Business is the most common undergraduate degree in the country, with roughly 375,000 students earning a bachelor’s degree in the field each year.
The popularity of a business degree has held for several years now, owing to flexible career paths and higher-than-average salaries.
In fact, a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds that while the precise payoff varies, the majority of business programs lead to median earnings that are roughly 10 times what graduates owe in student debt payments. Put simply: studying business is a pretty safe return-on-investment bet.
Plus, a business degree, which includes majors in accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing and management, can position students to work in almost any industry that catches their interest.
To help budding business leaders sort through potential schools, we’ve narrowed down our latest college rankings — which focus on affordability and outcomes — to highlight the campuses in our list with strong business offerings. (We included colleges on our main ranking, plus the schools on our selective colleges ranking.) Next, we scored colleges based on the median salaries of recent alumni with business degrees. We also scored colleges on the number and share of recent graduates earning bachelor’s degrees in business as a proxy for the resources and opportunities available to business students on that campus.
Read on to see the top 10, then check out the full ranking of the 50 best colleges for studying business here.
1. Babson College
- Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts
- Estimated price with average grant: $33,300
- Graduation rate: 91%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $66,350
Business is in Babson’s D.N.A. From the start, the college has focused on business education, and today the college offers a single undergraduate degree: a B.S. in business. Students get hands-on experience from the get-go, launching a startup business as part of a freshmen team. The list of ventures started by alums spans a range of sizes and industries, including home security company Ring, craft brewing company Peak, and the fitness brand Zumba.
2. Bentley University
- Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
- Estimated price with average grant: $45,200
- Graduation rate: 89%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $65,100
Bentley specializes in business education, with more than 9 in 10 undergraduates earning a degree in a business field. Undergraduates can take advantage of the school’s trading room to learn about portfolio construction, corporate finance and risk management. That real-world training pays off: 98% of recent graduates were employed or attending graduate school six months after graduation, according to the school’s career center.
3. CUNY Bernard M Baruch College
- Location: New York City
- Estimated price with average grant: $4,100
- Graduation rate: 66%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $46,000
Business is the most popular academic area at Baruch College, with three-quarters of its 15,000 undergraduates studying at the Zicklin School of Business. For New Yorkers, Baruch is an outstanding bargain. And for prospective business students, the school’s location is a big draw: students attend classes in Manhattan, within easy reach of Wall Street and the headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies.
4. University of Pennsylvania
- Location: Philadelphia
- Estimated price with average grant: $25,500
- Graduation rate: 95%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $95,950
With its Wharton School — a name that’s synonymous with top business education — UPenn draws some of the country’s top business thinkers to its faculty, including well-known academics such as management professor Adam Grant, marketing professor Americus Reed II and economist Olivia Mitchell. Graduates boast impressive earnings, particularly finance majors, who have average salaries well above six figures within three years of graduation.
5. Georgetown University
- Location: Washington, D.C.
- Estimated price with average grant: $32,400
- Graduation rate: 94%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $80,750
In addition to old-fashioned coursework, business students at Georgetown University get the chance to participate in international business strategy competitions, undergraduate research and consulting projects for companies and non-profit organizations. The business school also offers one-on-one career coaching, plus programs like “career treks,” where undergraduates travel to network with alumni and Fridays in the Field, where students visit companies throughout the Washington, D.C. area.
6. Bryant University
- Location: Smithfield, Rhode Island
- Estimated price with average grant: $42,200
- Graduation rate: 80%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $56,500
Bryant focuses on giving its many business students a cross-disciplinary advantage: All business students combine their major with a liberal arts minor, and 40% choose to complete more than one concentration outside of business. One of the many hands-on learning experiences is the $2.1 million, student-run Archway Investment Fund. There’s also the university’s popular Global Supply Chain Management Practicum, through which students have worked through real-life business scenarios from major corporations, including Hasbro and CVS.
7. University of Notre Dame
- Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
- Estimated price with average grant: $31,700
- Graduation rate: 97%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $73,100
Classes at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business are purposefully small, to give students access to personalized attention on both their coursework and their career planning. Students can choose from one of five business majors, and outside of the classroom, they can double down on their education by joining one of many business-focused student organizations, including the Entrepreneurship Society of Notre Dame, the League of Black Business Students or the Finance Club.
8. University of Michigan
- Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Estimated price with average grant: $18,800
- Graduation rate: 92%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $78,980
Money’s No. 1 college in 2022, the University of Michigan excels in many areas, and its Ross School of Business is no exception. Among the school’s many “action-based” learning opportunities is the annual Michigan Business Challenge, a competition where students can win prize money by pitching a business plan to a panel of judges. Last year, the school reported that more than nine in 10 business graduates had a job offer within six months, and recent alumni have gone on to work at the likes of Goldman Sachs, Google and TikTok.
9. Indiana University-Bloomington
- Location: Bloomington, Indiana
- Estimated price with average grant: $13,900
- Graduation rate: 78%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $69,150
The Kelley School of Business is one of the biggest schools at this large state university, offering students 20 business-related majors. Regardless of what you major in, a global perspective is encouraged, with six in 10 Kelley students participating in a study abroad program. (They can choose from 59 programs in 29 countries.) Some 700 companies recruit at the school each year, and job placement rates for Hoosiers with a business degree are high.
10. University of Georgia
- Location: Athens, Georgia
- Estimated price with average grant: $17,500
- Graduation rate: 84%
- Median earnings for recent business graduates: $57,550
Founded over 100 years ago as the South’s first business school, Terry College at the University of Georgia remains a leader in undergraduate business education. In addition to 10 business-related majors, the college offers a wide array of certificate programs that give students the opportunity to build a custom education. While UGA is a big school — there are more than 2,000 students who graduate with business degrees each year — a student-to-student mentoring program connects upperclassmen with new undergraduates so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Money/Witlytic calculations and Peterson’s. Salary figures are averaged from business-related, program-level earnings of alumni within three years of graduating, as reported in the federal College Scorecard. Read our full rankings methodology here.
More from Money:
How to Pay for College
4 Tips for Finding the Best College for You
Why It’s So Hard for College Students Who Are Parents to Actually Earn Their Degrees
© Copyright 2021 Ad Practitioners, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This article originally appeared on Money.com and may contain affiliate links for which Money receives compensation. Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s alone, not those of a third-party entity, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed. Offers may be subject to change without notice. For more information, read Money’s full disclaimer.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.