Best Online Executive MBA Programs

by TBS Staff

Updated October 18, 2022

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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 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

Purdue University-Main Campus

  • West Lafayette, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University-Main Campus offers an online MBA. The program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, graduates can pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners choose electives or a specialization to stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants without a background in business management may need to complete prerequisite courses before enrolling in the master's program.

Online degree-seekers complete local internships to gain hands-on experience. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Purdue University-Main Campus at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 60%

Total Online Master's Programs: 20

Program Name: MBA

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,208

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $28,010

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,208
Out-of-state
$28,010
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
60%
Students Enrolled
45,500
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

University of North Carolina Wilmington offers a flexible online MBA. The program strengthens industry-specific skills, preparing graduates for leadership responsibilities. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The master's curriculum emphasizes research methods and analytical skills. Learners prepare for focused careers by choosing electives and concentrations. Applicants who majored in business management or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to find local internships. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

University of North Carolina Wilmington at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 65%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: MBA

Graduate Tuition In State: $4,719

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,548

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,443
Out-of-state
$18,508
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
17,499
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

University of North Alabama

  • Florence, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online MBA program at University of North Alabama, located in Florence, offers high academic quality. The program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing graduates for leadership positions. After completing a master's degree, graduates can pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The master's curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to business management. Learners individualize the course of study by selecting electives and concentrations. The program recommends a background in business management before applying to the program.

Online enrollees complete local internships to gain hands-on experience. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

University of North Alabama at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 89%

Total Online Master's Programs: 13

Program Name: MBA

Graduate Tuition In State: $6,660

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,320

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,600
Out-of-state
$19,200
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
7,702
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

California State University, San Bernardino

  • San Bernardino, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

California State University, San Bernardino hosts a top-ranked MBA for executives. The program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. A master's degree helps graduates advance in their current field or pursue a new career.

The master's curriculum emphasizes the best practices in business management. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The program recommends a background in business management before applying.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

California State University, San Bernardino at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 69%

Total Online Master's Programs: 5

Program Name: MBA for executives

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,176

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $16,680

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,742
Out-of-state
$17,622
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
20,638
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#5 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

University of Nevada-Reno

  • Reno, NV
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The executive MBA program at University of Nevada-Reno offers a flexible online format. The program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing enrollees for leadership positions. A master's degree can also prepare graduates for opportunities in new fields.

The curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in business management. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. The program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in business management.

Online enrollees can add to their resume by pursuing internships at approved locations in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

University of Nevada-Reno at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 88%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Executive MBA

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,306

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $20,357

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,410
Out-of-state
$22,461
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
20,993
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#6 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

Washington State University

  • Pullman, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Pullman, Washington State University offers an online MBA. The program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, graduates can advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in business management. Learners can individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in business management.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

Washington State University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 76%

Total Online Master's Programs: 12

Program Name: MBA

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,493

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $25,248

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,953
Out-of-state
$24,531
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
31,607
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#7 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

The University of Texas at Tyler

  • Tyler, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Texas at Tyler enrolls master's students in its online MBA program. The program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training enrollees for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. After completing a master's degree, graduates can pursue career advancement in their current field or a new one.

The curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners choose electives and concentrations to prepare for focused career paths. Applicants who majored in business management or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

The University of Texas at Tyler at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 83%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: MBA

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,850

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $14,328

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,540
Out-of-state
$20,760
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
9,617
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • Honolulu, HI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Honolulu, University of Hawaii at Manoa hosts a top-ranked distance learning executive MBA degree. The program builds specialized skills for leadership roles in the field and related industries. A master's degree helps candidates advance in their current field or pursue a new career path.

The curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants with a background in business typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

University of Hawaii at Manoa at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 58%

Total Online Master's Programs: 5

Program Name: Distance learning executive MBA

Graduate Tuition In State: $15,912

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $37,392

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,304
Out-of-state
$33,336
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
17,490
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#9 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

Texas Southern University

  • Houston, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Based in Houston, Texas Southern University hosts a top-rated online executive master of business administration. The program strengthens specialized skills, preparing learners for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. After completing a master's degree, graduates can advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The curriculum explores theoretical and practical perspectives in the field. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. Applicants without a degree in business or a related field may need to meet prerequisites.

Online enrollees add to their resume by pursuing local internships. The program hosts networking events and other professional development activities to help graduate students expand their professional connections.

Texas Southern University at a Glance:

Type of School: Public, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 91%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Executive master of business administration

Graduate Tuition In State: $5,487

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $12,868

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,942
Out-of-state
$20,097
Retention Rate
53%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
9,034
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Best Online Executive MBA Programs

Bethel University

  • McKenzie, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online executive MBA at Bethel University, located in McKenzie, Tennessee, prioritizes flexibility. The program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training graduates for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The curriculum explores business research and methodologies. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with a background in business typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees participate in local internships. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Bethel University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 90%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Executive MBA

Graduate Tuition In State: $11,034

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $11,034

Average Tuition
In-state
$10,188
Out-of-state
$10,188
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
3,119
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
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 TheBestSchools.org, 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 AcademicInfluence.com, 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.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

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

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

Median Salary: $104,690 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 6%

Administrative Services Managers

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

Median Salary: $96,940 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 7%

Postsecondary Education Administrators

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

Median Salary: $95,410 Projected Job Growth (2019-2029): 7%

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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