Posted in HS4CC

Top Business Schools: HS4CC Strategy

Let’s talk about getting into the country’s top business schools using HS4CC strategies.

Business Degree vs MBA

When people talk about “business degrees” they are usually talking about an MBA from a graduate school. This is an important distinction from the language we use here. At Homeschooling for College Credit, our students earn college credit for an undergraduate degree.

To earn an MBA, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree. When parents look at universities, they sometimes make the mistake of lumping together the “prestige” of one program and generalizing it to all programs. While prestige is in the eye of the beholder, we can look at the hard facts surrounding bachelor’s and masters (MBA) degrees and work our plan with real data.

37% of US population holds a bachelor’s degree

13% of US population holds a master’s degree

If your teen earns a bachelor’s degree, they rank higher educationally than 63% of the US population. That is significant, and very relevant to our analysis today. But, if your teen earns an MBA, now they rank higher educationally than 87% of the US population!

So, if the question is how to position yourself at the top of the “business” pile, an MBA is the answer.

I’m using US News and World Reports ranking to generate this list of top schools for business. Every school listed below is considered “Top 10” in the United States. So of the nearly 4,000 colleges and universities, you are looking at only the most prestigious. Whether you love rankings or hate them, US News and World Reports is considered the gold standard, so that’s what we’ll use. US News and World Reports ranks graduate (MBA) business schools- there are about 800 that offer either online or on campus, and you can explore the specifics by visiting their websites.

One more thing, in world of prestigious business degrees, regional accreditation is not enough. The best accreditation for business schools (in the world) is AACSB accreditation. If we’re splitting hairs, we’re looking only at AACSB accredited programs, but of the top MBA programs, all will hold AACSB accreditation.
AACSB accreditation is known, worldwide, as the longest-standing, most recognized form of specialized accreditation that an institution and its business programs can earn.

Finally, I want to focus on something else: acceptance rates. I’ve pulled acceptance rates of both undergraduate AND graduate levels. We’ll get to “why” in a moment.

Top Business Schools (AACSB Accredited)

College/University (on campus)(undergraduate)
Acceptance rate
(business school /MBA graduate)
Acceptance rate
University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League)6%23%
Dartmouth College (Ivy League)6%33%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4%15%
Harvard University (Ivy League)4%14%
University of Chicago (ranked #1)6%30%
Northwestern University7%31%
Columbia University (Ivy League)6%20%
Cornell University (Ivy League)9%31%
Yale University (Ivy League)5%28%
Top on campus programs

Getting In vs Getting Out

In most of my posts I hammer home graduation rate data. There are ZERO colleges and universities in the USA with a 100% graduation rate. In fact, the average graduation rates are in the 50% range. Only the very top-performing colleges boast rates north of 50%. Graduation rates matter because graduating matters! With the majority of colleges, getting in is easy- about 85% of colleges have acceptance rates of at least 75% (which disproves the panic propaganda about admissions) but when we turn our attention to top schools, we ARE talking about colleges with very low acceptance rates. In this case, the colleges above are the most selective….. for undergrad.

Here is another example of how you can use data to your advantage. If you compare a top college’s acceptance rate for undergrad against their MBA acceptance rates, you can see a HUGE difference! While only a select few could attend one of the colleges on the list for undergrad, nearly 1/3 of us could attend for graduate school. Want more data? The colleges and universities on that list have MBA graduation rates of 95% and up. WOW.

What’s the Recipe?

Start with the end in mind. If the goal is to land admissions into one of the most prestigious MBA schools with AACSB accreditation, then we need to talk about the recipe.

  1. These programs cost a fortune (because graduates are well paid). Expect to spend no less than $150,000 (not including housing) for a 2-year MBA program from one of those colleges. Have your money figured out ahead of time.
  2. Cashflow undergrad – go into business school with zero debt. (more below)
  3. Top business school admission requires:
    • usually 2 years of quality work experience
    • strong letters of recommendation
    • strong interview
    • strong GMAT (exam) scores
    • strong undergraduate GPA (more about that below)

Notice something missing from that list? Prestigious undergrad! Time and time again, MBA admissions pages emphasizes that WHERE you earned your bachelor’s degree from does not matter!

HS4CC Strategies

Our work here is getting your teen ready for their bachelor’s degree, but within that context, parents of teens targeting a top MBA program can implement some extra strategies in their HS4CC program to help their teen’s high school program work to their advantage.

  1. Use CLEP for non-business classes. CLEP allows your teen to earn college credit for free in high school and shave significant costs. Good choices include history, psychology, sociology, literature, math, and world languages.
  2. Use local dual enrollment when possible. Students with access to local programs may have the opportunity to finish a 2-year degree in high school for no or little cost.
  3. Use high school level business classes to learn foundational concepts. Rather than jumping into college level business, a motivated student can learn a complex topic like economics using homeschool curriculum. They will then be ready to handle college level economics with a solid foundation.
  4. Business classes should be A’s. If your student isn’t ready to earn an A in their college level business courses during high school, save those until they are. A’s in college level business classes are critical.
  5. Community college transfer agreements. Investigate if your local community college has a transfer agreement with your state university. When these agreements exist (articulation agreement) you can cut the cost of the bachelor’s degree significantly.
  6. Move at the speed of budget. Earning college credit in high school gives you the luxury of time. Your teen will graduate high school at their regular time, but with some of their college already complete. Use this advantage to give you more flexibility for working or budgeting through the bachelor’s degree. By moving at the speed of budget, you can keep the costs as low as possible and enter business school without any debt. (hint: smart financial decisions make great admissions essay topics)
  7. Focus on the MBA. Getting through high school and the bachelor’s degree with strong grades and no debt will set your teen up for success. Once that mission is accomplished, they can begin the process of MBA admissions preparation- where getting IN really will matter.


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit