Pennsylvania is a land of many firsts. It was the first state in the union to enact an abolition statute and protest against slavery, and it was the first to see the American flag. Pennsylvania founded many things, including the first hospital, daily newspaper, social club, radio broadcast, little league baseball game, medical school, business school, and other firsts among the nation’s 50 states.
Pennsylvania was once a major economic force, mostly because of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was the eighth-largest city in the US in the 1950s and the hub of half of the nation’s steel output. But for some reason, the state lags behind other states economically. Nevertheless, its large cities, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, still offer many opportunities.
The state is one of the largest providers of educational opportunities, with over 300 institutions, universities, and technical schools. If you’re looking for a great business school, the state houses 41 schools with accredited business degrees. But not all business schools were created equal. Still, some schools remain more attractive than others.
Although there are three reputable business education accreditations—AACSB, ACBSP, and IACBE—AACSB-accredited institutions remain the strongest. AACSB accreditation ensures quality education, top faculty, and qualified and experienced university business instructors. When applying for jobs, you’ll have a better chance of getting hired if your MBA was earned from an AACSB-accredited institution (of course, paired with professional experience) than those with degrees from non-accredited institutions.
If you’re looking for an MBA degree to boost your skills and career potential, you’ll have plenty of options in the Keystone State. For this list, we’ll only include the top ten AACSB-accredited Pennsylvania business schools.
Top 10 MBA Programs in Pennsylvania
Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
The University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League institution, is topping our list. Because of its reputation for academic excellence and rigor, it has a very low acceptance rate of 5.9%. To pursue a graduate degree at UPenn, you must demonstrate exceptional academic achievements- a GPA of 3.9 or higher- and a strong commitment to your chosen field, shown through research and internships.
The Wharton School is a very selective business school. However, admission to the school will all be worth the admission hassle. Graduating from the Wharton Business School means you have a world-class education and a robust network spanning industries and continents.
The Wharton School offers two MBAs:
With more courses and opportunities than any other business school, these MBAs provide unparalleled global alternatives and a distinctively collaborative experience. Students have 21 MBA concentration options. Some are STEM-certified majors, meaning that graduates will have both business and technical acumen.
Tepper School of Business – Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University offers student-focused and prestigiously accredited programs, from certificate to graduate levels. CMU is known for its prominence in research and development advances and being home to the many firsts in the computer science field.
CMU has seven schools, including the Tepper School of Business. It’s one of the few business schools to integrate technological courses into its curriculum. Students will learn about advanced analytics training, AI, and the exploration of emerging technologies and have various real-world project opportunities. These opportunities aim to challenge students’ analytical and problem-solving skills.
The Tepper School of Business offers three STEM-designated MBA program tracks:
Tepper guarantees limitless possibilities for both personal and professional development by providing the same academic standards in all formats. Each student will receive personalized leadership coaching. This will help them develop self-awareness and gain diverse experiences to lead with insight and inspire others.
Smeal College of Business – Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University is a major research university with one of the biggest names in online education. The US News and World Report even ranked Penn State as one of the best Global Universities. With over 88,000 students enrolled annually at the main campus, Penn State is the largest university in the state.
Penn State’s Smeal College of Business is one of the biggest business colleges nationwide. It has over 700k active and connected communities, making it suitable for those who thrive in large learning environments. MBA seekers can choose between two MBA formats:
Both MBA programs have the same curriculum and requirements and only differ in delivery format. The Smeal MBA focuses on developing students’ leadership abilities and broadening their understanding of business. It’s one of the most comprehensive MBA programs, with over 28 concentration courses available.
Each student will be strategically paired with a mentor to help them customize their degrees and make the program fit into their busy work-life schedules.
Richard J. Fox School of Business (Temple University)
Temple University is the second-largest school in the state. It houses 17 colleges and five professional and graduate schools and enrolls over 38,000 students annually. Temple is mainly known for being an innovative R1 institution that offers over 600 academic programs, real-world experiences, and global networking opportunities.
Students seeking an MBA can pursue programs at the Fox School of Business. This business school is one of the most preferred schools for students seeking diversity. As a highly respected school, its research-experienced faculty members lead its programs. The Fox MBAs come in four tracks:
Students can choose their MBA based on their career level, schedules, and future goals. They can follow the suggested pacing and graduate in two years or enroll in more courses to graduate in 16 months. They can also study independently and graduate in as many as six years. The Fox Executive MBA is a top-ranked EMBA program in the south.
In addition to being able to customize their schedules, students can also choose a concentration. They can concentrate on management courses in Human Resources, Health Sector, Marketing, Sport Business, or Strategic Management.
Joseph M. Katz (Graduate School of Business) – University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh, a member of the AAU, is a leading institution nationwide. While its main strengths are research and development in engineering, nursing, and bioengineering, Pitt is also a strong training ground for future business leaders. Pitt has a vast network of large- and small-scale business professionals, contributing to its high job placement rates.
Pitt has 17 progressive schools, including the Katz Graduate School of Business. It has received multiple awards and recognitions from reputable organizations, ensuring that students will have high ROIs. Katz offers three MBAs:
Katz’s MBA programs emphasize interdisciplinary hands-on experience, developing marketable skills like presentation, research, teamwork, and decision-making. Regardless of the MBA they’re enrolled in, MBA students must participate in case competitions, consulting projects, and management capstones. A Business Analytics concentration is available.
Graduates can join a global alumni community, expand professional networks, and gain valuable job market experience.
College of Business – Lehigh University
Lehigh University offers an intimate learning experience to students, with a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Its alums are among the highest-paid professionals in Pennsylvania. However, Lehigh is known to have an expensive tuition fee compared to most of its private counterparts. But combined with its ROI, learning experiences, and networking opportunities, its tuition fees are reasonable.
The Lehigh College of Business is one of the best in Pennsylvania, offering various business education programs. Among its offerings is the MBA degree, which students can complete via three tracks:
Although the Leigh MBAs require at least two years of full-time work experience, students enrolled have an average professional experience of six years. The Flex MBA is its most popular program because it offers students the most flexible way to complete a business graduate degree. Students in the Flex MBA can customize their learning and pursue a concentration.
Flex MBA students can concentrate on Corporate Entrepreneurship, Business Analytics, Finance, International Business, Marketing, and more.
LeBow College of Business – Drexel University
Drexel University is a pioneer in online learning, living up to its name as a tech-forward institution. Many of Drexel’s programs have online learning options to attract more enrollees. Drexel is also a research powerhouse with close ties with various industries.
Those who want a private business experience can consider LeBow College of Business. This business school stands out among the best thanks to its wide-ranging networking opportunities. Its programs are also highly customizable. Aspiring MBAs have four options at LeBlow:
MBA students at Drexel LeBow gain a strong foundation in core business administration principles. LeBow is among the few business schools with interdisciplinary courses geared toward equipping students with advanced tech knowledge and skills. LeBow MBAs have courses in strategic technology trends, robotic process automation, digital twins, and environmental, social, and governance issues.
But before you enroll in this university, be aware of its expensive tuition and fees. Although pricey, Drexel offers a range of financial aid and scholarships to reduce MBA costs.
School of Business – La Salle University
La Salle University offers a value-based, outcomes-based education, ranking among the top schools in the nation and preparing graduates for top-performing and earning careers. The university focuses on providing its students with a personalized education, maintaining an average class size of only 16.
The La Salle School of Business is a solid training ground for aspiring business leaders. The school emphasizes experiential learning, offering hands-on, activity-based classes. Those who want to earn an MBA but have hectic work schedules can customize their learning formats. La Salle offers four MBA tracks:
These MBAs are designed to be practical and adaptable to the demands of today’s working professionals. These MBAs provide students with various advantages. One of its main advantages is its enduring collaboration networks with peers and teachers.
Students select specialization tracks and complete three 700-level courses, with some offered online. Specialization offerings include accounting, business systems, analytics, finance, health systems management, management, marketing, and general business administration.
Palumbo-Donahue School of Business – Duquesne University
Duquesne University holds a unique reputation of being the only Spiritan institution of higher education worldwide. On top of that, Duquesne University has an award-winning faculty and offers a horizon-expanding education. All Duquesne students work alongside the experienced faculty and participate in research and internships.
The Palumbo-Donahue School of Business is one of Duquesne’s ten schools. Palubo-Donahue offers several business education programs designed to cater to its students’ unique needs and objectives. There are currently two MBA pathways:
The Professional MBA is its most flexible program. It offers a 100% online learning option and STEM-designated concentrations. Students can further tailor their learning by pursuing a stackable Finance, Analytics, and Information Management, or Supply Chain Management.
The One-Year MBA is mainly preferred by students who want to graduate faster and focus on business sustainability. Nevertheless, the One-Year MBA still offers an extended STEM pathway.
Zeigler College of Business – Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is the most prominent institution in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania. Bloomsburg offers over 100 majors and is vastly known for its personalized education, focusing on student engagement, teaching, community, and outcomes. The university prides itself on a 99% job placement and continuing education rate.
Bloomsburg houses five colleges, including the Zeigler College of Business. Zeigler has several student club organizations catering to a wide range of interests and helping students broaden their knowledge and network. Ziegler offers several programs, including:
The Zeigler MBA can be completed in an accelerated and fast-track format. Students can tailor their MBA experience and choose to concentrate on Accounting, Analytics, Healthcare Management, Leadership and Human Resources, Marketing, and Strategic Global Decisions, or build their own.
Students with hectic schedules can pursue a Professional MBA. This format combines face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Pennsylvania’s economy a good place for business professionals?
Yes. In fact, Pennsylvania’s economy is among the most resilient among the 50 states. According to the IBIS World, Pennsylvania’s 2023 GDP is $736.3 billion and ranked 6th in state growth. This shows that even though Pennsylvania lags behind other major states, its economy is nowhere near failure. In fact, Pennsylvania is home to both tenacious startups and Fortune 500 companies.
Who are the biggest MBA employers in Pennsylvania?
The biggest employers in Pennsylvania are its large-scale companies, especially its Fortune 500. In 2023, 23 Pennsylvania companies made it to the Fortune 500 list. The top three most prominent companies are:
AmerisourceBergen: This company ranked #11 on the list with a 2023 revenue of $238.5 billion. This is a preeminent international pharmaceutical solutions company dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for humans and animals everywhere. It offers various opportunities for MBA professionals, from career options to paid internships.
Comcast: Comcast Corporation is a global telecommunications and media conglomerate and one of the world’s largest cable television and broadcasting companies. It generated $121.4 billion in 2023 alone. It ranked #29 in the Fortune 500. You can find a lot of careers that require MBA expertise at Comcast Corp.
Rite Aid: This is a top provider of various health and wellness products, prescription medications, and other related services. As an MBA grad, you have advanced finance, marketing, operations, and strategic management skills that are useful in the company’s operations.
What are the strongest sectors in Pennsylvania?
According to IBIS World, Real Estate and Rental and Leasing, Manufacturing, and Healthcare and Social Assistance were the top three GDP contributors in Pennsylvania’s 2023 GDP. However, there are other factors to consider when evaluating the strongest sectors.
Growth-wise, the top sectors in Pennsylvania are Management of Companies and Enterprises, Information, and Professional Scientific and Technical Services.
What are the benefits of relocating to Pennsylvania?
In addition to its vast and diverse economy, Pennsylvania also offers a low cost of living that is 2% lower than the national average. There’s no shortage of affordable places to live in PA.
The state is also close to large cities like Baltimore, Boston, New York City, and Washington DC. This proximity gives you more opportunities to expand your horizons. The top accredited business schools offer several networking and internship opportunities in these nearby areas.
How much can I make in Pennsylvania?
MBA graduates are expected to receive higher salaries and job projects compared to non-MBA graduates. According to ZipRecruiter, Pennsylvania’s average annual pay for MBA jobs is $164,141 a year. Pennsylvania ranks 8th out of 50 states for MBA salaries, with salaries ranging from $125,800 to $200,500, with top earners earning $222,031 annually.
Harrisburg leads the list of Pennsylvania cities with the highest salaries, followed by Danville and Coraopolis. Coraopolis beats the average by 3.9%, while Harrisburg offers a 5.4% increase. However, moving to these cities may not provide much economic advancement, and the average salary varies only 11% between Harrisburg and York.
Before you go, see the following:
- Getting Started: Learning the Basics of Business Management
- Best Online MBA in Management Information Systems
- Best Online MBA in Information Systems/Technology Schools