Considered by many a worthy investment, the Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) equips students with essential business and leadership skills and opens doors to a world of opportunities and invaluable experiences. Beyond the classroom, students and graduates gain access to prestigious faculty and a global network of professionals, not to mention unparalleled opportunities for internships, networking and career-building. An MBA degree not only increases one’s marketability in a competitive global economy, but also develops the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can define one’s professional success. 

We analyzed more than 100 metros across the U.S. to determine which ones offered the best environment and opportunities for MBA graduates from both a professional and personal standpoint. As such, we looked at the population with a graduate/professional degree; the number of jobs available and the unemployment rate for the population with a bachelor’s or higher; the median earnings for this segment; the share of employer-based health insurance; and more. We also counted the coworking spaces in each metro to determine their accessibility among a demographic that needs the professional in-office work experience in a remote-driven era.  

Southern Soar: 6 of 10 Top Metros for MBA Graduates are in the Nations’ South, Led by Washington, D.C.  

While the top metros for pursuing a post-MBA career are spread across the nation, more than half of the top 10 are located in the South. Here, a mix of large shares of the population with MBA degrees, widespread job availability, and accessibility of health insurance makes the region enticing for both professional growth and personal fulfillment. 

1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV – Total Points: 67.4 

With more than one-quarter of its population holding a graduate or professional degree (the second-highest among the metros analyzed), Washington, D.C. stood out for its highly educated workforce and great rankings across the board. Specifically, the metro area offered the highest share of jobs for MBA occupations out of the total jobs (almost 14%), coupled with impressive median earnings of $125,616 annually. Meanwhile, the abundance and density of coworking spaces also facilitate networking and collaboration opportunities, which come as great benefits to MBA students and graduates. 

Additionally, Washington, D.C. is renowned for its prestigious MBA programs offered by institutions like George Washington University and Georgetown University, thereby ensuring access to quality education and resources for aspiring business leaders. Furthermore, the city’s political climate adds yet another dimension to career opportunities by making it an ideal hub for anyone seeking professional growth. 

2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA – Total Points: 64.6 

San Jose secured its runner-up position as a top destination for MBAs with the absolute highest share of the population holding graduate/professional degrees at nearly 28%. The metro also led the nation in terms of median earnings for MBA graduates, boasting an impressive $160,000 annually. Plus, with almost 10% of all jobs being MBA occupations, San Jose remains a hotbed for employment in business-related fields. At the same time, the metro also prioritizes employee well-being with 76% of its workforce having health insurance coverage — the second-highest percentage among the analyzed metros.  

What’s more, as one of the ultimate tech hubs globally, San Jose offers unparalleled opportunities for MBA graduates to immerse themselves in the dynamic and innovative landscape of technology and entrepreneurship. Here, the San Jose State University is known for its successful MBA program. And, with a plethora of major employers and a vibrant business ecosystem, San Jose continues to attract top talent and cement its reputation as a premier destination for business students and graduates. 

3. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC – Total Points: 60.8 

The Durham metro area emerged as a top choice for MBA students and graduates with a notable 23% of its population possessing an educational degree. Moreover, the metro logged an extraordinarily low unemployment rate (only 1.2%) among graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Notably, despite being a part of a busy metro area, Durham is also an affordable and appealing destination due to its lower cost of living compared to other major metros. The metro also has a large concentration of coworking spaces, which helps business professionals and entrepreneurs collaborate and network.  

As part of the Research Triangle, Durham also benefits from a rich ecosystem of innovation and research, further enhancing its appeal as a hub for aspiring and/or MBA graduates. Plus, with a renowned MBA program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the city offers access to quality education and resources. 

4. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO & Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX – Total Points: 60.4 (Tie)

Coming in fourth for best metros for MBA pursuits, Denver has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, which is highlighted by its hefty number of new business applications per 100,000 residents — an impressive 2,160 per year. This showcases the number of businesses that enter the market every year and helps create a robust job market, which is evidenced in the metro’s high number of MBA occupation positions (9% of the total jobs). Denver also led the nation in terms of coworking space density with five available to every 100,000 residents. And, the Mile High City offers aspiring business leaders access to prestigious MBA programs at institutions like Daniels College of Business and CU Denver Business School. 

Tied with Denver, the Austin metro area is yet another ideal destination for an MBA education and career due to high rankings in multiple categories. More precisely, Austin had the second-highest number of jobs for MBA occupations (10% of total jobs), surpassed only by Washington, D.C. Accordingly, 19% of the metro’s population had a graduate or professional degree, signaling a highly educated workforce. At the same time, a high share of workers here (more than 72%) benefit from health insurance. There are also countless career advancement opportunities in the area, enabled by Austin’s rich business and tech ecosystem.  

5. Madison, WI – Total Points: 60.2 

Madison stood out as one of the best places to get an MBA because it combines a great quality of life with strong academic programs. Madison features a highly educated workforce with one-fifth of its population possessing graduate or professional degrees. The robust job market is similarly reflected in its low unemployment rate of 1.1% for individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Furthermore, Madison emphasizes the well-being of the community by claiming the highest rate of employer-based health insurance coverage in the country (78% of workers). 

At the same time, the metro boasts a low cost of living and a multitude of entertainment options. And, Madison also provides top-notch instruction and resources for prospective business leaders, including renowned MBA programs at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

6. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA – Total Points: 59.2 

With the second-highest number of new business applications per 100,000 residents (3,134) and the sixth-largest percentage of job occupations available for MBA graduates (over 9% of all jobs), Atlanta is another ideal metro for MBA students or graduates to live in and pursue a successful career. Namely, with a plethora of sought-after MBA programs from universities like Georgia State University or the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta makes it easy for anyone who wishes to embark on a higher education to find enticing opportunities. 

Additionally, the high number of coworking spaces available in this metro — three per 100,000 residents — ensures that professionals of all kinds have conducive environments in which to thrive and build fruitful connections that advance their careers.  

7. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH – Total Points: 58.9 

Home to some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, as well as worldwide, Boston earned its place in the top metros for MBA graduates due to several high-ranking factors. First, a remarkable 24% of the population holds higher education degrees here and 73% of its workforce has health insurance coverage. Not only that, but the metro’s robust job market also offers a healthy supply of MBA job occupations of 9% of the total number of jobs, as well as impressive median earnings approaching $120,000 annually. 

Of course, with prestigious universities hosting top-tier MBA programs, Boston provides unparalleled education and job opportunities, as well as a vibrant lifestyle due to its many leisure establishments. In particular, students and graduates who want to gain real-life office experience while completing their studies or even start their own venture in a conducive environment will be happy to learn that Boston is home to a healthy supply of coworking spaces — almost four per every 100,000 residents.  

8. Raleigh-Cary, NC – Total Points: 58.4 

Next, Raleigh proves to be a prime location for MBA education due to a compelling mix of academics, exciting career prospects and a great quality of life. For instance, with nearly one-fifth of its population boasting a graduate or professional degree, Raleigh fosters a highly educated workforce. Plus, the metro is dedicated to employee well-being — given that almost three-quarters of employees benefit from health insurance coverage.  

Furthermore, just like D.C., Raleigh boasts a high density of coworking spaces with four per 100,000 residents, thereby providing ample opportunities for collaboration and innovation among shared workspaces. And, as part of the Research Triangle, Raleigh offers abundant educational and job opportunities, further enhancing its appeal as a prime location for MBA pursuits. 

9. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA – Total Points: 58.3 

Known for its thriving tech scene and exciting career prospects, San Francisco is also a hotspot for MBA students and graduates. Specifically, the metro ranked fourth in two highly relevant metrics — its highly educated workforce of almost 24% of the total population, as well as its high number of MBA-related careers with 10% of the overall jobs. Moreover, after San Jose, San Francisco came in second as the highest-paying metro area for MBA occupations by boasting median earnings of more than $140,000. It’s worth noting here that both of these metros were recently named among the top in the nation for women working in tech, further solidifying their reputations as enticing hubs for higher-educated professionals in a variety of fields. 

As expected, San Francisco is also a great place to be from a personal standpoint, given its hefty number of leisure establishments — almost 300 per 100,000 residents — and higher standard of life.  

10. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD – Total Points: 55.8 

Rounding out the top 10 metros ideal for MBA graduates, Baltimore stood out for more than its historic sites and great food options. In this case, the metro area ranked third in terms of job offerings for MBA graduates, constituting 10% of its total job market. Moreover, Baltimore has promising prospects for this demographic with median earnings surpassing $100,000 per year.  

Plus, one-fifth of the metro’s population has a higher education degree, which shows Baltimore’s allure as a vibrant center for MBA professionals seeking career advancement and financial prosperity. 



The metros analyzed were selected based on population. We looked at MSAs with more than 500,000 residents that had available data for all of the metrics included. 

To compile this study, we used data from the following sources:  

  • The population aged 25 or older with a graduate or professional degree, 2022 (10% of the total index) – Source: Census Bureau. 
  • Employment for occupations specific to MBA graduates, 2023 (15% of the total index) – Source: BLS-OEWS, O*Net OnLine. For this metric, we considered the percentage of jobs (employment) for MBA occupations per the total jobs in the given area. The occupations were determined based on the crosswalk between education and occupation from O*Net OnLine. 
  • Unemployment rate for the population aged 25 to 64 with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 2022 (15% of the total index) – Source: Census Bureau. 
  • Median wage for occupations specific to MBA grads, 2023 (15% of the total index) – Source: BLS-OEWS. The median wage was calculated as a weighted average (by employment) of the median wage of included occupations only when data for both employment and earnings was available. 
  • Regional price parity as a cost of living indicator, 2022 (10% of the total index) – Source: BEA. The regional price parities (RPPs) measure the differences in price levels across states and metropolitan areas for a given year and are expressed as a percentage of the overall national price level. The national RPP level is 100. The RPP items cover all consumption goods and services — housing costs (including rent), utilities, goods and other services. 
  • Employer-based health insurance cover for persons aged 26 to 64, 2022 (15% of the total index) – Source: Census Bureau. 
  • Leisure establishments density, 2021 (5% of the total index) – Source: Census Bureau.  
  • Coworking space density, 2024 (5% of the total index) – Source: CoworkingCafe
  • New business applications, 2022 (10% of the total index) – Source: Census Bureau. We used county-level data matched to MSA. 

Fair Use & Redistribution 

We encourage and freely grant you permission to reuse, host or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to or this page so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology. 


Laura Pop-Badiu is a Senior Creative Writer at CoworkingCafe and CoworkingMag, with a degree in Journalism and a background in both hospitality and real estate. Laura is a certified bookworm with a genuine passion for the written word and a keen interest in the coworking sector. Her work has been featured in major publications like Forbes, NBC News, The Business Journals, Chicago Tribune, MSN and Yahoo! Finance, among others.

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