Online Business Management Degrees

  • Learn the fundamentals of online business management programs, and then dive into details that every potential student should know.
  • Read about degree program in business management at all levels, and see common courses and expectations for each.
  • Explore expert resources, scholarships and internships in business management, as well as free open courses and professional student organizations in the field.

In simple terms, business management is the running of a business. Specifically, business management is the coordination of business activities to accomplish a stated goal. Managing entails staffing and directing a workforce, planning and implementing business activities, and allocating and supervising human, natural, technological and financial resources. A successful business is one that manages its resources at optimum levels or, at least, manages them more efficiently and effectively than its competitors.

Business management is among the most popular majors in higher education. Students entering a college or university business program will find that their classes are large and the competition strong. This is true for both traditional brick-and-mortar campuses and distance learning degree programs. Simply put, the business of America is business, and the business of America’s higher education system is to train its workforce.

Online Business Management Degrees by Level

Almost every major post-secondary school offers some form of undergraduate business management or administration program, as well as courses and degrees in related subjects such as finance and accounting. Online business management degree programs on all levels are readily available, and offered by both well-established institutions and quality fully-online schools. The following are the types of online business management degree options available:

  • Associate Degree: An associate degree program is the entry-level point for those seeking a career in business management. Business-related associate degrees can be designated as “business management,” “business administration,” or simply “business,” depending on the particular school. Course offerings under all of these designations are virtually the same and provide a general introduction to management principles, as well as to the accounting, marketing, financial, and economics fields. Associate degree programs in business are extremely popular at both local community colleges and with online business management degree providers.
  • Bachelor’s Degree: Online business management degree programs on the bachelor’s level are among the most popular offerings in distance education. Like their traditional campus counterparts, online bachelor’s degrees typically require 120 total hours of coursework spread out over a four-year period. Distance learning programs are often much more flexible in regard to time, allowing working students to take more than four years to complete their degree if necessary, as well as providing accelerated course options for those students seeking to earn a degree in less time. Students earning a bachelor’s degree in business management typically enter the workforce upon graduation.

    There are two common types of bachelor’s degrees available in business management:

    • Bachelor of Science in Business Management: This degree may also be designated as a Bachelor of Business Management. As with an associate’s degree in the field, online business management degrees on the bachelor’s level require the completion of general topic courses in marketing, accounting, operations, personnel management, basic micro- and macro-economics, marketing, finance, and more.
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: This degree type is often designated as a Bachelor of Business Administration. Today, degrees designated as “business management” and “business administration” are virtually interchangeable in regard to curriculum and degree requirements. If there is any difference, a bachelor of business administration degree’s curriculum tends to be somewhat broader than that of a bachelor of business management degree, and may offer students the choice of a specialization in finance, accounting, or marketing.
  • Master’s and Doctoral Degrees: It is quite typical for an individual to earn his or her bachelor’s degree in business and enter the workforce for a time before returning to school in pursuit of a graduate degree. Most working professionals find that obtaining a master’s or doctoral degree in business management or administration is essential for climbing the corporate ladder to upper management and beyond. However, the majority of these individuals do not have the luxury of leaving their jobs for one, two, or more years to study full-time. As a result, graduate (particularly master’s) online business management degree programs are widely offered by major colleges and universities. Anyone seeking to earn a business management degree online at the master’s or doctoral degree level will find a wealth of program options to choose from.

What to Look for in a Degree Program

Students researching online business management programs should consider a number of factors before selecting a school. Common elements to weigh into the decision include the following:

  • Program quality: When it comes to online business management degree programs, the choices are plenty and the competition for students fierce. The number of institutions offering their business degree programs online is large and growing every day, and includes some of the most prestigious schools in the country. With so many options, it is important to investigate the school of your choice carefully before putting down your hard-earned tuition money. Make sure that your online program is well respected and leads to quality jobs.
  • Accreditation: Your business management degree program or school must be accredited by a recognized agency. The value of your degree depends on it. All reputable online business programs should be accredited by at least one of the following: one of the six major regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education; the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP); or the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Remember, a school can be accredited by more than one of these respected agencies.
  • Internship availability: More than almost any other field, an internship with a top business, non-profit organization, or financial services firm can be crucial to finding a quality job in business management upon graduation. Most large firms and corporations depend on their internship programs to supply them with dependable entry-level employees to be groomed for advancement. Therefore, it is important to determine the internship choices available through an online business management degree program before signing up.

The range of certifications available for business management professionals is as wide and varied as the profession itself. There are a number of organizations in business management and related fields offering reputable certification programs. The following is a list of respected business-related certifications:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP): Offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI) , the Project Management Professional certification is regarded by many in business as the leading certification for project managers. The PMP certification demonstrates that the holder possesses the experience, competency and education required to lead and direct projects. Potential candidates must have a high school or associate’s degree and 7,500 hours of project management experience, or a bachelor’s degree and 4,500 hours of project management experience. Candidates must also pass an examination.
  • Certified Business Manager (CBM): The Certified Business Manager is a masters-level professional credential based on an Ivy-League MBA curriculum. Candidates are required to either hold an undergraduate degree and complete four years of full-time work experience, or hold a graduate degree or higher and complete three years of full-time work experience. The CBM certification is administered by the Association of Professionals in Business Management (APBM) and includes a four-part examination.
  • Certified Manager (CM): Created and administered by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) , the Certified Manager credential is a general management certification for managers in any industry. Certification requires the completion of a three-module program and an examination that can be taken anywhere in the world through a variety of study formats.
  • Certified Management Consultant (CMC): The Certified Management Consultant credential is available only to members of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) . There are several qualifications that must be met by a candidate for CMC certification, including a bachelor’s degree, three or more years of full-time consulting experience, ownership of or employment by an independent firm, and passage of an examination.

Other certifications commonly held by business management professionals include:

  • Certified Benefits Professional (CBP)
  • Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)
  • Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)
  • Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Certified MBA (CMBA)
  • Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)
  • Global Remuneration Professional (GRP)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Work-Life Certified Professional (WLCP)

Internships/Practical Experience

Students seeking to earn a business management degree online need to determine the potential internship options available to them through the schools they are considering. An internship at a quality corporation or firm can mean the difference between landing a top-flight job upon graduation or not. Almost all large (and many small) companies, as well as government agencies and non-profit organizations, have extensive internship programs that they use to vet potential full-time employees, so it is crucial that your school is able to match you up with an internship at a business.

Requirements for internships in business management vary from company to company, but most have a few basic elements. These core requirements often mirror those of a college scholarship program and include a high GPA, extracurricular and volunteer activities, and prior work experience. Most internships in the business management field are awarded to undergraduate students. Given the current employment market, however, don’t be surprised if top companies and firms are considering MBA students, or even MBA degree holders with some full-time post-graduate employment experience.

Internships in business management are available during summer break and throughout the academic term. Internships may or may not be paid positions.

Open Online Business Management Classes

An Introduction to Operations Management

The Wharton School/University of Pennsylvania

Offered as part of the Wharton Foundation Series, this course teaches students how to analyze and improve processes in services and manufacturing, improve productivity, provide more choice to customers, reduce response times, and improve quality. This eight-week course is taught by Professor Christian Terwiesch.

Design Thinking for Business Innovation

Darden School of Business/University of Virginia

This course provides an overview of the process and tools used in design thinking, and an examination of their application in organizational institutions. Beginning with an extensive explanation of the concept of design thinking, the course then continues with discussions on how design thinking can be used to generate and test new ideas. Taught by Jeanne M. Liedtka, Professor of Management.

Economics for Management

University of New England

This 14-week course takes students through the theories of economics, and looks at the factors affecting economics and business decision-making. Included are discussions on micro-and macro-economics, as well as on how to develop a framework to inform managerial decision-making.

Entrepreneurship 101: Who is Your Customer?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Through the stories of MIT entrepreneurs, students will learn how to go from an idea or technology to the necessary understanding of who will want to buy your product and why. Topics include how to identify prospective customers, interview them, and select the right ones for your business. Taught by Bill Aulet.

Foundations of Business Strategy

Darden School of Business/University of Virginia

This course explores the underlying theory and frameworks that provide the foundations of a successful business strategy. Specific topics include; the concept of strategic analysis; the impact of competitive markets; firm capabilities; and competitive dynamics. This six-week course is taught by Professor Samuel L. Slover.

Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Business, Part I

Darden School of Business/University of Virginia

The focus of this five-week course is on the common growth challenges faced by existing businesses when they attempt substantial growth. Using a case-based format, the course covers topics such as "the truth about growth", "the four ways to grow a business", and "creating a growth plan." Taught by Edward D. Hess, Professor of Business Administration.

Introduction to Marketing

The Wharton School/University of Pennsylvania

An Introduction to Marketing teaches the fundamentals of marketing by focusing on branding strategies, customer centricity, and new market entry. Taught by three top Wharton faculty members, the 12-week course features on-location videos and debates between the three professors.

Project Management Basics

Florida International University

This course is designed to provide students with key concepts and techniques for successfully managing projects from planning to completion. Students will learn to differentiate between projects and operations, identify the different phases of a project, develop strategies to effectively handle projects, and more. Taught by Sylvia Gurdian.

What's Your Big Idea?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This course in entrepreneurship is designed to provide the student with the tools to vet his or her business ideas and to test them in the real world. The course's goal is to provide a practical framework for identifying a promising opportunity, assessing its impact, and developing it into a sustainable enterprise. Taught by Buck Goldstein and Holden Thorp.

  • Accenture

    Accenture is one of the world's leading firms providing management consulting, technology and outsourcing services. Accenture offers paid summer internships to undergraduates at locations throughout the United States, the majority of which are within the company's consulting business, supporting Systems Integration & Technology, and Management Consulting divisions. Interns attend a three-day leadership conference at Accenture’s training facility in St. Charles, Illinois.

  • AmerisourceBergen

    The AmerisourceBergen internship program provides the opportunity to gain real world business experience at one of the largest pharmaceutical services companies. Interns learn about the company's core drug distribution business and its related services, network with senior level executives, and attend career counseling workshops. Internships culminate with a group project that utilizes the corporate business plan to create real-life solutions.

  • A.T. Kearney

    A.T. Kearney is a management consulting firm providing advisory services to private companies and public organizations across the globe. Through its Summer Associates program, interns at A.T. Kearney participate in all phases of the consulting process across a wide range of industries. Interns receive orientation training and work with experienced consultants both in the office and at client sites.

  • Bain & Company

    Bain & Company is a top management consulting firm providing business advisory services to businesses, governments and non-profits located throughout the world. Bain offers summer internship positions to college juniors, and business school and law school students. Interns attend global training programs and work directly with clients as members of Bain case teams.

  • The Boston Consulting Group

    The Boston Consulting Group is a global management consulting firm providing business strategy advice to the private, public and non-profit sectors. BCG offers ten-week summer internships to undergraduate and business school students at all of its North American offices. Interns work as members of a case team in similar conditions to full-time consultants and associates.

  • Chevron

    Chevron's business development-land internships are ten to 14-week summer programs where students learn the important role that land asset management plays in Chevron's exploration and production operations. Interns will assist in negotiating deals and trades with other companies and individuals, draft and manage agreements, ensure Chevron's compliance with governmental regulations, and manage information related to the company's asset interests.

  • Deloitte

    Deloitte is a professional services firm providing audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management and tax services to selected clients around the globe. Deloitte offers hundreds of summer and semester-long internship positions annually at over 100 of its offices in the United States, and in India.

  • Goldman Sachs

    Goldman Sachs is a global investment banking, securities and investment management firm providing financial services to corporations, governments, financial institutions and high-net-worth individuals. Goldman Sachs offers summer associate and analyst internship positions to top undergraduate, business school and law students. Interns work on the same projects as full-time analysts and consultants.

  • Hewlett Packard

    Hewlett Packard is a worldwide provider of information technology products and services to businesses, governments and other public and not-for-profit entities. HP hires interns throughout the year at locations in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Successful interns often receive full-time employment offers at HP upon graduation.

  • IBM

    IBM hires students with targeted skill to work on assignments in its corporate and business support functions. These assignments, offered to both undergrad and MBAs, focus on non-technical disciplines such as finance, marketing, market insight, communications, and human resources.


    KPMG is an audit, tax and advisory firm providing services to public and private entities in over 150 countries around the globe. KPMG offers summer internships to undergraduate upperclassmen in all sectors of their practice providing training, work experience and networking opportunities with peers, clients and firm leadership.

  • McDonald's

    McDonald's allows students to sample a taste of the corporate world through a variety of paid internship opportunities. Students work as an integral part of project teams, develop initiatives alongside staff, and have opportunities to interact with McDonald's executive leadership.

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers

    PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational firm providing industry-focused auditing, tax and business consulting services in 158 countries. It offers internships to undergraduate, business school and law school students, as well as to MBA degree holders. Internships involve training, client experiences, coaching and development, professional shadowing and community service opportunities.

  • Starbucks

    The Starbucks internship program is based at its corporate headquarters in Seattle, Washington, and runs for ten to 12 weeks during the summer. It is designed to provide a robust and meaningful experience that includes high impact, business-relevant projects with well-defined goals and deliverables. Interns have access to professional development and mentorship, leadership exposure, and Starbucks and Seattle immersion activities.

  • Vanguard

    Through its College to Corporate (C2C) Internship Program, Vanguard offer full-time, paid internships to college students with demonstrated leadership abilities. Interns are assigned to a department based on their experiences, as well as Vanguard's business needs, and begin developing a broad understanding of the company's business. Interns support business units and assist with projects that will have impact on our shareholder services.

Highest ROI Colleges for Business Majors & Programs

By nature, business and finance majors have money on their mind. The bottom line influences their projects, research, papers, and, most likely, their choice of college. While many programs have top professors and fantastic curricula, students want to know that their degree will hold tremendous value when looking for a job after graduation; that the money they spent on tuition and fees will come back in the form of long-term earnings potential. So which business and finance programs stand out for return on investment? Find out below.

Click here to see our methodology.

University of Pennsylvania
30 year ROI: $1,786,000 Weighted Total Cost: $222,700 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Founded by Ben Franklin on the dream of an intellectual institution that would reach the height of scholarship and teaching, the University of Pennsylvania is located in the West Philadelphia neighborhood called University City. Around 12 percent of the 30,000+ applicants to Penn are offered acceptance. The Wharton School of Business is one of the top business schools in the world and has been preparing the next generation of economic and social innovators since 1881.

Creighton University
30 year ROI: $1,758,000 Weighted Total Cost: $176,400 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Creighton University follows the intellectual values and practices of the Catholic and Jesuit tradition. The U.S. News & World Report has ranked Creighton as the #1 comprehensive university in the Midwest. The comprehensive business education offered by the Creighton College of Business leaves many doors open for students in their career path. Undergraduate concentrations include accounting, management, marketing, and finance, all of which inspire students to work toward positive change.

University of Notre Dame
30 year ROI: $1,714,000 Weighted Total Cost: $212,200 School Type: Private NFP Website:

The University of Notre Dame was chartered in 1844 with the blessing of the Catholic Church and the state of Indiana. A rising institution for groundbreaking research, Notre Dame is ranked in the top 25 national universities by several reputable publications. The Mendoza College of Business employs 162 faculty members, 120 of which are full-time, tenure-track faculty. With a low student-faculty ratio, the approximately 2,000 undergraduate students get personalized academic attention and detailed career advice from their professors.

University of California – Berkeley
30 year ROI: $1,535,000 Weighted Total Cost: $125,100 School Type: Public Website:

Nearly three-quarters of classes at the University of California at Berkeley have fewer than 30 students, allowing students to make the most of their time with professors. The coursework of the undergraduate program in the Haas School of Business works seamlessly with the liberal arts curriculum organized by the university. Graduates of the program become analysts, financial managers, auditors and consultants at big names like Accenture, Deloitte, and Ernst and Young.

Fairfield University
30 year ROI: $1,529,000 Weighted Total Cost: $212,700 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Founded in 1942 as a Jesuit academic institution, Fairfield University had an initial class of 303 all-male students. Today it continues to progress as a diverse, co-ed community with an international presence. World-class faculty, a practical curriculum and real-world business cases prepare undergraduate business students at Fairfield for a competitive workforce. Concentrations for the Bachelor of Science degree include accounting, finance, information systems, and international business.

The College of William and Mary
30 year ROI: $1,501,000 Weighted Total Cost: $92,910 School Type: Public Website:

The College of William & Mary is a highly selective and competitive research institution that attracts the best and brightest from around the country and the world. The Mason School of Business at William & Mary prepares the next generation of business leaders for facing a tough economy by implementing positive, methodical change. Students are encouraged to think big about what they want to learn in their degree program and how they can apply it in the career.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
30 year ROI: $1,485,000 Weighted Total Cost: $214,900 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Worcester Polytechnic Institute emphasizes quality time in the classroom and was ranked #1 for student-faculty interactions in the National Survey for Student Engagement. The Princeton Review has named the Business School at WPI one of the best in the nation, and students tout it as being innovative and crucial to the development of their critical thinking skills and creativity. Focusing on technologies that make businesses run smoother and best practices for decision-making, the undergraduate degree at WPI has a big impact on students’ future careers in management and industrial engineering.

Santa Clara University
30 year ROI: $1,483,000 Weighted Total Cost: $217,800 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Located 40 miles south of San Francisco, Santa Clara University is a comprehensive university with about 8,800 students. A Catholic, Jesuit institution, it was established on the site of a mission in 1851. Ethics and moral values are deeply entrenched in the core curriculum of the undergraduate business program. A capstone course taken in the senior year puts students in problem-solving mode where they apply their knowledge and skills in inventive ways.

New York University (NYU)
30 year ROI: $1,444,000 Weighted Total Cost: $225,600 School Type: Private NFP Website:

New York University has a finger on the pulse of world trends, state of the art technology, and cutting-edge research. Since its founding in 1831, NYU has grown to become one of the largest private universities in the nation. Those who choose to attend the Stern School of Business have the advantage of working side by side with their peers and professors on projects relevant to their career interests. Nine different concentrations are offered, as well as the option of double majoring and studying abroad to enhance and broaden learning outcomes.

Babson College
30 year ROI: $1,442,000 Weighted Total Cost: $217,300 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Babson College is completely focused on business studies, so students will be complete immersed in their field at this unique institution. About 2,000 undergraduate students from 70 countries attend Babson, which is independent and not-for-profit. The undergraduate degree program ensures that students don’t lose out on a liberal arts education, blending diverse coursework with business-related subjects. Babson’s mantra of “Entrepreneurial Thought and Action” is applied to everything the faculty and administration do.

Georgetown University – Washington D.C.
30 year ROI: $1,441,000 Weighted Total Cost: $226,500 School Type: Private NFP Website:

The oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the U.S., Georgetown was founded in 1789 with strong moral and educational values. Today, the mission and vision of the university is compatible with a diverse set of students from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. The McDonough School of Business has been bringing out the best in business-minded individuals for 50 years. Special opportunities for business students at Georgetown like the First Year Seminar and Entrepreneurship Fellows Program allow them to develop strong ties within the school as well as reach out to their community.

Case Western Reserve University
30 year ROI: $1,438,000 Weighted Total Cost: $215,500 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Located in Cleveland’s University Circle, Case Western Reserve University is classified as a Research University and has about 100,000 alumni and counting. Its name comes from the surrounding area, which at its founding in 1826 was called the Western Reserve of Connecticut. With internationally recognized faculty and a world-class curriculum, the undergraduate business degree at Case Western supports roughly 500 students in whatever area of the field they wish to pursue – from accounting to marketing to finance.

George Washington University (GWU)
30 year ROI: $1,428,000 Weighted Total Cost: $223,500 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Just steps from the White House, George Washington University is at the heart of the political and economic culture of its city. Faculty members are actively engaged with community and government partnerships that expand the reach of their research and teaching. With its location in Washington, D.C., the School of Business is truly at the “intersection of business and society,” as its motto states. Ethics and conscientious thinking are at the forefront of the undergraduate business curriculum, and a plethora of work and internship opportunities are at students’ fingertips.

Washington University in St. Louis
30 year ROI: $1,414,000 Weighted Total Cost: $226,600 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Washington University in St. Louis is a leader among research-centered academic institutions in the Midwest region and the nation. The Olin Business School has about 800 students in the undergraduate program, which offers a BS in business administration with one of nine focuses. A small department allows for close-knit relationships among students as they work together to generate exciting ideas that build upon each other.

La Salle University – Philadelphia, PA
30 year ROI: $1,397,000 Weighted Total Cost: $189,300 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Notable for its demonstration of civic leadership through community service, La Salle University in Philadelphia has been named a top regional university by U.S. News & World Report. Undergraduate programs in accounting, business systems and analytics, marketing, and more expose students in the School of Business to wide variety of career options. Career advising in the business school facilitates self-discovery so that students understand how their own personalities fit into the business field and specific corporate cultures.

University of Virginia (UVA) – Main Campus
30 year ROI: $1,382,000 Weighted Total Cost: $89,700 School Type: Public Website:

There are few universities with as deeply rooted traditions in American history as the University of Virginia. Founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, the university has upwards of 14,500 undergraduate students enrolled in its programs. Lessons in ethics and integrity as well as hard business skills are delivered by world-class faculty in UVA’s undergraduate business program. Students in the McIntire School of Commerce come from diverse backgrounds and 40 countries.

Georgia Institute of Technology
30 year ROI: $1,376,000 Weighted Total Cost: $87,030 School Type: Public Website:

The Georgia Institute of Technology is set in the heart of Atlanta on a 400-acre campus where students are open to explore the offerings of a bustling Southern metropolis. It is the only technology-oriented university to consistently rank among the top 10 public schools in the U.S. News & World Report. Also in the top rankings is Georgia Tech’s Scheller School of Business undergraduate program, which has a reputation for helping students stand out in the job market. Being at a technological school, naturally the business majors at Georgia Tech have access to the latest computer systems, software and other tools for business success.

Cornell University – Ithaca, NY
30 year ROI: $1,343,000 Weighted Total Cost: $218,200 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Cornell University is an Ivy League institution that is home to seven undergraduate colleges offering nearly 80 majors, and in total its faculty teach 4,000 courses. The 2,300-acre campus is located in Ithaca, New York, which has been named one of the top 100 places to live in the U.S. Founded in 1909, the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management offers an undergraduate degree that is internationally recognized for facilitating learning in management tools and social issues related to business.

University of Southern California (USC)
30 year ROI: $1,339,000 Weighted Total Cost: $229,900 School Type: Private NFP Website:

With a widely diverse student body, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has more than 33,000 students from many ethnicities. USC opened in 1880, early in the history of Los Angeles when the city didn’t have basic features like paved streets and electricity. The undergraduate programs at USC in accounting and business administration are top of their class. An internationally focused World Bachelor in Business program is a unique opportunity for a select group of students who will take courses on three continents over the course of four years.

Carroll College – Helena, MT
30 year ROI: $1,321,000 Weighted Total Cost: $148,800 School Type: Private NFP Website:

Carroll College, a private, Catholic liberal arts college, is located in the state capital of Montana at 4,000 feet of elevation. The school ranks in the top of academic institutions in the West for both educational quality and value. Students who major in business administration at Carroll College learn how to handle investment portfolios, reason through tough business scenarios and collaborate effectively with colleagues. The small classes and accommodating faculty prepare students for both the working world and graduate and professional school.

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