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Best undergraduate business schools in the US

Which are the best business schools in the US for undergraduate students? Find out in the latest ranking by business school website Poets&Quants

    John Byrne's avatar

    John Byrne

    Founder and editor-in-chief of Poets&Quants
    April 28 2023
    business schools


    Top five undergraduate business schools 2023

    Undergraduate business school rank 2023 University City State


    The University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

    Los Angeles



    Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business


    Washington DC


    University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School




    University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce 




    Notre Dame


    If you’re thinking about studying business as an undergraduate student, one of the best places to do so is the United States. Business is the most popular major for undergraduates in the US and for good reason: graduates generally land good jobs with some of the highest starting salaries for undergrads. 

    There are a few things to consider if you want to attend a US business school. For one thing, undergraduate degrees in the US generally take four years of study, rather than the three that is more common in Europe. For another, the price tag for a highly selective undergraduate business programme might scare you away, particularly when compared with the cost of a business degree in other parts of the world. But the published tuition rates do not include the generous scholarships and financial support that are fairly common in the US. 

    Finally, some universities offer four-year business programmes with a direct admission into the business school. Clearly, that is a preferable route because you are guaranteed to get into the business programme. Others might make you apply to the business programme in your second year and offer a two-year business major after you complete some general education requirements. For these programmes, you essentially have to apply for admission twice: once for the overall university and a second time, based on your undergraduate grades, to the actual business school.

    This ranking was put together by Poets&Quants, a leading publication for students looking to study a business degree in the US. 

    Universities were measured on three categories: admission criteria, academic experience and career outcomes. Some 93 universities are featured in the full ranking. 

    These were calculated based on an alumni survey of academic experience and a survey completed by the schools on their salary and alumni data.

    Which US business schools offer the best options? According to the latest ranking published by Poets&Quants, here are the top five.

    The top five undergraduate business schools in the US


    The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business earned a gold medal in the Poets&Quants 2023 ranking of best undergraduate business programmes, knocking the University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School off the top spot for the first time in six years. 

    Marshall, where 24 per cent of the students are international, offers a quality business education that is characterised by experiential learning opportunities. Of the three methodological categories, Marshall placed highest in admissions, where it came in 2nd. It placed 9th in career outcomes and academic experience.

    It also had one of the most selective acceptance rates of all ranked undergraduate business schools this year at 9.03 per cent. 

    Both internship and employment outcomes for Marshall graduates were especially strong this year. Each of the class of 2022 secured an internship before graduation. As for employment, 97.81 per cent of students landed full-time positions within three months of graduating. The reported average starting salary was the 10th-highest of all ranked undergraduate business schools, coming in at $83,777. 

    2. Georgetown University 

    The McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University secured the same place in this year’s rankings as it did last year. 

    Acceptance at McDonough this year was more exclusive, with only 12.29 per cent of applicants accepted, compared with 19.95 per cent for the class of 2020.

    What really helped Georgetown this year was its first-place finish in career outcomes. It also finished fourth in admissions and third in alumni experience. In terms of employment outcomes, 97.58 per cent of the class of 2022 were employed with full-time positions, down just a smidgeon from the 97.63 per cent of the previous class. Notably, 97 per cent of the class of 2022 had at least one business-focused internship before graduation. 

    The McDonough curriculum offers a strong foundation in critical thinking and reasoning with a blend of business and liberal arts courses. McDonough students are required to complete 120 semester hours of courses in the liberal arts core, the business core, a chosen major or majors, and electives. Students enrol in the business school during their first year and declare a specific major in their sophomore year. 

    One of the more hands-on learning opportunities is the first-year seminar, a collection of courses designed for first-year McDonough students on unique business topics, ranging from global leadership to the anthropology of business.

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    3. University of Pennsylvania 

    The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania previously topped the list of the best undergraduate business schools for five straight years. Though it slipped to third place for the 2023 ranking, it remains one of the best programmes in the country. The reason? Wharton has tough admission standards.

    Of the three methodological categories, Wharton led in the admission standards. It also placed third in the career outcomes category. At 6.3 per cent, Wharton’s acceptance was a bit less selective than last year’s rate of 6.03 per cent, but more selective than the 7.62 per cent acceptance rate for the class of 2020. 

    Ninety-nine per cent of the class of 2022 had at least one business-focused internship before graduation, compared with last year’s 97 per cent. Wharton also placed 98.43 per cent of its 2022 graduates in full-time positions. Wharton graduates reported the highest average salaries in their jobs immediately after graduating, earning a whopping $100,655. That’s up from last year’s $85,345. 


    The University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce has consistently placed in the top five among all ranked undergraduate business schools. It has ranked one spot higher this year than last. 

    In one of only a handful of elite two-year programmes, students at Virginia begin with two years of liberal arts before applying to the McIntire School for entry in their junior year. In 2022, just 11.79 per cent of McIntire applicants were accepted, meaning that even if you get into the University of Virginia – which only about a quarter of applicants do – you’re not guaranteed a spot in the School of Commerce. 

    Employment rates for McIntire were impressive, with 97.83 per cent from the class of 2022 securing full-time employment right after graduation. As for internships, a solid 93 per cent of the class of 2022 had at least one business-focused internship by the time of graduation.

    What makes Virginia McIntire a cut above most of its peers? A significant differentiator is its curriculum, which is integrated across both traditional academic areas — accounting, IT, finance, management and marketing — and supporting areas such as global business, communication, analytics and quantitative analysis. 

    5. University of Notre Dame

    The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame has bounced around in our ranking of the best undergraduate business programmes, but it has always finished within the top 10, very much solidifying itself as one of the premier undergraduate schools. 

    A solid 92 per cent of the class of 2022 secured at least one business-focused internship before graduation (down from 93 per cent), and 97.34 per cent landed full-time jobs after graduation. 

    Salary-wise, the class of 2022 earned an average overall salary of $84,500. 

    The acceptance rate this year at Mendoza was 13.66 per cent, more selective than the last two years.

    Being a B-school within a Catholic university, the Mendoza education is best described as one that teaches students the importance of growing the “good in business” — a practice on which the school prides itself.

    The full ranking can be found here

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