursue an internship, and are often looking to switch careers.
Online MBA programs allow for more flexibility in students’ schedules, but traditional full-time programs offer students more personalized coursework and the opportunity to take full advantage of internships, networking, and other career resources. Traditional MBA programs are best for people who are switching careers.
A traditional MBA program can be an asset for professionals at any point in their career who are looking to switch careers, while the executive MBA option is geared toward more seasoned professionals who want to land a C-suite role.
Fortune’s ranking of the best traditional MBA programs stands out by finding schools that not only offer comprehensive curricula, but also see their students achieve competitive salaries after graduation.