Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business can lay the foundation for a fruitful career. Majors in business give undergraduates an insider’s look into how organizations operate in our global economy. The versatile training can unlock various jobs in the public, private, and non-profit sectors depending on individual interests. According to Business News Daily, business administration degrees have the ninth best return on investment (ROI). Graduates report an above-average starting salary of $55,600. Income potential is virtually limitless with company Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) scoring a mean yearly salary of $185,850. But first you’ll need to fine-tune your business acumen with at least a bachelor’s. In this article, we’ll highlight our picks for the best campus-based undergraduate business programs.
To begin our ranking, we searched for undergraduate business schools that are accredited by the elite Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). We then consulted with the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings. Attention was devoted to universities ranked in the top 50 nationally. Next, we narrowed down the colleges by listing which ones offered campus-based bachelor’s degrees in business. Preference was given to undergraduate programs allowing for concentration to meet many students’ needs. We also looked for bachelor’s degrees with unique learning opportunities, i.e. research, studying abroad, and business consulting. Other factors considered were class size, financial aid, faculty credentials, location, and curriculum.
Business is the nation’s most popular undergraduate major. According to the NCES, the Class of 2012 had 366,815 graduates who studied business disciplines. Earning your bachelor’s degree in business can provide a valuable asset for today’s competitive market. Business knowledge obtained can apply to virtually any industry from fashion to real estate and healthcare. Employers everywhere look to hire business majors because of their excellent leadership, communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills. Forge your dream career path by pursuing one of these Top 10 Business Bachelor’s Degree Programs.
1. University of California – Berkeley
Endowed for $4 billion, the University of California, Berkeley is an elite public, land-grant RU/VH research institution serving over 38,200 from the San Francisco Bay Area. UC Berkeley is ranked America’s #1 top public school by the U.S. News and 13th best global university by Times Higher Education. The Haas School of Business holds AACSB accreditation for its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program. Students complete a 120-unit curriculum to learn business from a liberal arts perspective. If desired, there’s an International Study and Global Management concentration available. Some may join the six-week, summer Business for Arts, Sciences and Engineering (BASE) program.
Tuition: $13,431 (in-state) or $38,139 (out-of-state)
2. University of Pennsylvania
Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League research institution located in Philadelphia to educate around 24,800 students. Ranked the ninth best national university by the U.S. News, Penn has produced the country’s most billionaires at the bachelor’s level. In the AACSB-accredited Wharton School of Business, students can pursue undergraduate studies for a Bachelor of Science in Economics. With over 4,200 courses offered, the program lets students drill down on interests with 21 concentrations, such as Behavioral Economics, Global Analysis, and Real Estate. Penn students can participate in the 10-day Wharton International Program (WIP) for trips to Argentina, China, Morocco, and India.
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Serving a selective community of 11,300 students, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private, land-grant polytechnic research institution in Cambridge across Harvard Bridge from Boston. According to the U.S. News, MIT is America’s fifth top value and third most innovative university. Within the Sloan School of Management, undergraduates can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Management. The AACSB-accredited curriculum contains 216 units of general business topics and specialized electives in Business Analytics or Finance. Partnerships in the Corporate Connection program allow for MIT’s signature “Action Learning” approach. Students often intern with Fortune 500 companies in Kendall Square like Amazon, AT&T, and Microsoft.
4. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Located at one corner of the Research Triangle, the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill is the oldest “Public Ivy” institution first opened in 1789 and educating over 29,000 students with a 96 percent retention rate. The U.S. News ranked UNC Chapel Hill as America’s fifth top public school and 13th best value. With AACSB accreditation, the Kenan-Flagler Business School offers an eight-semester Bachelor of Business Administration. Students can customize their learning in 10 emphasis areas, including Corporate Finance, International Business, Marketing, and Sales. Undergrad learners participate in the STAR Program to collaborate on a four-month consulting project with real-life companies.
Tuition: $8,591 (in-state) or $33,673 (out-of-state)
5. University of Virginia
As the Old Dominion’s only AAU member, the University of Virginia delivers public, research-intensive education to over 21,900 students from Charlottesville. Since being founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, UVA has become America’s 26th best national university and third top public school. The McIntire School of Commerce is AACSB-accredited to grant a 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Commerce. All students complete the same Integrated Core Experience (ICE) curriculum before choosing a concentration in Accounting, Finance, Information Technology, Management, or Marketing. Students may apply for the Global Commerce Scholar program to carry out senior thesis research in Barcelona, Spain or Guangzhou, China.
Tuition: $15,192 (in-state) or $44,365 (out-of-state)
6. Cornell University
Nestled among the gorges of Ithaca, New York, Cornell University is a prestigious private, Ivy League research institution with land-grant, sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant status to serve over 21,900 students. Ranked 16th by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Cornell is the nation’s 15th best national university according to the USNWR. The Dyson School has AACSB accreditation to award a B.S. in Applied Economics and Management. Students select from 11 cutting-edge concentrations like Agribusiness, Entrepreneurship, Food Industry Management, and International Trade. High-achieving students can hold paid research positions in the CALS Honors Program. Cornell also has an Exchange Program for studying in over 70 countries from Thailand to Sweden.
7. University of Notre Dame
Affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross, the University of Notre Dame is a premier private, co-educational Roman Catholic institution of 12,100 students in South Bend, Indiana. Noted among Newsweek’s “25 New Ivies,” Notre Dame is ranked the 18th best university and 14th top college for veterans nationally. The Mendoza College of Business gives ethics-based leadership training in the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program. Within the 120-credit, AACSB-accredited curriculum, concentrations are available in Accountancy, Finance, Management, or Marketing. The ND Career Center connects all students with internships from Deloitte to Google. Business majors also benefit from 10 active student-run clubs and over 40 study abroad options.
8. University of Southern California
Established in 1880, the University of Southern California stands proudly in Los Angeles as a private, non-sectarian RU/VH research institution of over 42,400 students. The U.S. News ranks USC as the 23rd best national university and 13th most innovative school. With AACSB approval, the Marshall School of Business awards a four-year B.S. in Business Administration with 32 units of electives. Emphasis areas are uniquely offered in International Relations and Cinematic Arts. There’s also a World Bachelor in Business (WBB) program in partnership with Hong Kong University and Bocconi University in Italy. Thanks to USC’s entrepreneurial spirit, Trojan graduates have built leading companies like Myspace, Intuit, Tinder, and Qualcomm.
9. Indiana University- Bloomington
With full-time enrollment over 42,500, Indiana University- Bloomington is a flagship public, co-educational research institution endowed for $1.9 billion in Indiana’s seventh largest city. IUB was crowned the 29th top public school by the U.S. News and named Kiplinger’s 40th best public value. The AACSB-accredited Kelley School of Business grants a Bachelor of Science in Business with 13 specialized majors, including Public Policy Analysis, Accounting, Operations Management, and Information Systems. During the sophomore year, students complete a Global Foundations Core (G-Core). Business majors may join the Honors Leadership Team for peer-to-peer support. Mentoring from Kelley alumni like Mark Cuban and John Chambers is also available.
Tuition: $10,388 (in-state) or $33,741 (out-of-state)
10. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Featuring HLC-NCA and AACSB accreditation, the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor is a public, residential space-grant and sea-grant research institution educating over 43,600 students just 42 miles from downtown Detroit. The U.S. News ranks UM as America’s 29th best national university. Within the Ross School of Business, there’s a campus-based Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program. The MERGE curriculum consists of 120 credits, including a senior capstone project. Generalized coursework ranges from accounting and business law to behavior theory and marketing. BBA students could qualify for the Carson Scholars Program to study in Washington, DC. All freshmen complete The Preparation Initiative before enrolling.
Tuition: $13,856 (in-state) or $43,476 (out-of-state)