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5 Top Business Schools Just As Great As Harvard and Wharton

Prestigious institutions such as the Harvard Business School (HBS) and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania perennially spar for the top spot of graduate business school rankings. However, you do not necessarily have to shell out nearly $60,000 per year for these programs in order to receive an adequate business school education.

It's hard to determine exactly how much a student will benefit from spending $10,000 at one particular university over another. Notwithstanding the obvious advantages certain programs offer in terms of alumni base and prestige, this list sets out to provide a list of universities whose business schools prepare students just as well as more highly tauted Ivy League universities with tuition at least half of the annual $56,175 HBS price tag.

1. BYU Marriott School of Management

BYU Marriott was ranked 30th in U.S. News and World Report's list of the best business schools in the U.S. Tuition for a year of study in the MBA Program is far less than similarly ranked programs. With 81.5% of students finding employment before graduation at a base salary of over $95,000, the return on investment is tremendous. It is a religious institution, so emphasis is placed on ethical standards during admissions and throughout the course of the program. Marriott alumni have gone on to find success in both the corporate and academic worlds, and boasts alumni such as Citigroup CFO Gary Crittenden, former Dell CEO Kevin Rollins, and Dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota Alison Davis-Blake.

2. Manderson Graduate School of Business at University of Alabama

With an out-of-state tuition of a little under $25,000,The Manderson School of Business offers great potential return on investment. Over 77% percent of 2012 graduates found employment before graduation with average base salaries of over $66,000. The program offers concentrations in business analytics, enterprise consulting, finance, financial risk, real estate, strategic management and marketing, and supply chain and operations management. Manderson was ranked 58th in U.S. News and World Report's list of top graduate business schools. With more large corporations recently beginning to move operations to Alabama, Manderson's proximity to some of the state's major economic regions translates to potentially great internship opportunities. 

3. San Diego State University College of Business Administration

With out-of-state tuition for its full-time MBA program totaling to under $25,000, and with over 75% of 2012 graduates finding jobs before graduation with base salaries of over $70,000, The San Diego State College of Business Administration is a great option. Offering MBA specializations in accounting, athletics and fitness management, entrepreneurship, finance, health services administration, information systems, international business, management, marketing, project management, real estate, supply chain management, many graduates have gone on to become business leaders in California and beyond. Some notable alumni include Neil Schloss, Vice President and Treasurer for the Ford Motor Company, former Jack-in-the-Box President and Chairman Jack Goodall, and current Jack-in-the-Box CEO and chairwoman Linda Lang. 

4. CUNY Baruch College Zicklin School of Business

At a little over $26,000 a year in tuition with 2012 graduates enjoying an average base salary of over $77,000, the Zicklin School of Business is a cost effective alternative to the more prestigious programs in America's financial capital. Zicklin holds the distinction of being one of the oldest business schools in the world and is currently the largest business school in America. Zicklin is currently ranked 75th in the U.S. News and World Report's list of business schools and boasts faculty with advanced degrees from some of the world's most respected universities such as Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Stanford, Northwestern, Chicago, New York University, Cornell, Yale, Dartmouth, Michigan, Oxford, and Princeton..

5. The University of Houston's C. T. Bauer College of Business

With a price tag of under $25,000 and with more than half of 2012 graduates finding employment before graduation with average base salaries of over $67,000, the Bauer College of Business offers great returns on investment and is located in one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the country. The MBA program is currently ranked 53rd and offers graduate students the unique opportunity to manage real investors and real money through the College's Cougar Investment Fund, L.L.C., housed in the College's AIM Center for Investment Management. Some notable alumni include Chairman and Global CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers' Samuel DiPiazza, Exxon Mobil Vice President Rich Kruger, and CEO of Commercial Banking at JP Morgan Chase & Co.'s Todd Maclin.

READ MORE: 4 Top Colleges Just As Great As the Ivy League Schools

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