The Best Online MBA Programs

The master of business administration, or MBA, is one of the most highly sought-after graduate degrees in the country. The versatile curriculum prepares students to work in a wide range of industries, and the degree offers a strong return-on-investment (ROI) due to the high earning potential among graduates. Job prospects for students holding MBAs are strong and continue to grow; according to a recent report from the Graduate Management Admission Council, around 88% of corporate recruiters said they planned on hiring recent MBA grads in the year 2016 — up 8% from the year before.

While many follow a traditional track and earn their MBA from a brick-and-mortar business school, a growing number of students are choosing to enroll in online MBA programs. This convenient, cost-effective alternative is ideal for learners who wish to pursue an advanced degree but are forced to juggle their education with other major commitments, such as employment or childcare.

Learn more about what you can do with an online MBA and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MBA PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

The best online MBA programs build on the foundational knowledge of undergraduate studies and introduce more advanced concepts related to business management and administration. In order to earn a degree specialization, students must complete entire course sequences in the niche area of business that most interests them. Many programs also culminate in a master’s thesis or capstone course; these final projects allow students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have acquired over the course of their MBA studies. Internships are widely available to MBA students, as well.

WILL AN ONLINE MBA WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

MBA online programs are designed to be flexible and easy to access. Students can download course materials, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors any time of day from the comfort of their personal computer. Additionally, they will be able to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other device with Wi-Fi capabilities. Course faculty will also offer consultations for students who are composing a master’s thesis or capstone project.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MBA?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a bachelor’s is considered the minimum education requirement for many management titles. These include high-salary roles like top executives, financial managers, and human resources managers. MBA graduates are often considered top candidates for these positions, as well as top-level jobs reserved for applicants with an advanced degree. On the other hand, those who earn an MBA with a specialization in entrepreneurship will be qualified to launch businesses of their own or provide their services to a startup enterprise.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online MBA programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online MBA, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1

Indiana University – Bloomington

 3/577.64%Bloomington, IN

campus-indiana-university-bloomington

The Program

The Kelley School of Business is home to an online MBA program includes a single week of in-person, introductory classes conducted at the Bloomington campus. The degree can be completed within two years.

Ideal for online MBA students who wish to travel, IU offers international electives once a quarter through the Accelerating Global Immersion Leadership Education (AGILE) program. These optional AGILE experiences create study-abroad opportunities for distance learners who wish to explore business applications in countries like China, India, South Africa or Botswana. On average, admitted students enter the program with a GPA of 3.3 and a combined GMAT score of 636.

The Platform

A virtual open house acquaints new and prospective students with the digital MBA program. Students sign in to the Canvas platform to access coursework, submit assignments and contribute to discussions with forum posts, video recordings and chat.

Testimonial

“It became clear that we were more than students abroad—we were a respected voice, we had something real to offer and people heard us. I’ll never forget that feeling.” - Carolyn Kirwin

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2

Arizona State University

 2/563.43%Tempe, AZ

campus_arizona_state_university

The Program

The Online MBA offered by the W.P. Carey School of Business is comprised of virtual coursework and a mandatory orientation session hosted on campus. The school prides itself on maintaining a comprehensive, customizable curriculum with personal guidance from student advisors.

Current graduate students serve as MBA Ambassadors by providing prospective and new students with admissions assistance and advice. Applicants are required to submit GMAT or GRE scores along with their completed admissions paperwork. On average, Online MBA students hold a cumulative GPA of 3.26 and a combined GMAT score of 577.

The Platform

Online learners sign onto the Blackboard system to view course materials, check webmail, collaborate on classroom wikis and submit discussion board posts. Several remote student services are available, such as course registration assistance, a Graduate Career Center, deadline reminders and technical help.

Testimonial

"Since I travel weekly for work, I needed a ranked school with an online option. W. P. Carey is a Top 30 accredited business school and the webinars and the responsiveness of the entire team made it clear that the W. P. Carey Online MBA was the right program for me." - Melanie Ying

Quick Facts

  • The college uses the popular learning management system Blackboard to connect students and faculty.
  • Nursing students can complete assessments, peruse course materials, use discussion boards to study in groups or asynchronously. At the discretion of the instructor, these courses may also be held during set times synchronously.
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3

University of Florida

 2/587.51%Gainesville, FL

campus_University_of_FLorida

The Program

The Hough Graduate School of Business offers an online MBA with a curriculum that mirrors the campus-based program. While all coursework is hosted online, students are expected to visit the campus for a full weekend each term. Online MBA students can choose from a 16-month or 27-month completion track, depending on the applicant's professional experience and background. Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit GMAT scores. On average, admitted students have a cumulative GPA of 3.4.

The Platform

Online courses are delivered through the Canvas and Sakai learning management systems. With these portals, students can submit assignments via virtual dropboxes, listen to classroom podcasts, take quizzes, read classroom announcements and participate in web conferences. Some courses require real-time meetings facilitated by the BigBlueButton service.

Quick Facts

  • Prospective students can view a sample course online.
  • 96% of freshmen undergraduates at U of F received some form of financial aid.
  • The Warrington College of Business Administration is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal.
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4

University of Texas at Dallas

 3/570.64%Richardson, TX

campus-University-of-Texas-Dallas

The Program

Future graduate students may earn an MBA online or in a hybrid format through UT Dallas. Those who wish to take all of their courses online should keep in mind that the elective course selections are limited compared to the campus-based selection.

Online MBA courses are available on an accelerated 8-week basis or traditional semester-long schedule. Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores issued during the last five years to be considered for admission. The average scores of current students are 600 for the GMAT and 320 for the GRE.

The Platform

Online courses are delivered on a synchronous basis between the hours of 4 and 10 pm, five days a week. Students sign onto the Blackboard system to view general course information, watch lecture videos, check webmail and contribute posts to ongoing classroom discussion forums. The UT Dallas Technology Support help desk services can be reached via phone five days a week at (972) 883-5800.

Testimonial

"The UT Dallas MBA professors are excellent. The classes are exciting and have lots of variety. Students get an unparalleled amount of personal attention—the staff, Team MBA, truly care about the success of the their students...I instantly gained a global network of colleagues that I will be able to reach out to for the rest of my life. Frankly, to get such an amazing MBA experience at such a low price is a no-brainer." - Aubrey McCarthy

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5

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 2/590.26%Chapel Hill, NC

campus_university_of_north_carolina_chapel_hill

The Program

The online MBA offered by UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School can be earned within 18-36 months of online study. Unique to UNC are the program's Global Immersion events, which are hosted quarterly in various international locations. The school requires that student's attend at least two of these events to graduate, though they may take part in as many as they like.

Six possible degree concentrations are available, including Global Supply Chain Management, Investment Management, Sustainable Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. According to UNC, about 71% of the student body enrolled in the MBA program receives career promotions during the course of their studies.

The Platform

Virtual courses at UNC have a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1, ensuring a certain level of personalized attention and instructional quality. Students attend synchronous video chat courses once a week, allowing classmates and instructors to spend time interacting with each other directly.

The MBA@UNC program has its own mobile app with offline coursework capabilities, like viewing past video lectures, submitting assignments, chatting with groups and managing task reminders.

Testimonial

"MBA@UNC has given me the opportunity to earn an MBA I can be proud of, without putting my life on hold. I'm thinking long term and I can't wait to take the next step." - Rahim Walker

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6

University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire

 2/568.23%Eau Claire, WI

The Program

The Online MBA degree available through UW Eau Claire can be earned entirely in the virtual classroom, no need to visit campus. Students without a business background must first complete the MBA Foundation program, which covers prerequisite topics like macroeconomics, accounting and market analysis.

The main program comprises a 30-credit curriculum consisting of elective courses, MBA modules and a Leadership mini-module led by instructors from four different UW campuses. These themed modules reflect everyday situations in the lives of business managers, as opposed to the purely academic atmosphere of stand alone courses. This unique aspect of the UW program provides students with a more well-rounded education.

The Platform

The Desire2Learn virtual classroom is where students access weekly assignments, lecture media, grades and classroom discussion boards. UW notes that some coursework may require software only compatible with Windows computers. Distance learners can reach a technical support help desk Monday-Friday at 888-832-7090 and after-hours at (608) 264-4357.

Testimonial

"My Consortium MBA degree helped me bridge the gap between biomedicine and IT. With the knowledge I gained from the program, I developed software that will foster sustainable, cost-saving care for millions of patients with chronic kidney disease." - Macaulay, Board Certified Physician

Quick Facts

  • University of Wisconsin Eau Claire was ranked #10 by the U.S. News and World Report on Best Online MBA Programs.
  • All MBA Foundation courses can be completed online.
  • Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores to be considered for admission.
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7

North Carolina State University

 2/574.98%Raleigh, NC

The Program

The Jenkins Graduate School of Management hosts an online MBA program that combines digital instruction with a required three-day weekend residency hosted in Raleigh, NC. The curriculum strongly emphasizes the role of technology in the modern business environment, and graduates are guaranteed to leave with an advanced competency in modern business computing.

Students who wish to gain further face-to-face interaction may also participate in an optional 8-10 day residency in China. The degree can be completed within 21 months, though students are allotted a maximum of six years to graduate.

The Platform

Online learners participate in a blend of synchronous and asynchronous activities with the Blackboard Collaborate and Moodle environments. Students access live web conferences, academic materials and discussion forums through these platforms. Campus-based and online MBA students have access to identical student support services, such as academic advising, career counseling and a technical helpline.

Testimonial

"I've realized that a big part of the experience in the MBA program is getting to know your community and fellow citizens and being involved in community service events like this creates that opportunity." - Kevin Idahor

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8

Temple University

 3/569.18%Philadelphia, PA

The Program

Graduate students can earn an MBA within 20 months by attending online courses and a weeklong, on-site residency program at Temple University. This top-ranked program combines instruction from industry leaders with maximum flexibility enabled by cutting-edge distance learning technology. Tuition includes books, case studies, software and an HD webcam with headset. On average, admitted students have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 and 12 years of work experience. Prospective students are required to submit GMAT scores to be considered for admission.

The Platform

This MBA program blends real-time and asynchronous online instruction. Students meet once a week through live WebEx conferences and access course materials 24/7 on the Blackboard learning management system. Lectures can be viewed in video format. A significant portion of student interactions occur through the digital discussion forums.

Testimonial

"When the time came to transition from arts management to the for-profit business world, I knew obtaining an MBA was a must, especially in this economy. Fox’s Full-time Global MBA program provided me with a great foundation in business with the flexibility to tailor the degree to my needs and interests." - Brittni Devereaux

Quick Facts

  • The Fox School of Business has been ranked #1 on the U.S. News and World Report's Best Online MBA Programs list.
  • During the weeklong residency program, students participate in an introductory Leadership Development course and meet their academic cohort peers.
  • Prospective students can drop in on virtual information sessions with Temple admissions advisors during TUCC Tuesday events.
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9

Auburn University

 2/570.86%Auburn University, AL

The Program

The MBA online program provided at Auburn gives students the opportunity to earn their graduate degree remotely, with a curriculum identical to the campus-based program. The Association of Graduate Business students is open to online students and provides additional networking and social opportunities for individuals within driving distance of campus. Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores to be considered for this program.

The Platform

A significant portion class lectures are streamed live, so students must be able to accommodate a synchronous learning schedule. Course materials and discussion board posts are facilitated by the Canvas learning management system. This platform can be accessed from iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as traditional computer browsers, making it a highly versatile system.

Quick Facts

  • MBA students may also pursue dual degree enrollment with an MSBA in Management Information Systems, Industrial and Systems Engineering or Finance.
  • Auburn University hosts an optional online student orientation session on campus.
  • Auburn is ranked #10 by the U.S. News and World Report on Best Online MBA Programs.
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10

Pennsylvania State University

 3/586.11%University Park, PA

The Program

Penn State's World Campus offers an intercollegiate MBA (iMBA) program that can be earned through the completion of online coursework and a weeklong residency program hosted at the State College campus location.

Penn State business schools from four different campuses have teamed up to provide this unique distance learning opportunity, ideal for students either with or without business backgrounds. Applicants are expected to submit GRE or GMAT scores from exams taken within the last five years.

The Platform

Online coursework is asynchronous, providing students with the greatest possible scheduling flexibility. Courses run for 12-15 weeks at a time, and students are expected to spend 8-12 hours per week studying for each course. Distance learners sign onto Blackboard to access course materials and webmail and to contribute to threaded discussions.

Testimonial

"The residencies were ultimately one of the deciding factors in choosing Penn State. Whenever I'm asked about why I chose the iMBA program by colleagues, I always mention the quality of the residencies." - Jeremy Wallace

Quick Facts

  • The majority of courses are taught completely online, but some of the master's degrees have residency requirements that must be met in order to graduate.
  • Courses are typically 12 to 15 weeks long.
  • Penn State has scholarships specifically for online students.
  • U.S. News & World Report: #7 - Best Online MBA Programs
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11

The University of Arizona

 3/560.26%Tucson, AZ

The Program

The Eller College of Management provides graduate students with a fully-online, 14-month MBA program. The school develops students' abilities to challenge assumptions and make decisive decisions. Candidates may pursue one of four degree concentrations, including marketing, management information systems, finance or management and organizations.

Applicants are qualified to apply if they have a bachelor's degree, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a GMAT score of 500 or greater.

The Platform

All coursework is delivered in an asynchronous format so that students can participate on their own schedule. Online learners sign onto the Blackboard Learn platform to turn in assignments, read course materials, catch up on classroom announcements and discuss topics with classmates. Distance learners receive instruction from the same faculty members who teach business students on campus.

Testimonial

"I was looking at online programs based upon their reputation, cost and application deadlines. I came across an article about the new University of Arizona program. For many programs, you had to wait until the fall to apply and tuition could be over $100,000. So the Eller Online MBA was the perfect combination of the right price and the right time." - Ofek Bar-llan

Quick Facts

  • The cost of eBooks are factored into students' tuition.
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with enrollment start dates five times a year.
  • Applicants are expected to have two years of professional experience.
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12

University of Michigan – Dearborn

 3/550.06%Dearborn, MI

The Program

The University of Michigan-Dearborn's online MBA program is designed and taught by the same faculty that teach on-campus. Course requirements and workloads are identical and no differential is made between online and campus-based students after graduation.

This program features four courses in Applied Integrated Management, a curricula focused on developing highly versatile business management skills. AIM courses include global marketing, international finance and supply chain management. All MBA candidates also take 27 credit hours of core coursework in courses like applied statistical modeling, corporate social responsibility and information systems. The entire program can be completed in 36-48 credit hours.

The Platform

UM-Dearborn uses the learning management software Canvas to host all online coursework. Prospective students can explore the software at UM's Getting Started module. Coursework for the MBA program can be completed fully online, but students do have the option to take courses at the Dearborn campus.

The program is not self-paced, though students may complete and access their course materials at any time of day. Students receive plenty of support from their faculty. This is because online courses are actually smaller than on-campus courses; online classes are capped at 25 students.

Quick Facts

  • Over 40% of UM-D's MBA students are enrolled full-time online.
  • In addition to the MBA program, UM-Dearborn's MBA/MS in Finance and it's MBA/MSE in Industrial Systems Engineering are available online.
  • Optional MBA concentrations are available in Accounting, Finance, HR Management, International Business, Investment, Information Systems, Marketing and Supply Chain Management.
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13

Arkansas State University

 2/539.3%Jonesboro, AR

The Program

ASU's College of Business presents future graduate students with a fully online MBA program that has an optional degree concentration in supply chain management. Through action-based learning, the program aims to develop students with a thorough understanding of business ethics, technology, leadership and decision-making.

To meet the unconditional admission requirements, prospective students should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 and a GMAT score of at least 480. Students may still be admitted without meeting this criteria based on other academic achievements. This distance education program is not available to residents of Alabama, Washington DC, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota and North Dakota due to state regulations.

The Platform

Students access their core curriculum and electives through Blackboard Learn, a responsive virtual classroom environment with features like collaborative group wikis, discussion board threads, shared academic multimedia and video chat capabilities. Distance learners can reach the ASU help desk by calling (870) 972-3934.

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14

Lehigh University

 5/587.39%Bethlehem, PA

The Program

The Lehigh College of Business and Economics has partnered with the Office of Distance Education to create a fully online MBA program. In keeping with a progressive business culture, Lehigh's degree stresses modern business ethics, sustainable methods and free thinking. The MBA can be earned within 24 months, and students have up to six years to graduate.

Program prerequisites include principles of economics, financial accounting and statistics. To apply, prospective students must submit GMAT or GRE scores and have at least two years of relevant professional experience.

The Platform

Lehigh's online students rely on two systems for synchronous and asynchronous instruction: Classroom Online gives learners flexible access to video recordings of lectures, while Classroom LIVE hosts real-time web conferencing sessions. Distance learners may contact technical assistance over the phone five days a week by calling 610-758-4211.

Testimonial

"Lehigh's Classroom LIVE distance education program is second to none and truly differentiates the Lehigh MBA experience from other programs. The connections I have made with my classmates- professionals from a variety of industries from around the world- only serve to enhance the high quality business education the program obviously provides." - Daniel Lordan

Quick Facts

  • Online students may choose from the following concentrations: project management, marketing or supply chain management.
  • Synchronous class meeting times are Monday through Thursday evenings.
  • All of the MBA prerequisite courses are available online.
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15

Ball State University

 2/559.45%Muncie, IN

The Program

The versatile MBA program at Ball State can be taken fully online, on campus or in a blended learning format. Offering a significant value to in-state students, BSU aims to provide its candidates with a flexible education that prepares them for the modern business environment.

To meet the admissions requirements, applicants must have a combined GMAT score higher than 450, along with a GPA of at least 2.75. Prospective students may also substitute GRE scores for the GMAT requirement. Unlike many other graduate programs on this list, Ball State does not require MBA students to have previous work experience to begin their studies.

The Platform

Ball State University embraces synchronous and asynchronous course schedules for distance education delivery. Live audio and video discussions are hosted through WebEx webcasts, enabling students to speak face-to-face. Students access academic materials via Blackboard and participate in asynchronous discussions on classroom forums.

Quick Facts

  • Applicants who don’t meet the course prerequisites may earn these credits by taking the courses once admitted to the program, or by enrolling in the business essentials certificate program.
  • New and prospective students can get a feel for the online learning system by attending the virtual orientation.
  • Remote students services like writing assistance, disability resources and career counseling are available through the Online and Distance Education department.
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16

University of Mississippi

 2/561.36%University, MS

The Program

The fully online Professional MBA at Ole Miss is ideal for currently employed students. The school focuses on developing thorough analytical skills and the ability to make sound business judgements. Distance learners can earn this degree within two years by enrolling in two courses each semester.

Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores, hold a bachelor's degree and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Prerequisite courses include Principles of Accounting and Business Finance.

The Platform

Ole Miss Online students attend virtual courses through the Blackboard system. MBA courses are delivered with a blend of real-time video conferences and asynchronous activities. About 5% of the curriculum is delivered outside of Blackboard, in the form of conference calls and webinars. Online learners can reach the IT Helpdesk through email (helpdesk@olemiss.edu) or over the phone (662-915-5222).

Quick Facts

  • Applicants must have at least two years of work experience to enter the Professional MBA program.
  • Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis with terms beginning in the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Since this is not a cohort program, students are able to modify their part-time course load to pace their progression toward degree completion.
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17

Georgia Southern University

 2/551.32%Statesboro, GA

The Program

The College of Business Administration gives students the opportunity to earn a low-cost online MBA within 21 months. The program focuses on building students that are prepared for the modern business world and utilizes "pod" learning to simulate the corporate environment. While students are expected to attend a two-day orientation in Atlanta, they will not be expected to visit the campus once the program begins.

Applicants must submit their GMAT scores and professional work history for admissions consideration. If they have not already done so, students are required to complete four prerequisite courses in corporate finance, business statistics, financial accounting and microeconomics before starting the online MBA curriculum.

The Platform

Enrolled students begin their online course journey at GoView, a virtual learning platform powered by Desire2Learn. This tool gives students a single online resource for course materials, webmail communications, chat sessions, announcements and classroom discussion posts.

Since GSU is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus, graduate students have access to a wider selection of online courses provided in collaboration with other networked colleges and universities.

Quick Facts

  • GSU maintains an MBA alumni network of 73,000 graduates.
  • Course delivery is asynchronous.
  • This university has been offering an MBA program via distance learning since 2001.
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18

Mississippi State University

 2/560.43%Mississippi State, MS

The Program

The College of Business at MSU offers two fully online MBA programs: a general graduate degree and an MBA in project management. The school makes sure to cover all aspects of the business environment by including modules that cover topics such as social etiquette and public speaking. The programs can be further customized with a Business Information Systems minor.

Prerequisite courses in accounting, statistics, management and finance are mandatory for those who did not complete them during their undergraduate education. Applicants are expected to submit GMAT or GRE scores during the admissions process.

The Platform

MSU uses Blackboard Learn and Collaborate to provide distance learners and instructors with a virtual classroom environment. These tools facilitate discussion through message boards, video web conferencing, text chat and webmail. Before applying, prospective students are encouraged to take a 20-25 minute SmarterMeasure assessment to see if they are prepared for the distance learning format.

Quick Facts

  • Certificates and licenses are also attainable through MSU’s online undergraduate programs.
  • All distance students pay in-state tuition, however there are scholarships available for undergraduate distance education students, in addition to financial aid for those who qualify.
  • Distance students must be prepared to submit a Proctor Request form at least two weeks prior to any scheduled exams.
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19

University of Tennessee – Martin

 2/547.04%Martin, TN

The Program

Prospective business leaders can earn an MBA for Banking and Financial Services Professionals entirely online at UT Martin. The program is targeted towards individuals from all educational backgrounds who have a particular interest in the banking or financial services industry.

Students progress through this 20-month degree in a cohort, allowing greater opportunity to build friendships and network. Most of the coursework is offered on an asynchronous basis, enabling students to sign on at any time of the day to watch recorded lectures, read academic materials and post responses to class discussions.

The Platform

MyUTMartin provides online students with a centralized portal for webmail, account management and digital courses powered by the Blackboard learning management system. In Blackboard, students work together through classroom wikis, message boards, chat rooms and video conferences.

Quick Facts

  • Applicants must submit GMAT scores during the admission process.
  • Each cohort is comprised of 20 students.
  • Applicants should have at least two years of work experience to be considered for enrollment.
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20

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

 2/566.79%Lincoln, NE

The Program

UNL provides future business leaders with a 100% online MBA program free of any campus visitation requirements. Additionally, students have the option of pursuing a dual degree in architecture or law. The program can be completed within two years on a full-time schedule or 3-4 years on a part-time schedule.

Prospective students are encouraged to apply with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and combined GMAT scores of 600. It is also recommended that applicants have two years of professional experience. If they have not already done so, online MBA students must complete prerequisite courses in Statistics and Calculus before or within the first semester of study.

The Platform

Instructors use a wide range of distance education tools to immerse students in virtual curricula, including the Blackboard system, email, video chat . Most courses are delivered in an asynchronous format. Students should take care to select their desired course structure by noting whether proctored exams are hosted off-campus or on-campus.

Quick Facts

  • 72% of the online MBA student body is enrolled part-time.
  • While applicants may hold a bachelor's degree in any field, the most common undergraduate backgrounds amongst current students are business, engineering and science/math.
  • All online students pay the same tuition rates, regardless of resident status.
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21

Washington State University

 3/567.24%Pullman, WA

The Program

Prospective business professionals can earn an MBA entirely online through WSU's Carson College of Business. Designed to develop professionals with a strong international business acumen, the online MBA stresses the application of classroom learning to real-world business problems.

To apply, prospective students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and submit GMAT scores. Applicants with an undergraduate major other than business may need to take prerequisite foundation courses online, covering the subjects of business law, statistics and managerial economics. The entire program can be completed within 22 months.

The Platform

Online courses are delivered on Blackboard, a system that fosters collaboration through video conferencing, wikis, discussion boards, text chat and other tools. Remote student services like disability resources, exam proctoring, tutoring and library resources are open to all online learners. A 24/7 technical support hotline can be reached by calling 800-222-4978.

Testimonial

“One thing I loved about the program is that someone was always in contact with me, from the beginning of the program to the end. To have that support from the school, as well as your professors and classmates, made it truly enjoyable and beneficial.” - Keon Garraway

Quick Facts

  • WSU was ranked #21 in US News & World Report's Best Online MBA Rankings and #3 on Best Online Graduate Business Programs for Veterans.
  • Online MBA students may pursue a degree concentration in International Business, Finance or Marketing.
  • Benefit from the school's diverse network of international partners including Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China, the University of St. Gallen, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and the César Ritz Colleges Switzerland in Brig, Switzerland.
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22

Pepperdine University

 5/584.12%Malibu, CA

The Program

The online MBA program at Pepperdine gives graduate students the opportunity to earn their degree within two years while enrolled part-time. The core curriculum focuses on understanding the effects of globalization on competition, ethics and innovation in the modern work environment. Students may explore degree concentrations in marketing, general management, finance or leadership and managing organizational change.

To apply, prospective students must have two years of work experience, a bachelor's degree and acceptable GMAT scores. Applicants with five or more years of relevant work experience do not need to submit GMAT scores.

The Platform

Pepperdine students sign onto the Sakai 10 system to access course materials, email professors, contribute to classroom blogs, submit assignments through online drop boxes and take tests. Some instructors may schedule real-time conferences, facilitated through Google Hangouts.

Quick Facts

  • Pepperdine is ranked #24 by the U.S. News and World Report on Best Online MBA Programs.
  • Students who choose a degree concentration other than the General Management track need an extra term to finish their studies.
  • Students may opt to take a part-time accelerated track to complete the program within 20 months.
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23

Central Michigan University

 3/555.54%Mount Pleasant, MI

The Program

Students can explore several online MBA degree tracks provided by CMU's Global Campus, with emphases on value driven organization, marketing, human resources management, logistics management or enterprise resources planning (ERP).

Students exploring the ERP emphasis must attend a two-week SAP software course in-person. However, all other tracks are available completely online. There are nine prerequisite courses that cover topics like financial accounting, marketing management, managerial decisions and business communications.

The Platform

Students attend online courses through the Blackboard system, a popular virtual platform that features academic content distribution, collaborative message boards, webmail and customizable wikis. Online learners can get in touch with tech support by calling the CMU help desk at 989-774-3662.

Quick Facts

  • GMAT scores are required for admissions.
  • Prospective students may attend webinar presentation to learn about each of the MBA areas of concentration.
  • CMU is ranked #25 in U.S. News and World Report's Best Online MBA Programs.
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24

Rochester Institute of Technology

 5/562.53%Rochester, NY

The Program

Experienced business professionals can earn an online Executive MBA (EMBA) at RIT. Intended to give students hands-on experience with advanced business concepts, this graduate program is designed for applicants with six or more years of professional experience, along with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

Enrolled students join small teams of 3-5 peers who work together throughout the degree program. These small cohorts provide ample group interaction and lend to the development of extensive business networks. The program can be completed in 17 months.

The Platform

Online learners should count on spending 20-30 hours each week completing assignments. Each digital course runs on a six-week, asynchronous schedule. While some presentations are streamed in real-time, students can watch saved versions at their convenience.

RIT's myCourses system, powered by Desire2Learn, is distinguished by its academic achievement badges, assignment drop boxes, webmail and message boards.

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25

University of Maryland – College Park

 2/584.75%College Park, MD

The Program

The MBA offered by UMD's Robert H. Smith School of Business can be earned within 21 months.This highly interdisciplinary program is designed for both mid-career professionals and recent graduates who are seeking positions in upper management and executive-level position.

Core coursework includes surveys of management in the global workplace, the economics of management decisions and project and strategy management. The program is offered completely online and is instructed by the same faculty that teaches on-campus. Distance learners can opt to concentrate their studies in finance, information systems and business analytics or accounting and marketing. Graduates of this program are fluent in emerging economies and current issues in global business management.

The Platform

UMD maintains their own online platform called ELMS or Enterprise Learning Management System. Students can access all of their coursework through this system asynchronously at any time of day. Some courses will require students to log-in at appointed times for live web sessions administered with Adobe Connect software, but these instances are rare.

Testimonial

I chose Smith because when I researched other online MBA programs, it had the most positive attributes: the flexibility to stay home with my infant son while receiving a top-notch education, outstanding career service offerings for after graduation, a team of professors that are the tops in their field, and lastly, the incredible reputation of the University of Maryland and the Robert H. Smith School of Business." - Lauren McConnell

Quick Facts

  • UMD's business school is ranked in the Top 25 by Businessweek, U.S. News and World Report and The Economist.
  • There are more than 57,000 Robert H. Smith School of Business alumni worldwide.
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How Long Is an Online MBA Program?
An online MBA program takes 18 months to 2 years to complete.
Program Costs
$25,000 to $50,000
Concentrations
General Management, Management Consulting, Investment Management, Operations Management, Entrepreneurship, Finance or Financial Analysis, Marketing, Strategy, Human Resources, Decision Sciences, Project Management, Supply Chain Management
What is an AACSB Accredited Online MBA Program?
AACSB, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, is one of the longest-serving and most widely-recognized accrediting bodies of business schools across the world. Online MBA programs with AACSB accreditation have undergone rigorous review by the association, ensuring that they meet the highest standards of academic excellence.
Additional Considerations
Many MBA programs require candidates to sit for the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and some require a minimum score. However, not all MBA programs require a GMAT score for admission.

Job Placement: MBA vs Bachelor of Business Administration

According to the BLS, the management sector is expected to grow by 6% — or roughly 505,000 jobs — between 2014 and 2024. This growth rate is slower than the projected rate for all industries, and those who earn an online MBA enjoy a more favorable employment rate than their counterparts with lesser degrees. A recent survey by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce revealed a significant difference in job placement rates between recent bachelor’s graduates, experienced bachelor’s graduates, and candidates with advanced degrees. Using data from this survey, the table below looks at these differences in five niche areas of business.

Professional Field Unemployment Rate for Recent Bachelor’s Graduates Unemployment Rate for Experienced Bachelor’s Graduates Unemployment Rate for Graduate Degree- Holders
General Business 7.0% 4.8% 4.2%
Accounting 6.8% 4.8% 3.8%
Business Management and Administration 8.1% 5.4% 4.4%
Marketing and Marketing Research 7.3% 6.0% 5.4%
Finance 6.6% 5.2% 4.6%

Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

As shown in the table above, the average unemployment rate was 4.5% for MBA-holders all five fields, compared to 7.2% for recent bachelor’s graduates and 5.2% for experienced bachelor’s graduates. The low unemployment rate for candidates with an MBA is partially due to the relatively low number of business professionals who earn a master’s compared to those who complete their studies with an undergraduate degree. According to the BLS, masters-holding employees make up 17% to 23% of MBA-friendly occupations such as marketing and sales managers, financial managers and marketing research analysts, and marketing specialists.

Earning a Living

In addition to better employment rates, MBA graduates also enjoy higher earning potential than their bachelor’s-holding colleagues. The CEW survey found that business professionals stand to earn an annual salary of roughly $84,000; by comparison, recent bachelor’s graduates make $39,000 per year and experienced bachelor’s graduates pull in $63,000 on a yearly basis. However, the wage premium for an MBA salary will vary by their specific business field. The following table uses data from the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report to compare the average entry-level salaries of these two groups in different areas of business and management.

Degree/Professional Field Median Entry-Level Salary for Bachelor’s Graduates Median Entry-Level Salary for Master’s/ MBA Graduates Wage Premium for Master’s/MBA Graduates
General Business $44,900 $52,500 17%
Business Administration $45,800 $55,600 21%
Finance $51,900 $63,200 22%
Human Resources $41,300 $50,400 22%
Supply Chain Management $53,900 $62,300 16%
International Business $47,200 $54,600 16%
Marketing and Management $44,100 $53,100 20%
Project Management $52,400 $64,100 22%

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

The table above reveals a 19.5% average wage premium for master’s graduates in all eight professional fields. However, it’s important to note that these numbers only reflect entry-level wages — and that an MBA-holder’s salary will increase incrementally over the course of their career. The next table features expected annual salaries for these eight MBA concentrations at five different career benchmarks.

MBA Concentrations Median Salary (1 year or less) Median Salary (1 to 4 years) Median Salary (5 to 9 years) Median Salary (10 to 20 years) Median Salary (20+ years)
General Business $53,030 $58,010 $76,171 $100,208 $120,095
Business Administration $47,364 $56,024 $70,789 $88,105 $103,292
Finance $53,640 $64,055 $82,673 $102,197 $130,948
Human Resources $43,848 $50,569 $61,453 $74,654 $93,057
Supply Chain Management $62,212 $68,008 $81,091 $98,413 $105,404
International Business $54,496 $58,798 $78,276 $99,047 $129,169
Marketing and Management $50,000 $57,323 $79,185 $102,467 $138,754
Project Management $50,251 $58,026 $77,343 $87,660 $95,964

Source: PayScale

MBA-holders with a concentration in marketing and management enjoyed a career salary increase of 178% between the entry-level and late-career marks — the highest wage premium of all eight concentrations listed in the table above. Other MBA concentrations with high salary increases include finance (144%), international business (137%), general business (126%), business administration (118%), and human resources (112%).

Career Opportunities

Graduates from accredited online MBA programs will qualify for dozens of jobs after leaving school, although individual eligibility will depend on their degree specialization. Some of the most common career pathways for MBA-holders are listed below.

Financial Managers: These managers oversee all of the financial activities of a company or organization. They develop short- and long-term budget plans, and often provide guidance to top executives about asset management and investment opportunities. Specific organizational roles for financial managers include chief financial officers (CFOs), controllers, treasurers, and insurance managers.

Human Resources Managers: Human resources managers (HR managers for short) are responsible for their company’s administrative activities. They often lead HR personnel teams in the recruiting, screening, interviewing, hiring, and training of new employees. HR managers also meet with executives to discuss strategies for pursuing top talent.

Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers: These managers work with other personnel — including creative directors, financial officers, and salespeople — to help companies generate public interest in the products they sell. They often take the lead in major advertising campaigns, and conduct post-project evaluations to determine areas of potential improvement.

Top Executives: Executives oversee all operational activities of their firm, from finances and budget planning to marketing campaigns. Their day-to-day duties depend on the size of their company or organization. Specific executive roles include the chief executive officer (CEO), the chief operating officer (COO), and operational manager.

Profession Median Annual Salary Projected Growth (2014-24)
Financial Managers $117,990 7%
Human Resources Managers $104,440 9%
Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers $124,850 9%
Top Executives $102,690 6%

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to business administration is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for business professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • Association of MBAs: Based in London, AMBA is the only international organization specifically dedicated to educating, supporting, and connecting MBA graduates across different industries. Members are given a platform to network with fellow MBA-holders from more than 200 accredited business schools. Other benefits include continuing ed opportunities through the AMBA career center and access to online webinars.
  • National Association of Women MBAs: This not-for-profit organization is aimed at female business students, established professionals, and entrepreneurs who have earned an MBA. The NAWM specializes in four core areas: education and professional development; mentorship; networking; and collaboration. Members are invited to attend the organization’s annual conference, and local chapter meetings are held throughout the year.
  • National Black MBA Association, Inc.: Founded in 1970, the NBMBAA represents more than 30,000 members in 74 professional and collegiate chapters. With the aim of empowering minorities in the business world, the organization has awarded more than $5 million in scholarship aid to minority high school and college students.
Despite the relative affordability of online MBA programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Commercial Links

MASTER’S IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Supply chain management is a field that encompasses the materials, facilities, finances, and information that comprise day-to-day operations for any business or organization. Be sure to check out or ranking of the country’s top master’s degree programs in supply chain management.

MASTER’S IN FINANCE
Finance — the study of money and asset management — is one of the most popular degree concentrations for MBA students. Learn about the best schools for this area of study with our comprehensive degree guide.

MASTER’S IN HUMAN RESOURCES
Another popular specialization field for MBA students, human resources (or HR) focuses on hiring, new employee orientation and other administrative needs. Visit our guide to master’s degrees in HR for more information.

Non-commercial Links

BUSINESS RESOURCES
Our page dedicated to resources for business students includes links to professional organizations, open courseware, industry publications, books, and business-minded users to follow on Twitter.

BUSINESS CAREERS
Our career page for business degree graduates includes a state-by-state breakdown of business careers and academic options for business students, as well as popular job sites, professional organizations and continuing education opportunities for established professionals.

Methodology

The methodology behind our rankings is grounded in statistical data and a few consistently applied guiding principles. Our 2017 rankings reflect the most recent data compiled from IPEDS and the College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Our goal is to objectively assess relative quality based on academic outcomes, affordability, and the breadth and depth of online learning opportunities. The following criteria was used to make these assessments:

Minimum Requirements

  • Each school must be an accredited public or private, not-for-profit institution.
  • Must offer an online master’s in Master’s in Business Administration degree program
  • Must submit an annual report to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Ranking Factors

All eligible institutions are ranked on a 100 point scale. A perfect score of 100 is earned by ranking #1 for all ranking factors.

ACADEMIC QUALITY – 50% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Admissions Rate – 25%
  • Enrollment Rates – 15%
  • Retention Rate – 15%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate – 25%
  • Number of Master’s in Master’s in Business Administration Graduates – 20%

AFFORDABILITY – 25% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Average Net Price – 40%
  • Percentage of Enrolled Students Taking Federal Loans – 20%
  • Loan Default Rate – 40%

ONLINE PROGRAMMING – 25% OF TOTAL SCORE

  • Percentage of Graduate Programs Offered Online – 40%
  • Graduate School Enrollment – 40%
  • Percentage of Programs Offered at the Graduate level – 20%