MBA Programs in Pennsylvania Overview

Discover three MBA programs in Pennsylvania known for academics, business networks, and student outcomes.
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Published on October 3, 2023
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www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Pennsylvania is a great state for business professionals. It has everything you could want: arts, culture, beautiful state parks, and a robust start-up culture. Work-life balance is also a top priority, as evidenced by the state motto: "Work smart. Live happy."

Earning your MBA in Pennsylvania can set you up for a good life. According to 2023 Payscale data, MBA graduates earn an average of $96,000 a year. Graduates from top programs make even more. That kind of money can go a long way in the Keystone State.

So: Ready to launch your successful business career in Pennsyvlania? Consider enrolling in one of these programs to get started.

Pennsylvania at a Glance
Population 12,964,056
Climate Average Annual Temperature: 48.8 F
Annual Precipitation: 42.9 inches
Number of Higher Learning Institutions 187
Per Capita Income $37,725
Fortune 500 Companies 24
Sources: U.S. Census, Current Results, NCES, Statista

Featured Online MBA Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

3 Pennsylvania Schools for MBA Degrees

University of Pennsylvania campus building at night

University of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is a private, Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a long history of academic excellence. Penn has four undergraduate and 12 graduate schools, including the world's first-ever business school: The Wharton School of Business.

Wharton School

The Wharton School is a special place where talented students become transformative leaders. It has the top-ranked finance and EMBA programs in Pennsylvania. Wharton students go on to do very well: Penn's MBA program is consistently ranked among the very best for full-time job offers and long-term earnings. Graduates from Wharton make a median annual base salary of $175,000.

The Wharton School MBA is a 20-month, in-person program that includes a 3.5-month summer internship. Students may select from 21 major areas of specialization and over 200 electives. Penn also offers a 22-month EMBA program for students further along in their careers.

Penn MBA Program Tuition and Fees

MBA: $169,748

EMBA: $223,500

Wharton's MBA Specializations

Accounting | Business Analytics | Business Economics and Public Policy | Business, Energy, Environment and Sustainability | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion | Entrepreneurship and Innovation | Environmental, Social and Governance Factors for Business | Finance | Health Care Management | Management | Marketing | Marketing and Operations | Multinational Management | Operations, Information and Decisions | Organizational Effectiveness | Quantitative Finance | Real Estate | Social and Governance Factors for Business | Statistics | Strategic Management

Applying to Penn

A complete application to the Wharton School of Business includes:

  • Online application form
  • $275 nonrefundable application fee
  • Two 400-500 word essays
  • Unofficial transcripts of all academic work
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Recent GMAT or GRE scores
  • TOEFL, PTE or IELTS score (if applicable)
  • An updated, one-page resume
Penn State University campus building

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University is a public, state-related research university in University Park, Pennsylvania. Originally founded as an agricultural college, it has since become one of the largest universities in the country. Penn State is often referred to as a "public Ivy League."

Smeal College of Business

The Smeal College of Business has a strong reputation for excellence in business training, online education, faculty research, and graduate success. Smeal students can choose from several MBA programs, including:

  • One-year STEM MBA (on campus)
  • EMBA
  • Online MBA

The Smeal College of Business emphasizes a stackable credentialing model that allows students to build a customized learning plan and earn credits toward multiple master's degrees or graduate certificates.

Stacking multiple credentials can give Penn State graduates a major advantage in the job market.

Penn State MBA Tuition and Fees

One-year MBA: $31,516 (in state); $50,642 (out of state)

Online MBA: $60,480

Applying to Penn State

A complete application for the one-year MBA includes:

  • $65 application fee
  • Online application
  • Resume
  • Official transcripts of all academic work
  • Contact information for three professional or academic references
  • Official English language proficiency scores (if applicable)
  • Virtual interview and essay

A complete application for the online MBA includes:

  • Application fee
  • Online application
  • Resume (applicants with post-graduate, professional work experience preferred)
  • Official transcripts of all academic work
  • Contact information for two professional or academic references
  • Official English proficiency scores (if applicable)
  • Short-answer essay questions
  • Online interview
  • No GRE or GMAT required
Carnegie Mellon University campus building

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is a leading private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, known for its world-class interdisciplinary academic programs. For 115 years, Carnegie Mellon has been a driving force of research and innovation in Pennsylvania and across the globe.

Tepper School of Business

The Tepper School of Business offers an analytic, data-focused approach to a modern business education. If you want to know how to leverage technology and information to benefit your company, drive value, and solve problems –– get an MBA from Carnegie Mellon.

CMU offers a STEM-designated MBA in three different formats to fit every lifestyle:

  • Full-time, on-campus MBA (two years)
  • Online, hybrid MBA
  • Part-time, accelerated MBA

Whatever format you choose, you can expect to get a pretty good return on your investment — the median base salary of 2022 Tepper grads was $148,067.

CMU MBA Tuition Costs

Full-Time MBA: $37,867 per semester

Online Hybrid MBA: $758 per unit

Part-time, accelerated MBA: $758 per unit

Tepper's MBA Concentrations

Accounting | Business Technologies | Communications | Economics | Entrepreneurship | Finance | Healthcare Analytics | Marketing | Operations Management | Operations Research | Organizational Behavior | Strategy | Sustainability

Applying to CMU

A complete application for an MBA at CMU includes:

  • $200 application fee
  • Online application form
  • Unofficial transcripts of all academic work
  • Current resume
  • One written essay and one video essay
  • One professional recommendation
  • Offical GMAT, GRE, or EA test score (or approved test waiver)
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS score (if applicable)
  • Evaluative interview

Why Go to a Business School in PA?

If you want to live and work in Pennsylvania, getting your MBA in the state is a strategic move. All three schools on our list have strong alumni networks and local business connections that can help you get internships and jobs in the state.

You'll also have access to a lot of great career opportunities in Pennsylvania, which boasts the sixth-largest economy in the US. The state is economically dense and diverse, has a booming tech sector, manageable tax rates, and easy access to large markets in New York City, D.C., and Boston (without the high cost of living of those markets).

Industries that currently contribute the most to Pennsylvania's GDP include:

  1. Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Rental, and Leasing ($125.15 billion)
  2. Professional and Business Services ($115.78 billion)
  3. Educational Services, Healthcare, and Social Assistance ($90.28 billion)
  4. Manufacturing ($90.2 billion)
  5. Information ($64.19 billion)

Source: Statista, 2022

Paying for Your MBA Degree

MBAs are expensive. But the return on investment for an MBA continues to be strong. A 2022 survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found that full-time MBA students received a 50% median compensation increase from their degrees. Talk about a pay raise!

In the meantime, you can keep costs low and pay for your MBA by making the most of your financial aid options:

Scholarships and Grants

Our three listed schools all provide various scholarships and grants that can slash the overall price of your degree. Be sure to investigate external scholarship options as well.

Fellowships and Assistantships

Fellowships and assistantships can also offset the cost of tuition while providing valuable working experience.

Employer Sponsorship

According to Statista, 47% of employers provided some kind of undergraduate or graduate tuition reimbursement for employees in 2023 — have you looked into your employee benefits?

Student Loans

Federal and private student loans can also help you finance your MBA. But be sure to research your loan options, compare interest rates, and carefully consider the terms and repayment plans available.

Work-Study

Some MBA programs may offer work-study programs that allow students to earn money through on-campus jobs.

Cost of Living in Pennsylvania

Be sure to consider cost of living when budgeting for your education in Pennsylvania: How much will need you to cover the basics, like groceries, housing, transportation, and healthcare?

While expenses vary regionally, Pennsylvania is a pretty affordable place to build a life. According to the World Population Review Cost of Living Index, Pennsylvania's cost of living is just under the national baseline of 100, at 99.

Transportation and utility costs are a little higher than average, but health and housing come in several points below. According to Zillow, the average Pennsylvania home value is only about $257,510 (compared with a national average of around $348,130).

Questions About Business Schools in PA

Is it expensive to get an MBA in Pennsylvania?

The cost of an MBA in Pennsylvania varies, but it's rarely cheap. Tuition and fees for the programs mentioned above range from $31,516-$223,500.

Keep in mind that financial aid packages, external scholarships, and employer tuition assistance can have a huge impact on your degree's bottom line. Don't rule out "expensive" programs until you know what the final price tag will really look like.

Is UPenn the best school for business?

UPenn is one of our top picks for business schools in Pennsylvania. It has the top-ranked finance, executive MBA, and real estate programs in the state — so if those are areas of particular interest to you, UPenn is a good choice.

Is Penn State a good college for business?

Yes! Penn State offers a variety of highly respected business programs for undergraduates and graduate students. It consistently ranks among the top business schools in the nation.

What HBCUs are in Pennsylvania?

There are two HBCUs in Pennsylvania: Lincoln University and Cheyney University.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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