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The Best Online Executive MBA

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Online executive MBA (eMBA) programs allow business professionals to advance their career while continuing to work.

These programs teach professionals with experience in business and management the advanced knowledge they need to move up in their careers.

Many professionals who enroll in eMBA programs aim for executive positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), top executives earn a median annual salary of $104,690. The BLS projects the top executive jobs will grow 6% from 2018 to 2028.

The following list ranks the best executive MBA programs that you can complete online. In addition, you can find information about what to expect from pursuing an executive MBA online and guidance about potential career opportunities.

Top 10 Online Executive MBA Programs 2020

#1 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
#2 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
#3 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
#4 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
#5 Howard University Washington, DC
#6 Howard University Washington, DC
#7 Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA
#8 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
#9 Ohio University Athens, OH
#10 Washington State University Pullman, WA

The Best Online Executive MBA Programs

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4

Temple University 

Philadelphia, PA

About this school

Founded in 1884, Temple University has grown from a night school to a major research institution that hosts more than 40,000 students annually. Temple's primarily online executive MBA program requires in-person attendance in Philadelphia during one weekend a month for 16 months.

The unique, 48-credit curriculum is designed to mirror an actual workplace, with students working in teams to prepare assignments and presentations. Executive guest speakers and the integration of the latest case studies ensure students receive up-to-date insights on the business industry. Students can pursue an optional concentration in hospitality asset management.

Required courses cover concepts including valuation, business ethics, statistical analysis, and risk management. The program also incorporates a global immersion experience and a final capstone project. Graduates can pursue leadership positions in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, and tourism.

Prospective students must hold a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and submit a current resume, GMAT scores, transcripts, a statement of goals, and contact information for references. Applicants with AACSB-accredited bachelor's degree, 7-10 years of work experience, or managerial experience may receive a GMAT waiver.

5

Howard University 

Washington, DC

About this school

Howard University is a historically Black university that offers an online executive MBA taught by award-winning faculty. The 42-credit program offers small class sizes, flexible learning options, and completion times as brief as 18 months.

Students complete 14 courses in areas including organizational behavior and leadership, applied economics, entrepreneurship, and strategic communications. Students can optionally participate in a two-week trip to China, India, or South Africa to gain experience in an international business environment.

Prior to graduation, all degree candidates must complete a strategic management capstone, culminating in a presentation of their findings before a panel of faculty and top industry professionals.

Executive MBA applicants need at least seven years of work experience, including five in management or a senior leadership role. They must also submit a resume, a statement of interest, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation. GMAT or GRE scores are recommended but not required.

6

Howard University 

Washington, DC

About this school

Distance learners can choose from more than 80 certificates and degrees at Louisiana State University, including one of the nation's best executive MBA programs. The 36-credit program operates on a flexible, 20-month schedule. Students complete online coursework, on-campus residencies, and international immersion opportunities.

Most coursework takes place online in an asynchronous format, but students must meet on campus during one weekend per month. All students complete 15 credits of required core courses, including managerial economics, competitive strategy, and financial accounting. Students can customize the degree through one of three concentrations:

  • Analytics
  • Emerging technology
  • Healthcare management

The program emphasizes real-world learning through partnerships with local mission-based organizations, startups, and small enterprises in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Site visits, individual coaching sessions, and team activities provide additional leadership and professional development opportunities.

The executive MBA program accepts applications on a rolling basis for a spring semester start date. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and three years of post-baccalaureate work experience. They must also submit a current resume, GMAT or GRE scores, a personal statement, and two letters of reference.

7

Louisiana State University 

Baton Rouge, LA

About this school

The University of Miami offers seven online graduate degrees, including an online executive MBA designed for senior executives, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. The 17-month program combines live online course sessions with nine on-campus residencies. The program features a learning-by-doing curriculum, allowing students to engage in simulations, roleplay, and case studies.

Eleven required courses cover themes like strategic decision-making, cross-cultural leadership, operations management, and innovation. Students also gain experience with real-world business challenges through three integrated consulting projects.

Applicants must supply a current resume, transcripts, and one letter of recommendation. Several rounds of admission occur for each new cohort, including a preferred deadline for scholarship consideration. Accepted students bring an average of 14 years of work experience to UM's executive MBA program.

8

University of Miami 

Coral Gables, FL

About this school

More than 2,100 students enroll in Ohio University's online graduate programs each year. The school's online MBA offers eight concentrations, including executive management. The 12-course, 35-credit program prepares graduates for business leadership careers.

Core MBA courses cover concepts in managerial finance, operations management, and accounting for executives. The executive management concentration includes three required courses: prescriptive analytics, leadership and change management, and ethics in leadership.

Most courses are asynchronous, but the program requires occasional live lectures. All online MBA students also attend one, weekend-long professional development workshop on campus.

Applicants need a regionally accredited bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least two years of professional experience. They must also submit a resume, three letters of recommendation, and a goals statement.

9

Ohio University 

Athens, OH

About this school

Washington State University offers 20 online undergraduate majors and 12 online graduate degrees, including an online executive MBA program. Online students gain access to career counseling, e-tutoring, archived webinars, and a reimbursement program.

The fully online executive MBA takes 18 months to complete. Each course lasts five weeks and allows students to choose between asynchronous and synchronous formats. Learners can also complete an optional, 10-day international business trip.

Courses cover topics like financial business tools, strategic leadership, global business, and management. Students craft a business plan as part of their final capstone. Graduates can work as chief executives, human resource managers, healthcare administrators, and financial managers.

Applicants need a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and at least five years of management experience. They must also submit a resume, three letters of recommendation, GMAT or GRE scores, a letter of organizational support, and a statement of purpose.

10

Washington State University 

Pullman, WA

About this school

The state's first institution of higher education, the University of Nevada-Reno offers online degrees and certificates in more than a dozen disciplines, including business administration. The school's online executive MBA program features a cohort model.

The 36-credit program includes classes like statistics for decision-making, financial reporting and analysis, economics of the firm, and marketing management. During a personal branding course, students learn to build and market content through social media.

Courses feature a mostly asynchronous format, but students need reliable access to a webcam and microphone for occasional live sessions. Graduates are prepared to lead organizations and manage unpredictable business environments.

Applicants to the online executive MBA program need a bachelor's degree in any major with a minimum 2.75 GPA and at least five years of work experience. They must also submit transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores.

11

University of Nevada-Reno 

Reno, NV

About this school

The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a primarily online executive MBA that features a synchronous format, allowing students and faculty to interact in real time.

Over 22 months, students complete 48 credits of coursework designed to sharpen skills in business, strategy, and leadership. Core courses include micro- and macroeconomic foundations for managers, marketing management, and accounting for decision-making. The program also offers concentrations in healthcare management and travel industry management.

In addition to online coursework, students must complete an intensive five-day residency during the beginning of the program and 14 on-campus class sessions in Honolulu. Residents of neighboring islands receive a stipend to help cover roundtrip airfare.

Admission to UH Manoa's executive MBA program requires a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and at least five years of relevant work experience. Applicants must provide a resume; a statement of objectives; two letters of recommendation; and EA, GMAT, or GRE scores.

12

University of Hawaii at Manoa 

Honolulu, HI

About this school

The University of North Carolina-Wilmington offers several online and hybrid degree options, including one of the best executive MBA programs in the nation. Students can complete the 42-credit program in as little as one year.

Core courses cover topics like policy and regulation, financial and managerial accounting, and information technology. Students can pursue a general track or one of four concentrations:

  • Business analytics
  • Finance
  • Healthcare management
  • International business

Students progress through the executive MBA program in small, interactive cohorts. The program requires two on-campus weekend residencies. Students must also participate in a one-week international residency at one of several locations in Europe or Asia.

UNCW considers applications on a rolling basis. Prospective students need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, at least two years of professional experience, and a GMAT score above 500. They must also submit a resume, a cover letter, and two letters of recommendation.

13

University of North Carolina at Wilmington 

Wilmington, NC

About this school

Sam Houston State University offers several dozen online programs, including a unique online executive MBA that prepares graduates for leadership positions in financial institutions and regulatory agencies.

The 36-credit program features mostly online coursework, but students must attend a two-week on-campus residency at the start of each fall semester. Courses include managerial communication; project management; and selected topics in money, capital, and security markets. Students culminate the degree with a comprehensive examination.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit transcripts and GMAT scores. Prospective students with a minimum 2.5 GPA may receive a GMAT waiver. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in a non-business field need at least three years of experience in a banking or regulatory position.

14

Sam Houston State University 

Huntsville, TX

About this school

California Lutheran University offers an online executive MBA that takes 18 months to complete. The program prepares students to pursue leadership positions in public and private organizations.

The 48-credit program includes eight on-campus courses, seven online courses, and one travel-based course. Core courses cover five areas of expertise: leading operations, managing processes, leading people, leading strategy, and professional advancement and integration. Students can choose from two capstone projects: a comprehensive business plan for a new venture or a consulting project with a local or global organization.

New program cohorts begin each fall and spring. Applicants must submit transcripts, a current resume, GMAT scores, and one professional letter of recommendation. They must also complete an interview with the program director.

15

California Lutheran University 

Thousand Oaks, CA

About this school

Jacksonville University offers more than a dozen online certificates and degrees, including an executive MBA in leadership development designed for mid- to senior-level managers with at least 10 years of work experience.

The 46-credit program includes 12 core courses and a leadership development specialization. The specialization builds knowledge and skills in business analytics, executive communication, and strategic change leadership. Students also complete a one-week international trip, the price of which is included in the program's tuition.

Classes meet at the Jacksonville campus one Friday and Saturday each month, but in-person attendance is not mandatory. Students unable to visit campus can access courses online, choosing from asynchronous and synchronous formats.

Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores, a current resume, a statement of interest, and official transcripts from prior colleges. Applicants with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and an AACSB-accredited business degree receive a GRE/GMAT waiver.

16

Jacksonville University 

Jacksonville, FL

About this school

In partnership with General Motors (GM), Northwood University offers an online executive MBA customized to meet the needs of GM's corporate and dealership employees. The 36-credit program takes two years to complete.

Core courses include financial reporting, managing and leading people, and GM process improvement for managers. Students culminate the degree with a capstone project during which they address a critical business problem. The fully online program features asynchronous courses, allowing students to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

The program offers fall and spring start dates. Admission requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also complete an interview and submit a resume or CV, official undergraduate transcripts, and a writing sample.

17

Northwood University 

Midland, MI

About this school

The University of North Alabama allows students to complete an executive MBA online in just 12-18 months. The 34-credit fully online program examines topics like strategic economic analysis, responsibility in a global economy, and corporate governance.

Online students receive individualized management mentoring and the opportunity to create a professional development plan according to their own unique strengths, weaknesses, and career goals. The program features mostly asynchronous coursework delivered through Canvas.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA and at least five years of relevant work history demonstrating increasing professional responsibility. Students can begin on one of five start dates per year.

18

University of North Alabama 

Florence, AL

About this school

Prairie View A&M University's hybrid executive MBA program includes courses like economics in the global environment, accounting for executives, and executive communication. The 36-credit program also includes an international study abroad excursion, giving students insight into business operations in a global setting.

Learners take just one 5- to 8-week course at a time. Students complete most course content online, but they must participate in on-campus sessions during alternate Saturdays throughout the fall and spring semesters and every Saturday during summer semesters.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA and 3-5 years of leadership or managerial experience. They must also submit official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume.

19

Prairie View A&M University 

Prairie View, TX

About this school

Houston Baptist University offers an online executive MBA that students can complete in 11 months. The program combines online courses with five on-campus sessions. Students can choose to complete the on-campus sessions in Houston or New York City.

The 41-credit program covers five main themes: leadership, analytics, resource management, innovation and investments, and strategy. At the end of each module, students apply their knowledge through consulting projects and directed discussions on current global business topics. Students culminate the degree with a one-week international management practicum and a capstone research project.

HBU accepts applications to the executive MBA program on a rolling basis. Prospective students need at least seven years of leadership experience. They must also submit a current resume, two letters of recommendation, and an essay.

20

Houston Baptist University 

Houston, TX

About this school

The University of the Cumberlands offers an online executive MBA that accommodates both domestic and international graduate students.

The program includes 21 credits of core courses and nine credits of upper-level business electives. Students also complete a one-credit applied learning practicum each semester. Learners can choose from concentrations in:

  • Accounting
  • Project management
  • Strategic management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Healthcare administration
  • Marketing

The program features mostly online coursework, but students must complete some weekend residency sessions. During residency sessions, students complete presentations, group case studies, networking opportunities, and Q&A lectures with experienced industry professionals.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Students interested in the accounting concentration need a bachelor's in accounting or the completion of equivalent accounting studies.

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End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Best Online Programs

Online Executive MBA Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is an Online Executive MBA Degree?

An online executive MBA degree allows people who work full time to pursue an MBA with the convenience and flexibility of online learning. An executive MBA provides students with the advanced management skills needed to advance their career.

Online programs often deliver coursework asynchronously, eliminating all set class times. Executive MBA programs that do include in-person or synchronous components often schedule them on weekends or evenings.

What's the Difference Between an MBA and an Executive MBA?

Universities offer executive MBA programs to working professionals with a few years of experience under their belts. These students continue to work while earning their degrees, so schools design their programs with that in mind. In addition, executive MBA programs may offer more advanced or specialized courses, as they assume that students already have foundational knowledge drawn from their work experience. Traditional MBAs may also require some job experience, though many programs will admit students straight from undergraduate business programs, too. They generally focus on more foundational subject matter and offer full-time enrollment.

Choosing an Online Program

Before choosing an executive MBA program, prospective students should consider their career goals. Then, they can determine the knowledge and skills they need to master those goals. This process can help clarify their priorities when searching for a MBA program that works for them.

For more detailed information on how to choose an online MBA program, visit the resource linked below.

How To Choose Your Major

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Executive MBA Program?

Most executive MBA programs focus on leadership skills, finance, marketing, and organizational behavior. Below are some common courses in online executive MBA programs

Executive MBA Curriculum

Strategic Leadership

This course explores how businesses and organizations strategize from the top down to meet goals and achieve success. Students learn about organizational design and structure and how to think about these concepts from a management position. Topics include visioning, leading change, and how to oversee an organization through mergers and acquisitions.

International Business

Professionals who work for a global company must know about tariffs, trade regulations, exchange rate regimes, and foreign capital markets. The International Business course covers those subjects from a management perspective.

Operations Management

Operations management refers to overseeing business practices to increase efficiency at an organization. Students learn about the different elements of operations management, including process design, capacity planning, forecasting, and production scheduling. This course often covers the Six Sigma operations management techniques.

Executive MBA Professional Organizations

Professional associations play an important role in launching and advancing members' careers. Students can connect with people in the industry through networking events and conferences. Many of these organizations offer scholarships or grants to help students pay for tuition. They also provide many other resources, like research about the industry.

MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance

This alliance offers student discounts for conference admission, monthly professional development webinars, and a member directory. Students can access a job board and recent job market data.

National Association of Women MBAs

The NAWMBA connects female MBA students and professionals in the field. The association provides expansive career services, including a job board, resume tips, an interviewing guide, and career coaching.

American Management Association

This organization welcomes professionals working within the business and management fields. Members can take advantage of online professional development courses in topics like project management and business enhancement. They can also earn professional certifications in professional management.

Executive MBA Careers

Students pursue executive MBAs to advance their careers. They typically aim to work in leadership positions after graduating. The following section outlines three potential jobs for executive MBA graduates.

Administrative Services Managers

These professionals direct activities in management roles in healthcare facilities, educational services, local government organizations, and finance and insurance companies. Daily tasks might include managing and hiring staff, establishing goals, and creating and carrying out strategies to meet those goals.

Administrative services managers do not necessarily need an MBA to get started in the field, but an MBA can lead to lucrative roles at larger and more prestigious organizations.

Median Annual Salary

$96,940

Projected Growth Rate

7%

Top Executives

Many people enroll in MBA programs because they want to earn a "C-suite" role, like CEO, chief financial officer, or chief operating officer. Top executives work as the main strategists of an organization, determining the organization's most important goals and methods to meet those goals through a bird's eye view. They hire other major figures in the company, like department managers. C-suite executives also oversee finances and an organization's general activities.

These professionals need a bachelor's or master's degree in the field. Many companies specifically look for applicants with MBAs.

Median Annual Salary

$104,690

Projected Growth Rate

6%

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Not all MBA graduates work in the private sector. Many take on top executive positions with governmental organizations or universities. Postsecondary education administrators oversee university departments. Top-level administrators work as college or university presidents, deans, or provosts. They develop academic policies and manage the overall direction of the school.

Postsecondary administrators usually need at least a master's degree. While some of these professionals earn graduate degrees in other areas, an MBA can help them with essential administrative duties.

Median Annual Salary

$95,410

Projected Growth Rate

7%

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete an executive MBA program?

Executive MBA programs typically take two years to complete, although some students may need up to four years, especially if they pursue the degree part time. Sometimes universities offer accelerated programs.

Is an executive MBA worth it?

That depends on your career goals. If you want to work at a top position at a company and you believe you need more training to reach that goal, then an executive MBA can prove valuable.

What can I do with an executive MBA?

With an executive MBA, you qualify for jobs at the executive level, where your responsibilities mean leading a company or department.

Is an online executive MBA better than a campus MBA?

That depends on your needs. If you work full time, an online executive MBA is often the better option. It involves more flexibility than an on-campus MBA and allows you to study on your own time.

Is eMBA better than MBA?

Not necessarily. Both programs offer advantages for different types of students. For someone already working in the business field, an eMBA may be the best option.