Small Universities Embrace Online MBA Programs

Central Methodist University in Missouri is the latest school to roll out an online master of business administration (MBA) degree program.
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Published on October 9, 2023
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  • Online master of business administration programs have become increasingly popular since the onset of the pandemic.
  • Major universities and small, private colleges alike have adapted their MBA curriculum for an online format.
  • Central Methodist University in Missouri, Voorhees University in South Carolina, and Ursuline College in Ohio are among the small schools to launch online MBA programs in recent months.
  • Online MBA programs often offer an affordable degree that allows students to work on their own schedule.

Online master's of business administration (MBA) programs offer working professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs alike an affordable and accessible way to pursue their degree — and small universities are increasingly embracing the digital format for their programs.

Central Methodist University (CMU) in Missouri is the latest small college to offer an online MBA. Applications are now open for the MBA program, which will be offered in an online and asynchronous format, school officials announced in a Sept. 29 press release.

"CMU is proud to offer this affordable and convenient option for anyone looking to take the next step in their career," Central Provost Rita Gulstad said in the release. "We have a proven track record of excellence with our online offerings, and we are excited to add this in-demand degree to that list."

The pandemic and the widespread move toward online learning across the globe led to a proliferation of online MBA programs. Major universities have adapted their MBA programs to include online offerings, with recent announcements from large schools including the University of Texas at El Paso, which announced its own online program in June.

Central Methodist University already has a focus on online graduate programs: While the school enrolls just 1,100 students on its main campus in Fayette, more than 4,000 students attend its regional and online College of Graduate and Extended Studies.

It's not the only small, private university to recently launch an online MBA program. Ursuline College in Ohio announced in July that it revamped its MBA program to be entirely online and asynchronous.

"With the asynchronous format, graduate students can attend classes at their convenience — before work, during lunch, or in the evening," Ursuline MBA Program Director Mary Kovach said at the time. "Regardless of the time of day, students will have access to professors to answer questions and to mentor them. They will also network with their classmates and other organizations."

Voorhees University, a historically Black university in South Carolina, likewise announced its own fully online MBA program in August. That program, which will welcome its first cohort in January 2024, will feature high-demand specializations in areas like human resource management and data analytics.

"Offering an MBA with these minors allows Voorhees University to provide students with a well-rounded education that combines core business knowledge with specialized skills, preparing them for successful careers in various business domains," Voorhees University School of Business and Entrepreneurship Dean Katherine Whitaker said at the time.

Online MBA programs have more appeal than just their asynchronous format, which allows students to work at their own pace toward a degree without leaving the workforce. Online MBA programs tend to come at a much lower cost than traditional full-time, in-person programs, setting students up for a good return on investment.

Some small universities have adopted a hybrid model, incorporating a mix of in-person and online learning. Glenville State University announced such a model when it launched its own MBA program in June.

"We know this is a program that is in demand and it helps students deepen their understanding of an everchanging business landscape and gives them a leg up on their competition," Glenville State President Mark A. Manchin said at the time.