By OAD Staff
Updated July 2016
With the national economy on the rise and entrepreneurship becoming more and more common, it’s no wonder business degrees are some of the most popular among college students. Unfortunately, when most people think of quality business degrees, they think of large, expensive universities where class sizes are huge and internships are limited and cut-throat. Luckily, some of the best business schools are at colleges with less than 4,000 students. The 30 schools on this list represent some of those quality programs.
The schools on this list were chosen and ranked based on the following criteria:
• Size: The schools on this list have an undergraduate population of less than 4,000 students.
• Organization: Schools with business departments were awarded 1 point, while those colleges with an actual School of Business were awarded 2 points.
• Student Opportunities: Schools offering unique business-related opportunities, such as internships, study abroad, or mentorship programs, were awarded 1 point per opportunity.
• Awards & Recognition: Schools received 1 point for appearing on a “Best of” list. In fact, all of these schools are currently ranked on at least one major “Best of” list.
• Variety of Business-related Majors: Finally, schools were rewarded for their variety of offered programs, and were given 1 point per offered business major.
30. Andrews University
Berrien Springs, Michigan
Ranked #168 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of national universities, Andrews University is beautiful private school located in tiny Berrien Springs, Michigan. It is the only Seventh-Day Adventist institution in the United States that is recognized as a national university, a fact that easily makes it the single best-known Adventist school in the world. Its 38% acceptance rate reflects both church members and others of goodwill. Andrews offers a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from its School of Business Administration. The curriculum challenges students and uniquely prepares them for service to the world that is both Christian- and business-based.
29. California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology may be best known for its programs in science, mathematics, and technology, but the school nicknamed “Caltech” also has quite a respected business program. Students interested in business can take advantage of the business, economics, and management (BEM) option, which provides students with the tools necessary to succeed in modern business environments. The BEM program combines Caltech’s highly ranked humanities and social science classes with emphases on things like entrepreneurship, finance, and strategy in competitive free-market situations. Though many Caltech students choose to pair the BEM option with a degree in Science or Engineering, it is also well designed to stand alone.
28. Dickinson College
Founded only a few days after the end of the Revolutionary War, tiny Dickinson College is now ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 37th best liberal arts college in the United States. One of its most popular majors is International Business and Management, which provides aspiring businessmen and -women with a solid mix of business, economics, international cultures, and politics. To complete a degree, students must complete at least one field experience with a business or company in either the U.S. or abroad. Dickinson has around a 40% acceptance rate and a student body of about 2,400.
27. Rhodes College
Rhodes College is a picturesque private school located in the urban environment of Memphis, Tennessee. As in the case of so many other great schools on this list, the appeal of a business degree from Rhodes hinges on the college’s commitment to liberal arts education. Rhodes business students can choose from two tracks within the business major: General Business and International Business. Each choice also draws heavily from the Economics department, providing a solid base for any aspiring businessman or -woman. Rhodes College is currently ranked #54 on U.S. News’ list of the country’s top liberal arts colleges.
26. Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College has become famous for its commitment to the good, the true, and the beautiful, and for pursuing that commitment without the help of the federal government. Hillsdale’s approach to Economics and Business Administration combines the liberal arts with a thorough study of the democratic free-market (the Austrian School of Economics, Friedrich A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises are given special attention). Though Hillsdale’s business programs are far more theoretical than others on this list, its students hardly suffer from a lack of real-world opportunity. The Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program (WHIP) provides students with the opportunity to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. working with government agencies, think tanks, and companies of all sizes. A Internship program and yearly Small Business Seminar assist the more entrepreneurial students.
25. Tiffin University
Tiffin University offers enough niche business majors and minors to make it a unique and attractive program for aspiring businessmen and -women. Students of Tiffin’s School of Business are prepared for professional, managerial, and leadership positions in sectors private, public, and not-for-profit. Regardless of concentration, emphasis is placed on developing the communication, technical, analytical, and critical thinking skills necessary to be competitive in the global business world. Thus, it is fair to say that Tiffin’s programs are more practical than theoretical. Students can choose from a number of unique majors and minors, including Accounting, Finance, Management (with concentrations in Equine Business, International Business, Sports and Recreation Management, and Healthcare Administration), and Marketing, to name but a few.
24. Kentucky State University
Kentucky State University is a small liberal arts school that proudly promotes intellectual, ethical, and social growth in its students. Students graduate from the School of Business with a bachelor’s degree and a concentration in either Accounting, General Business, Management, or Marketing. Students also have the option of choosing a second concentration as a minor. Kentucky State University takes its responsibility of preparing students for the workforce very seriously, and many students take part in internships or other programs with large local companies such as Alltech and Toyota.
23. Brandeis University
At Brandeis University’s International Business School, undergraduate students are taught by graduate-level professors who expose them early on to core business concepts and principles. Consistent with Brandeis’ commitment to excellence, business students essentially participate in an accelerated graduate degree program in order to finish before their peers and become even more competitive in the business world. They begin their graduate degree coursework in their senior year and earn their master’s degree in as little as one additional year of study. Brandeis University has an acceptance rate of 37% and is ranked #35 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best universities in the country.
22. Dillard University
New Orleans, Louisiana
Founded in 1869, Louisiana’s Dillard University has a long tradition of excellence in business. Unique, hands-on programs train students to be competitive in unpredictable business markets — perfect for students who want to be prepared for the real world of business. Students can choose from five majors — Accounting, Financial Economics, Business Management, International Business, and Marketing. Study can be complemented by study abroad, student organizations, scholarships, and internships throughout the New Orleans region.
21. College of William & Mary
Founded all the way back in 1693, College of William & Mary has produced such notable alumni as three U.S. Presidents (Jefferson, Monroe, and Tyler), a former Secretary of Defense, and multiple actors and comedians. The college itself is ranked #33 on U.S. News’ list of the best colleges in the nation, while its highly respected Mason School of Business has its own ranking on a number of “Best of” lists. Business students at William & Mary have the opportunity to individualize their business education, and many choose to either pursue a major and concentration within the business department, or combine their business major with a minor in the liberal arts. Whatever a student’s decision, the College offers business students internships abroad, special guidance into graduate programs, and unique mentoring opportunities with distinguished faculty.
20. Bucknell University
Located within three hours of New York, D.C., and Philadelphia, Bucknell University students have incomparable access to some of the most exciting business scenes in the country. Upon completing the classical liberal arts core, business-inclined students can choose from four majors within the School of Management: Accounting & Financial Management; Managing for Sustainability; Global Management; and Markets, Innovation, and Design. Regardless of the major chosen, future employers can be sure that Bucknell graduates have been well-trained to organize and analyze flood tides of data. Bucknell is also home to the award-winning Student-Managed Investment Fund, a two-semester experiential course in which select seniors manage nearly $2 million of Bucknell’s endowment. Bucknell University is currently ranked #32 on U.S. News’ list of National Liberal Arts Colleges.
19. Franklin & Marshall College
Franklin & Marshall College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Business, Organization, and Society. This unique degree is designed to help students develop a broad understanding of business organizations and their role in society. Thanks to Franklin & Marshall’s 227-year history of academic excellence, the college’s business students are exposed to varying philosophies, management styles, and experiences. An entry course, an eight-course breadth requirement, a personally designed series of hands-on classes, and a capstone make up this unique degree which students can tailor depending upon interests in Management, Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, Business Ethics, or International Business. Franklin & Marshall is currently ranked by U.S. News as the 32nd best liberal arts college in the nation, but the fourth best “up-and-coming” school.
18. University of Richmond
University of Richmond students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in business spend their freshman year taking liberal arts courses as part of Richmond’s highly ranked core curriculum. After one year, students are allowed to apply to the Robins School of Business and declare a major in Business Administration, Accounting, or Economics. To maintain both standards and class sizes, students must have a 2.7 GPA or better in order to be considered for acceptance. The University is also home to the Center for Active Business Education (CABE), which offers students the opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the foremost successes in the business world. University of Richmond is ranked #30 on U.S. News’ list of the best liberal arts schools in the country.
17. College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, Missouri
College of the Ozarks, nicknamed “Hard Work U,” is most famous for the fact that it charges students work hours rather than tuition. This unique set-up makes it a great option for any business-inclined students interested in attending a top-ranked school without sending themselves into massive debt. The Business Department at the College of the Ozarks offers majors in Accounting, Business Administration, and General Business with emphases in marketing and management. Students can also choose to minor in Accounting, Business Administration, and Christian Missions. To supplement their education, students can participate in Phi Beta Lambda, the oldest student business organization, and the Business Undergraduate Society, which typically takes 2-3 trips a year to tour businesses and give students a real-life glimpse into the business world.
16. Central State University
Central State University is an historically black university founded in 1887. Aspiring businessmen and -women have nineteen degree concentrations within the College of Business to choose from, including Finance, Hospitality Management, International Business, Management Information Systems, and Marketing. The University’s “Triad for Success” — which emphasizes academics, experiential learning, and professional development — has proven itself a great success, but it is the department’s Business Advisory Council that pushes it into one of the country’s great business programs. The Council provides support to both the college and students through financial donations, business advice, and challenging business opportunities.
15. Brigham Young University — Hawaii
The Church of Latter-Day Saints-associated Brigham Young University at Hawaii offers a quality education that doubles as moral, ethical, and spiritual enrichment. Located in the beautiful Hawaiian islands, BYU-Hawaii has a population of just under 3,000 students and a competitive acceptance rate of around 35%. Business is one of the school’s most popular disciplines, offering Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting, Business Management (with concentrations in Finance, Human Resources, and Marketing), and Hospitality and Tourism Management. Students’ participation in Hawaii’s international business scene offers a unique preparation for understanding the relationships between cultures, business firms, governments, and societies. U.S. News & World Report ranks BYU-Hawaii as the 16th best college in the Western United States.
14. Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, California
Students at Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration can choose from a number of degree options, including Bachelor’s of Science and Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting, Applied Information Management Systems, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management, and Finance. Better yet, the College is home to the recently launched M-School, or Institute of Marketing, a breakthrough undergraduate program “designed to deliver a world-class advertising and marketing education that is relevant to today’s digitally-connected marketing and business environment.” And if that’s not impressive enough, the College of Business Administration has four centers of excellence to further assist students on their journeys into the competitive world of business: Center for Accounting Ethics, Governance and the Public Interest, Center for Asian Business, Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Center for Ethics and Business. The centers organize guest lectures, host student competitions, and put together study abroad trips, among other things.
13. Case Western Reserve University
Weatherhead School of Management maintains Case Western Reserve University’s national reputation for learning through exploration and discovery. Business-inclined Case students can choose from a list of undergraduate degrees that includes Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing, and customized Management degrees, as well as concentrations such as Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Business, Organizational Leadership, and Supply Chain Management. Consistent with the school’s mission, students are also encouraged to seek outside educational opportunities, such as study abroad, to help further develop the leadership skills necessary to change the world.
12. Texas Wesleyan University
Fort Worth, Texas
School of Business Administration
At Texas Wesleyan University’s School of Business Administration, students can choose from a healthy list of majors that includes Accounting, Accounting with Forensic/Fraud Emphasis, Finance, Business Administration, General Business, Management, and Marketing. The school prides itself on offering students a number of real-world projects, undergraduate research opportunities, and challenging courses in order to best prepare them for successful careers. Two such opportunities are the Executive in Residence Program and the School of Business and Administration and Professional Programs (SOBAPP), the latter of which is a “community of learners dedicated to pursuing and sharing the values, knowledge, and skills that enable […] students to compete in a dynamic and increasingly global environment.” Texas Wesleyan University is currently ranked by U.S. News as the 49th best college in the West.
11. Muhlenberg College
Muhlenberg College is a highly selective, private liberal arts school located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley region. In recent years, Muhlenberg has proven itself incredibly successful in placing business alumni with the “Big Four” accounting firms. Perhaps this is because Muhlenberg seamlessly combines its business program with the liberal arts in order to emphasize critical thinking, effective communication, and collaboration. Muhlenberg business students can choose to concentrate their business aspirations on Finance, Accounting, Arts Administration, Entrepreneurial Studies, Management and Organization Studies, or Marketing. A capstone course titled Business Policy & Strategy uniquely exposes students to the different aspects of a functioning business organization. Muhlenberg is considered by U.S. News & World Report to be the 64th best liberal arts college in the nation.
10. Hampton University
Hampton University has a long tradition of academic excellence, and their School of Business is no exception. Students can choose between programs in Accounting, Investment Banking, Finance, Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, Economics, Marketing, and Management, among others. Students also have the unique opportunity to work in association with a number of large companies who donate to Hampton or provide the School of Business with large-scale projects. Alumni of the well-respected, historically black college include Alberta Williams King (the mother of Martin Luther King, Jr.), Booker T. Washington, and Wanda Sykes, to name but a few. Hampton’s business students do especially well, and are actively recruited by Fortune 500 companies, Big Four accounting firms, and the federal government. With a 36% acceptance rate, Hampton University is listed by U.S. News as the 18th best university in the Southern United States.
9. Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, New York
With its myriad choices for aspiring business majors, Skidmore is a great option for anyone interested in combining business with an interest in international relations. In fact, in addition to the basic business core, all business students must take two courses in a foreign language or foreign literature. Students who enjoy this option can also choose to major in Business-French, Business-German, Business-Spanish, Business-Economics, or Business-Government. With an acceptance rate of 35%, Skidmore is one of the more selective schools in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks Skidmore as the 37th best Liberal Arts College in the nation, while Forbes considers it the 85th best private school in the country.
8. Washington & Lee University
Founded in 1905, Washington & Lee University’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics is one of the most unique programs on this list. The program offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Business Administration, but does so within a larger liberal arts curriculum. In fact, Washington & Lee is the only top-tier liberal arts college that can claim its own nationally accredited commerce school (which also happens to be home to the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship). Students pursuing a business degree can choose from concentrations in Accounting, Business Administration, Economics and Politics, or a number of interdisciplinary programs. U.S. News & World Report ranks Washington & Lee #14 on its list of National Liberal Arts Colleges, and also includes it among the Best Undergraduate Business Programs.
7. Fisk University
Founded shortly after the end of the Civil War, Fisk University is a historically black university and the oldest higher learning institution in Nashville. With an acceptance rate of approximately 40% and only about 650 students, Fisk is on the smaller side of even small colleges. Fisk’s Department of Business Administration offers a Bachelor of Science, in which students can choose a specialized concentration from a lengthy list that includes Accounting, International Business Relations, Management, and Financial Economics. In addition to coursework, students also involve themselves in community-related projects and competitive internships at companies like Google and Goldman Sachs. Uniquely, Fisk students can also pursue a joint baccalaureate degree and Master of Business Administration in conjunction with the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. U.S. News & World Report ranks Fisk #165 on its list of National Liberal Arts Colleges and the 7th best Historically Black College in the country.
6. Creighton University
For students interested in prefacing a law degree with a business degree, Creighton University might just be the perfect place. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 university in the Midwest, Creighton is one of only a few universities in the country offering a 3/3 combined business-law degree program. Students can earn an undergraduate business degree and a law degree in six years, rather than the usual seven. In fact, such pre-professional programs are a specialty of Creighton. The University’s Heider College of Business also offers a number of other business-related degrees, and students have an impressive freedom to tailor their studies to a wide range of interests. Popular degree choices include Accounting, Business Intelligence and Analytics, Economics, Finance, International Business, Management, and Marketing.
5. Notre Dame de Namur University
Located in the San Francisco suburb of Belmont, Notre Dame de Namur is a private university that was founded in 1851. It is ranked #51 on U.S. News’ list of colleges in the West, though the university has grand plans to climb that list in the near future. Many of its goals revolve around its School of Business and Management, which it hopes will become more widely known for its excellent reputation for teaching students “to face organizational challenges with knowledgeable, principled, and effective leadership.” Currently, the school offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business, as well as the Bachelor of Arts in Communication. To supplement these degrees, students can choose to concentrate in Economics, Accounting, International Business, Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Business students are also required to complete between 120 and 150 hours in an internship position.
4. Mercer University
At Mercer University, ranked the 8th best university in the South, Business is the most popular major. Perhaps this is because the Stetson School of Business and Economics offers more than ten business-related majors, as well as the unique opportunity to tailor a major to meet one’s own personal goals. Business students also have a variety of impressive internship and study abroad opportunities to better prepare themselves for careers in the real world. Additionally, Mercer is home to the BB&T Center for Undergraduate Research in Public Policy and Capitalism (which hosts scholarly activities for thorough discussion of the moral foundations of capitalism), the Center for Executive Education (which offers certificate programs), and the Executive Forum (which introduces sought-after speakers with business leaders from around the nation).
3. Fordham University
New York, New York
With a large number of business degree options and New York City in its backyard, Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business is a fantastic option among the best business schools. Split over two campuses (at Lincoln Center and Rose Hill), business students can choose between degrees in Global Business, Finance, Accounting, Marketing, and Information Systems, and concentrations in subjects such as Digital Media and Technology, Healthcare Management, Alternative Investments, Entrepreneurship, Sports Business, Sustainable Business, and Value Investing, to name but a few. Not surprisingly, Business-related degrees are the top three most popular majors at Fordham, and 93% of graduates have a job within six months of graduation. Fordham University is #58 on U.S. News’ list of the best colleges in the country, while Businessweek ranks it higher at #38.
2. Babson College
Known worldwide for its innovative programs and culture, Babson College is the self-declared “educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds.” Babson’s most popular majors are Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, and Strategy, and all undergraduates walk away with a Bachelor of Science degree. The competitive school, which has an acceptance rate of around 28%, attracts entrepreneurs of all kinds. The entire college is like a living and learning laboratory, where students and faculty work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. Ninety percent of Babson graduates receive job offers within three months of graduation, all of whom hope to follow in the footsteps of successful Babson alumni like Arthur Blank (founder of The Home Depot), Roger Enrico (Chairman of DreamWorks Animation), and Ernesto Bertarelli (founder of Serono).
1. Bentley University
Founded in 1917, Bentley University is the sixth best university in the northern United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Located mere minutes from Boston, Bentley’s internationally recognized business program combines the arts and sciences, top-of-the-line technology, and some of the best business professors in the country. Bentley business students graduate with professionalism, real-world experiences, and exposure to the newest research, and are thereby sought after by the world’s leading organizations. Students can choose from more than 15 business majors and 36 minors. Seven state-of-the-art laboratories — including a financial Trading Room and the Center for Marketing Technology — support the curriculum and expose students to simulated business situations.
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