What are some of the top MBA programs?

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Heading off to college is the natural next step for many high school grads. It's a social rite of passage for some and a means to the career of their choice for others. And for many students, higher education doesn't stop at an undergraduate degree. Post-graduate programs are plentiful and popular, especially in the United States.

There are various reasons students continue onto grad school, and many choose to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA). In fact, more than 100,000 American students enroll in MBA programs each year [source: Ostdick]. Choosing to go from undergrad directly into an MBA program is an oft chosen path for those who want to start out their career search aiming for better jobs and higher salaries. And if you're already employed, adding an MBA to your credentials can give you leverage in your current job in the form of promotions and salary increases.

Let's say you're a freelancer or you do a little business consulting on the side. Having an MBA on your resume is a nice way to attract new clients and could also qualify you to make a higher rate. If you realize that your philosophy major may not be landing you the desired job in corporate America, an MBA can give you the leg up you need without a "do-over" in your undergraduate studies. MBA students can qualify for grants and loans, and many businesses will pay for all or part of their employees' tuition. On the following pages, we'll take a look at some of the top MBA programs.