Top 20 Colleges with Business Degrees

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How one goes about making a “top colleges ___” list is up for debate. There are so many factors to consider: student satisfaction, post-college earnings and affordability. It’s hard to define what makes something the “best.” When it comes to business degrees though, money talks. If you’re seeking your bachelors in business, money talk is going to be a huge factor.

That’s not to say that there aren’t other qualifications, but money can and will have an impact. Salary post graduation, the return on your investment, should be important. Make sure that the money you’re spending is worth it. The 20 schools that made this list have the highest mid-career earning potential, as reported on Their 2014-2015 Payscale College Salary report features data from business majors at 499 colleges and universities. Here is their top 20:

1. University of California—Berkeley

Early Career Salary: $72,000

Mid-Career Salary: $138,300

There are lists upon lists ranking business schools, and Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley is consistently at or near the top. It has the highest early career salary, and the highest mid-career salary, with the highest potential earnings over all.

2. Washington University in St. Louis

Early Career Salary: $58,600

Mid-Career Salary: $129,100

Olin Business School values experiential learning. Coursework is customizable through electives. Your degree is made to fit the individual, alongside the guidance of an academic advisor. The best part? They value collaboration over competition.

3. University of Notre Dame

Early Career Salary: $56,900

Mid-Career Salary: $122,700

Even though they missed the number one spot on this list, The Mendoza College of Business was #1 in Business Week Magazine’s survey for five years running, 2010-2014.

4. University of Pennsylvania

Early Career Salary: $69,600

Mid-Career Salary: $121,700

Wharton at University of Pennsylvania is the first business school ever, founded by Joseph Wharton in 1881. They have the advantage of years of experience and success, and they’re eager to spread the knowledge.

5. Georgetown University-Washington D.C.

Early Career Salary: $58,900

Mid-Career Salary: $121,700

The McDonough School of Business takes advantage of their Washington D.C. backdrop, giving students opportunities to study business in relation to relevant local intersections. They also boast of a low student-to-faculty ratio, 10:1, making relationships with faculty accessible.

6. University of California-Irvine

Early Career Salary: $48,100

Mid-Career Salary: $121,000

UCI Paul Merage School of Business provides career guidance during students’ final semesters. The UCI Career Center helps ease students into post-grad life, preparing them through mock interviews, resume reviews, workshops and connections to potential jobs.

7. University of Richmond

Early Career Salary: $52,400

Mid-Career Salary: $118,100

With 3 majors and 6 concentrations, the Robins School of Business is good at what they do. They take students into real world situations, promising to go beyond the textbook.

8. University of Southern California

Early Career Salary: $56,500

Mid-Career Salary: $118,000

Finding a career post-grad is a little bit easier with a network of 70,000 Marshall School of Business alumni on your side. Their goal is to connect you to the business world outside of the classroom.

9. Babson College

Early Career Salary: $61,500

Mid-Career Salary: $117,400

If you see yourself as an entrepreneur, Babson College might be your dream school. They’re ranked #1 in entrepreneurship, and 99% of graduates are employed or in graduate school within 6 months of graduation. The numbers don’t lie, and this investment looks like a safe bet.

10. Hofstra University

Early Career Salary: $48,300

Mid-Career Salary: $116,500

Location can be key when choosing a school, and the Frank G. Zarb School of Business is just 25 miles from New York City. The opportunities that come from this location, internships and careers, help Hofstra University make the list.

11. Lehigh University

Early Career Salary: $60,700

Mid-Career Salary: $116,100

Students start out learning the basics, and are then free to pursue a more specific area of study. This balance provides students with a strong foundation while still giving them the freedom and flexibility to study what they want.

12. Cornell University-Ithica, NY

Early Career Salary: $58,500

Mid-Career Salary: $116,100

An Ivy League education speaks for students on their resume. It won’t be easy to get in; the Dyson School is one of the most selective majors on the Cornell campus. Still, it’s worth trying. Being apart of such a competitive program speaks to who you are and what you’re capable of.

13. Georgia Institute of Technology

Early Career Salary: $52,300

Mid-Career Salary: $116,100

We live in world with constant technological advances. The Scheller College of Business recognizes that, and works to stay ahead. Scheller understands the connection between business and technology, and they equip students with that understanding.

14. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Early Career Salary: $50,500

Mid-Career Salary: $113,800

Lally is self-described as a “small school culture with big school opportunities.” The average class size is less than 25 students, which gives students the attention they need to succeed.

15. George Washington University (GWU)

Early Career Salary: $57,800

Mid-Career Salary: $112,600

Located in Washington D.C, opportunities for research, study abroad and internships are available to students. The program is connected to “financial institutions, consulting firms, policy institutes, and on the Hill.

16. Santa Clara University

Early Career Salary: $62,000

Mid-Career Salary: $112,300

Once again, location is often everything. At the Leavey School of Business, students study amongst some of the greatest—and richest. Silicon Valley as a backdrop provides business opportunities unparalleled by other programs.

17. Loyola University-Baltimore, MD

Early Career Salary: $52,600

Mid-Career Salary: $111,000

The Sellinger School of Business, like many others, puts an emphasis on real world experience. To do good business, students need to learn beyond the classroom. As an undergraduate, students have opportunities to learn through international, internship and service opportunities.

18. Manhattan College

Early Career Salary: $50,300

Mid-Career Salary: $110,800

Amidst the hustle of New York City, the Manhattan College School of Business does its best to equip students from all backgrounds for whatever they might face in the world of business. They look at the individual, and seek to make each student’s specific experience one of personal growth.

19. Loyola Marymount University

Early Career Salary: $54,400

Mid-Career Salary: $108,500

Critical thinking, analytical and communication skills—these are the self-stated end goals for students at the LMU College of Business Administration. Like most, their goal is to use the years in the classroom to equip students for life outside of it.

20. St. Mary’s University-San Antonio, TX

Early Career Salary: $40,200

Mid-Career Salary: $108,100

The Greehey School of Business uses mentorship programs to connect students with real world business opportunities. Plus, they’ve got award-winning professors to pass on their knowledge. They value those who are in the world of business, and utilize their wisdom to equip current students.

Choosing a school is never easy. It’s important to look at many different options, consider potential future careers, and see where would be the best fit. Plus, with schools costing as much as they do, it’s important to know that those loans you take out will be paid off. Look at the lives of programs alum. Know what having a certain name attached to your resume could mean. Use the four years to make your transition into the real world an easy one. Really, no matter where you end up, it matters what you do with your time. A student could go to UC Berkeley and not take advantage of their resources, making it’s number one status a moot point. Go to the career centers, build relationships with the faculty and apply for summer internships.

No matter where you are, what your future looks like is totally up to you.

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Paige Dinneny is a recent graduate of Biola University. Born and raised in Southern California, she currently lives in Long Beach and is now pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Fiction at Cal State Long Beach. Her days are filled with many jobs including social media marketing, retail and this! She spends her free time writing, watching the Game Show Network and going to concerts.