Value Colleges Unveils Best-Value B-Schools

The UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business. Courtesy photo

Value Colleges, an online source for college cost-related content and rankings, announced today (January 7) its list of the best value undergraduate business schools of 2019. At the top of the list was the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business, followed by The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce.

The rankings were based on three categories: a “college consensus ranking,” which is described on Value Colleges’ website as an “aggregate ranking” including reviews from publishers and students, annual total costs, and early-career salaries reported to Payscale. “This formula hits the sweet spot between the most relevant, innovative education and the most reasonable investment for the highest return,” the report reads. It is unclear, however, just how those three categories were used or calculated.

Following in fourth place on the list is the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Of the top 10 schools on the list, six are public universities. A dozen of the top 17 schools are public.


The cluster of elite public universities at the top of the list makes sense. For in-state students, schools like UC-Berkeley, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, and UT-Austin offer top-notch business education and high salaries immediately after graduating.

Each year as part of our Best Undergraduate Business Schools ranking we ask schools to submit the most recent total cost data as well as employment data. In-state students attending UC-Berkeley will pay around $141,000 total for four years. In 2018, nearly 93% of graduating students seeking employment had landed positions within three months of graduation, with an average base salary of $73,302. Some 61% of the graduating class with employment reported an average signing bonus of $9,559.

While 2018 graduates of The Wharton School reported average base salaries of $80,354, the total cost for a degree from Wharton is substantially higher, at an estimated $276,592 over the next four years. Graduates of Virginia McIntire reported an average starting salary of $75,068 within three months of graduating this spring; of those, 62% reported average signing bonuses of $9,313. Considering that in-state students at Virginia have a sticker price of $133,598 — half of what Wharton students pay — it’s tough to decipher just how Wharton beat out Virginia in Value Colleges’ list.

There’s no shortage of similar examples. In-state students at Michigan’s Ross School have an estimated sticker tag of $123,866, and this year’s graduating class reported an average base salary of $72,268, with 69% reporting an average signing bonus of $8,559. At UT-Austin, Texas residents will pay a four-year total of $112,912; meanwhile McCombs reported the highest employment rate, with 99.63% of 2018 graduates seeking employment securing positions within three months of graduation. The average base salary for that group? $67,347. North Carolina residents attending Kenan-Flagler Business School have it even better. The estimated four-year total cost for in-state students at UNC is $101,252, while nearly 97% of the Class of 2018 seeking employment reported landing positions within three months of graduation with an average starting salary of $66,667.


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