Finding An MBA In Texas: Dallas Vs. Houston

mba Houston Dallas

Can a full-time MBA program differ per city? While you might assume that they’re all the same, the truth of the matter is that location can play a significant role in what’s available at any given program. Different cities focus on different industries or even job functions based on the expertise and companies within the metro area.

That’s even the case when looking at different cities in the same state. While Dallas and Houston might not be too far apart regarding geography, the full-time MBA programs in each city have some fundamental differences and similarities.

  • Dallas: More focused on job placements and career prospects. They also place a large emphasis on MBA concentrations and hands-on experience opportunities.
  • Houston: Heavy emphasis placed on scholarship opportunities for full-time MBA students. They also emphasize flexibility and MBA concentration opportunities. Houston also focuses on smaller classes sizes for a more intimate learning experience.


Forbes recently named Dallas the best city for jobs based on a 20.3 percent job growth over the last five years. “Dallas’ economy has multiple points of strength, including aerospace and defense, insurance, financial services, life sciences, data processing and transportation,” explained the article. However, one thing to note is that Dallas MBA students must travel to Houston for the best experience in the nergy industry. Still, the full-time MBA programs have some strong selling points in Dallas.

Cox School of Business – Southern Methodist University

“The cultural, athletic and entertainment offerings in Dallas, Texas are practically limitless. The Cox School of Business at SMU is located in the heart of Dallas, minutes away from downtown,” according to the school website. The full-time MBA at SMU Cox is a 21-month program with a required internship and classes Monday through Thursday and in the evenings. The average work experience required is only 2-4 years, and students come from a range of backgrounds. One of the benefits of the program is the ability to choose a concentration from a list of eight: Accounting, Finance, General Business, Information Technology and Operations Management, Management, Marketing, Real Estate or Strategy & Entrepreneurship.

Commerce College of Business – Texas A&M University

The full-time MBA program at the Commerce College of Business at Texas A&M is 30-48 hours in length and requires no GMAT or work experience to apply. It can be completed either online or on campus and offers minors in Accounting, Economics, Finance, Financial Planning, International Business, Marketing and Management.

Hankamer School of Business – Baylor University

In 16 or 21 months, students can graduate from the Hankamer School of Business with a full-time MBA degree. What makes the program stand out are the scholarship opportunities—around 75 percent of students receive tuition remission. Another stand out of the program is the ability to learn in the “real world” by working “directly with company executives to analyze an identified dilemma, prepare research, critically assess and develop viable solutions for an actual business as part of our MBA Focus Firm class.” Finally, it takes advantage of the great job market in Dallas with a Career Management team that was ranked third in the nation for job placement by U.S. News & World Report.

McCombs School of Business – University of Texas at Austin

The full-time MBA at the McCombs School of Business offers students the ability to choose between 20 concentrations and various dual degree options. The main concentrations include Accounting, Finance, Interdisciplinary (Entrepreneurship, Healthcare, etc.), IROM (Information Management), Management, Marketing and Business, Government & Society. The average student has around five-and-a-half years of work experience but comes to the school from a variety of industries. What really makes the program stand out are the hands-on learning experiences that include workshops, fellows programs and venture labs.

Naveen Jindal School of Management – University of Texas at Dallas

At Naveen Jindal, the full-time MBA program is only 16 months, plus two months in the workforce. It’s a small cohort of just 50 students and career-focused. Nearly 80 percent of students receive a scholarship and classes are completed in both the daytime—for core courses—and in the evenings—for electives. There are 15 concentrations available including but not limited to Accounting, Finance, Business Analytics, Internal Audit, Marketing and Real Estate, etc.

Neeley School of Business – Texas Christian University

The Neeley School of Business full-time MBA is ranked fifth by the U.S. News & World Report for “Best ROI at Graduation.” MBA students in the program have the opportunity to consult with Fortune 500 companies and build a meaningful resume all while in school. There are many experiential learning opportunities including consulting projects, integrative projects, case competitions, and more. “The Princeton Review’s Best Business Schools (2016 edition) rated TCU MBA students at #8 in the nation for their ability to handle a rigorous academic program,” the website said.


Unlike Dallas, the Houston economy hasn’t been quite as booming. Last year, an oil bust dearly harmed the economy and only now is the city starting to recover. The University of Houston forecasted 38,000 new jobs in 2017—twice that of 2016—but far below Dallas’ growth rate. “Despite efforts to diversify the Houston economy, [Bill] Gilmer [Director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting] said, the region still depends heavily on the energy industry,” wrote the Houston Chronicle. “The ratio of energy jobs to non-energy jobs in Houston’s employment core—those ‘basic jobs’—hasn’t changed in 20 years.” So, while Houston schools are just as attractive as Dallas schools with many MBA concentrations on offer, one thing you’ll notice is that Houston School places emphasis on scholarships over Dallas programs.

Cameron School of Business – University of St. Thomas

The Cameron School of Business full-time MBA requires 36 hours to graduate and offers students the option to take classes six days a week. One of the biggest benefits of the program is the small class sizes with only 135 total students. Students can choose between nine concentrations including Accounting, Economics, Ethics, Finance, Marketing and Health Care Administration, etc. “Cameron School of Business MBA graduates benefit from considerable career advantages including outstanding access to the Houston business community and employment opportunities in an increasingly competitive global business environment,” the website explained.

C.T. Bauer College of Business – University of Houston

The C.T. Bauer College of Business full-time MBA is 22 months long. Students typically have five years of work experience and are around 28 years old. One of the main features that make the program stand out is the iCAM (Integrated Coaching, Advising and Mentoring Program). “Each student is assigned a three-person team to work with them throughout their MBA tracks to ensure they are maximizing their academic, co-curricular and career opportunities while meeting their development goals,” according to the school website. As for concentrations, the school calls them certificates and there are 20 options including Accounting, Energy, Finance, Real Estate, Management and Marketing.

Mays Business School – Texas A&M University

At the Mays Business School, the full-time MBA is just 18 months in length and is focused on career placement. “In 2015, 94 percent of MBA graduates secured employment with an average salary of more than $100,000 within three months of graduating,” the website explains . The school is connected to more than 800 student organizations and offers small cohorts for a small teacher to student ratio. Five academic tracks are offered including Data Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing and Supply Chain and Operations. There are also additional certificate programs available. Classes are held Monday through Thursday with enrichment opportunities on Friday afternoons.

Rice University – Jones Graduate School of Business

The Jones Graduate School of Business full-time MBA is made for students with two years of work experience who would like to graduate within 22 months. The program stands out for its Action Learning Project, which lets students put their knowledge to work in the first year. Around 82 percent of students received a merit-based scholarship and came from a range of backgrounds. Concentrations available include Accounting, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Marketing and more.

University of Houston – Downtown

The full-time MBA at the University of Houston-Downtown is only one year in length and was developed for an efficient schedule with hybrid evening classes. Eight concentrations are available including Accounting, Finance, Leadership, Business Development, Supply Chain Management and more. One of the main benefits of the program is the lower tuition rates, which, according to the school website, are “one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.”

Jesse H. Jones School of Business – Texas Southern University

At the Jesse H. Jones School of Business, full-time MBA students can expect a 36-hour program and two years of course work. The school offers but a general MBA and an MBA with concentrations in Health Care Administration, Accounting or Management Information Systems. The incoming class size is small, with just 222 students.

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About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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