The Most Desired Business Schools

BIZFor Harvard Business School?s class of 2017, 9,686 students applied. HBS accepted 11% of those, and 937 decided to attend. HBS students pay a steep price. Tuition alone this year is $61,225 and the cost for one year of the two-year MBA program comes to $98,400, bringing the total for a Harvard MBA close to $200,000. And that doesn?t count the lost wages of those who stop working for two years.

But students are betting that the degree will pay off. The figures back that up. HBS reports that for the class of 2014, of those seeking employment, 93% had gotten job offers three months after finishing school. Those grads are being paid handsomely. Their median base starting salary was $125,000. Sixty-seven percent of that group got a median salary bonus of $25,000 and 20% received other guaranteed compensation of $34,700, meaning some newly-minted Harvard MBAs are making at least $184,700.

A new list put out by a two-year-old test prep company, LTG Exam, reveals, not surprisingly, that Harvard?s is the most sought-after MBA program in the world. LTG Exam?s figures come from some 5,000 users who prepped for the GMATs (General Management Admissions Test) using the company?s app, Prep4GMAT, which allows them to study at their own pace and connects them with live tutors if they choose. Users ranked their top five business school choices. In Forbes? most recent ranking of top business schools, Harvard also came out on top.

Today?s aspiring MBA?s may not realize that the degree is a relatively recent invention in higher education. Harvard University dates back to 1636 but the business school only started in 1908, when, according to the school, it offered the world?s first MBA program. (There were other business schools that preceded it like ESCP Europe, which was founded in 1819 and has campuses in five European cities including Paris and London, and Wharton, the first business school in the U.S., founded in 1888.)

Harvard is also known for its scores of extraordinarily successful grads, including billionaires Michael Bloomberg, Sheryl Sandberg and hedge fund titan Bill Ackman, and former president George W. Bush.

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In second place on both Forbes? and LTG Exam?s list: Stanford business school, which costs even more than Harvard, at $103,419 a year for the incoming class. Like HBS grads, Stanford alums are hot commodities on the job market. Of those members of the class of ?14 seeking employment, 95% had landed jobs three months after graduation, with a median compensation of $125,000. For those who got both signing bonuses and other guaranteed compensation, the median total came to $181,500. Stanford, which dates its founding to 1925, has a total enrollment this year of 809 students.

Read more at?FORBES