Which Are The Best Business Schools For The Buck (Spoiler Alert: Not Harvard Or Wharton)

Tyler Durden's picture

As the San Fran Fed recently explained, when it looked at the upside of a college education, it found that the average college graduate earns over "$800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age." What was ignored is the offsetting cost to this upside in terms of hundreds of thousands of college loans bearing compounding interest that are just as sticky and in increasingly more cases also remain with the graduate until retirement. But what about business schools? For those professionals who have already picked a career in finance or business, and who are willing to spending even more ridiculous amounts of money for a piece of paper and a rolodex, which business schools offer the best bank for the buck?

According to an analysis by Economist, the business schools that generate the highest IRR for students aren't the traditional MBA mainstays of Harvard and Wharton (which as it turns, was the worst school from a return perspective in the sample), but far less popular vanues such as HEC in Paris, Aston in Britain, the University of Hong Kong and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad in India.

The Economist reports:

Which MBA offers the best return on investment? That depends on whether you are after a long- or short-term gain. Our chart shows the cost of an MBA at selected business schools after taking into account tuition fees and forgone salary. Two-year courses at prestigious American institutions are the most expensive. An MBA at Wharton costs $330,000 on average, in part because it enrolls well-paid executives. But the immediate return on such degrees is small. Graduates tend to land jobs just a few notches above the ones they left. Cheaper, shorter MBAs around the world offer better returns. Students at HEC make enough extra money upon graduation to pay off their degrees in less than two years. Schools, such as IESE, that enroll lots of students from poor countries who then find jobs in the West also fare well. Still, Wharton alumni are more likely to top the greasy pole in the long run.

And the verdict in chart format: those who wish to get rich quick by going to the most popular US MBA programs at Penn, Harvard, or Stanford will most likely have nothing but even more debt to show for it for a very long time.

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TeamDepends's picture

#1)  The School Of Hard Knocks

SafelyGraze's picture

ever since I have took this Wharton School of Businessing my Businessing has improvd one hundred percents


actually, the harvard biz program introduced me to a bunch of wonderful and motivated people whose friendships I shall always treasure, but the content of the curriculum turned out to be, shall we say, 'complementary' to the many informations on zh


TeamDepends's picture

You speeks good, then so the massessess hear you's ss....  ya buddy     ....!?

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is wonder why is no list of Russia Business School...? Maybe is advance degree from Moscow School of Business and Government Policy not so useful? Boris sometime is see advertisement of business degree very quickly from FedEx.

economics9698's picture

Oh fuck when I was in business school I mostly concentrated on the nice tits the local millionaire’s daughter had.  

No Quarter's picture

Hopefully you CAPITALIZED on that :)

jeff montanye's picture

wharton doesn't seem worth it but the least worth it, looking at the chart, seems to be that canadian school "rotman". 

also what about the aussie "queensland"?: pretty cheap for not needing to learn a new language (which would of course make one's value greater) and the highest salary post graduation of all shown).

BustainMovealota's picture

And that is a solid, wealth enhancing strategy.  Always think outside the box.  And inside!

A Nanny Moose's picture

Just what we need...moar fucking MBA's.

What about engineering schools?

fonzannoon's picture

All of the older guys in my business at some point spent 3k (more likely had their firm cover it) to go to Wharton for a week. They do group exercises there, have guest speakers, play anal ring toss and jerk each other off and what not. At the end of the week they get this giant "Wharton Certificate in Financial Planning". They frame it, stick it on the wall and take out an ad in the local paper congratulating themselves on their accomplishment. The baby boomer's fall for it everytime. No need for business school.

RichardParker's picture


You forgot to mention how the "Certificate in Financial Planning" at Wharton finishes up each day of classes with a golf clinic at 4:30pm.  They bring in golf pros and all.  Supposedly it does wonders for one's swing and putting game (or so I've been told). 

After cocktails, then dinner they typically hit the massage parlors off of Arch St...    

Sabibaby's picture

I'm not sure I understand what Forgone means. Does it mean the amount of money lost while you were in school? Obviously the best situation is asking your employer to pay for tuition but what is best for an employer who pays an employee to get a degree in something? 

I am Jobe's picture

MBA's wasted a holes.


SilverRhino's picture

Stupid comment but if I was looking to hire a business manager I'd simply look for someone who's run their own business successfully for 5+ years.  

(Of course those guys are liable to be expensive and probably still in business) 


economics9698's picture

Real world business = bust you ass now.

christiangustafson's picture

Princeton produces a better breed of man.

So I've been in Korea for about a week and a half now and what can I say,

I've got a spanking brand new 2000 sq. foot 3 bedroom apt. with a 200 sq.
foot terrace running the entire length of my apartment with a view
overlooking Korea's main river and nightline......Why do I need 3 bedrooms?
Good question,.... the main bedroom is for my queen size bed,...where CHUNG
is going to fuck every hot chick in Korea over the next 2 years (5 down,
1,000,000,000 left to go).... the second bedroom is for my harem of
chickies, and the third bedroom is for all of you fuckers when you come out
to visit my ass in Korea. I go out to Korea's finest clubs, bars and
lounges pretty much every other night on the weekdays and everyday on the
weekends to (I think in about 2 months, after I learn a little bit of the
buyside business I'll probably go out every night on the weekdays). I know
I was a stud in NYC but I pretty much get about, on average, 5-8 phone
numbers a night and at least 3 hot chicks that say that they want to go
home with me every night I go out. I love the buyside,.... I have bankers
calling me everyday with opportunties and they pretty much cater to my
every whim - you know (golfing events, lavish dinners, a night out
clubbing). The guys I work with are also all chilll - I live in the same
apt building as my VP and he drives me around in his Porsche (1 of 3 in all
of Korea) to work and when we go out. What can I say,.... live is good,...
CHUNG is KING of his domain here in Seoul.....

So,.... all of you fuckers better keep in touch and start making plans to
come out and visit my ass ASAP, I'll show you guys an unbelievable
time....My contact info is below....
Oh, by the way,... someone's gotta start fedexing me boxes of domes,...I
brought out about 40 but I think I'll run out of them by Saturday.....


Peter Chung
The Carlyle Group

chinoslims's picture

Let me write the script.  Gets married.  Wife pumps out about 2 kids.  Wife gets to about 40.  Wife gets plastic surgery and big fake tits.  Peter divorces wife (hopefully has a prenup).  Peter gets married again at age 50 to someone half his age.  THE END.

IronForge's picture

That was funny.

His email was viralized by F'dCompany and others; and he allegedly lost his job shortly after. 

I'm sure the Brothers and Fathers of the "Debased and Ditched" Women would be after him as well.

Pity so much time and talent wasted on the Fool...


MarsInScorpio's picture

Screw the Ivy League; if they actually knew how to run the game, the world economy wouldn't be goping down in flames.


After Kings Colege - my son goes to Aston. Noting like the cache of a first-tier British education to boost your marketability to the US CEO snobs.


bulldung's picture

I too have a son going to Kings. After which, he plans to be a comedian or a politician. I think he has it figured out already.

thethirdcoast's picture

No Eastern New Mexico State or Southeast Missouri State?

economics9698's picture

USC, UCF, SC, yea the direction schools.  /sarc

Stud Duck's picture

University of Central Missouri has a great Business and Econ school.  I trained young men just out of college and was very impressed with the quality of iniative they has from that school.

My son refused to go to college, became a self trained machinist and took over the family farm 11 years ago , now has net assets over a million, the college education would of netted him a mortgage on a McMansion and a deadend job working 60 plus a week.

I glad he didn;t take my advise on the college and his grandfather needing a partner.

Wait What's picture

curious. i was just looking at Anderson for my post-grad studies, like 8 weeks ago. i wouldn't have to move to attend and it's cheap relative to the uppity tier 1 schools my peers chose to attend. unlike them, though, i couldn't convince myself that paying 100k to regurgitate things i could just as easily learn from reading ZH and independent study was a winning proposition.

RichardP's picture

Go for Judy.  She was hot once.  I knew her at the University of Maryland.


hazenyc's picture

Go for the CFA program, it's a lot less expensive. Plus you can study at home and you'll be less of a douchebag to boot!

Fred C Dobbs's picture

I am going to take my kid's college funds and start a business for them. 

dutchTender's picture

i think this is a trick question ...

Schacht Mat's picture

Interesting - I know a fellow who graduated Rotman several years ago.  Apparently their Dean had gotten all wrapped up in social policies and spent more time flogging social issues than business principles.  While nobody, including myself, sees any value in MBA's who are sociopathically focused on self enrichment (anyone here see Wall Street types as anything but economic parastite and vermin - perhaps Monsanto can finally do the world a good turn and come up with a financier eliminator version of "Roundup" - oops - forgot that this would be classified as fratricide), there is still a need for good people to understand the fundamentals of good business, and having a business school harmonize its teachings with the views of its provincial government (for an understanding of how idiotic Canadian governance can be - look up a dipshit called Dalton McGuinty - this dork makes that Toronto mayor appear positively intelligent) is a recipe for having businesses run the way the Ontario government has been run (and you think we have financial train wrecks in the US - check out the province of Ontario if you really want to see what a financial mess looks like).

I have recently taken a look at what is going on up in the great white north, and while there is a lot to emulate there (most Canadians are amazingly nice, hardworking and easy to get along with people), the mess that is euphamistically referred to as governance of the province of Ontario makes the historically inept province of Quebec shine in comparison.  These clowns have hit bottom, started to dig and forgot to stop.  I wonder if this is the result of Rotman types advising those governments, or have they done this to themselves without academic help.

Villageidiot777's picture

Not a single Nordic university?

Melody7773's picture

Surely, it is no doubt that degree holders do get better paycheck then those who choose not to apply to colleges after high school (get application custom college level essays online here). But do not forget that mostly kids simply have no opportunity to get the student loan or they are afraid of not paying it off because of highly unstable economic situation. And I think that it is completely understandable. I would not want to graduate with $25 000- $35 000 debt with little hope to find a decent job. Would you?