Best Cities for MBA Graduates in 2021

best cities for MBA graduates
best cities for MBA graduates

What are the best cities for MBA graduates?

MBA graduates are in demand, and it bodes true that some locations offer more of a promising path to a lucrative career in business.

If you are considering getting your MBA and are wondering about prospective career opportunities in your local area or other cities, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog post, we will walk you through the best cities for MBA graduates. In our list, we’ve considered important factors like salary, job outlook, cost of living, and unemployment rates.


mba grads best cities

The Best Cities for MBA Graduates in the U.S.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan is considered to be the second-best place to live in the United States by According to their 2020 Top 100 Best Places to Live list, Ann Arbor is “a bustling hub for innovation in automotives, technology and healthcare.” gives Ann Arbor an A+ overall and mentions that the city offers “an urban suburban mix feel and...many young professionals live in Ann Arbor.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, as of November 2020, the national unemployment rate was 6.4%. The Ann Arbor, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area only has an unemployment rate of 3.4%. reports that the average salary for business administration professionals in Michigan is $73,704. In Ann Arbor, that number rises to $79,854.

With access to a broad range of industries, beautiful landscapes, and excellent schools, Ann Arbor is an ideal location for professionals who are looking toward the future.

Austin, Texas

In Austin, Texas, business administration professionals earn an average of $74,127, which is a touch over the average business administration salary for the state of Texas.

The 5.9% unemployment rate lingers below the national average of 6.4%.

In October, the Austin Chamber of Commerce reported that “Austin’s 2.5% year-over-year job loss is more moderate than the declines seen in all other major metros.”

The same report indicated that jobs in “financial activities (12.4% or 8,300 jobs), followed by professional and business services (4.8% or 9,700)” led in the ranking of private industry sector growth in Austin during late 2019 through late 2020.

Austin was voted the number one place to live for three years between 2017–2019.

Austin unites creativity and culture with thriving commerce, making it an appealing option for many young professionals who are ready to soak up the sun.

Boston, Massachusetts

According to Investopedia, Boston is one of the best places for finance professionals due to its high number of asset management businesses.

Boston offers a vibrant array of cultural experiences ranging from professional sports to historical sites. Beautiful mountains, beaches, and forests alike are within day-trip driving distance.

ZipRecruiter reports that the average salary for an MBA graduate who lives in Boston, Massachusetts is $82,485.

While the cost of living is higher than the national average, Bungalow reports that “jobs in Boston pay well, with an average salary that is comparable to those in New York City."

For young professionals who enjoy New England culture and vibrant city life, Boston may just be the winner.

Boulder, Colorado

With an unemployment rate of 5.1% and a steady professional and business services industry, Boulder, Colorado has a lot to offer MBA degree holders.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Boulder as No. 1 on the overall Best Places to Live list as well as the best place for young professionals to live.

Boulder may be especially appealing for female MBA graduates who are entrepreneurs. In a report entitled “The 10 Best States For Women-Led Startups In 2021” at Merchant Maverick, Colorado is listed at number one.

The article states, “Colorado ranks in the top 10 in four out of our five gender-specific metrics.

This includes engagement among women entrepreneurs (2.19% of all women in the state run their own business) and venture capital funding ($485 million in VC money went to Colorado startups led only by women in the past five years)."

As a progressive, innovative city, Boulder is a great fit for young professionals — especially female MBA graduates.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati tops the list of cities in Ohio for highest paying MBA jobs. According to ZipRecruiter, “Cincinnati has a very active MBA job market as there are several companies currently hiring for this type of role.”

While Ohio doesn’t promise a great deal of opportunity for economic advancement, it’s worth noting that Cincinnati has a relatively low cost of living.

U.S. News & World Report reports that Cincinnati is #13 in cheapest places to live but also contains “a wealth of amenities, including museums, professional sports teams and a wide selection of restaurants.”

Specific to MBA graduates, Cincinnati houses several Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble, American Financial Group, and Kroger.

With an active job market and low cost of living, Cincinnati offers MBA graduates a promising start to the next phases of their careers.

Denver, Colorado

For the business professional who loves the outdoors, winter sports, and the mountains, Denver may be a perfect fit. ZipRecruiter reports that the average MBA salary in Denver is $77,065, which is a sizable increase over the state average salary of $70,542.

Fortune 500 companies such as DaVita, DCP Midstream, and Ovintiv call Denver home.

Like Boulder, Denver is also a great city for female entrepreneurs and business professionals.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Denver, Colorado as #2 in the best places to live, citing the low unemployment rate of 2.7%, over “5,000 acres of parks, trails, golf courses, and playgrounds,” and proximity to the Rocky Mountains.

For the nature or activity enthusiast who loves to both work hard and play hard, Denver bursts with opportunities.

Detroit, Michigan

Fortune 500 companies like Ford Motor, General Motors, and Dow are headquartered in Michigan. Quicken Loans—which Forbes ranks as the 29th best company to work for—is in Detroit as well.

Detroit neighborhoods including Corktown, Ferndale, and Lafayette Park are hot spots for young professionals. They offer a host of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.

As of December 2020, the Denver-Warren-Livonia, MI economy employs 368,000 people in business and professional services.

The average salary for an MBA degree holder in Detroit, Michigan is $82,201, nearly $10,000 more than the state average for MBA degree holders—$72,950—according to ZipRecruiter.

Packed with top-tier corporations and fun places to explore, Detroit has a lot to offer young professionals.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

According to, Grand Rapids is one of the best places to live in Michigan. The city feels like dense suburbia with a blend of residential areas and things to do and enjoy.

The average MBA graduate salary in Grand Rapids is $77,926, compared to the state average of $72,950. ranked Grand Rapids number 21 on their list of the 2020 Top 100 Best Places to Live. U.S. News & World Report notes that Grand Rapids houses large grocery store chains like Meijer and SpartanNash and many manufacturing companies like Steelcase and Herman Miller.

The healthcare industry is flourishing in Grand Rapids as well. Each of these industries hire MBA graduates for jobs such as consulting, finance, and management.

For MBA graduates interested in a hybrid city-town feeling or a job in the healthcare industry, Grand Rapids may be the perfect choice.

New York City, New York

Home to 16 of the companies on Fortune’s Global 500 list, New York City houses major corporations like JPMorgan Chase, Verizon Communications, and Pfizer.

The average annual salary for MBA graduates in New York City is on par with the national average—$82,721. New York state ranks second on the ZipRecruiter list of states nationwide for MBA job salaries.

Three of the five boroughs—the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island—have average salaries for MBA graduates that rise above the state average, at $83,269, $89,621, and $84, 941 annually, respectively.

And, of course, New York offers a remarkable array of cultural opportunities, experiences, and professional organizations.

For young professionals who are ready for an urban adventure and want to work for some of the top corporations in the world, New York City, New York is the place to be.

Sacramento, California

In Sacramento, California, the average salary for an MBA graduate is $84,256, which outranks the nationwide average of $82,721.

The state capital is considered by to be one of the best places to live in the United States. California is the state with the highest employment level for business and financial operations occupations.

Sacramento is the city that is expected to have the strongest housing market in 2021 according to

Several businesses are also headquartered in Sacramento, including Sutter Health and Blue Diamond Growers. Leading companies like Siemens, Deloitte, Marriott International, and PricewaterhouseCoopers also have offices in Sacramento.

For the young professional looking for a strong job and housing market, and who enjoys weekend trips to the lake, the beach, or the vineyard, Sacramento stands out.


why is MBA desirable

Why Is a Master of Business Administration Desirable?

MBA students develop lifelong leadership skills during their graduate program that can increase their desirability to potential employers.

For professionals who are interested in management or influential positions, an MBA is beneficial to developing the essential knowledge needed for top roles in both corporate and entrepreneurial business settings.

Graduates also look back at their choices to pursue MBAs fondly. According to the “The Value of a Graduate Management Education: Alumni Perspectives Survey 2018” from the Graduate Management Admission Council, 96% of MBA graduates believe that their degree had good, excellent, or outstanding value. states, “an MBA can improve the range of career opportunities available to you. Over 75% of employers expect to hire MBA graduates in the coming year.”

U.S. News & World Report notes that the National Association of Colleges and Employers “predict that the average starting salary for MBA grads in the class of 2020 will be $79,043 – more than $20,000 higher than the average starting salary projection for grads with a bachelor's degree in business.”

Questions about earning your online MBA? Read our blog to learn more.


online mba

Claim Success with an Online MBA

Spring Arbor University’s online MBA degree program offers students a tailored approach to their business career paths.

With multiple pace-options to choose from, students are able to fit their lives around their education. Our accelerated MBA track allows students to graduate in as quickly as a year. For those who choose the part-time path, taking one course at a time, they can complete their degree in just 18 months.

The online MBA program at Spring Arbor is grounded in a faith-based foundation that prepares students for sustainable careers as Christian business leaders. With no GMAT or GRE required, Spring Arbor’s 100% online MBA offers five unique concentrations:

  • Management Concentration
  • Executive Leadership Concentration
  • Human Resource Development Concentration
  • Healthcare Administration Concentration
  • Organizational Consultation Concentration

Now is the time to elevate your career. Through Spring Arbor, you can inspire change as a servant-leader and fulfill your passion in business.


Get Started – Earn Your Online MBA


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