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The top 10 MBA programs in the US, according to US News & World Report

A general view of the campus of Stanford University including Hoover Tower and buildings of the Main Quadrangle.
David Madison/Getty Images

Workers with a business degree from a top-tier MBA program earn some of the highest wages in the country. 

MBA holders earn roughly $87,000 per year on average, according to PayScale, and The Financial Times estimates that the average salary for a recent business-school graduate is as much as $150,000.

Both of these estimates are significantly higher than what Americans make on average, which is closer to $50,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, many programs cost over $70,000 per year; and what's more, MBA programs typically offer significantly fewer scholarships compared to undergraduate programs. Students must be particularly discerning about the quality of their program before they make such a significant investment. 

Every year, U.S. News & World Report releases a comprehensive ranking of the best business programs in the United States to help students make that choice. U.S. News surveys over 2,081 programs and considers a wide range of factors, including peer assessments and starting salaries, to calculate its graduate-school rankings. 

The top programs offer impressive six-figure average starting salaries and high employment rates. They are also extremely difficult to get into. 

Here are the top 10 MBA programs in the country and what it takes to get in, according to U.S. News:

Stanford University Graduate School of Business at Knight Management Center
Education Images | UIG | Getty Images

1. Stanford University (tie)

Overall score: 100
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.9
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.5
Acceptance rate: 6.9%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.7
Average GMAT score: 734
Average starting salary and bonus: $168,226
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 67.5%
Employed three months after graduation: 88.5%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $73,062
2019 total full-time enrollment: 848

Signage for the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School stands outside of the new campus in San Francisco, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

1. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton (tie)

Overall score: 100
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.8
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.4
Acceptance rate: 23.1%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.6
Average GMAT score: 732
Average starting salary and bonus: $172,016
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 81.0%
Employed three months after graduation: 93.5%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $74,500
2019 total full-time enrollment: 1,740

Northwestern University
Source: Madcoverboy | Wikipedia

3. Northwestern University, Kellogg (tie) 

Overall score: 99
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.6
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.3
Acceptance rate: 27.0%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.6
Average GMAT score: 730
Average starting salary and bonus: $163,752
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 85.6%
Employed three months after graduation: 95.5%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $73,404
2019 total full-time enrollment: 1,289

The University of Chicago
Bob Krist | Getty Images

3. University of Chicago, Booth (tie)

Overall score: 99
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.7
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.3
Acceptance rate: 24.2%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.6
Average GMAT score: 730
Average starting salary and bonus: $164,607
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 87.2%
Employed three months after graduation: 95.1%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $72,000
2019 total full-time enrollment: 1,193

A man walks through Killian Court at MIT in Cambridge.
REUTERS/Brian Snyder

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan

Overall score: 97
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.7
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.4
Acceptance rate: 14.6%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.6
Average GMAT score: 727
Average starting salary and bonus: $160,291
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 79.3%
Employed three months after graduation: 93.5%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $77,168
2019 total full-time enrollment: 825

Harvard's Widener Library
marvinh | Getty Images

6. Harvard University 

Overall score: 96
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.8
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.4
Acceptance rate: 11.5%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.7
Average GMAT score: 728
Average starting salary and bonus: $164,872
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 77.3%
Employed three months after graduation: 88.5%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $73,440
2019 total full-time enrollment: 1,868 

University of California, Berkeley
Rick Gerharter | Getty Images

7. University of California Berkeley, Haas  

Overall score: 94
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.6
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.2
Acceptance rate: 17.7%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.7
Average GMAT score: 725
Average starting salary and bonus: $159,972
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 76.2%
Employed three months after graduation: 91.2%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $64,656
2019 total full-time enrollment: 591

Columbia University
Getty Images

8. Columbia University 

Overall score: 92
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.4
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.2
Acceptance rate: 16.4%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.6
Average GMAT score: 732
Average starting salary and bonus: $164,945
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 78.4%
Employed three months after graduation: 90.4%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $77,376
2019 total full-time enrollment: 1,284

Yale University campus
Topic Images Inc. | Getty Images

9. Yale University 

Overall score: 91
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.4
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 4.2
Acceptance rate: 25.2%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.6
Average GMAT score: 721
Average starting salary and bonus: $152,860
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 76.1%
Employed three months after graduation: 91.4%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $72,350
2019 total full-time enrollment: 722

New York University
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

10. New York University (Stern)  

Overall score: 90
Peer assessment score (out of 5): 4.3
Recruiter assessment score (out of 5): 3.9
Acceptance rate: 26.1%
Average undergrad GPA: 3.5
Average GMAT score: 721
Average starting salary and bonus: $168,291
2019 graduates employed at graduation: 85.6%
Employed three months after graduation: 94.2%
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $74,184
2019 total full-time enrollment: 717

Check out: The best credit cards of 2020 could earn you over $1,000 in 5 years

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