The Best Online Executive MBA Programs 2021

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Executive MBA (eMBA) programs meet the educational needs of mid-career professionals and executives seeking to enhance their skills.

Executive MBA programs usually attract current business professionals seeking career advancement. These programs examine key areas of business, such as accounting, organizational behavior, and project management, while preparing students for leadership roles across industries.

Graduates can work as top executives: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these professionals to grow 6% between 2018-2028 and reports a median income of over $104,000. However, actual income varies by industry. For instance, chief executives in scientific, technical, and manufacturing fields can earn a median salary of over $200,000. 

This guide to executive MBA program rankings helps students find the right programs for their needs. It also covers important information for prospective students, such as common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

The Best Online Executive MBA Programs

  1. Purdue University-Main Campus

    West Lafayette, IN



    A public university that opened in 1874, Purdue currently teaches over 45,000 students annually.

    Purdue offers an online master of business administration with six optional concentrations, including health care management, project management, information technology, and marketing. Courses last six weeks.

    Students must complete 60 credits to graduate without a concentration and 76 credits to graduate with a concentration. Tuition costs $485 per credit.

    Applicants must submit, at minimum, transcripts that show successful completion of a bachelor's degree.

  2. University of North Carolina Wilmington

    Wilmington, NC



    Established in 1947, UNCW teaches approximately 18,000 students annually.

    UNCW offers a master of business administration online with four optional specializations: business analytics, finance, healthcare management, and international business. Students can complete this degree in just 12 months.

    Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $414.72 per credit for in-state students and $1,092.62 per credit for out-of-state students.

    Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.0 GPA and a resume demonstrating at least two years of professional work experience. Other necessary admissions documents include a statement of interest, two letters of recommendation, and GMAT/GRE scores or approved waivers.

  3. University of North Alabama

    Florence, AL



    Founded in 1830, UNA represents the state's oldest four-year public university.

    UNA offers an online executive MBA program as well as a traditional online MBA program. Sample courses include information systems design and project management; corporate financial strategy; business ethics and responsibility in a global economy; and strategic marketing analysis.

    Students must complete 34 credits to graduate from either program. Online MBA tuition costs $525 per credit.

    Executive MBA applicants do not need to submit GRE/GMAT test scores but must demonstrate at least 5 years of professional/entrepreneurial experience and submit transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor's degree. UNA prefers applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.0 but considers those with at least a 2.5 GPA.

  4. California State University-San Bernardino

    San Bernardino, CA



    Founded in 1965, CSUSB confers about 5,000 degrees annually.

    CSUSB offers an online executive MBA for professionals. Core courses include accounting for managerial decision-making; financial theory and corporate finance; organization theory and behavior; and information systems and technology management. Tuition costs approximately $36,000.

    Applicants must first submit a resume to confirm eligibility. The program requires at least two years of experience in a management or leadership role and a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 earned in the last 90 credits. After confirming eligibility, applicants must submit a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, transcripts and another copy of their resume.

  5. University of Nevada-Reno

    Reno, NV



    Established in 1874, UNR consists of 13 schools and colleges, including the College of Business.

    UNR offers an online executive MBA program that consists of 12 courses and lasts for two years. Courses include managing organizations in a global economy; information and communications technology in organizations; and strategic management for executives.

    Students must complete 36 units to graduate. Tuition costs $,5000 per semester for a total of $30,000.

    Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 2.75, GMAT/GRE scores or an approved waiver, and a resume demonstrating at least five years of professional work experience.

  6. Washington State University

    Pullman, WA



    A public university serving nearly 20,000 students, WSU offers over 100 undergraduate majors and over 145 graduate programs.

    WSU's online executive MBA program includes four optional concentrations: marketing, finance, international business, and hospitality business management. Sample courses include financial management; managerial leadership and productivity; and strategy formulation and organizational design.

    Students must complete 36 to 52 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $855 per credit.

    Applicants must submit transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, a resume, one letter of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GMAT/GRE scores or approved waivers.

  7. The University of Texas at Tyler

    Tyler, TX



    One of fourteen institutions in the University of Texas System, UT Tyler teaches around 10,000 students across six colleges.

    UT Tyler offers its executive master of business administration degree program online with 7 weekend meetings. Students can complete the program in 12 to 24 months. The program includes an optional healthcare management concentration.

    Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs approximately $16,650.

    Applicants must submit transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor's degree, GMAT/GRE scores or an approved waiver, and two letters of recommendation.

  8. Prairie View A & M University

    Prairie View, TX



    Founded in 1876, PVAMU teaches over 9,000 students annually.

    PVAMU offers a hybrid executive MBA program that students can complete in two years. Coursework occurs online and through in-person meetings every other Saturday. Sample courses include economics in the global environment; business ethics and law; executive managerial communication; and executive topics in strategy and policy.

    Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $1,167 per credit.

    Applicants must submit transcripts showing successful completion of a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75, a resume demonstrating at least three years of managerial or leadership experience, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

  9. University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Honolulu, HI



    Established in 1907 as the first UH campus, UH Mānoa teaches over 17,000 students annually.

    UH Mānoa offers an online executive MBA program that lasts 22 months and consists of two tracks: health care management or travel industry management. Sample courses include data analytics and statistics for business; marketing management; and digital transformation with information systems and technology.

    Students must complete 48 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $1,015 per credit.

    Applicants must submit transcripts showing completion of a bachelor degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, a resume showing at least five years of professional work experience, a statement of objectives, two letters of recommendation, and GMAT/GRE/EA score.

  10. Texas Southern University

    Houston, TX



    Founded in 1927, TSU teaches around 9,700 students in over 100 academic programs.

    TSU offers a 100% online executive master of business administration degree program that lasts 2 years. Students can complete an optional concentration in energy finance.

    Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Tuition costs $6,000 per term for a total program cost of $36,000. Applicants must submit transcripts, a resume, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.

Best Online Programs

Online Executive MBA Programs Ranking Guidelines

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

Our Methodology

Here at, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

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Featured Online Executive MBA Programs

What Is an Executive MBA Degree?

While an MBA program serves new and experienced professionals alike, an executive MBA program is primarily designed for mid-career professionals and executives seeking to enhance their skills. Executive MBA programs typically only admit students who are already employed and have significant professional experience. Many students in eMBA programs are sponsored by their employers.

Executive programs often skip the introductory material that MBA programs cover, since eMBA students have already developed that foundation through their professional experience. 

If a traditional MBA better fits your needs, check out the 50 best online MBA programs.

Choosing a Program

Students should choose an eMBA program that offers coursework and concentrations aligned with their interests and goals. Candidates should also consider factors like graduation timelines, delivery format, cost, and admission criteria. For instance, some programs require GRE scores. Applicants without those scores need to take the exam or look at other colleges. For more information on school selection, check out the link below.

What Else Can I Expect From an Executive MBA Program?

Courses for executive MBA programs examine general MBA concepts, like organizational behavior, accounting, and business ethics, while heavily emphasizing leadership concepts, such as decision-making, economic analysis, negotiation, and strategic management. Courses vary by program, but the following section outlines some common courses found in eMBA programs.

Executive MBA Curriculum

  • Ethical Leadership: This course covers ethical problem-solving and decision-making in business. Students explore the impact of culture on corporate dynamics and learn how to lead diverse teams. This class may incorporate case studies and examine models and theories of leadership.
  • Strategy Implementation: In this class, students learn how to effectively implement business strategies. Students examine common employee needs during transitions and study methods for effectively communicating upcoming changes to business plans.
  • Corporate Finance: This course covers common corporate finance topics, such as risk management, payout policies, pricing, and net present value. Students may also explore taxation and investment selections and learn how to use financial information for marketing and business planning.

Executive MBA Careers

Executive MBA programs prepare students for executive and administrative positions in fields like healthcare, education, government, and finance. The degree can also lead to careers in finance and human resource management. The following list outlines several common careers for eMBA graduates.

Top Executives $104,690 6%

Top executives lead companies and organizations, making decisions about organizational policies, goals, and processes. Sometimes called C-level executives, they may also make hiring decisions for managerial positions, review financial reports, and determine ways to increase revenue or company performance.

These positions often require an advanced degree and significant relevant experience. Top executives also need strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Source: BLS

Administrative Services Managers $96,940 7%

Administrative Services Managers oversee staff and make decisions about company goals and safety. They may also manage employee records and ensure company procedures adhere to health and environmental standards. These careers exist across industries like healthcare, education, finance, and government.

Administrative services managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree and relevant professional experience. They also need strong communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills.

Source: BLS

Postsecondary Education Administrators $95,410 7%

Postsecondary education administrators usually work in student affairs, admissions, or the registrar's office in higher education institutions. Admissions administrators make decisions about enrollment, reach out to potential applicants, and help students with applications. Administrators in a school's registrar's office manage courses and registration, while student affairs administrators plan and organize student activities.

All of these professionals typically need an advanced degree and relevant experience. They also need strong communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills.

Source: BLS

Executive MBA Professional Organizations

Executive MBA students and graduates should take advantage of professional organizations. Professional organizations offer benefits like networking, professional development, and continuing education opportunities. They may also connect members with job opportunities.

Members of AMA have access to certificate programs in areas like sales management, leadership, and emotional intelligence. The group also provides seminars and webinars on topics such as industry software, business writing, and networking. This specialty group promotes the welfare of Black business professionals. It offers membership discounts on industry training and certification opportunities and delivers the Webinar Academy, which hones professional skills in time management, negotiation, and project management. This organization offers a yearly conference, webinars, and professional development opportunities. Its members also have access to a document library, an online community, and an exclusive job board.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Executive MBA Program?

MBA programs often take 2-3 years to complete, though some schools offer accelerated timelines.

What Can I Do With an Executive MBA?

An executive MBA prepares graduates for leadership positions, such like C-level executive or administrator. These roles are found across industries, including healthcare, finance, and education.

Is an Executive MBA Full Time?

Generally, students pursue an executive MBA part time and continue working while earning the degree.

Is an eMBA Better Than a MBA?

Executive MBA programs focus heavily on preparing current professionals for leadership roles in business, while MBA programs attract new and experienced professionals alike, covering more foundational business administration topics. Which is the best degree depends on a student's goals, experience, and interests.

Is an Executive MBA Worth It?

Executive MBA programs can lead to top-level roles with strong salary potential in a variety of industries, making these programs worth the investment for many students.

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