Best Finance Schools

If you’re an undergrad and think you’re ready for the academic rigor of one of the best business finance graduate schools in the country, look no further than our top pick: University of Pennsylvania (Wharton).

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 23, 2020

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Note that for most incoming classes, they have, on average, five years of professional experience before tackling one of these prestigious institutions.

You might also be in the middle of your career and ready to tackle a new challenge (and maybe your employer will kick in a few extra (thousand) dollars). No matter your age, it’s impossible to discount the value of attending a highly-ranked finance school. After all, you only need to take a look at each school’s list of notable alumni and you’ll see that their alma mater opened some doors for them.

Benzinga’s comprehensive list of esteemed institutions for prospective graduate students include:

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Wharton, launched in 1881, was the very first business school in the nation. Wharton’s MBA program offers global opportunities, collaborative experiences and more courses and programs than any other business school, as well as one of the most prestigious alumni networks.


Location: Philadelphia, PA

Enrollment: 1,737

Cost: $111,900 full time, per year

Average age: 35

Average work experience: 11 years

Median GMAT score: 690

Notable alumni: Donald Trump, Elon Musk, John Sculley

University of Chicago (Booth)

In the heartland, Booth shapes innovative thinkers with bold new ideas. Nine of its faculty members have won Nobel Prizes for their accomplishments.


Location: Chicago, IL

Enrollment: 3,297 (including full and part time)

Cost: $108,683 full time, per year

Average age: 28

Average work experience: 5 years

Average GMAT score: 730

Notable alumni: Roger Altman, Jon Corzine, Joe Mansueto, Satya Nadella

New York University (Stern)

One of the most prestigious business schools in the world, NYU's Stern also one of the oldest. The school’s alumni include some of the wealthiest business leaders and executives worldwide.


Location: New York, NY

Enrollment: 2,301

Cost: $113,166

Average age: 28

Average work experience: 4.9 years

Average GMAT score: 714

Notable alumni: Alan Greenspan, Willow Bay

Columbia University (Columbia Business School)

Columbia Business School's faculty includes several Nobel Prize winners, and its alumni are extremely well-connected. You can’t deny the advantage of its location in the middle of Manhattan, either; work and internships in New York are at your disposal.


Location: New York, NY

Enrollment: 753

Cost: $110,914

Average age: 28

Average work experience: 5 years

Average GMAT score: 724

Notable alumni: Warren Buffett, Mitch Albom, Henry Kravis

Stanford University (Stanford Graduate School of Business)

In contrast to some of the high-profile east coast schools, Stanford is smaller and therefore has a much smaller alumni network. If you’re interested in tech or venture capital and anticipate living in the Bay Area post-graduation, Stanford could be a great option. It’s just as top-notch as the education you’d receive in the ivory towers on the east coast.


Location: Stanford, CA

Enrollment: 854

Cost: $112,797

Average work experience: 4 years

Average GMAT score: 737

Notable alumni: Seth Godin, Penny Pritzker, Mary T. Barra

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

MIT is no stranger to those interested in technology. Sloan encourages a rich diversity of startups in tech, materials, energy, biotech, city planning and Sloan is also crawling with entrepreneurs, and you have the handy closeness of Boston available to you as well.


Location: Cambridge, MA

Enrollment: 404 (2019 class)

Cost: $111,570

Average work experience: 4.87 years

Average GMAT score: 722

Notable alumni: Alan Mullaly, Kofi Annan, William Porter

Harvard University (Harvard Business School)

One of the best programs in the world, Harvard Business School offers a two-year program with a diverse community of fellow classmates and faculty. Diversity here, of course, includes a world of talents and backgrounds. You’ll be sure to be able to meet any challenge anywhere with an HBS degree under your belt.


Location: Boston, MA

Enrollment: 928

Cost: $109,124

Average age: 27

Average work experience: 3-5 years

Average GMAT score: 730

Notable alumni: Sheryl Sandberg, George W. Bush, Tyra Banks, Robert Kraft, Michael Bloomberg

University of California - Berkeley (Haas)

University of California - Berkeley Haas School of Business offers an incredibly diverse, intimate, forward-thinking community which offers exceptional preparation for your MBA.


Location: Berkeley, CA

Enrollment: 282 (entering class)

Cost: $96,598

Average age: 28

Average work experience: 5 years

Average GMAT score: 725

Notable alumni: Scott Adams, Amir Blumenfeld, Donald Fisher, Paul Otellini

University of California - Los Angeles (Anderson)

Straight from Anderson’s website: UCLA Anderson offers both degree and non-degree programs to meet the diverse educational needs and professional goals of students. UCLA Anderson's rigorous programs offer exceptional academic preparation, a cooperative and congenial student culture, and access to a thriving business community.


Location: Los Angeles, CA

Enrollment: 360 (entering class)

Cost: $98,699

Average age: 28

Average work experience: 5 years

Average GMAT score: 719

Notable alumni: Larry Fink, Kelly Perdew, Toby Moskowitz

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (Ross)

The University of Michigan's Ross School of Business offers strong placements in consulting, tech, investment banking and more. Its collaborative community offers a distinct culture to several excellent routes to attaining your finance degree.


Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Enrollment: 3,200

Cost: $67,300 (not including other costs)

Average GMAT score: 716

Notable alumni: Rick Snyder, Bharat Desai, Rob Pelinka

Northwestern University (Kellogg)

One obvious advantage to Northwestern’s Kellogg is that Chicago is within shouting distance for internships and opportunities. It’s got an excellent reputation with a memorable brand name and an extended alumni base.


Location: Evanston, IL

Enrollment: 478 (entering class)

Cost: $103,350

Average age: 28

Average work experience: 5.1 years

Average GMAT score: 732

Notable alumni: John Hoeven, Christopher George Kennedy, Gregg Steinhafel

Final thoughts

Though our top pick is Wharton, you'd be well-positioned for success at any of the schools listed. You only need to Google any one of these institutions to see the innumerable rave reviews and accolades each has received.

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