11 Best Laptops For MBA Students in 2021 [All Specializations]

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Looking for the right laptop to help you power through your business school assignments, take notes in online lectures, run productivity apps, and kick back with a Netflix movie or play your favorite video game? One that fulfills all your school needs, and lasts for years?

Finding a suitable option can be a challenge. There are so many options out there — along with a ton of tech jargon — and making a final decision is always tough. That is why, we did the homework and have listed the 11 very best-rated laptops for MBA students.

Before making this list, we took many factors into consideration: display size & resolution, storage capacity, portability, battery life, performance, etc. You will also find some laptops with additional features such as a touch screen, backlit keyboard, or a fingerprint sensor, stylus compatibility, etc. if they are important to you.

 Minimum System RequirementsRecommended System Requirements
CPU8th Gen Intel Core i510th Gen Intel Core i7
RAM8GB16GB
Storage256GB SSD or 500GB HDD512GB SSD
Display13.3-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
GPUIntegrated Intel UHD 6202GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
BatteryUp to 5 hoursUp to 10 hours

Best Laptops for MBA Students in 2021

We’ve based our selection of laptops on the computing needs of an average MBA student, in terms of performance, ports, battery life, and more. Since laptops aren’t only used for college studies or work, we made sure to choose options suited for other tasks such as gaming, content consumption, streaming, web browsing, etc. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this list:

  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 14-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q
  • Battery: Up to 9 hours

The MSI Prestige 14 is the most unique laptop on this list for two main reasons: the display and the GPU. The stunning 14-inch 4K UHD display (3840 x 2160 resolution) followed by the GTX 1650 GPU can lead to a great gaming experience for those relaxing times when you are not studying.

That said, it can deliver over 60FPS (1080p Medium-to-High settings) in games like Apex Legends, PUBG, GTA V, Far Cry 5, RDR2, and many more. A high-resolution display also means less strain on your eyes when reading and typing documents as well. Plus, it makes watching movies or videos a lot more enjoyable. Besides, if you put in long hours into reading and viewing resource material, can also benefit from this sharp screen.

This laptop has everything you’d expect in this price range: a quad-core 10th Gen Intel CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Windows 10 Pro 64-bit pre-installed. The featured OS allows you to install almost every relevant application and software solution, sans compromising on productivity.

It comes with a 720p HD webcam, a fingerprint reader, a backlit keyboard, and a standard touchpad. It’s equipped with two USB ports, two USB-C ports, one headphone jack, and one MicroSD card reader. This is more than sufficient for general day-to-day use but we were  most impressed with the Intel Wi-Fi 6 standard, which allows students to access the fastest possible internet speeds in their vicinity.

Another interesting thing about the Prestige 14 is its design. It not only looks sleek, elegant, and stealthy, but you’re presented with three color options when buying it: rose pink, white, and carbon grey.

If you’re planning on using your laptop for gaming on top of all the general work-related tasks, the Prestige 14 is the perfect option, more so with the 9-hour battery backup to fall back upon.

While you can technically play games on the other laptops on this list as well, this laptop would give you the best experience among them all. Not only in terms of detail on-screen, but also a smooth framerate and a quick response time. Plus, it also provides all the necessary ports you need for attaching an external display, if you like gaming on the big screen.

Pros
  • Sleek, elegant, and stealthy design
  • Powerful dedicated GPU
  • High-resolution display perfect for reading text and typing
  • Weighs only 2.64 pounds
  • Windows 10 Pro pre-installed
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life of only up to 9 hours
  • Non-RGB backlight keyboard (only white)
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours

The ASUS ZenBook 15 also provides great value for its price. Not only can you use it for your MBA related work, watching shows on netflix, but can also do resource intensive tasks such as playing games, machine learning, video editing, etc.

The combination of a quad-core 10th Gen Intel CPU and a GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q design of GPU ensures balanced performance in all workloads for an MBA student. Therefore, workflow management, spreadsheet management, work prioritization via Trello, and even File Sharing are easier to manage even with a low-power, U-series processor at the helm.

Although Max-Q designed GPU are not as powerful as the vanilla versions, but they’re still good enough for playing some decent-looking games. It can run light games like CSGO, Valorant, and Fortnite at 60FPS. When it comes to AAA games like Forza Horizon 4, however, you’ll need to lower your graphical settings quite a bit to get a playable frame-rate.

You also get 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, which should be more than sufficient for general school work and day-to-day use. As MBA students often work around Microsoft Office and project notes, a sizable storage space followed by a fast chunk of system memory is more than necessary.

As the primary display, you get a 15.6-inch Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) panel. 4K panels are known for accurate color reproduction and good viewing angles. So be it making posters for a college event/fest, motion graphic videos, etc, the display won’t let you down.

Of course, as you’ve seen in the picture, you also get a 5.6-inch interactive touchscreen trackpad. This is not a feature available in many laptops, and is what sets the ZenBook 15 apart from its competition. Although it can be useful in the right situation, it suffers the same fate every other dual-screen laptop does: it’s glitchy. In fact, it’s recommended that you use an external mouse with this laptop and avoid using the trackpad, extensively.

Besides that, it also has a full-size backlit keyboard, a 720p HD webcam, and comes with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit pre-installed. It also offers an OK 8 hours of battery life.

With regard to ports, the ZenBook 15 has two USB ports, one USB-C port, one HDMI port, one audio jack, and one MicroSD card reader. This is sufficient for most users, including MBA students. It allows for fast data transfer speeds and adding an external display.

The only downsides of this laptop are the lack of Thunderbolt support, a glossy outer body, and a gimmicky touchpad. But, if these points sound trivial, then the ZenBook 15 can be a great premium Windows laptop for you, especially if you are in a business school. It has a decent battery life, powerful specs, and is light and portable. Basically, it’s perfect for any MBA student.

Pros
  • Interactive touchscreen touchpad
  • Light-weight and portable
  • Powerful dedicated GPU
  • Extremely thin bezels
Cons
  • Glossy outer body acts as a fingerprint magnet
  • No Thunderbolt support
  • CPU: 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD Touch (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD 620
  • Battery: Up to 12 hours

If you like the 2-in-1 convertibles, the HP Spectre X360 is an excellent choice.

It features a 10th Gen quad-core Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 13.3-inch 1080p (1920 x 1080) Touch display with an HP Active Stylus Pen bundled in the box. And, of course, it comes with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit operating system pre-installed by HP.

Each of the mentioned attributes come in handy to MBA students, while adding to the functionality and productivity.

Jacob, MBA Student at Yale University

While the 10th gen, graphics-optimized processor ensures better spreadsheet management, the sizable storage module helps students house documents, key resources, and training videos without breaking a sweat. The sharp, touch screen display is good enough for connecting with teachers and other students, via video conferencing.

It’s equipped with a 720p camera, a backlit keyboard, a standard touchpad, along with plenty of ports: two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB-A port, one headphone jack, and even a microSD card reader.

This is more than what most MBA student laptops offer and should be plenty for general use. You can even attach an external display to it, if you want. Additionally, some special features include a webcam kill switch, a mic mute key, and a fingerprint reader. Plus, it also features high-end Bang & Olufsen speakers for music listening. All these attributes make professional and personal indulgences easier for a business school student.

The X360 stands out with its gem-cut metallic design. It fits into any kind of work environment while still being unique and recognizable. The battery life on this laptop is at around 12 hours, and it should last you a regular workday if you avoid any heavy multitasking, and stick to light tasks.

In conclusion, the X360 is a great all-round Windows device for students and working-from-home professionals alike. Especially for MBA students, who benefit from a high-end CPU, plenty of RAM, and a high-speed SSD. You’ll be able to browse the web without lag, save and edit documents quickly, and also pass the time with a movie or some gaming if you want. However, it could do better in terms of battery life and gaming performance, but it provides exceptional value on all other fronts

Pros
  • Unique gem-cut design
  • High-end Bang & Olufsen speakers
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Touch screen with an HP Active Stylus Pen
  • Slim bezels
Cons
  • Slightly overpriced based on specs
  • Glossy display, no anti-glare
  • CPU: 3.2GHz Apple M1 chip
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch Retina (2560 x 1600)
  • GPU: 8-Core M1 Integrated iGPU
  • Battery: Up to 20 hours

You may be wondering, doesn’t the MacBook Air have the same M1 chip as well, and pretty much the same specs, more or less? Then why is the Apple Macbook Pro more expensive?

Before we discuss the premium features the MacBook Pro offers over the MacBook Air, let’s list the things both laptops share. First comes the M1 chip. Then, with the ports, it’s the same story. The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro also has only two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Both laptops also run the macOS Big Sur OS, have the same keyboard, touchpad, and webcam. Both have similar design and weight as well, with the Pro weighing about 3 pounds and the Air about 2.8 pounds. Now, let’s discuss what the MacBook Pro has to offer over the MacBook Air, even though it is one of the best computing assets for students and professionals, alike.

Most importantly, it has a much better battery life of over 20 hours. It also offers an OLED Touch Bar in place of physical Function keys, and better cooling performance for heavy workloads and multitasking. Therefore, if you are also performing certain professional duties in addition to following the MBA coursework, this is the perfect gadget to rely on.

Although both laptops share the same resolution of 2560 x 1600, the Pro is brighter at 500 nits, compared to the Air at 400 nits. However, the extended color gamut ensures that you do not miss out on any detail while viewing relevant resource material.

The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are now more equal than ever, and that’s a great thing. If you want a macOS laptop, but can’t afford to buy a MacBook Pro, go for a MacBook Air. But, if on the other hand, you care about premium features like better battery life, better cooling performance, and a brighter display, then the MacBook Pro is a good choice.

Pros
  • Better battery life than MacBook Air
  • Light-weight and portable
  • OLED Touch Bar
  • Professional design
  • Powerful specs
Cons
  • Only two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Tad pricier for MBA students
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD + 2TB HDD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD 620
  • Battery: Up to 11 hours

For a long time, the ThinkPad has been one of the most recognized notebooks, not only in terms of design, but also speed, build quality, and durability. The Lenovo ThinkPad E15 stays true to that reputation.

Coupled with a 10th Gen quad-core Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, it makes for a powerful beast. Where it stands apart from the other laptops on this list, however, is in storage capacity.

You get 1TB of SSD storage, and 2TB of HDD storage. 3TB of storage is more than enough for most people, especially for MBA students who rarely work with large files, unless for managing projects and storing certification training modules. But if storage is important to you, then this laptop is a good choice.

In terms of peripherals, it’s equipped with a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display, a 720p HD webcam, a backlit keyboard, and a standard touchpad. Additionally, you also get three USB ports, one USB-C port, one HDMI port, one Ethernet port, and one audio jack.

It allows for fast data transfer, adding external displays, and charging other devices. As expected, these specs are plenty for any business student, helping them manage data transfers, peripheral pairing, and other tasks with ease.

The battery life this laptop offers isn’t great. It’ll last you a full day outdoors only if you’re doing light tasks like taking notes in class and reading emails, but if you’re planning to use it for some heavy multi-tasking, it’s recommended that you carry along a power pack.

In summary, the ThinkPad E15 is the right pick for you if your priority is power rather than portability. It has that classic bold and iconic ThinkPad look we are all familiar with. Although it’s pretty hefty at 4.3 pounds and has a mediocre battery life, it makes up for that in power, storage capacity, and a great port arrangement.

While some might shy away from the U-series processor and look for the more powerful H-series counterpart, this gadget scales beyond the same courtesy of zero throttling effects.

Pros
  • Extremely high storage capacity
  • 15.6-inch display great for multitasking and content consumption
  • Plenty of ports
  • Sufficient RAM for multitasking
  • Powerful quad-core CPU
Cons
  • Heavy and unportable
  • Old design
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD 620
  • Battery: Up to 18.5 hours

The LG Gram is one of the laptops with a long battery life. Despite that it packs many features even some premium laptops don’t, thus earning the title of Best Value for Money.

The quad-core 10th Gen Intel CPU promises good performance for any general tasks an MBA student might use it for, including setting up accounting workflows for investment banking (finance) or handling product management resources. Additionally, it has 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home 64-bit operating system.

It has 3 USB ports, one USB-C port, one headphone jack, one HDMI port, and one MicroSD card reader. On top of that, you also get a USB-C to Ethernet wire adaptor in the box. This is sufficient for general use, and you can attach an external display too, if necessary.

The LG Gram’s 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display is a huge plus. IPS panels are, as I mentioned before, known for accurate color reproduction and great viewing angles. This makes them perfect for content consumption or any kind of visual task like basic photo and video editing. Besides, resources pertaining to almost every MBA track can be viewed with ease on this sharp screen.

In addition to that, it’s 720p HD webcam is optimal for video conferencing as well, provided you need to stay connected with the teachers, even when on the move. The backlit keyboard and the fingerprint reader are also pretty useful.

This laptop doesn’t score high in terms of design, and is unsuitable for gaming as well. But, on the other hand, it’s light and portable, weighing 2.41 pounds and having 18.5 hours of battery life. Furthermore, it’s also the right pick for you if you use video conferencing apps like Skype and Zoom a lot, and love binging shows and movies on Netflix.

The LG Gram is perfect for school work and if you’re not looking to play AAA games or edit videos. Rather, just something lightweight and portable with a long battery life. Moreover, for MBA students who are constantly globetrotting, the portability quotient associated with this machine can be quite resourceful.

Rebecca Jolie

Alternatively, it’s also perfect if you already own a desktop PC or some other primary device. Thus, you can use it as a secondary device for light tasks like sending emails, doing video chats, browsing the internet, staying up-to-date with the news, watching YouTube or Twitch, etc.

Overall, this LG Gram 15 is one of the best gadgets for an MBA student as the existing battery module lasts close to 19 hours at a stretch, making it possible to work on for extended hours, unplugged.

Pros
  • Extremely lightweight and portable
  • Great battery life
  • High-quality 1080p HD webcam
  • Has all the necessary ports
  • Comes with USB-C to Ethernet wire adaptor
Cons
  • Unsuitable for gaming
  • Cheap built quality and generic design
  • CPU: 3.2GHz Apple M1 chip
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch Retina (2560 x 1600)
  • GPU: 8-Core M1 Integrated iGPU
  • Battery: Up to 18 hours

The Apple MacBook Air was considered a pretty good laptop back in 2019, but after it’s recent 2020 update, it’s really a fantastic choice. The main reason for that is Apple’s new M1 chip, an 8-core beast with a 3.2GHz clock speed. The octa-core processor is actually good enough for a majority of MBA tracks and relevant applications.

You can order a MacBook Air pre-configured to your needs, which is really cool. Although we mentioned that it has 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD-based storage in the spec sheet, this can be upgraded to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB or 2TB SSD, respectively.

This makes it a good option if you have very specific requirements, but don’t want to open up your laptop yourself with a screwdriver to change your SSD or add an extra RAM stick.

The iGPU is pretty powerful as well, standing up to the likes of Radeon RX 560 and the GTX 1050 Ti. Although you can technically play games on it, it’s not as straight-forward as on PC.

The truth is, Apple MacBooks aren’t designed for gaming. They don’t have the proper cooling capability to handle gaming, and it can lead to overheating. There are ways around this, however. You can try out Cloud gaming services like Google Stadia and GeForce Now. Plus, if you own a PS4 or PS5, you can use PlayStation Remote Play. And, if nothing else, you can always find some great games on the App Store.

However, if you are in business school and heavily reliant on tools like Microsoft Security Essentials, MS Office, Dropbox, and more, the existing system configuration is more than adequate.

Doing any of this will lower the load on your MacBook and prevent any overheating issues while still giving you a bug-free and smooth gaming, academic, and professional experience.

If you’re going to be working with a lot of text on your laptop—could be programming, reading, writing, browsing the internet, etc.—a high-resolution display is always recommended for minimizing strain on your eyes. Fortunately, this laptop has a 13.3-inch Retina (2560 x 1600) display.

What, exactly, is a “Retina” display? Well, any display that has more than 300 pixels per inch is classified as such. This is because beyond that point, the human eye cannot notice individual pixels. This doesn’t mean you need to buy an Apple product for better eye health. Any high-resolution display will do, but it’s something to keep in mind.

In terms of peripherals, this laptop has a 720p webcam that allows video conferencing, the new Magic Keyboard that replaces the ‘Butterfly’-switch keyboard from the 2019 model, and a touchpad.

Apple’s lightweight laptop looks professional and sleek, with a smooth aluminum finish, which is available in either silver or space gray. For ergonomics, it has a lip at the front so you can easily open up the display with one hand.

You will find two Thunderbolt 3 ports on this laptop. This allows for fast data transfer, adding multiple peripherals and external displays, but one or two more ports would’ve been nice. Besides, if as a MBA student you are into file sharing via DC++ and other relevant applications, the existing ports and legacy outputs are expected to come in handy.

Despite packing such power, the laptop has a great battery life of over 18 hours, thanks to its 4 low-power cores. Even though the curriculum taught at a business school isn’t expected to stretch the gadget to the brink, the lack of throttling still makes it a good bet even for some of the more demanding processes.

Although the MacBook Pro has some extra features and is a bit more powerful, (we’ll talk more about it here), the MacBook Air provides the best value for the price and is a great entry into macOS if you’ve always been a Windows user.

Pros
  • Professional and sleek design
  • Powerful specs
  • Excellent battery life
  • Light-weight and portable
  • High-resolution Retina display
Cons
  • Only two Thunderbolt 3 ports 
  • Limited hardware upgrade
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD Touch (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD 620
  • Battery: Up to 11 hours

The Dell XPS 13 is an excellent laptop for business students in the sub-$1000 range. Also, if you are strictly into touch-based functionality and ease of usage, this is the perfect gadget to work with.

Equipped with powerful specs like a quad-core 10th Gen Intel processor, 8GB of RAM, a 13.3-inch FHD Touch display, a 256GB SSD, a 720p HD webcam, and a backlit keyboard, the laptop ensures that your productivity is maximized to the fullest. While the Intel Core i5-10210U chipset might feel underwhelming to the power users, the low-power SoC is more than capable of managing almost every academic task with precision.

The XPS 13 has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB-C port, one MicroSD card reader, and one headphone jack. Again, this is sufficient for most business students. You’ll be able to transfer data, add external displays and peripherals, and charge devices like your phone or smartwatch on the go.

The 256GB SSD can be a hassle for some who might have to carry around HDDs when they use the laptop outdoors, but it shouldn’t be a problem for most MBA students.

The design of the XPS 13 isn’t exactly innovative, but it does look pretty sleek and stealthy. Weighing just about 2.7 pounds and having a battery life of up to 11 hours adds to its portability. In conclusion, it’s a great laptop for business students at around $1000 with powerful specs and a touch display.

Pros
  • Touch display
  • Light-weight and portable
  • Professional and versatile design
  • Stylus pen included in the box
  • Backlit keyboard
Cons
  • Insufficient storage space
  • Unsuitable for gaming
  • CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core i5-1035G4
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 12.3-inch Touch with S Pen (2736 x 1824)
  • GPU: Integrated Intel Iris Plus
  • Battery: Up to 10.5 hours

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a light-weight, portable, and versatile 2-in-1 device that can function both as a tablet and a laptop, and its specs prove that it fits that need perfectly.

It features a 10th Gen quad-core Intel CPU and Intel Iris Plus graphics. Moreover, it has 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed. The best thing about the Intel Core i5-1035G4 chipset is that is power-efficient and graphics optimized., making it easier for you to manage multiple academic and moderately-demanding professionals tasks with ease.

It’s 12.3-inch touchscreen has a resolution of 2736 x 1824. You might’ve noticed that this resolution is quite unique, and it is. It’s not Full HD, and it’s not Ultra HD either, but somewhere in between. Furthermore, it’s equipped with a 720p HD webcam, a backlit keyboard, a touchpad, and it has an okayish battery life of 10.5 hours. Each of the mentioned attributes add to the academic relevance of this detachable.

The Surface Pro 7 has one USB-C port, one USB-A port, one Surface Connect port, one Surface Type cover port, one MicroSDXC card reader, and a headphone jack. Again, not the best port arrangement, but it’s to be expected in a laptop of this size and capacity.

So, in summary, although the Surface Pro 7 is not suitable for heavy multitasking and for high-end business applications, it’s built for people who are looking for a device that’s primarily a tablet and can be converted into a laptop when needed. That’s the reason why it’s bundled with a stylus pen in the box.

You could use it when you’re outside for taking notes, replying to emails, doing video chats, reading business articles, and planning your day ahead on productivity apps. And if you’re looking for a device like that, it’s the perfect pick.

Pros
  • Light-weight and portable
  • Windows 10 Home pre-installed
  • Powerful quad-core CPU
  • Stylus pen included in the box
  • Sufficient RAM for multitasking
Cons
  • Unsuitable for high-end applications
  • Screen might be too small for multitasking
  • CPU: 2.6GHz AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: Integrated AMD Radeon Vega 3
  • Battery: Up to 6 hours

The Acer Aspire 5 is an excellent laptop in the $700 range. The Ryzen 3rd Gen 3200U processor and the AMD Radeon RX Vega 3 integrated GPU is a powerful combo. It can handle all the regular workloads you can throw at it, especially the ones concerning fire sharing, workflow management, and financial resourcing.

The 16GB of RAM adds to a smooth user experience, and the 1TB SSD also guarantees enough storage space for all your files. Therefore, as a business school student, you need not worry about the multi-tab browsing and other multitasking indulgences with this gadget to rely on.

Furthermore, this laptop also features a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display, which is relatively color accurate and good enough for viewing academic resources. Although the screen size and resolution in this laptop are good, IPS panels are known for having bad viewing angles. Granted, this won’t cause any major issues for most users, but it’s still good to know.

The Aspire 5 is equipped with all the usual peripherals you’d expect: a 720p webcam, a backlit keyboard, and a standard touchpad. You also get all the necessary ports: three USB ports, one HDMI port, one Ethernet port, and one headphone/mic combo jack. Although a MicroSD card reader and a Thunderbolt port would’ve been good, at this price point it’s acceptable.

These specs are plenty for most MBA students. You’ll be able to browse the web and open multiple tabs without any lag, and use productivity apps such as Trello, Slack, and Evernote. Furthermore, there’s also headroom for content consumption and light gaming.

The biggest let-down with this laptop is its battery life. It lasts only about 6 hours at regular usage, which is insufficient for most users. If you plan to use it outdoors for long periods of time, you might have to carry a power pack with you. However, MBA students who are mostly restricted to their workstations can still work around this  minor anomaly.

The Aspire 5 doesn’t have a cutting-edge design, but that’s OK. It looks sleek and simple, and is perfect for any kind of professional environment.

In conclusion, this is a great laptop for its price. If you are not picky about battery life, build quality, and viewing angles. But, if you can look beyond that, it has powerful specs, all the necessary ports and peripherals, a high-capacity SSD, and is fairly portable as well.

Pros
  • Powerful AMD CPU
  • Windows 10 Home pre-installed
  • Powerful CPU and GPU combo
  • Light-weight and portable
  • Sufficient RAM capacity for multitasking
Cons
  • Subpar viewing angles
  • Cheap build quality
  • CPU: 1.3GHz Intel Core i5-8200Y
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD LED (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD 615
  • Battery: Up to 12 hours

Chromebooks are still relatively new to the market, and not everyone is open-minded about them, but they can be excellent options for certain use-cases. Moreover, as the device lacks the Windows 10 OS, the Chrome OS can be deployed by the MBA students for managing a majority of web-centric tasks.

The Google Pixelbook Go sports an 8th generation dual-core Intel CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. It’s equipped with a 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) display, a 1080p webcam, a backlit keyboard, and an extra-large trackpad with multi-touch and gesture support.

While the webcam is good enough for staying connected with the professors, the functional keyboard serves well to students to need to type extensively.

The Pixelbook Go has two USB-C ports and a headphone jack. You can use these ports for charging, for connecting external displays and peripherals, and fast data transfer. But, still, the laptop definitely falls back in this aspect compared to the other options on this list.

At the end of the day, yes, it definitely isn’t a powerhouse. But it’s not supposed to be. The main focus, instead, is on portability and fulfillment of several drive-based processes.

Overall, it’s the perfect option if you do most of your work online, and are in the market for a Chromebook. It’s also a good option as a secondary device. You can still do all of your main work-related tasks on your primary device, and use this for light tasks like replying to emails, taking notes, reading business articles, watching online content, and tasks like that.

Pros
  • Great battery life
  • Light-weight and portable
  • Touchscreen
  • Tough and durable build quality
  • Extra-large trackpad with multi-touch and gesture support
Cons
  • Could take a while to adjust if you’re used to macOS or Windows
  • Lack of ports

How to Choose The Best Laptop for MBA Studies?

The above list might’ve sounded overwhelming to you, so let’s discuss some tips that can make it easier to choose which laptop to go for. We kept these points in mind when making this list, but it’s still worth learning, and could help you out in the future as well.

First of all, when choosing a laptop to use for your business courses, your main focus should be on function and usability. It’s easy to get carried away with external features like RGB and branding. 

Focus on performance-enhancing features like RAM, CPU, and storage capacity. Consider factors like durability, portability, warranty, and customer support. If you put function over form and keep these things in mind when choosing a laptop, you’ll find one that’ll be useful to you throughout your course.

Another thing to keep in mind the Operating System you use. The truth is, even if you purchase a laptop with great hardware, the wrong OS can ruin your experience. This is a long-term decision, because if you get used to one, it’s often difficult to switch to another. 

If you do almost all your work on the cloud from your browser, then buying a Chromebook is a  good option. They’re cheap, fast, and light. But, if you use high-end software like Adobe Premiere or Photoshop, then go for either Windows or macOS. You can find some great value-for-money Windows laptops that can handle those kinds of workloads, especially the ones relevant to the MBA coursework.

But if budget isn’t a constraint, go for a MacBook. MacOS is unmatched in reliability, security, and ease of use from any other OS. As you may already know, most businesspeople use MacBooks, and that’s the reason why.

But, keep in mind, the question of which OS to go for is a complex one. The points I made above matter, but your personal experience and use-case also comes into play. If you’ve used Windows most of your life, then you could find the switch to macOS uncomfortable and overwhelming.

Software compatibility is also essential. If you go for a macOS, for example, you could come across compatibility issues. Whereas, the main benefit of Windows is that it is compatible with almost every piece of software on the Internet.

In your MBA course, you might need to use many obscure and lesser known applications (and also plugins) that might only be available on Windows, and not have a viable macOS alternative. This is why knowing beforehand what applications you’re going to use is very important as it can guide you in which OS and laptop to go for.

There are also some extra features that might be important to you, as a business school student. A high-quality webcam is extremely important for a business laptop. In your Zoom meetings and video interviews, you don’t want your face to be distorted and pixelated. So, make sure you choose at least a 720p webcam (the higher the number the better) when choosing a laptop. It doesn’t have to have DSLR-level quality. As long as it captures your face and your expressions properly, it’s sufficient.

A fingerprint sensor can be helpful as well, for security. As a student, you’re going to be using your laptop outdoors a lot, and it’s important to make sure that you secure your data. A fingerprint sensor is the most reliable and practical way to do so. Lastly, a backlit keyboard is always a good feature to have. Sure, you won’t need it most of the time, but in some situations, it can be a total lifesaver.

Frequently Asked Questions

I already own a Windows PC which I use for most of my work-related tasks. But, I need a portable laptop as a secondary device on which I can do light tasks when I’m outside, and take notes when I’m in class. Which laptop would you recommend?

Based on what you said, you don’t really need a high-end or powerful laptop. I would recommend the LG Gram, the Google Pixelbook Go, the Dell XPS 13, or the Acer Aspire 5 Slim. These laptops are all under $1000, and are optimal for light tasks like reading emails, browsing social media, doing video chats, or reading business articles. Plus, they can also be used in conjunction with your Windows PC, and as a backup. For example, you can use them to display your to-do list while you work, or your social media feed.

As a business student, it’s very important for me to protect my data. Which is the best laptop on this list in terms of security?

If security is a major concern, you can choose a laptop which has a fingerprint reader. Both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, the HP Spectre X360, the MSI Prestige 14, and the LG Gram, all include fingerprint readers. Additionally, be mindful to avoid laptops with any pre-installed software, also known as bloatware. It’s not only annoying, but a security risk. It can be avoided by going with a reputable and well-known laptop brand. Furthermore, you can always follow basic security measures like install an antivirus, keep your system drivers up to date, change passwords often, and use a VPN. They don’t take a lot of time or effort, but go a long way in securing your data.

I’m a cinephile and want a laptop which is great for watching movies, is portable, and can also handle my work tasks. Which laptop would you recommend for the best experience?

I would recommend you either a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, or the MSI Prestige 14. Each of them have all the necessary specs an MBA student would need, in terms of performance, peripherals, and ports. But, more importantly, they each sport a 4K IPS display, which makes them perfect for watching movies and TV shows. I do realize that each of them are $1000+ laptops, however, so if they’re not in your budget, one alternative option is the LG Gram. It’s below $1000, but still sports a 15.6-inch Full-HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display and powerful specs.

What are the more relevant security specs that I need to consider while purchasing a laptop for my MBA coursework?

You should consider getting a laptop that features a dedicated fingerprint scanner. While this might be a good resource for the starters, you can follow the same up with an IR-powered webcam, privacy shutter to keep phishing attacks at bay, and the TPM security chip available in MacBooks and the Surface Pro gadgets from Microsoft.

Is it necessary for me to rely on a good keyboard as an MBA student?

Yes, as a student, regardless of the specialization, it is important to rely on a high-quality keyboard. As per our preferences, we would recommend a standard backlit module with a dedicated numeric keypad. This attribute allows you to manage the mathematical and financial calculations if the same is one of your academic tracks. Besides, as students need to type a lot during the projects and thesis submissions, you should opt for a device with an excellent key travel and the ErgoLift typing-friendly design, best seen in Asus-tagged notebooks.

Verdict

All of the above-mentioned laptops are good choices for any MBA student and are all perfect one way or the other. But it’s important to be specific about what features you want, and buy a laptop that fulfills your exact requirements. So, let’s break down this list:

  • If you want a macOS laptop on a budget of around $1000, go for the MacBook Air. On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend extra for some premium features, get the Macbook Pro.
  • If you’re on a tighter budget, the Acer Aspire 5 or the LG Gram are great Windows laptops.
  • If you’re looking for a premium Windows laptop, go for the MSI Prestige 14 or ASUS ZenBook 15.
  • If you value a touch display and want a 2-in-1 laptop, the HP Spectre X360 or the Dell XPS 13 would be good choices.
  • If portability is more important than processing power, and you do most of your work online, the Pixelbook Go is a good choice.

Still unable to decide the right one? Read our Laptop buying guide or use the Laptop Finder.

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