Underrated MBA Programs: The Hidden Gems You Didn’t Know About

Are you looking for an MBA program that offers the best bang for your buck? Or perhaps you’re in search of a program that offers a unique and enjoyable experience? With so many MBA programs out there, it can be tough to navigate which ones are truly worth your time and investment.

In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll dive into the world of underrated MBA programs. We’ll look at the colleges that often go overlooked, but offer top-notch education and resources. We’ll also tackle the tough questions, like whether a top 50 MBA program is worth the investment, or which program is the most fun.

We’ll explore the options for those looking for affordable MBA programs, both online and in the US. And for those who are worried about the application process, we’ll even touch on the easiest MBA programs to get into.

So whether you’re a recent college graduate or a seasoned professional, this post is for you. Get ready to discover the hidden gems of the MBA world and find the program that’s right for you.

The Top Underrated MBA Programs You Should Know About

If you’re considering getting an MBA, you might be overwhelmed by the endless list of programs out there. While the Harvards and Whartons of the world might seem like the go-to schools, there are many underrated MBA programs that are just as noteworthy. In this section, we’ll explore some of the top underrated MBA programs that you should consider.

1. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa

The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa might not be the first school to come to mind when you think of MBA programs, but it’s definitely one to watch. Here are some reasons why:

  • The Tippie MBA program has consistently been ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The school has a strong focus on technology and innovation, with access to cutting-edge resources like the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the Iowa John Deere Risk Center.
  • The Tippie MBA program is known for its personalized approach to learning, with small class sizes and a faculty that is dedicated to helping students achieve their goals.

2. The Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech

The Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech is another underrated MBA program that deserves recognition. Here’s why:

  • The school has a strong focus on sustainability and social responsibility, with a specialized track in Global Business and Social Impact.
  • Students at Scheller have access to top-notch resources like the TI:GER program, which pairs MBA students with graduate-level engineering students to develop innovative new products and solutions.
  • The school has a strong reputation for its technology-focused curriculum, with a dedicated Center for Digital Business and an emphasis on analytics and data-driven decision making.

3. The Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary

The Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary might not be on your radar, but it should be. Here are some reasons to consider the school:

  • The Mason MBA program has consistently been ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The school has a strong focus on leadership development and ethics, with a specialized Center for Corporate Responsibility and a focus on experiential learning.
  • The Mason School is located in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, which offers a unique and picturesque backdrop for your MBA studies.

4. The Simon Business School at the University of Rochester

The Simon Business School at the University of Rochester is another underrated MBA program that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here’s why:

  • The Simon MBA program is known for its quantitative approach to business, with a strong focus on analytics and economics.
  • The school has a unique curriculum that includes a three-week international residency, where students travel and study business practices in a foreign country.
  • Simon also has a strong reputation for its finance program, with a dedicated Center for Entrepreneurship and a focus on innovation and new venture creation.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t overlook these underrated MBA programs, which offer unique perspectives and specialized focuses that might be a better fit for your goals than the more well-known programs.
  • Each of these programs has a strong reputation and a unique focus, whether it’s technology, social responsibility, leadership development, or quantitative analysis.
  • Be open-minded and do your research to find the MBA program that’s the right fit for you.

Underrated MBA Programs and the Dark Side of the Coin

Undoubtedly, an MBA degree can offer a wealth of opportunities and provide a great path for career development. A high-ranking MBA program is key to building new connections and expanding skills, but it can also come with a hefty price tag. Not all MBA programs are created equal, and some lead their graduates in circles rather than moving them forward. In this section, we’ll explore the worst MBA programs on the market, the programs that offer mediocre curriculum, poor job prospects, or questionable return on investment (ROI).

The Red Flags of Bad MBA Programs

Before we get to the list of worst MBA programs, let’s take a moment to identify some of the red flags that could indicate a subpar program:

  • Lack of Accreditation: Accreditation is crucial, as it ensures that the MBA program meets specific quality standards set forth by regulatory bodies such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

  • Poor Rankings: While rankings alone shouldn’t be the only factor for decision-making, they can offer a glimpse of how the program is perceived by other professionals in the industry. If the program consistently ranks low, it may be worth investigating why.

  • Negative Reviews: It’s always a good idea to check out some student reviews or testimonials before committing to an MBA program. If you see a lot of negative feedback or complaints about the program’s structure, curriculum, faculty, or job prospects, proceed with caution.

  • High Dropout Rates: If the program has a high dropout rate, it could be an indicator of poor student support, a poorly designed curriculum, or a lack of resources. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the future success of the program’s alumni.

The Worst MBA Programs to Avoid

With those red flags in mind, here are some of the worst MBA programs to avoid:

  1. Newman University

  2. Lack of accreditation

  3. Low average GMAT scores for admitted students
  4. Poor job placement rates for graduates

  5. Westcliff University

  6. Lack of accreditation

  7. Minimal industry recognition
  8. Limited curriculum options

  9. Colorado Technical University

  10. Low student satisfaction ratings

  11. High student loan default rates
  12. Financial instability

  13. Jones International University

  14. Lack of accreditation

  15. High dropout rates
  16. Inadequate career support services

  17. City University of Seattle

  18. Lack of accreditation

  19. Consistently low rankings
  20. Limited career resources

When to Consider Alternate Paths

If you’re not quite ready to take on the financial burden and time commitment of a traditional MBA program, there are alternative paths to consider that could potentially offer more value for your career goals:

  • MicroMasters: Offered by top universities like MIT and Columbia, MicroMasters programs are designed to provide in-depth exposure to specific business topics. Completion of a MicroMasters program earns the individual a graduate-level credential.

  • Bootcamps: Business bootcamps offer immersive and practical training in a condensed timeline, typically lasting a few weeks or months. Many bootcamps focus on particular skill sets, such as marketing or data analytics.

  • Self-Teaching: In the era of the Internet, there is an abundance of free resources available for individuals looking to expand their knowledge on business or pursue a particular area of interest. Online resources like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer courses on business-related topics that can be taken at your own pace and at a fraction of the cost.

It’s important to do your research when considering an MBA program, as not all programs will offer the same level of support, quality education, and job prospects. Keep an eye out for red flags, such as lack of accreditation, low rankings, negative reviews, or high dropout rates. If you find yourself questioning the value of an MBA program, consider alternative paths, such as MicroMasters, bootcamps, or self-teaching options. By being strategic about your education, you can set yourself up for success without breaking the bank.

Is a Top 50 MBA Worth it

Many prospective MBA students grapple with the question of whether pursuing a top 50 MBA program is worth the time and money investment. Here are some points to consider:

Cost versus Return on Investment (ROI)

  • The cost of attending a top 50 MBA program can be high, with the average tuition ranging from $80,000 to $150,000.
  • However, studies show that graduates from top 50 MBA programs enjoy higher starting salaries and better job prospects.
  • According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the median starting salary for MBA graduates from top 50 programs was $115,000 in 2020, with a median signing bonus of $25,000.

Network and Career opportunities

  • Attending a top 50 MBA program can provide access to a vast network of alumni and professionals in various industries.
  • This network can offer valuable opportunities for job placements, mentorship, and lifelong professional connections.
  • Top 50 MBA programs are often located in bustling business hubs, providing students with easy access to numerous career opportunities.

Prestige and Reputation

  • Earning an MBA from a top 50 program can add significant value to your resume and increase your marketability.
  • Recruiters often prefer applicants from reputable institutions, and ranking highly can give students a competitive edge in the job market.
  • Brands and companies’ reputation associated with these schools can carry significant weight in the hiring process.

Alternatives to Top 50 MBA Programs

  • While highly ranked MBA programs are desirable to many students, some alternative programs can offer similar benefits like flexibility, lower tuition fees, and agility in adapting to industry changes.
  • Students can consider Mini-MBA programs, executive MBA programs, online MBA programs, or MBA alternative programs such as Masters in Finance, Masters in Management, or other related ones.

In conclusion, pursuing an MBA from a top 50 program can be a wise investment for many students. Still, it is essential to consider individual career aspirations, finances, and lifestyle factors to make an informed decision about whether it is worth the time, money, and effort. Furthermore, exploring alternative programs can also provide similar benefits and advantages, depending on each student’s personal preference and career goals.

Which MBA program is most fun

When it comes to pursuing an MBA, students often focus on the prestige of the program or the job prospects post-graduation. However, an MBA program can also be a fun and exciting experience. Here are some of the most fun MBA programs to consider:

1. UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Known for its collaborative and inclusive community, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business offers a vibrant campus life for its MBA students. The Haas MBA program hosts a range of events, including the annual Haas Gala, Haas@Work initiatives, and outdoor adventures like hiking and skiing.

2. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is renowned for its teamwork-focused approach to learning. The MBA program hosts a range of social events, including Global Hub opening parties, ski trips, and charity fundraisers.

3. Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College offers a tight-knit community for its MBA students. The Tuck community is known for its strong alumni network and social events, including the annual Winter Carnival and Tuck Tails happy hours.

4. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan has a vibrant student life, with numerous MBA clubs and organizations for students to get involved in. The MBA program hosts a range of events, including the annual Ross Rendezvous and Ross games, featuring various sporting events and competitions between different MBA cohorts.

5. Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University has a lively campus culture, with numerous events and activities for its MBA students to partake in. The MBA program hosts Fuqua Fridays, where students gather for happy hour and networking, and the annual Blue Devil Weekend, where students and alumni come together for a weekend of fun and festivities.

Ultimately, the most fun MBA program for you will depend on your personal preferences and interests. Consider what kind of campus culture and social opportunities you value in addition to a quality MBA education.

Underrated MBA Colleges in India

India is home to some of the finest business schools globally, such as IIMs, XLRI, ISB, and FMS, among others. However, there are also many underrated MBA colleges in India that don’t get their due recognition. Here are some of these colleges that are worth considering:

1. Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad

IMT Ghaziabad is one of the oldest and most reputed business schools in India, with excellent faculty, world-class infrastructure, and a high ROI. Despite being an AICTE-approved college, it remains underrated due to its location and fees.

2. Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune

SIBM Pune is a constituent of the prestigious Symbiosis International University, known for its rigorous curriculum and global exposure. Despite consistently making it to the top 25 B-schools in India, it is often overlooked because of its reputation of being relatively easy to get into.

3. Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai

GLIM offers a unique one-year MBA program that focuses on experiential learning and practical knowledge. Despite consistently being ranked among the top 10 B-schools in India, it is often underrated because of its location and higher than average fees.

4. Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani

BITS Pilani’s MBA program is often ignored despite offering excellent education, campus life, and placements. This is because the institute is primarily known for its engineering programs, and its B-school is relatively new.

5. T A Pai Management Institute, Manipal

TAPMI is known for its innovative curriculum, experienced faculty, and excellent placements. However, its remote location in Karnataka makes it challenging for students from other parts of India to consider it as a viable option.

6. International Management Institute, Delhi

IMI Delhi is often underrated because of its high fees despite offering excellent infrastructure, faculty, and placements. It is also known for its industry-oriented curriculum and global exposure.

7. FORE School of Management, Delhi

FORE is an AICTE-approved institution that offers a wide range of MBA programs, including PGDM, PGDM(IBM), and PGDM(FM). It is often underrated due to the perception that it is primarily a finance-focused school.


Underrated MBA colleges in India can offer students excellent education, campus life, and placements. Consider these options when selecting your B-school rather than just going by rankings or reputation.

Best Value Online MBA Programs: Costs and Benefits

If you’ve ever considered pursuing an MBA, you’ve likely also noticed the hefty price tags associated with many of the top programs out there. Fortunately, there are plenty of underrated online MBA programs that provide all the benefits of their brick-and-mortar counterparts, often at a fraction of the cost. Here are a few of the best value online MBA programs out there, and what you can expect to pay for them.

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: Kenan-Flagler Business School

UNC Chapel Hill’s online MBA program is widely considered one of the best in the nation, both in terms of quality and value. The program boasts a rigorous curriculum that covers all the bases of modern business, from finance and marketing to data analysis and operations management. And with a total cost of just $89,000, it’s one of the most affordable options out there — especially when you consider the fact that UNC ranks among the top 20 business schools in the country.

Indiana University: Kelley School of Business

Another top-ranked program, Kelley’s online MBA offering is consistently praised for its focus on real-world application and the individualized attention given to each student. The program covers topics from leadership and strategy to accounting and entrepreneurship, and offers plenty of opportunities for experiential learning and collaboration. All this, and at a total cost of just $67,830 — making it one of the most affordable options out there.

Carnegie Mellon University: Tepper School of Business

Tuition for Tepper’s online MBA program is certainly on the higher end of the spectrum, at $147,000 total, but many argue that the program’s exceptional quality and reputation more than justify the cost. With a solid foundation in core business principles, as well as a strong emphasis on innovation and leadership, Tepper’s program prepares students to excel in practically any industry. And with a network of over 6,000 alumni to connect with, graduates of the program enjoy exceptional career prospects as well.

Lehigh University: College of Business

Lehigh’s MBA program is relatively new on the scene, but already it’s gained a reputation for providing excellent value for the cost. With a total price tag of just $19,800, the program is one of the most affordable we’ve seen — especially when you consider that it covers all the essentials of business, from economics to marketing to data analytics. The program is entirely online, but still manages to provide opportunities for networking and collaboration with professors and fellow students alike.

Key takeaways

  • There are plenty of underrated online MBA programs out there that can provide excellent value for the cost.
  • UNC Chapel Hill, Indiana University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Lehigh University are just a few of the best options available.
  • While tuition costs vary widely, it’s important to consider not just the price tag, but the overall value you’re receiving in terms of curriculum, reputation, and career prospects.

Best Affordable MBA Programs in the US

If you’re on a budget but still want to pursue a top-notch MBA program in the US, you’re in luck. There are plenty of underrated MBA programs that won’t break the bank. Here are some of the best affordable MBA programs in the US:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Average cost: $34,056
  • Duration: 21 months
  • Accredited by: AACSB

Arizona State University

  • Average cost: $33,000
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accredited by: AACSB

Brigham Young University

  • Average cost: $23,380
  • Duration: 21 months
  • Accredited by: AACSB

University of Utah

  • Average cost: $22,450
  • Duration: 22 months
  • Accredited by: AACSB

Georgia Southern University

  • Average cost: $21,204
  • Duration: 21 months
  • Accredited by: AACSB

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

  • Average cost: $17,845 for in-state students; $33,651 for out-of-state students
  • Duration: 21 months
  • Accredited by: AACSB

These MBA programs may not be as well-known as their Ivy League counterparts, but they offer an excellent education at an affordable price. Don’t let the cost of tuition hold you back from pursuing an MBA – with these options, you can have the best of both worlds.

What is the easiest MBA program to get into

If you’re looking to earn an MBA degree, the application process can be overwhelming. One of the biggest questions aspiring MBA students have is “What is the easiest MBA program to get into?” While there is no definitive answer to this question, there are a few things you can consider when looking for MBA programs with a more accessible application process.

Consider online programs

Online MBA programs have become increasingly popular in recent years, and many of these programs have less stringent requirements than their on-campus counterparts. Some online MBA programs may not even require the GMAT or GRE for admission. Keep in mind that some online programs may not be accredited, so be sure to do your research and choose a reputable program.

Consider part-time programs

Part-time MBA programs often have more relaxed admission requirements than full-time programs. Additionally, many part-time programs are designed for working professionals, so they may be more flexible with regard to work experience or undergraduate GPA.

Consider programs with rolling admissions

Rolling admissions means that applications are reviewed on a continuous basis and decisions are made as applications are received. This can be beneficial for applicants with weaker credentials as there is no set deadline for applications. However, keep in mind that applying early is still recommended as spots in the program may fill up quickly.

Consider lower-ranked programs

While lower-ranked MBA programs may not have the prestige of top-ranked programs, they may still offer a valuable MBA education. Additionally, these programs may have less competitive admission requirements, making them more accessible to a wider range of applicants.

Some examples of MBA programs with easier admission requirements

  • University of the People: an online, accredited program with no application fee, no GMAT/GRE requirement, and minimal undergraduate GPA requirements.
  • California State University-East Bay: a part-time program with no GMAT requirement and waived work experience requirements for students with a high undergraduate GPA.
  • University of Nebraska-Kearney: a program with rolling admissions, no GMAT requirement, and a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75.

Remember that while it’s important to find an MBA program with accessible admission requirements, you should still choose a program that meets your career goals and provides a quality education. Don’t be afraid to reach out to admissions representatives or current students to learn more about the program before applying.

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