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The Best Business Schools of 2011

Lamar Horne was on the standard career path for someone with corner-office ambitions: an undergraduate degree in business, two years in investment banking, another two in private equity. Since most of his colleagues at PNC Mezzanine Capital in Pittsburgh had MBAs, Horne figured that if he wanted to reach partner level, he’d need one, too. By last December he had been accepted at two full-time MBA programs.

But as the 28-year-old tried to choose a school, he questioned the wisdom of leaving a good job in an unstable employment market. So in August he started a part-time MBA at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, just a few miles from his office. It’ll take him about a year longer than a traditional MBA, but he won’t have to leave PNC in his quest to advance. “I didn’t want to gamble with going to a full-time program, come out in two years with an increased debt load, and then hope to find a job,” Horne says.