Top 5 Best Business Schools in Illinois

best business schools in illinois

If you’re looking to become a business person and climb the corporate ladder, then you need to consider getting an MBA from one of the best business schools in Illinois.

Within a few years of education and experience in entrepreneurship or business management under your belt, you will get an advanced degree, which will look great on your resume and give you even more credibility as an employee who knows what they’re doing.

However, not all MBA programs are created equal; there are hundreds of different options across the country and around the world, so it can be hard to decide which ones to apply to.

We’ve put together a list of the top 5 best business schools in Illinois to help you make the right decision. Whether you’re looking for highly-rated accounting programs or entrepreneurship training, these schools have it all.

Top 5 Best Business Schools in Illinois

1. Northwestern University

Northwestern University is a private research higher institution established on January 28th, 1851. It is one of only a few business schools worldwide that offers specializations as part of its MBA (Master of Business Administration) program.

NU business school is named Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and graduates/alumni from the institution have made a significant positive impact on marketing, business management, management sciences, and decision sciences fields.

Kellogg is a founding member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) which accredits business institutions offering MBA programs.

The school business program allows for flexibility as students can choose to do a full-time MBA, one-year MBA, executive MBA, evening & weekend MBA, MMM courses, PhD programs and many more. Whatever your schedule may be, Kellogg business school has a program that will be best suited for you.

NU business institution has been ranked by multiple verifiable sources such as The Economist, US News & World Report, and Forbes.

The program has a reputation for producing leaders and entrepreneurs. Many of its students receive job offers from some of today’s biggest companies, including Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Facebook. It is ranked as one of the country’s most selective universities by U.S. News & World Report as the acceptance rate is just 9%.

Some of the companies founded by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University’s notable alumni are:

  • Adzuna, a job advertisement search engine founded by Doug Monro
  • ZS Associates, a management consulting and professional services company founded by Andris A. Zoltners and Prabhakant Sinha
  • SAP Fieldglass, a software company providing cloud-based VMS services founded by Jai Shekhawat
  • Arthur Andersen LLP, an American accounting firm providing tax auditing and consulting services to big corporations

2. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public land-grant research university established in 1867 shortly after Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862. UIUC is a flagship institute of the University of Illinois system and is the most prestigious higher institution enrolling more than 56,000 students, 34,559 undergraduates, and 20,525 postgraduates.

UIUC was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is also affiliated with other organizations such as the Association of American Universities (AAU), Universities Research Association (URA), and the National Sea Grant College Program.

UIUC have a specialized business school named Gies College of Business that offers master’s programs, PhD programs, and undergraduate program with concentrations available in accountancy, finance and business administration.

Gies College of Business and all of its faculty are separately accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).

Here are a few of Gies College of Business’s notable alumni:

  • Nicholas Dopuch, an American accounting researcher and former head of accounting at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Robert Jay Swieringa, a former member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board
  • Michael Mikhail, the dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Sybil Lenora Collings Mobley, dean and head of accounting of the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU)
  • Ananias Charles Littleton, an American professor and accounting historian at the University of Illinois
  • Samuel Knox Skinner, the White House Chief of Staff during George Hobert Walker Bush administration

3. National Louis University

The National Louis University is a private institution established in 1886 by Elizabeth Harrisson, even though this institution is comparatively smaller than others in its category, business students here will also enjoy benefits available in other university MBA programs.

Plus, they can take advantage of programs that are offered only at NLU, such as entrepreneurship classes that teach students how to start their own businesses, management consulting classes that prepare students for careers with top consulting firms, and an international business degree program that gives students practical experience with international economics.

The program includes a co-op experience where students can apply what they’ve learned to their business knowledge in a real-world setting.

NLU is truly student-centred, and so when graduates go into the workforce, they feel prepared for anything as they’ve indulged in prior experience. There are currently more than 7,000 enrolled students, 3,363 undergraduates, 3,642 postgraduates, and 614 academic staff at National Louis University.

Whether you’re seeking a rewarding career in business or looking to acquire the skills and training to start your own company, NLU offers an expansive array of educational opportunities. The university is experiencing unprecedented growth and expansion due to its academic programs’ unique approach to experiential learning while maintaining rigorous standards and principles set by business industry leaders.

Some of the National Louis University’s notable alumni are:

  • Greg Baxtrom, an American head chef
  • LaVon Mercer, an American-Israeli former basketball player
  • Mary Traffarn Whitney, an American minister, philanthropist, lecturer, and social reformer
  • Susan Widmann Sinclair, an American sailor who won the Women’s National Sailing Championship in 1962
  • Betty Reed, member of the Florida House of Representatives

4. Loyola University Chicago (LUC)

The Loyola University Chicago is a private Jesuit research institution founded in 1870 by Fr. Arnold Damen, SJ. 

This private Jesuit institution offers more than 80 undergraduates and 140 professional programs to over 17,000 students in its thirteen colleges combined.

The Bachelor of Business of Administration (BBA) program at Loyola University Chicago is designed for a person looking to gain business-critical skills necessary to lead and direct a successful organization. The program curriculum includes courses in finance, economics, marketing, organizational behaviour and leadership, all of which have been selected because they are relevant to current business challenges. Students learn from experienced faculty members who teach industry best practices on a part-time or full-time basis.

A competitive admissions process and an acceptance rate of 70% means that only highly qualified applicants will be accepted, so if you apply, be sure your academic record is up to par.

Some of Loyola University of Chicago’s notable alumni are:

  • Lori Greiner, an inventor, entrepreneur, investor and a television personality
  • Michael Joseph Madigan, the former Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives
  • Marsham M. Linehan, a psychologist and the founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Neil F. Hartigan, former Illinois Attorney General

5. Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan University is rated among America’s top business schools. It was founded in 1850 and it has since grown into one of the largest universities in its region. A four-year liberal arts institution, IWU boasts a strong list of undergraduate and graduate degree programs to choose from. The school is situated in Bloomington, Illinois, with undergraduate student numbers hovering around 1,893.

The school is prominent for its special MBA program which encourages students to work in groups, collaborate with each other, and provide leadership skills to their peers. IWU offers an MBA program for those looking to pursue a graduate degree or enhance their career prospects.

A few of Illinois Wesleyan University’s notable alumni are:

  • Michael L. Tipsord, the chairman and CEO of State Farm
  • Bobby Brooks Winkles, college baseball Hall of Fame coach
  • Dawn Upshaw, an American Award-winning soprano
  • Gregory A. Poland, an American physician and vaccinologist


Finding an offer-it-all business school will probably be one of your biggest decisions as you prepare to launch your career, the institution you choose will play a huge role in your after-graduation endeavours.

Whether you just finished high school or college and now trying to further, choosing a business program can be a really stressful process. 

However, with this list of the top 5 best business schools in Illinois, you can start thinking about your options and how each of these schools could offer something that fits into your overall learning goals.

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