Most Affordable Online MBA Programs

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An online MBA develops the skills and knowledge necessary for careers in business and to compete for leadership roles across various industries. An MBA positions job–seekers for higher earning potential and accelerated career advancement. In addition to providing transferable hard and soft skills, an MBA also equips graduates with credibility, a broader worldview, and a network of colleagues.

Online MBA degrees qualify graduates for senior management roles in diverse fields including finance, information systems, marketing, and logistics. The best online MBA programs provide cross–functional curriculums where students study core business areas like accounting, statistics, and ethics then hone their expertise in specializations and complementary electives.

MBA students pursue advanced degrees for many reasons, and each learner may enroll at a time unique to their situation. For some, an online MBA program serves as the logical next step following a four–year business degree. Many other students return to school years after working in their chosen fields and see MBAs as integral to advancing their careers.

The Most Affordable Online MBA Programs

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4

Fayetteville State University 

Fayetteville, NC

About this school

For over 150 years, FSU has provided postsecondary programs. As the second–oldest state–funded school in the state, FSU is a member of the North Carolina System and Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Students gain access to over 40 programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. FSU offers a vast alumni network and features a 15–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio that allows learners to build meaningful relationships with peers and professors.

The school’s College of Business and Economics offers a master of business administration comprising 36-39 credits, including 27 core credits and up to 12 elective credits. Several concentrations are available, including business intelligence and data analytics, entrepreneurship, international business, project management, and healthcare management. Courses include managerial accounting, business policy and strategy, managerial economics, financial management, and a culminating capstone project.

FSU utilizes the Canvas learning management system, and courses typically follow an asynchronous format where students complete coursework within given deadlines. Learners can engage with classmates and professors through discussion posts. Other assignments include group projects, essays, and exams. Individuals who require additional support can access online tutoring through Smarthinking.

Graduation Rate
33%
5

Western Governors University 

Salt Lake City, UT

About this school

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, WGU emphasizes strategic solution development and student–centered instruction. WGU provides accessible education through online coursework that allows students to learn independently as their schedules permit. The university offers competitive rates and prioritizes return on student investment. Through competency–based education, WGU students can earn their degrees quickly.

WGU offers a master of business administration that emphasizes strategic acumen and pertinent leadership skills. This online MBA requires 34 units, and students can earn their degrees in 13-24 months. Classes include managing human capital, managing organizations and leading people, accounting for decision-makers, global economics for managers, and data-driven decision-making. Students also complete a culminating MBA capstone course where they gain hands-on experience with an organization, developing solutions to a business dilemma.

Distance learners gain access to many digital resources, including e–textbooks, library services, web tutorials, and learning communities. Students can also talk with program mentors. WGU accepts transfer credits, and participants transfer in an average of 32 credits.

Graduation Rate
38%
6

California State University-Stanislaus 

Turlock, CA

About this school

Founded in 1957, Stan State offers over 100 programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The university promotes inclusivity, global awareness, equity, ethical decision–making, and academic excellence. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized the university for its efforts in community engagement.

The College of Business Administration at Stan State offers a master of business administration. Students complete 30 units, including 21 core units and nine elective units. Learners must also complete 18 foundational units prior to program admission. Courses include integrated business strategy and project development, computer information systems, business organization and behavior, managerial finance, and marketing management. Individuals also take a seminar in quality and productivity management. Students may pursue a nine-unit concentration in finance.

Distance learners benefit from instructors who hold online learning consortium certifications. Students may contact their professors during digital office hours for additional support. Stan State also provides online tutoring and writing support, and the school’s Career and Professional Development Center offers guidance and assistance with resume development. Applicants to the program must submit their GRE or GMAT scores.

Graduation Rate
53%
7

Southeastern Oklahoma State University 

Durant, OK

About this school

Established in Durant, SE offers over 85 bachelor’s and master’s programs, prioritizing rigorous coursework and a student–centered learning environment. SE possesses a diverse student body and alumni network, and the university emphasizes the importance of global awareness and community engagement.

SE’s business school offers a master of business administration that qualifies graduates for leadership roles. This online MBA comprises 36 credits, including 30 core credits and six elective credits. Students can choose from several concentrations, including strategic communication, Native American leadership, human resources, aerospace logistics, and healthcare information systems. Notable courses include principle-centered leadership and ethics, crisis preparedness and occupational security, contemporary issues, and tribal sovereignty.

SE utilizes the Blackboard online learning management system, and the MBA program does not require any in–person attendance. Courses follow an asynchronous format that allows students to complete coursework on their own time within given deadlines. Professors typically offer digital office hours, and SE provides online tutoring through Smarthinking. The school’s distance education library offers additional resources that include online databases, e–books, and videos. Students may also contact librarians for research support during office hours.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution. However, SE may accept applicants with a minimum 2.75 GPA if they have a strong entrance statement, work experience, and recommendation letters.

Graduation Rate
27%
8

Cameron University 

Lawton, OK

About this school

Based in Lawton, Oklahoma, CU prioritizes experiential learning and instruction. Small class sizes allow students to build meaningful relationships with professors and peers. Students have access to nearly 50 degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. The school also stresses the importance of community engagement, inclusion, and ethical conduct.

CU’s business department offers a master of business administration that emphasizes pertinent competencies and skills needed for effective management. This online MBA includes 12 leveling course credits, 24 core credits, and nine elective credits; individuals who have completed undergraduate business classes may receive a waiver for some/all leveling courses. Full-time students typically earn their degrees in 2-3 years. CU offers concentrations in human/organizational administration and economics. Courses include issues in global economics, organizational behavior, applied business statistics, and managerial economics.

CU utilizes the Blackboard learning management system to administer distance coursework. This program requires no in–person attendance, and courses typically follow an asynchronous format. While professors offer digital office hours, distance learners also gain access to 10 hours of free tutoring through Tutor.com. The CU library also offers online databases, e–books, and research support from librarians over the phone. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit GRE or GMAT scores.

Graduation Rate
18%
9

Northeastern State University 

Tahlequah, OK

About this school

Located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, NSU features a diverse student population and unique Cherokee Nation academic heritage. The university values ethical conduct, accountability, and inclusion. NSU also encourages immersive educational environments and community engagement.

NSU’s College of Business and Technology offers a hybrid master of business administration in professional business administration (PMBA). This degree track consists of 36 credits, including 24 core credits and 12 elective credits. Students can graduate in two years or less with full-time attendance. Notable courses include organizational leadership and conflict management, leadership skill development, corporate strategy and simulation, and domestic and global marketing management. Participants must also engage in integrative research or complete a project.

NSU uses the Blackboard learning management system to administer the online components of this program. However, students must also attend on–campus courses on Monday nights. Learners in need of additional instruction can access free online tutoring, and academic advisors are available to help map out educational pathways.

Admission requirements include three years of work experience, a bachelor’s degree earned at an accredited university with a minimum 2.5 GPA, and a GMAT score of 450 or higher.

Graduation Rate
32%
10

University of Alaska Fairbanks 

Fairbanks, AK

About this school

Established in 1922, UAF is the only national university in the state. The school educates learners from around the world, creating a diverse and inclusive college experience. Students benefit from an 11–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio, which creates opportunities for hands–on instruction and engagement.

UAF offers a master of business administration that focuses on the core competencies and skills needed to manage organizations. This online MBA requires 30 credits, including 15 core credits and 15 concentration credits. On average, full-time students earn their degrees in 2-3 years. Concentrations are available in general management and STEM, and the program culminates with a capstone in corporate strategy where students resolve modern problems within organizations at an executive level.

Distance learners access online coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. Online courses typically follow an asynchronous format, which provides students increased flexibility. However, some courses follow a synchronous format, which requires real–time audio or video conferencing. Professors upload weekly modules that contain all assignments, supplementary reading materials, and/or recorded lectures. All eCampus students pay in–state tuition rates. Distance learners also gain access to technical support, academic advisors, and career development resources.

Graduation Rate
30%
11

Texas Woman's University 

Denton, TX

About this school

Located in Denton, TWU is the largest women–focused public university in the country. It holds membership with the Women’s College Coalition, which supports higher education for women. TWU values collaborative opportunities and partnerships, diversity, inclusion, and innovation.

Among the school’s 150–plus programs is a master of business administration that consists of 36-48 credits. Learners can earn their degree in 15 months, and concentrations are available in accounting, business analytics, healthcare administration, human resources management, and management. Courses include organizational behavior in business administration, advanced financial management for health systems management, principles of talent development, and managerial finance.

TWU utilizes the Canvas learning management system to administer distance coursework. Instructional styles include fully online and hybrid formats. Professors upload assignments, such as individual projects, group projects, discussion posts, essays, and exams.

Distance learners gain access to an online writing lab and technology assistance. Students can also access databases, periodicals, e–books, and audio resources through the school’s digital library. TWU accepts transfer students from accredited universities. Admission into this program does not require GMAT or GRE scores. However, students must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Graduation Rate
36%
12

University of Missouri-St Louis 

St. Louis, MO

About this school

UMSL provides a student–centered educational environment. Master’s students gain access to over 30 programs, and those planning to continue their education may choose from 13 doctoral programs. The school embraces innovative teaching methods, rigorous coursework, and community engagement.

Students considering leadership roles in business can earn a flex master of business administration at USML. This online MBA requires 30-45 credits, including up to 21 core credits, up to 18 advanced topic credits, nine required elective credits, and three global management credits. Students must complete all coursework within six years.

Concentration options include information systems, international business, logistics and supply chain management, management, and operations management. Students take classes like financial and managerial accounting, management information systems, contemporary marketing concepts, production and operations management, and managing people in organizations.

Distance learners access online coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. Professors upload course materials into weekly modules, and assignments may include essays, exams, group projects, and discussion posts. Students can contact professors during digital office hours for additional support. UMSL’s library provides online resources, including databases, periodicals, and e–books. Students may also contact librarians for over–the–phone support. Admission requires letters of recommendation and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Graduation Rate
56%
13

Louisiana State University-Shreveport 

Shreveport, LA

About this school

Established in 1967, LSUS originally served as a two–year postsecondary institution in the Louisiana State University System. Today, LSUS offers over 20 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Students gain access to multiple internship, volunteer, and networking opportunities in the local community through pre–established partnerships. LSUS provides student–centered learning experiences that meet diverse needs. For instance, nontraditional students gain access to distance coursework that does not require in–person attendance.

Students pursuing leadership roles in organizations can earn a 30–credit master of business administration. Full-time learners can graduate in 10 months. LSUS offers several concentrations, including data analytics, entrepreneurship and family enterprise, human resource management, international business, and project management. Students take classes like managerial use of accounting data, economic analysis for management, management information systems, financial management, and organizational behavior.

Distance learners access coursework through the Moodle learning management system. Courses typically utilize an asynchronous format, which allows students to access coursework when their schedules permit. However, some courses may follow a synchronous format that requires students to log in to attend live video lectures. Assignments typically include essays, tests, quizzes, and group projects.

Graduation Rate
30%
14

New Mexico State University 

Las Cruces, NM

About this school

Founded in 1888 in Las Cruces, NMSU offers accessible online and hybrid learning opportunities. Students can choose from nearly 200 programs. NMSU also emphasizes community engagement, stewardship, intellectual inquiry, and social justice. The school maintains multiple partnerships that provide internship and networking opportunities.

NMSU offers a 36–credit master of business administration. Students typically graduate in 24 months with full-time attendance. Courses include the legal environment of business, management economics, business information systems, and managerial accounting. This program also requires an in-persona orientation and a three-day meeting on campus at the end of the program. NMSU does not require a thesis, but students may choose to complete one.

Faculty utilize the Canvas learning management system to administer distance coursework. Most courses include a synchronous component that allows for live interactions between peers and professors. Assignments may include exams, essays, group projects, and discussion posts.

The school’s online library provides access to e–books, databases, articles, and videos. Students may contact librarians during business hours for additional support. NMSU also provides online tutoring through Brainfuse. Transfer students from accredited universities may apply up to nine credits toward this online MBA program.

Graduation Rate
46%
15

University of Wisconsin-Parkside 

Kenosha, WI

About this school

Founded in 1968 in Kenosha, UW–Parkside meets the needs of a diverse student body. The school emphasizes the importance of community engagement, ethics, and cultural awareness. UW–Parkside embraces student–centered learning environments and one–on–one faculty engagement. Students can choose from over 40 majors.

UW–Parkside offers a 30–credit master of business administration. Students complete nine core MBA courses, two foundation courses, and three elective courses. Full-time learners can earn their degrees in 12 months. Degree concentrations include global management, marketing, supply chain management, administration, and data analytics. Courses include information technology for business decision-making, corporate financial management, contemporary challenges in managing organizations, advanced global management, and project management.

Distance learners access coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. Courses typically utilize an asynchronous learning format, which provides students ample flexibility. Professors upload work, recorded lectures, and any supplementary reading into weekly learning modules. Assignments may include essays, exams, group work, and discussion posts. UW–Parkside also uses Desire2Learn to create virtual classrooms where students and professors can collaborate. Online students gain access to an online library, technical assistance, and academic advisors.

Admission typically requires a minimum 2.75 GPA, although students with a GPA of at least 2.5 may apply if they submit GMAT scores.

Graduation Rate
34%
16

University of Michigan-Dearborn 

Dearborn, MI

About this school

Established in 1959, UM–Dearborn offers a metropolitan college experience just outside of Detroit. With a 17–to–1 student–to–faculty ratio, learners can build meaningful relationships with professors and their peers.

Among UM–Dearborn’s 80–plus program offerings is a master of business administration. This program includes 27 core credits, 12 applied integrated management credits, and nine elective credits. Students typically earn their degree in two years with full-time attendance. Concentration options include accounting, human resource management, international business, information systems management, and supply chain management. Participants take classes like international dimensions of management, managing strategic innovation and change, operations management, and organization behavior. This program also requires a strategic planning and decision-making capstone.

Distance learners access coursework through the Canvas learning management system. Students may complete all coursework online or opt for a hybrid format. Individuals interested in hybrid courses should collaborate with their academic advisors to plan their course of study. Online assignments may include discussion board posts, essays, exams, narrated PowerPoint projects, and group projects. Students also gain access to a writing center and an online library that contains periodicals, articles, e–books, videos, and databases.

Admissions requires GMAT or GRE scores and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

Graduation Rate
54%
17

Eastern New Mexico University 

Portales, NM

About this school

Located in Portales, ENMU prioritizes global awareness and cultural diversity. Students gain access to a diverse student body and alumni network. ENMU offers over 60 programs that emphasize student–centered learning and engagement .

The university offers an online master of business administration that focuses on the pertinent knowledge and skills organizations demand. This online MBA requires learners to complete 30 credits and offers a concentration in accounting. Courses include production and operations management, federal taxation, managerial research analysis, information systems for managers, and integrative strategic management.

Distance learners access coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. Courses typically follow an asynchronous format that allows students to complete coursework when their schedules permit, if they submit assignments within deadlines. Assignments often include group projects, essays, discussion board posts, and exams.

Professors typically offer virtual office hours, but students may also schedule appointments with online tutors using Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. ENMU also provides an online writing lab, and online students may obtain librarian support or access databases, e–books, videos, articles, and periodicals. Students receive one–on–one support from academic advisors. Admissions requires a 3.0 GPA and GMAT scores.

Graduation Rate
33%
18

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin 

Odessa, TX

About this school

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is a public institution serving over 7,000 students through 35 undergraduate degrees and 18 graduate programs. Graduate learners can pursue several online options, including an online MBA program with four tracks.

  • General Track: The general MBA comprises 30–36 credit hours from core classes and an elective.
  • Finance Track: Students who pursue this 36–42 credit track complete three electives on management of financial institutions, international finance, and futures and options.
  • Accounting Track: Learners specializing in accounting take 36–42 hours and choose from a either a certified public accountant (CPA) concentration and or a non-CPA concentration.
  • Health Care Track: This 36–42 credit hour track focuses on health care related business issues.

Due to our flexible rolling admissions process, students can start the online MBA program on six dates throughout the year.

Applicants to UTPB’s MBA program are evaluated on the basis of their undergraduate GPA (a 3.0 is the minimum requirement for admission) and their GMAT or GRE scores.

The school waives the standardized test (GMAT or GRE) requirement for applicants with a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.25 or a 3.25 in their last 60 credits of undergraduate study.

Graduation Rate
43%
19

The University of Texas at Dallas 

Richardson, TX

About this school

Based in Richardson, the University of Texas at Dallas is a public school that offers more than 140 undergraduate and graduate degrees through eight schools. The Naveed Jindal School of Management boasts several online programs, including multiple MBA options and MS degrees in accounting, marketing, and management science.

The professional MBA requires 53 credits that students can earn entirely online. The program is self-paced, and students can complete all required coursework in as little as 16 months or up to five years.

Learners earn 30 credit hours through core classes, including several quantitative courses that cover topics like data analysis, statistics, and business economics. Professional MBA candidates complete the remaining 23 credit hours through electives. They can pursue one of 15 concentrations, but UT Dallas does not offer every elective online. Some interesting concentrations include real estate, healthcare leadership and management, and systems engineering.

Distance learners can also pursue a fully online global leadership MBA, which emphasizes international business. The global leadership option boasts eight–week classes and lets students earn their master’s in 21 months.

Successful applicants score a 310–330 on the GRE or a 550–700 on the GMAT, on average. Admitted students also demonstrate an average 3.3 cumulative undergraduate GPA.

Graduation Rate
69%
20

Florida Atlantic University 

Boca Raton, FL

About this school

Founded in 1961, Florida Atlantic University is a public school based in Boca Raton. Over 30,000 students study on FAU’s six campuses and online. The school’s 10 colleges offer over 170 academic programs, including dozens of distance options.

Students can complete FAU’s MBA program entirely online in 23 months. FAU delivers the program through asynchronous classes, which include recorded lectures, presentations, discussion forums, and chats. Learners work through the curriculum alongside a cohort and may begin the program during the spring, summer, or fall terms.

Online learners can complete the MBA with an international business specialization. They earn 40–46 credits, including 12 credits from concentration classes. Some topics covered include global supply chain management, international monetary economics, and emerging market economies.

Aside from international business classes, students take 28 credits of core business classes that discuss key areas like finance, accounting, and management strategy. During a one–credit leadership forum, students learn about business development from entrepreneurs and executives.

Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective business students also must provide a resume, letters of recommendation, and GRE or GMAT scores.

Graduation Rate
51%
21

Excelsior College 

Albany, NY

About this school

Founded in 1971, Excelsior College is a private institution focused on adult education. Excelsior only serves distance students and offers over 30 degrees across three schools. The School of Graduate Studies offers an online MBA with five concentrations. MBA students must earn 36-45 credits and can transfer up to 24 credits from previous graduate work.

The accounting concentration, which prepares graduates for multiple industry certifications, readies students to analyze and prepare financial documents. The healthcare management specialization teaches students about communication and strategic management in healthcare organizations. Learners who concentrate on human resource management study topics like labor relations, conflict resolution, and employee development. Excelsior also offers a leadership concentration and a general business track.

Regardless of their concentration, MBA candidates take 27 credits of core courses. Through a capstone class on strategy and policy, students examine advanced topics including social responsibility, competitive rivalry, corporate structure, and mergers and acquisitions. As a final project, learners produce a portfolio demonstrating their expertise.

Excelsior offers many virtual resources for distance learners. Through the library, students can search databases, consult digital materials, and receive help from librarians. The Career Center boasts a career self–assessment tool along with resources on job searching, resumes, and career exploration. Additionally, an online writing lab provides resources on many topics, such as plagiarism, grammar, and argumentation.

Graduation Rate
45%
22

Midwestern State University 

Wichita Falls, TX

About this school

Based in Wichita Falls, Texas, Midwestern State University is a public liberal arts institution that offers 49 undergraduate programs and 27 graduate options. The school, which serves just over 6,000 students, boasts several distance programs, including a fully online MBA.

MSU’s Dillard College of Business Administration offers all core MBA classes online. Students typically finish the 33–credit program in 1–2 years. MSU uses Desire2Learn to deliver online classes.

Business students can choose from two concentrations: accounting and energy management. The accounting concentration includes the 150 hours of education that students need to earn their certified public accountant credential. Learners who focus on energy management explore the global oil and gas industry. They learn about financing, risk management, budgeting, and legal issues as they apply to the energy sector.

In addition to a nine–credit concentration, students take 24 credits of required courses that discuss key topics like managerial economics, finance, information technology management, and applied statistics. Near the end of the program, learners complete a capstone course in business strategy.

Distance students can take advantage of many online resources. The Career Management Center, for instance, offers guides on resume writing, interviewing, job searching, and career planning. Students can also browse potential positions through the school’s job portal. Additionally, online learners benefit from library services, including subject–specific research guides.

Graduation Rate
45%
23

Prairie View A & M University 

Prairie View, TX

About this school

Prairie View A&M University is a public, Texas–based institution serving over 9,000 students through eight academic colleges. The university’s Center for Instructional Innovation and Technology Services offers online programs in business, criminal justice, education administration, and counseling.

PVAMU offers the executive MBA in a hybrid format, and students spend two years working toward their degree. Learners complete coursework online and meet on campus on two Saturdays each month. They take one, eight-week course at a time during three semesters each year. In addition to standard online and in-person work, students participate in an eight-day study abroad trip before their final semester.

The curriculum comprises 36 credits from 12 courses. The top online MBA program incorporates coursework on data analysis, supply chain management, information technology, global economics, and corporate finance. Through an applied capstone component, students may work on a project for their current employer or launch a new business venture.

Prospective executive MBA students need a minimum 2.75 GPA and at least three years of management experience. Applicants must submit a current resume, three letters of recommendation, and a 1,000–word statement describing how the executive MBA helps them reach their personal and professional goals. Additionally, applicants must sit for a phone or in–person interview.

Graduation Rate
35%
24

McNeese State University 

Lake Charles, LA

About this school

Founded in 1939, McNeese State University is a public institution that offers more than 250 undergraduate majors, minors, and certificates. The university also boasts 18 graduate programs, half of which students can earn entirely online. Students can earn the MBA 100% online or through on–campus evening classes. They may work through the 30–credit curriculum on a full–time or part–time basis.

McNeese’s business degree emphasizes practical skills rather than business theory. Courses give practicing managers the tools they need to efficiently analyze situations and make decisions. For instance, one required course readies students to use accounting information to plan and manage projects. During a seminar on strategic management, students participate in simulations, applying their analysis, decision-making, and planning skills. However, some courses, such as a class on financial management policies, focus on theory.

Applicants to the online MBA program need a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or at least a 2.75 in their last 60 credits of bachelor’s study. Prospective students must submit GRE or GMAT scores unless they have at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA or a 2.75 in upper–division undergraduate coursework.

Graduation Rate
42%
25

Youngstown State University 

Youngstown, OH

About this school

Based in Northeastern Ohio, Youngstown State University is a public institution dating back to 1908. Today, the school enrolls nearly 13,000 students through over 115 undergraduate programs and 40 graduate degrees. Learners can choose from 12 online programs, including one of the best online MBA programs in the country.

YSU’s MBA program requires 40 credits from 20 two-credit courses. Students earn 36 credits from required classes and four elective credits.

Learners take 18 core classes distributed across four key areas: decision–making, business leadership, managing, and strategic thinking. Decision–making classes cover topics such as business analytics, financial statement analysis, and corporate financial management. Through leadership classes, learners explore professional communication and business solutions. Management courses investigate subjects like project management, managing organizational talent, and IT management.

As part of the strategic thinking component, students complete a strategic consulting project. During the applied learning experience, learners advise a business on how to address current and future challenges. While completing the project, students take a strategic management class that teaches them how to evaluate executive management, business policy, decision–making, and strategy.

Applicants must submit a professional resume, transcripts, and GMAT or GRE scores. Admitted students with at least a 3.5 undergraduate GPA receive YSU’s Graduate Scholarship, which they may renew for up to six semesters.

Graduation Rate
34%
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Guidelines

We selected these accredited MBA programs based on the quality of the program, types of courses provided, faculty strength, school awards, rankings and reputation, including the reputation for providing online degree programs.

The Advantages of an MBA Education

A bachelor’s in business administration (BBA) provides students with a strong foundation in business and management theories, principles, and best practices. The BBA qualifies graduates for management and team–lead positions, such as a sales manager or cost estimator.

However, many companies look to fill senior level positions with candidates who possess an advanced degree, like an online MBA, and bring focused expertise, such as in marketing, analytics, or leadership.

In its Business School Hiring Report, GMAC notes that a hiring trend consistent with past years finds that larger companies, rather than smaller businesses, plan to bring on recent MBA graduates.

MBA Degree Salary and Career Information

Online MBA graduates can gain various career benefits, including credibility, a recognizable benchmark degree, and the potential to earn a higher salary. Consider the following table with salaries from PayScale, showing that MBA graduates earn 33% more than professionals with a BBA.

Average Salary by Degree Level

Degree Level Average Salary
Bachelor’s Degree in Business $61,000
Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration $86,000
Source:PayScale

The variety of concentrations available with an online MBA demonstrates the breadth of career options available to MBA graduates, who may end up working in such diverse fields as information technology, finance, or healthcare.

As noted above, earning an MBA can make a significant difference in salary potential and job opportunities. Job prospects should only grow for the newly minted MBA, as many companies today prefer candidates who possess the specific training in business, management, and leadership that comes with an MBA.

Types of MBA Careers

Senior Financial Analyst
Analysts work to improve financial status by analyzing data, identifying trends, and recommending plans of action or strategies that lead to completing projects or objectives. Senior financial analysts also manage teams. As a leader, they must possess a high degree of proficiency in analytics, statistics, critical thinking, and problem-solving. As managers, they must also assign tasks, review reports, compile data, and train employees.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $70,000
  • Mid-Career: $75,000
  • Experienced: $81,000
  • Late Career: $85,000
Project Manager
Project managers tend to all aspects of project development, including strategy, budget, execution, support, and completion. Such management roles require at least a bachelor's degree, with many positions requiring further study and training. For example, the BLS notes that many companies look to hire MBAs to fill their computer and information systems manager positions.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $55,000
  • Mid-Career: $63,000
  • Experienced: $76,000
  • Late Career: $86,000
Operations Manager
An operations manager ensures that the production of goods or services runs effectively and efficiently for an organization. Their duties include overseeing budgets, schedules, quality assurance, and regulatory compliance.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $50,000
  • Mid-Career: $55,000
  • Experienced: $63,000
  • Late Career: $71,000
Human Resources Director
A human resources (HR) director wears many hats for a company, mainly serving as a proponent for both a company and its workforce. Directors hold a position above managers and, depending on the size of a company, may install lower-level managers to head departments. They also address employee complaints and concerns and attend to HR matters involving benefits, payroll, policy, and procedure.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $55,000
  • Mid-Career: $63,000
  • Experienced: $80,000
  • Late Career: $93,000
Corporate Controller
Corporate controllers, or comptrollers, manage all departments related to the financial and accounting functions of an organization. Beyond billing, these functions include accounts payable and receivable, business activity reports, financial reports, and budgets. A comptroller must possess at least a bachelor's degree, with many employers looking to hire candidates with advanced degrees in the areas of business administration, finance, accounting, or economics.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $70,000
  • Mid-Career: $76,000
  • Experienced: $89,000
  • Late Career: $101,000

Source: PayScale

Choosing an Online MBA Program

After deciding to earn an MBA degree, the next step is choosing a school, which is a process students should not rush. Instead, they should take their time assessing, comparing, and deciding on the right program for them.

Several factors should go into choosing an online MBA, including program cost, program length, and on–campus requirements. The best online MBA programs offer a host of positives that students should carefully weigh, along with any drawbacks unique to their situation.

In–state programs are generally the more affordable option for students. However, the cost of attendance accounts for just one consideration when choosing among varied and accredited online MBA programs.

Program Cost
While attending a university in your state is generally more affordable, online learners should check to see if a school offers an online tuition rate that costs the same for all students regardless of residency. Beyond tuition, other factors that make earning a degree online more cost-effective include the elimination of traditional college costs like transportation and rent.
Transfer Policies
Generous transfer policies can help reduce tuition costs along with program length in an individually paced program. Though transferring credit from one graduate program to another can be more difficult than at the undergraduate level, some schools do accept it. In such cases, transfer students can typically bring over three, six, or nine credits.
School Size and Type
The size of the school often determines the size of the class. Generally, private schools enroll fewer students than public schools. With MBAs, students need to weigh the benefits of a more personalized learning experience gained from a smaller class and the networking opportunities associated with a larger group.
Program Length
MBAs typically require students to complete 30 semester credits (or 60 quarter units), and enrollees typically take two years to graduate. Accelerated programs, however, allow learners to progress through courses more quickly. While MBA students usually take one three-credit course every term, an accelerated program may allow learners to double up on their credits.
On–Campus Requirements
Hybrid MBA programs require students to attend some classes, workshops, or seminars in person. Such on-campus requirements, even if only a one- or two-week intensive, may be too great an obstacle for learners who cannot make the trip. For these students, the best online MBAs require no campus visits.

MBA Concentrations

Students admitted into top online MBA programs can choose from a variety of concentrations for their degrees. These specialized tracks, such as marketing, analytics, supply chain management, and entrepreneurship, prepare students for career paths or further study.

Business Analytics
This concentration teaches students how to work with big data, including how to mine and analyze data, identify trends and patterns, and synthesize this information into actionable recommendations for organizational, operational, and workforce solutions. Individuals schooled in business intelligence can help organizations make better, more informed decisions.
Careers This Concentration Prepares For:
  • Marketing Manager
  • Financial Analyst; Business Intelligence Analyst
International Business
The international business concentration focuses on the skills, knowledge, and training needed to lead in an increasingly globalized business world. Students can broaden their worldviews and learn to understand and work with people from other cultures, nations, and perspectives.
Careers This Concentration Prepares For:
  • Management Analyst
  • International Trader
Entrepreneurship
With an online entrepreneurship MBA, students learn how to go into business for themselves and launch a new enterprise. The concentration helps learners focus on skills like creativity, ambition, perseverance, risk-taking, and informed decision-making.
Careers This Concentration Prepares For:
  • Start–up Founder
  • Senior–Level Manager
  • Professor
Supply Chain Management
This concentration prepares MBA graduates for managing supply chains and logistics in the U.S. and abroad. Many MBA programs emphasize the global supply chain as the business world becomes more interconnected. Online MBA students can gain the skills and knowledge needed to manage supply chain operations of any size effectively and efficiently.
Careers This Concentration Prepares For:
  • Global Logistics Manager
  • Operations Director
Information Systems
MBA students can gain an in-depth understanding of the computers, networks, and IT systems used in the business world. This area of focus explores the technical side of business. Many companies look to hire qualified individuals who bring a combination of business acumen, leadership, and tech expertise.
Careers This Concentration Prepares For:
  • Business Systems Analyst
  • Chief Information Officer

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA?

A student can typically complete an online MBA in two years, though some programs with accelerated formats allow learners to graduate in less time. Most MBA programs require students to complete 30 semester credits or 60 quarter units. In general, schools give students five or six consecutive years to complete all degree requirements.

Factors that can impact program length include course load (part time versus full time), learning format, and field or on–campus requirements. Cohort learning, for example, locks each student into a sequenced plan of study. While this can help an enrollee stay on course and finish within an allotted time, it can also prevent learners from accelerating forward as they would in an individually paced program.

For the professional who returns to school for an MBA to advance their career, an internship requirement can also extend their program completion time. In addition, accelerated programs allow students to take more than one course at a time, offer multiple start dates, and feature shorter terms.

Courses in an Online MBA Program

Managerial Economics
In this course, students can explore how economic principles and quantitative tools help managers make sound, data-driven decisions. Typically, this MBA course focuses on the private sector across industries. Concepts and topics covered include demand analysis, consumer behavior, pricing practices, forecasting demand, market structures, and capital budgeting.
Business Strategy
This course focuses on executive-level strategy, including what wins in the market and against the competition. The course observes fundamental strategy theories along with real-world cases covering a diverse set of corporations. Topics include industry structure, well-defined markets, dynamic markets, and opportunity-driven strategy.
Financial Accounting
A financial accounting course takes a deep dive into this crucial business tool, exploring how to analyze and interpret financial statements, read analyst reports, and use financial information to better understand a business's financial health. By the course's end, students should possess the confidence to work with financial statements, footnotes, and corporate disclosures.
Marketing Management
This online MBA course looks at the character of the marketing process and the responsibilities of the people and institutions involved in it. Students can study the social, economic, and political implications of marketing along with the application and evolution of marketing philosophies over time. Typically, such a course requires students to complete real-world casework exercises.
Organizational Ethics
Online MBA students in this course can inspect ethics used in theory and practice in organizations along with modern ethical dilemmas in business. To pass, learners must demonstrate their knowledge of the stakeholders in an organization and the various ethical conflicts that a globalized business world faces.

Accreditation for Online MBA Degrees

Accreditation assures students that a college or university adheres to established quality standards of higher learning. An accredited postsecondary institution voluntarily submits to regular peer review cycles to prove that the school maintains these standards and works to develop, grow, and surpass them.

When researching schools, prospective students should check the accreditation status for the institution and program, if applicable. For example, a school in California may hold regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, while the online MBA program also boasts programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Students encounter two types of institutional accreditation: regional and national. Seven commissions operate in the six accreditation regions. National accreditors, meanwhile, review schools across the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education both recognize accrediting organizations. In doing so, they affirm that these accreditors uphold the academic quality, improvement, and accountability expectations of the schools they certify. Note that the ED recognizes all regional accreditors but not all national accrediting bodies.

In addition to AACSB International, online MBA students looking at smaller private and public schools may instead find programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs.

MBA Membership Associations

Joining a professional organization is a great way to network and access resources to stay up to date with the profession. For MBAs, membership in a professional organization also affords additional leadership opportunities, assists with continuing education and the maintenance of certification, and boosts resume profiles that can help differentiate members from the pack.

American Management Association
Founded in 1923, AMA provides members with management development and educational services in the critical areas of communication, leadership, finance, project management, analytics, human resources, and business enhancement. AMA offers four levels of membership for students, individuals, small businesses, and companies.
American Business Women’s Association
Established in 1949, ABWA works to bring together women from diverse occupations and help them grow professionally and personally. Membership benefits include lifelong learning opportunities, local chapters and networking meetings, discounts on courses and conferences, and educational scholarships.
Association for Financial Professionals
With over 16,000 members across the globe, AFP hosts one of the largest annual networking conferences for corporate finance professionals in the world. In addition to networking and community, AFP also offers its members professional tools, research insights, and certification credentials.
Business Network International
Boasting more than 240,000 members and 8,500 local chapters around the world, BNI aims to become the leading referral organization for the business community. Founded in 1985, BNI helps members build a strong network to fuel professional growth.
National Association for Business Economics
Founded in 1959, NABE welcomes business economists and other professionals who use economics in their work. The benefits of membership in NABE include educational and career development offerings, industry news and surveys, networking, and conferences.

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