Which Business School Should I Attend? NC State or South Carolina

NC State vs South Carolina

North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park area is a great place to live and work. It’s one of the nation’s top areas for science and engineering jobs, and it’s home to many great universities. It sprawls across three cities—Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill—and is a booming area to live, work, and go to school. Columbia, South Carolina could also be included in the Research Triangle because it’s also home to a top university, and that’s what we’re taking a look at today.

NC State University’s Poole College of Management and the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business offer very comparable MBA programs in the area, which can make it difficult to choose the right school for you. We’re looking at the individual features of each program as well as comparing their rankings, cost, and location to help you out.

NC State University Poole College of Management

The NC State University Poole College of Management features the Jenkins MBA. There are full-time, Evening, and Online programs available, depending, on your interests and needs as a student. The full-time program is 21 months in length and consists of 56 credits: 21 core; 12 concentration-focused; and 23 dedicated electives. The Professional MBA offers classes at both their Raleigh and Research Triangle Park (RTP) locations on weekday evenings. The Online MBA program requires 40 credit hours, is highly flexible and only requires two, three-day on-campus residencies to graduate.

Why NC State?

  • Five MBA concentrations are available, including Financial Management, Innovation Management, Marketing Management, Supply Chain Management, and Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC).
  • The McLauchlan Leadership Series offers a unique opportunity for MBA students to earn a leadership certificate through experiential learning as well as to become a McLauchlan Leadership Fellow and earn a scholarship.
  • The majority of Jenkins MBA graduates are employed by the tech industry (28.6 percent) followed by manufacturing (18 percent), and consulting (14 percent)
The Poole College of Management at NC State University offers students in the Research Triangle one of the best schools for a career in tech, with over 28 percent of recent MBA grads earning a job in the field.

University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business

The University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business offers three MBA programs: a One-Year MBA; an International MBA; and a Professional MBA. The One-Year MBA program is actually just ten months long, and is designed to be an intensive program where students focus on a functional specialization. There’s also a separate Business Analytics option. The International MBA program is 22 months long and focuses on helping students gain a cultural and business understanding of international markets. The Professional MBA is highly flexible with both evening and Saturday courses available.

Why University of South Carolina?

  • The Darla Moore full-time MBA program is only 10 months long and includes specializations in Finance, Global Supply Chain & Operations Management, Marketing, or Strategic Management.
  • There’s a unique Business Analytics-focused One-Year MBA program, which combines communication skills with an analytics skillset.
  • The 22-month International MBA program offers two tracks: language and global. Students are immersed within a country of their choice including ten to 15-weeks in a country of their choice.

Rankings: NC State vs South Carolina

In terms of rankings, NC State Pool College of Management and University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business are comparable—they are fairly evenly matched. The U.S. News & World Report as well as Bloomberg (two U.S.-based reports), rank them both as mid-range schools. The only major difference is the fact that NC State shows up on The Economist, which is not the case for the University of South Carolina.  

PublicationNC State PooleSouth Carolina Darla Moore
U.S. News & World Report (U.S. Only)85 (tie)74 (tie)
Financial Times (Global)Not RankedNot Ranked
Forbes (Global)Not RankedNot Ranked
The Economist (Global)93Not Ranked
Bloomberg (U.S. Only)4070

Cost: NC State vs South Carolina

When it comes to cost, the University of South Carolina is much more affordable. Not only is the cost of living more affordable in SC, but the program’s tuition is also less expensive. The One-Year MBA is just half the cost of the two-year MBA program at NC State. And even South Carolina’s two-year International MBA program is over $15,000 cheaper than NC State.

When it comes to raw affordability, SC’s Darla Moore School of Business is far more affordable than its NC State counterpart.

Currently, the NC State Jenkins MBA tuition is $87,217; far more than the Darla School of Business One-Year MBA ($40,790), and International MBA ($71,580).

Location: NC State vs South Carolina

While NC State and the University of South Carolina are both considered schools in the Research Triangle, their locations are unique enough that there are some differences between the two. NC State is located in Raleigh, North Carolina while the University of South Carolina is located in Columbia, South Carolina about 210 miles and four hours away. What does this distance mean?

  • Cost of Living: Raleigh is 21.4 percent more expensive than Columbia.
  • Housing: Median home cost is 100.5 percent more expensive in Raleigh—$273,900 vs. $136,700.
  • Education: Raleigh spends 43.9 percent less per student, and they have an 18.2 percent higher student to teacher ratio than Columbia. 
  • Commute: Residents in Raleigh commute 8.2 percent longer than residents of Columbia.
  • Jobs: Future job growth for Raleigh is positive with 44.2 percent expected compared to Columbia with 27.4 percent expected—less than the national average (33.5 percent).


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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