Top 5 Business Schools in U.S.

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It used to be a no-brainer that you’d attend college to get on the fast track to a high-paying job because college was an investment that paid off. But that’s what folks used to think about housing, too—that buying a house was always a good investment—and look how that turned out. Many people speculate whether investing in college really will pay off. One way to help ensure you’ll get a good job after college is to get into one of the top five business schools. They fluctuate a bit from year to year, but the following are consistently in the top five or 10.

5 University of California Berkeley (Haas School of Business)

Though most people would probably include Northwestern University (Kellogg) right about now, I’m going to include a school that has the best professors instead: University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Don’t discount the school just because it’s Berzerkeley with all the politically challenged students. The teachers there really are top-notch. One of Dean Earl F. Cheit’s goals was to achieve teaching excellence at the school, and each year the school awards excellent teachers. Professors from the Hass faculty make the list every year. Faculty and students help choose the winners. And face it, a professor can make or break the classroom experience.

4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

If MIT evokes images of nerdy types who rarely see the light of day and would instead prefer to happily do calculations in their rooms, you would probably be partially right. You need some smarts to get into this place, but if you do get in, it will pay off: Almost 85 percent of the 800 students from the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology get jobs at graduation. Though the campus is in Cambridge, most courses provide students opportunities to study abroad. Students can also be part of Action Labs where they work on real problems at companies in the United States, India and China. Famous alums include Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, and Carly Fiorina, former president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

3 University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

The alma mater of The Donald (as in Trump) perennially makes the list, and no wonder. Almost 80 percent of graduates of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania are employed full-time at graduation. The almost 1,700 students can choose among 15 concentrations such as entrepreneurship, insurance, international business and actuarial science. The Wharton School was the first business school in the United States, and some of the 90,000 alumni include John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, and J.D. Power III, founder of J.D. Power and Associates.

2 Stanford University

Just because a crazy theory from a Stanford researcher purports we are more stupid and emotionally unstable than cavemen were, some folks at Stanford believe their Neanderthal admissions can maybe learn a little something. The more than 800 students from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University can enroll in one of 24 concentrations in areas such as e-commerce, portfolio management, real estate and organizational behavior. Though Stanford is in northern California, the business school adopts some Hollywood-like behavior when it films its business students in simulated work situations such as laying off employees. Famous alums include John Donahoe, CEO of eBay, and Ellen Siminoff, a founding Yahoo exec.

1 Harvard University

Yeah, you might think you have to be a superhuman type, able to scale walls Spiderman style, have perfect SAT and ACT scores and be a legacy to get in. Not always true. Some mere mortals get into the Harvard Business School if their apps are strong enough. The 1,800 students have their choices of 26 concentrations in such areas as arts administration, human resources, manufacturing and technology management and sports business. Students form teams and emulate real-life cases and problems. They spend winter breaks studying in other countries and might follow in the footsteps of some famous alums: Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay, and Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric’s CEO. Just don’t go to the dark side, like heading some investment bank where your actions might take you to the less-than-noble realm.

Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.

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