Best Online MBA Programs: 2015

Online MBA degree programs allow working professionals to earn an advanced credential in a flexible learning environment. Top programs offer not only flexibility, but academic rigor, student support, and cost structures that rival – and in some cases surpass – their campus-based counterparts. With more than 500 colleges analyzed, the following 68 have developed online MBAs that truly stand out; they have full accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), low student-teacher ratios, and faculty with demonstrated excellence in business and management. See which schools have the Best Online MBA Programs for 2015:

For a detailed look at the ranking criteria and scoring system, please visit our methodology page.

Score: 99.32 Program Cost: $53,000 Business school:W. P. Carey School of Business

Arizona State University proudly describes its online MBA program as focused and flexible. The program is focused in terms of curriculum, but also flexible in terms of the electives students are able to choose. Students take one course at a time, ending with a final project or exam every five weeks. Course topics include managerial economics, marketing management, statistics for managers and managerial finance.

Online MBA students have control over some aspects of the program, for example, their area of emphasis. ASU offers varying concentrations in fields such as supply chain management, finance, international business and marketing. MBA candidates who don’t wish to select an emphasis can forego that option and focus on general management. If students prefer to earn two degrees at once, ASU features concurrent programs for those pursuing an MBA along with a master’s degree in legal studies, electrical engineering or industrial engineering.

ASU’s online MBA classes start in January and August. An on-campus orientation is required before individuals start the program. Online students have access to services such as assistance with course registration and billing reminders. The university also provides technical support and the opportunity to seek advice from current MBA students known as ambassadors.

Score: 98.17 Program Cost: $12,652 Business school:College of Business, Education, and Human Development

The online MBA option at Louisiana State University-Shreveport offers students the opportunity to earn a distance learning degree in an AACSB-accredited program. The program requires 30-36 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 12 months, depending on one’s schedule. Applicants without business degrees are required to take courses covering the fundamentals of topics such as accounting, finance, economics and statistics.

The curriculum focuses on preparing students for business careers by teaching organizational and change management strategies, communication skills, financial analysis techniques and marketing management concepts. The online MBA program from Louisiana State University-Shreveport provides students with the option of specializing in general business, contemporary issues in accounting and finance, or family enterprise. The family enterprise specialization covers the unique dynamics of family-run and family-owned businesses.

Admission requirements vary according to an applicant’s experience. Candidates must hold a graduate degree from a regionally accredited university and a minimum 3.0 GPA; a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum 3.0 GPA in the previous 60 semester hours; or a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum 2.5 GPA and at least three years of continuous professional work experience, supported by a resume and any other requested documents.

Score: 97.02 Program Cost: $28,980 Business school:Raymond J. Harbert College of Business

Auburn University’s online MBA program provides electronic access to course content through methods such as live video streaming and DVDs. Students can choose to view lectures as they happen and are able to see on-campus students ask questions and hear those answers in real-time. Classes available through the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business include financial analysis, marketing and consumer theory, predictive modeling, big data, advertising and promotion strategy and sales management. Students who want to earn two degrees can choose the dual degree option, with master’s degrees in fields such as finance, management information systems, and industrial and systems engineering.

Future online MBA students must first apply to Auburn’s graduate school and must submit GMAT or GRE scores, though the GMAT is preferred. Candidates who already have a Ph.D. or J.D. degree can waive this requirement. Only students living in the United States may apply, though an exception is made for those in the U.S. military. Individuals who wish to begin in the fall should apply by February 1, while those seeking a spring start have a deadline of September 1. Fall-starting students can choose to attend orientation on campus with an additional fee for meals and activities.

Score: 96.83 Program Cost: $42,320 Business school:School of Business

Quinnipiac University’s online MBA program combines the foundations of business management with in-depth analysis and decision-making. Students may select from one of three tracks—chartered financial analyst, supply chain management. or health care management. Students learn ethical decision-making skills, which are crucial to interpersonal and professional development, throughout the entire curriculum, including courses such as marketing, finance, managerial accounting, and organizational behavior. In addition to core curriculum, electives are available in computer information systems, international business, finance, and more.

Delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, Quinnipiac’s online courses feature online discussion boards and media presentations. Courses are asynchronous and allow students to log in to their courses, participate in discussions and complete assignments at any time of the day.

Online MBA students have the opportunity to participate in an international educational experience, which is worth three credits toward the MBA. Previous locations for the international experience have included China, Beijing, and Hong Kong.

Quinnipiac University’s MBA program is highly competitive, and applicants are required to take either the GMAT or GRE. Waivers may be available to applicants who already hold a master’s degree, have at least five years of post-bachelor’s work experience, or hold industry designations such as CPA or CFA.

Score: 96.76 Program Cost: $40,548 Business school:Sawyer School of Management

Suffolk University’s MBA online program features an interactive online format that allows students to get the full experience of the on-campus program. Offered fully online, the program follows the same curriculum as Suffolk’s on campus MBA programs, with concentrations available in strategic management, marketing, international business, finance, entrepreneurship, and accounting. Students who select a concentration must complete 12 credits in their specialization, and the MBA curriculum comprises 31 credits of coursework. MBA core courses cover essential business topics, with several courses devoted to research and technology. Other core courses may include:

  • Organizational Behavior
  • Corporate Financial Reporting
  • Information Management
  • Financial Management
  • Operations & Data Analysis

The online environment of the MBA program is highly interactive, with videos, slideshows, and multimedia presentations. Students can also live chat with their professors and participate in discussions with their peers in online discussion boards. Technical requirements for online classes are minimal, with up-to-date software, a webcam, and a microphone being the primary requirements.

Applicants need to have relevant work experience to be considered for admission. Other requirements include GMAT or GRE scores. Applicants who hold master’s degrees or professional certifications may ask for a waiver to the exam requirement.

In addition to its MBA online program, Suffolk University also offers an online MBA/GDPA program and online Executive MBA.

Score: 96.32 Program Cost: $14,500 Business school:College of Business Administration

The MBA Online program at The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) is fully accredited by AACSB, the top international accrediting body for business programs. The 48-credit-hour program takes two to six years to complete, depending on each student’s course load. Students also have the option of enrolling in the one-year MBA Accelerated Online program. The accelerated program is 36-credit-hours offered in 7-week modules. Students must take at least two courses per module.

Faculty members have extensive industry experience in curriculum areas such as accounting, finance, administration, business law, marketing and economics. The MBA program requires students to have a business administration foundation from a bachelor’s degree or selected coursework.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last 60 credit hours and a minimum GMAT score of 400 within the last five years for unconditional admission. There are three situations which allow for the applicant to request the GMAT requirement be waived:

  • Four years of mid-level or higher professional business experience
  • GPA of 3.8 or more
  • Previous master’s or doctoral degree

The MBA Committee makes admission decisions based upon the submission of required admission documents through the online system, including an essay of 250 words maximum, three online letters of recommendation from supervisors and/or professors and a current resume.

Score: 96 Program Cost: $13,690 Business school:School of Business

The University of South Dakota’s Beacom School of Business has been accredited by the AACSB since it was founded in 1927. The school’s online MBA program aims to develop business leaders who are trained in decision making, problem solving, and understanding the role of business in society.

The online MBA program is offered in three semesters: fall, spring and summer. Registration deadlines are October 1st, March 1st, and June 1st. Applicants must submit an official transcript showing all undergraduate work, a resume, two letters of recommendation, GMAT scores, and a statement of purpose. There is no minimum GMAT score, but the program’s average is 550. Minimum undergraduate GPA is 2.7.

The MBA entails 18 hours of foundational coursework and 33 hours of advanced courses. In addition to core courses, students can opt to pursue a specialization in health services administration or business analytics. Students who achieved an undergraduate degree in business may have already fulfilled some of the core coursework. Work experience cannot be substituted for foundational coursework.

Examples of required courses for the online general MBA degree include managerial finance, managerial economics, strategic management, quantitative analysis, operations management, and leadership development, which is offered online but culminates in a five-day, in-person experience. It may be possible to transfer credit hours from another MBA program, as long as the credits are from an accredited institution.

Score: 95.61 Program Cost: $25,380 Business school:Robert G. Merrick School of Business

The online MBA at University of Baltimore (UB/Towson MBA) is based on input from area businesses and business leaders as well as UB faulty and students. The curriculum in the program is a theme-based model, focusing on six main areas: managing innovation and strategy, leading and managing people, external stakeholders, managing the value chain, performance and risk, and leveraging technology and business intelligence. Online courses are delivered in six sessions every year, with six-week classes totaling 1.5 credits per piece, giving students greater flexibility and an accelerated format. For students wishing to follow a more traditional schedule, however, the online MBA is also offered in a 15-week semester format, with 3-credit courses.

UB/Towson offers ten MBA specializations, including entrepreneurship, international business, management information systems, and marketing. Students can even custom-build their MBA program based on their career goals and interests. Required courses in the program include performance management, IT for business transformation, marketing strategy, and business analytics. UB/Towson also offers a set of “flexible core courses” that allow students to focus on either corporate or entrepreneurial business.

All MBA courses are offered online, but students can also elect to complete some of their courses on campus. Students must have acceptable GMAT scores for admission to the program. A GMAT waiver may be available to students with significant work experience or an advanced degree.

Score: 95.4 Program Cost: $16,860 Business school:College of Business

Morehead State University offers two options to students enrolled in its online MBA program: earning a master’s business degree or completing one or more graduate level business courses. It takes students with an undergraduate business degree 30 semester hours to finish the online MBA program. In addition to the general business administration track, the school offers a health systems track. While course content is offered fully online, some classes may require students to come to campus and take proctored examinations.

Morehead State University’s online MBA program comprises 24 core semester hours and 6 elective hours. The minimum GPA to graduate is 3.0 out of a possible 4.0. Core courses built into the graduate program focus on management and leadership. General core courses include classes such as:

  • Managerial Communication
  • Financial Management
  • Leadership and Ethics
  • Business Policy and Strategy

For certain online courses, students may need to attend virtual class sessions at specific times. The university utilizes the Blackboard learning platform, video conferencing and other tools to deliver lectures and seminars, retrieve student assignments and post test scores. Interaction is possible through discussion forums and classroom chats. Email, blogs, wikis and digital shared files are also used to connect students with classmates and instructors.

Score: 95.24 Program Cost: $21,840 Business school:College of Business Administration

Georgia Southern University gives distance students the opportunity to earn an MBA through the Georgia WebMBA program. Studies can take 21 months to complete, depending on factors such as transfer credits. Students enroll in two online courses each semester for five consecutive semesters, and they can begin the program in the fall or spring semester. One on-campus meeting is required for the WebMBA — a two-day orientation is held prior to the first week of classes for all candidates who reside in the United States. Following the orientation, no further in-person meetings are required, as all coursework and exams are delivered online.

Several prerequisite foundation courses are required: financial accounting, corporate finance, business statistics and business economics. Accepted students can complete self-paced online modules prior to orientation to fulfil these requirements if needed. Courses are offered asynchronously, with no set time that participants must complete work or be online. Instead, instruction is given through videos, audio files, PowerPoint presentations and other media. The program uses the learning management system Desire2Learn to deliver these materials and facilitate communication with other students and professors. Academic counseling and other services are available through distance means such as phone, Skype conversations and email.

Score: 95.05 Program Cost: $18,900 Business school:Fogelman College of Business and Economics

The University of Memphis offers an online MBA through the Fogelman College of Business and Economics. The curriculum consists of 30 core credit hours and a three-credit-hour elective course. Coursework includes a leadership seminar, which can be taken fully online or as part of a three-day residency held on a rotating basis at the University of Memphis campus. Students have 24/7 access to synchronous and asynchronous instruction taught by a globally-renowned facility.

The online MBA with a Pharmacy Practice Management Concentration is a 45-credit program for current and future pharmacists. The curriculum includes the 30 core MBA hours plus 15 hours in Pharmacy Practice Management.

Students can apply for admission to the online MBA program through the Fogelman College of Business and Economics via the electronic admission application. GMAT or GRE results and transcripts must be sent directly to Graduate Admissions. Students should send supplemental application materials to the office, including:

  • A current resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A statement of personal interest (maximum two single-spaced pages)
  • Essay (maximum 1,000 words)
Score: 94.73 Program Cost: $21,600 Business school:College of Business Administration

The online MBA program at Central Michigan University is accredited by AACSB. All courses are completed fully online except for the concentration in enterprise resource planning, which requires a two-week SAP Certification Academy held on campus. Students can choose from five different areas of emphasis:

  • Marketing (36 credits): Focuses on the knowledge and skills used in marketing careers in areas like advertising, public relations, market research, product development or brand management.
  • Logistics management (43 credits): Provides a foundation in logistics management, an essential part of supply chain management dealing with managing the flow of materials.
  • ERP emphasis using SAP software (40 credits): Requires the SAP Boot Camp, delivered by SAP at Central Michigan University’s College of Business Administration.
  • Human resource management (36 credits): Intended to prepare graduates for upper-level management positions in human resources.
  • Value-driven organization (36 credits): Designed to build a foundation in processes and metrics related to organizational value, ranging from leadership to negotiations.

Requested admissions materials include an application fee, undergraduate transcripts, a personal statement, resume and GMAT scores. In addition, applicants should include proof that they have completed the nine prerequisite courses in business, finance, statistics and economics or their equivalent.

Score: 94.73 Program Cost: $21,840 Business school:Coles College of Business

The Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University (KSU) provides the opportunity to earn a digital MBA through the Georgia WebMBA program. Students in the Georgia WebMBA program are required to spend two days at an on-site orientation in Atlanta. From that point on, all requirements are completed online through virtual team-based learning. The online program is designed to offer the chance for interaction and peer-to-peer education, giving access to the networking options and services utilized by participants in traditional Coles MBA programs. Courses cover the same topics as on-site classes and typically use the same textbooks.

The program comprises ten classes taken over five consecutive terms. Students must register for two courses each term from matriculation to graduation to complete the online program in approximately 20 months. Because space is limited, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Different application deadlines apply for fall, spring and summer enrollment. Admission materials include an electronic copy of the applicant’s resume, and an interview may be requested. The Coles College of Business MBA program is one of a limited number of colleges of business to have earned full dual accreditation in business and accounting by AACSB International.

Score: 93.98 Program Cost: $29,250 Business school:College of Business

Florida State University (FSU) offers a fully online MBA for distance students. The 39 credit program is built so that it can be completed in 28 months from any location, and students can begin in the fall, spring or summer terms.

The program is targeted towards working professionals who require flexibility in their course schedule and location. Most participants in the program have extensive work experience of at least five years, but some are admitted based on excellence and leadership in academic work. Students must have a bachelor’s degree, but no previous coursework in business is required.

FSU’s online MBA program focuses on globalization and technology, with courses such as marketing strategy in the global environment, information and technology management, and business conditions analysis. Students can choose an emphasis in real estate finance and analysis with a customized MBA that includes specialized studies on topics like real estate valuation and investments.

Online students can use several support services offered by the university, including academic coordinators who assist in developing a “degree roadmap” for each student. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, which includes lecture materials, readings, discussion forums and communication tools for interactions with professors and collaboration with fellow students.

Score: 93.62 Program Cost: $37,800 Business school:College of Business and Economics

Lehigh University’s MBA program is offered either on-campus and online, and students can choose a mix of both types of learning if they prefer. However, all students must attend an on-campus orientation before starting classes. The online program makes use of digital delivery methods including ClassroomLIVE and Classroom Online. ClassroomLIVE allows online participants to watch the class as it happens and interact with professors and fellow classmates in real time. Classroom Online is not live, and can therefore be viewed at the student’s convenience. Interaction occurs via email, online message boards and telephone calls.

Applicants must have two years of work experience to be considered for admission, though Lehigh University says the average is six years. Students can begin the online MBA program in August, January or May. Completion time is 16-72 months. Graduates must complete 36 credits, not including prerequisites such as statistics, financial accounting and computer literacy. All students start with certain core courses, covering subjects such as managing information, integrative experience and managing people. From there, students can choose to concentrate in corporate entrepreneurship, finance, international business, marketing, project management or supply chain management. The Office of Distance Education also offers a joint master’s degree in business administration and engineering.

Score: 93.58 Program Cost: $31,350 Business school:School of Business Administration

Widener University, Harrisburg Campus offers a unique online joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration master’s degree. It is a collaborative effort between Widener Law and the Widener School of Business Administration JD/MBA dual degree program.

In order to be accepted into the program, candidates must first qualify and apply for admission into both the law school and the business school, taking both the LSAT and the GMAT. The JD/MBA program requires both law course credits and credits from the School of Business Administration’s core program, with some of the business credits counting towards the JD as electives and some of the law course credits counting toward the MBA.

The JD/MBA degree is designed to be completed in four years. It involves a fully integrated curriculum where the disciplines of both law and business administration complement each other, granting students an opportunity to understand the relationships between the two more readily than if each field were studied independently.

Widener also offers a traditional MBA online, which is available in seven concentrations:

  • Accounting Information Systems
  • Business Process Innovation
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Finance
  • Hospitality Management
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Taxation
  • Technology Management
Score: 93.44 Program Cost: $39,000 Business school:Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics

The University of Delaware’s online MBA program offers students three concentrations-finance, international business, and a dual program that blends both finance and international business. Classes for these concentrations are available as electives after students fulfill core MBA courses. Core courses include:

  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Operations Management and Management Science
  • Ethical Issues in Domestic and Global Business Environments
  • Corporate Strategy

Overall, the program is comprised of 48 credits. Students must take one course that fulfills an international requirement, such as International Financial Management or Managing for Global Enterprise. Another requirement for all students is the Strategic Integration for Top Managers class, which fulfills the experiential requirement. This class focuses on teaching strategic decision making for senior managers in areas such as finance and marketing. Additionally, students will need to complete 12 hours of electives in the areas of business, finance, and entrepreneurship.

Students can start earning their MBA in the fall, spring or summer semesters; each semester has two start dates. Online MBA students at the University of Delaware can earn their degree in 16 months, though taking more time is allowed. Each course takes seven weeks and is completely facilitated online. Students aren’t required to have an undergraduate degree in business to earn an MBA at the University of Delaware.

Score: 92.76 Program Cost: $10,834 Business school:John Massey School of Business

Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s online MBA program through the John Massey School of Business is accredited by the AACSB and is 100 percent online with no on-campus requirement. It is offered in two, eight-week block sessions per semester, making it possible to complete the program in 18 months.

There are two concentration options: the MBA Entrepreneurship Degree Plan (MBA ENTR) and the MBA Health Information Systems Degree Plan (MBA HIS). Prerequisite courses include Fundamentals of Managerial Accounting, Business Statistics, Principles of Microeconomics, and Business Finance.

Students may be admitted through either full-standing status or provisional status. Full-standing status allows students to immediately enroll in the graduate curriculum and proceed to candidacy. This is achieved by applying 60 days prior to the first enrollment, meeting the general admission requirements of the graduate school, completing the undergraduate prerequisites required by the School of Business, and having a combined GPA and GMAT/GRE Index Score of 950.

Students not admitted with full-standing status may receive a provisional admission to the MBA program if they have met the general requirements of the graduate school. Provisional status allows students to enroll and pursue coursework while simultaneously working to fulfill the requirements for full-standing admission.

Score: 91.16 Program Cost: $7,860 Business school:College of Business

Designed primarily for those with undergraduate business degrees, Southern Arkansas University’s online MBA program aims to teach students the fundamental business and technical skills required of today’s business executives. Students learn about legal and regulatory issues facing modern business professionals, while also developing the written and oral communication skills needed to conduct business in a global environment. The program consists of 24 hours of MBA core courses and six hours of elective courses. Specializations are offered in agri-business and supply chain management, with general MBA courses covering areas such as strategic marketing, managerial finance, accounting, and strategic planning.

Although most MBA students hold bachelor’s degrees in business, applicants who complete 21 credits of business prerequisites may be considered for admission. GRE or GMAT scores are required for admission, and students must also take the Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT) before graduation.

Students can complete the MBA program through traditional night courses, online delivery, or a combination of the two. General MBA courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, where classes may be accessed 24 hours a day. The online MBA can be completed in two years, and qualified students may apply for a graduate assistantship.

Score: 90.75 Program Cost: $9,450 Business school:College of Business and Public Administration

Ranked No. 32 by U.S. News & World Report and offered through the College of Business & Public Administration, UND’s online MBA begins every fall, spring and summer, in August, January and May, respectively.

The MBA is 33-34 credits, and takes at least two years to complete, with live web classes held one evening per week. The interdisciplinary MBA focuses on planning, organizing, operating, and controlling a business enterprise. Students will learn the fundamentals of advanced business functions, including making effective problem-solving decisions, evaluating alternative courses of action, and the impact of internal and external factors on business management.

Courses include healthcare administration, economics, corporate finance, investments, management science, real estate, sports marketing and public administration.

Applicants must first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and have scored at least 500 on the GMAT exam. Online students may choose to pursue an MBA in international business, although there are additional credit requirements for the concentration.

Score: 90.33 Program Cost: $10,954 Business school:Warren P. Williamson, Jr. College of Business Administration

Youngstown State University’s fully online MBA degree program is accredited by AACSB and taught by faculty with comprehensive instructional experience. Students have the opportunity to develop managerial knowledge and skills in order to expand their marketability, career opportunities and earning power.

The online MBA program is comprised of 39 semester hours. Students must complete 33 core hours in decision making, business leadership, managing and strategic thinking as well as six elective hours. The online curriculum is of the same high quality as the traditional, on-campus MBA. The virtual classroom allows for classmates to participate from all over the world in a professional networking environment.

Applications to the online MBA program are accepted for the summer, fall and spring semesters. Prospective students must submit a resume and a statement of professional goals and objectives. Test scores from the GMAT or GRE must also be sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies. Minimum accepted test scores are 460/80 for the GMAT and 150/340 for each section of the GRE. Students may apply for a GMAT/GRE Waiver if they have appropriate professional work experience.

Score: 89.89 Program Cost: $12,101 Business school:College of Business Administration

The University of Louisiana – Monroe’s online MBA program is accredited by AACSB International, and admission is contingent upon approval by the Graduate Admission Committee of the College of Business Administration. Candidates must score at least 450 on the GMAT, or receive a GRE equivalent. The GMAT may be waived for applicants who maintained at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA in undergraduate studies. Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from a current or past supervisor, a resume detailing employment experience, and a 300-500-word essay explaining their ability to complete the course.

The program requires that applicants have successfully completed accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing and quantitative methods courses. If they did not, they can meet these requirements by passing non-credit proficiency examinations, passing CLEP or DSST examinations, or by completing the background courses with a grade of “C” or better.

Credits from programs at other accredited colleges and universities may be applied to the ULM online MBA. Sessions begin in January, March, May, July, August and October. Sessions end in March, May, June, August, October and December.

Score: 89.58 Program Cost: $18,750 Business school:College of Business

The University of Wyoming’s online MBA program is specifically designed for experienced business professionals. The cohort-based MBA starts each fall, consists of 30 credits, and is taken 100 percent online, with no required physical campus participation.

All applications must be submitted by July 30th, and only top candidates will be considered on a rolling basis. The program is accredited by the AACSB International, an accreditation achieved by fewer than five percent of business schools nationwide.

Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a GMAT score of 550 or better. They must have a professional resume, three letters of recommendation and have at least five years of progressive, full-time, professional work experience, with at least three of those years in a supervisory/managerial role.

The MBA requires two years to complete, and because of its integrated, lockstep curriculum, students are not recommended to start and stop once they enroll. Tuition is different for residents and non-residents, and is charged depending on the student’s program and career classification.

Courses include Financial Accounting, Business Research Methods, Marketing Analysis, Decision Sciences for Managers, International Business in Practice, Managerial Accounting and Global Business Environment.

Score: 89.57 Program Cost: $8,058 Business school:College of Business and Engineering

The Master of Business Administration Online (MBAO) at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin is a fully online program offered through the College of Business and Engineering. The MBA curriculum consists of 48 credits of coursework covering topics such as human resource management, organizational leadership, marketing, finance, and accounting analysis.

Students can choose to study general business management or they can tailor their degree by pursuing a concentration in finance. The finance concentration covers subjects such as exchange rates, financial management, and risk management, and graduates may find positions as portfolio managers, financial consultants, finance managers, and investor relations managers.

Online MBA courses are offered through UT Online Consortium, a group of eight University of Texas institutions offering online courses. The virtual classrooms feature online tools designed to create an interactive student experience, including chat rooms, email, and threaded discussions. Audio and video media are also incorporated, with CD-ROM, audiotapes, and videotapes facilitating classroom instruction.

Admission to the program requires an acceptable GMAT score. Students who are admitted under provisional status can transition to regular status after completing three core MBA courses.

Score: 89.51 Program Cost: $12,852 Business school:College of Business

Frostburg State University’s online MBA program requires 36-42 credit hours, depending on the student’s academic background. For example, individuals with CPA licensure can waive two accounting courses, leaving 10 courses or 30 credit hours. Students can enroll full-time or part-time.

The online MBA program is geared towards business and non-business majors with work experience, but is also open to recent college graduates. The distance learning model offers opportunities to build connections and interact with professors. Academic experiences focus on developing communication skills, strategies for approaching professional challenges and a strong understanding of current business technology.

Frostburg State University offers rolling admissions for the online MBA program, so that students can begin in the spring, summer or fall term. The application process is open to individuals with bachelor’s degrees, even those without prior academic training in business. After reviewing an applicant’s transcripts, the school may require students to take essential prerequisite courses in addition to the 12 core MBA classes. Applicants must submit test scores from the GRE or GMAT except in special circumstances where the requirement is waived: a master’s degree or higher, an undergraduate GPA of 3.65 or higher, or a GPA of 3.25 or better combined with two years of management or professional experience after college.

Score: 89.4 Program Cost: $11,098 Business school:College of Business

Louisiana Tech University features an online MBA program through its Global Campus. Like the on-site MBA program, the online degree requires 30 credit hours, but the on-campus option has broader choices for concentrations. Classes may focus on areas such as solving complex business problems, ethics, marketing management, administrative policy and information resource management. Courses follow a set schedule, for example, the capstone management project takes place during the winter or summer quarters. However, the classes themselves offer the opportunity for self-paced study.

The required foundational courses include subjects such as accounting, microeconomics, finance and calculus for business. Applicants who need to complete these prerequisite courses can take them online from Louisiana Tech University. It is possible to transfer up to six credit hours from other schools that are approved by the Graduate Director. The minimum GPA for transferred business credits is a “B”. The general academic background required for undergraduates applying to the online MBA program includes:

  • Completed coursework in economics, calculus and linear algebra
  • Passing scores on the Graduate Admissions Test (GMAT)
  • Academic advising via email or telephone

The online MBA program has specific application deadlines for the different academic quarters. Requirements and deadlines also vary for U.S. and international applicants.

Score: 89.16 Program Cost: $22,500 Business school:School of Management

Marist College offers an online MBA for distance learners or working professionals. The program is in an asynchronous format, so students can complete coursework on their own schedule and don’t have to be online at any particular time. However, there are occasional instances when students have to log in at a specific time and date.

The program has a “virtual management focus,” guiding professionals in working with virtual organizations, electronic communications and leadership in a non-physical environment. Students take six foundation courses, five core courses and five concentration courses, and the program can potentially be completed in as few as four semesters if taken full-time. While foundation courses can be waived if the student meets the requirements, these prerequisite courses are available online in 8-week sessions. An undergraduate degree in business is not required for admission to Marist College’s online MBA program. Fall and spring start dates are available.

Students can choose from several concentrations:

  • Ethical leadership
  • Finance
  • Health care administration
  • International business

Online students can use many of the same services at Marist as on-campus students, including academic advising, tech support from the Office of Academic Technology and the Marist Help Desk, and writing tutors from the Academic Learning Center.

Score: 89.01 Program Cost: $26,400 Business school:College of Business Administration

The online MBA (OMBA) program at California State University, Stanislaus, is designed for working professionals and business executives who wish to complete their studies without leaving their jobs. Flexible aspects of the program include ongoing enrollment in fall and spring. The OMBA degree consists of 33 credit hours, with 24 units of required courses such as managerial finance, computer information systems, and quality and productivity management. An additional 9 units of electives explore topics including international finance management and advanced consumer behavior.

Applicants are expected to have two years of relevant, full-time employment in a professional or supervisory role. However, those without this experience may qualify if their undergraduate GPA and GMAT scores are high enough. Specific prerequisite courses in statistics, business, finance and accounting must be completed prior to admissions.

The OMBA program at CSU Stanislaus delivers instructional content and guidance through several means, including online office hours, Skype video conferencing and Elluminate! Live virtual classroom sessions. The Elluminate! program provides access to visual tools, teleconferencing, quizzing and polling, public and private chats, and webcams to facilitate online learning. Faculty members are certified by the Sloan Consortium, which educates instructors in the use of effective, comprehensive methods for distance learning.

Score: 88.99 Program Cost: $21,000 Business school:D. Abbott Turner College of Business

Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business offers an online MBA for students who wish to earn their graduate degree while continuing to work full- or part-time. The MBA is delivered through the Georgia WebMBA program, a joint initiative of several universities with the University System of Georgia. Classes are taught by professors from the different universities, and upon graduation, Columbus State University confers the degree.

Courses focus on some of the most prevalent topics of modern management including global business, human behavior and information systems, as well as the practical application of tools and concepts taught in the (virtual) classroom. There are 10 three-credit courses in the program.

The degree can be earned fully online, with all course instruction and assessment given through online and distance means. However, students are required to attend a two-day orientation in Atlanta prior to the start of the fall or spring semester. (International students or those travelling internationally at the time of orientation are exempt.) Students of all academic backgrounds can be admitted to the program; however, those without a business background may need to complete prerequisite foundational courses. WebMBA offers online modules to fulfil these courses, which can be completed after admission but prior to orientation.

Score: 88.96 Program Cost: $13,990 Business school:College of Business

The University of North Texas College of Business has developed three MBAs – all of which are offered 100 percent online. Program offerings include an MBA in Strategic Management, MBA in Marketing, and MBA in Finance.

Some online courses require proctored examinations, which can be taken in person at the UNT Denton campus. Instructors determine whether their tests must be proctored.

To apply for any of the three online MBAs, all applicants must submit an essay about their lives and experiences, a resume detailing work and academic experience, and two letters of recommendation. Candidates must also submit GMAT scores from no more than five years ago. The average GMAT score among those admitted to the online MBA program is between 520 and 550. Applicants must also have a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA maintained for the last 60 hours or a 2.8 cumulative undergraduate GPA.

The deadline for spring enrollment is November 15th, while the deadline for summer enrollment is April 15th. The last deadline is for fall enrollment, which is July 15th. Students are allowed to opt out of their MBA at any time, but if they do, they will not be allowed to re-enter it – or any other online offerings.

Score: 88.87 Program Cost: $11,610 Business school:College of Business

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi offers an AACSB-accredited online MBA program, which can be completed in as little as 12 months. The curriculum teaches students the analytical, technology, and communication skills necessary to succeed in the business world. Students also learn to solve complex business challenges in a global economy.

The online MBA program consists of 10 courses for students with a bachelor’s in business administration. Non-degree students must complete four prerequisite courses: Foundations of Accounting, Foundations in Economics, Financial Management Concepts, and Statistical and Decision Analysis.

The online faculty has comprehensive experience in instruction and research. Forbes ranked the online MBA program at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as a Top 20 University.

To be considered for admission, students must submit an online application, current resume, 500-word essay, and official transcripts documenting all undergraduate and graduate course work from any accredited institutions attended. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi requires applicants to also submit scores no older than five years from the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE), unless the applicant has one of the following:

  • GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Master’s degree along with a grade of B or better in college algebra or higher level math course

Additionally, applicants without a minimum 3.0 GPA may be asked to attend a face-to-face or video conference interview prior to the program admission committee making a decision.

Score: 88.82 Program Cost: $21,840 Business school:Richards College of Business

Students of the University of West Georgia can earn an MBA online through the Georgia WebMBA, a partnership of six University of Georgia institutions (including the University of West Georgia). Professors from all six institutions teach courses, although the University of West Georgia officially grants the degree.

The program begins with a two-day orientation held in Atlanta, mandatory unless the student lives (or is traveling) outside of the United States. After orientation, all elements of the degree, including classwork and exams, take place online. The program takes an estimated 18 months to complete, and consists of ten courses taken over five semesters. Up to six credits can be transferred into the program.

Coursework addresses some of the more complex issues facing businesses as technology and globalization become more prevalent, including analyzing global economic environments, evaluating the ethical and social dimensions of business activities, and creating integrated technology solutions to influence management and outcomes.

Applicants must have at least two years of professional business experience. Prerequisites include several business foundation courses. Students who have not taken these courses can complete online modules prior to orientation to cover the relevant subject matter. The school accepts applications for both the Spring and Fall semesters.

Score: 88.82 Program Cost: $11,123 Business school:College of Business

Mississippi State University’s online MBA program operates on a flexible admissions schedule, permitting students to enroll in graduate studies at the start of any semester. It generally takes 18 to 24 months for a full-time student to graduate with an online MBA from Mississippi State University. The program requires students to pass 24 credit hours of core courses on subjects such as human resource issues, corporate finance, strategic marketing management, strategic business consulting, and financial and accounting report analysis. Elective courses supply another 6 credit hours.

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, GMAT or GRE scores and a competitive GPA are needed to gain admittance to the program. Prerequisite courses available to undergraduates who have not completed all required foundation courses include survey of accounting, statistical analysis for business decisions and financial management.

Administration of the online MBA program is managed through tools such as:

  • The MyState portal
  • Webcasts and live video conferencing
  • Emails and archived training sessions
  • MyBanner (for registration and other functions)

Students use MyState to review course catalogs and their class schedules. Coursework is completed using a Windows or Mac system. Instructors who teach the online business courses can share their experience with integrative learning methods.

Score: 88.66 Program Cost: $13,582 Business school:College of Business

Prairie View A&M University offers an online MBA program that can be completed in two years. Composed of twelve courses totaling 36 credit hours, the online MBA covers fundamental business topics such as marketing, entrepreneurship, managerial accounting, and human resource management. Students can individualize their degree plans by selecting a concentration in accounting, finance, or international business. Additionally, the program is noted for its affordability and it is accredited by the Association to Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

PVAMU’s online courses are delivered through eCourses, an online learning system that allows students to access their online courses, send and receive emails, and participate in discussions. Assignments are submitted through TurnItIn, an online evaluation program, which enables instructors to check a paper’s originality, grade papers, and leave comments for students. Online MBA courses follow the same curriculum as the on campus MBA program.

Admission requirements include a completed Texas One application, graduate programs information form, an undergraduate GPA of 2.45, undergraduate transcripts, GMAT scores, three professional references or recommendations, and a personal essay entitled “Why I want an MBA”. There is also a mandatory application fee of $50, or $65 for the college’s extended deadlines.

Score: 88.23 Program Cost: $11,201 Business school:College of Business

The Florida Gulf Coast University’s online MBA program is offered through the Lutgert College of Business. The coursework is structured to prepare students to solve organizational problems with the appropriate behavioral, analytical and technical tools. The program has received accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). In addition to the general MBA, an interdisciplinary concentration is available through distance education.

The online MBA curriculum at Florida Gulf Coast University covers fundamental concepts such as leadership and teamwork, global and ethical awareness, and entrepreneurship. Students learn how to evaluate the global impact of business decisions and approach problems using critical thinking skills. Classes also focus on developing the ability to demonstrate effective communication skills. Students are assessed on their knowledge, communication and analytical skills through research papers, test cases, capstone projects and exams.

In order to apply to the online MBA program, applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their last 60 credit hours from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning. In addition, applicants must have scored at least 500 on the GMAT or have earned an equivalent score on the GRE. The online MBA application must include an official copy of all academic transcripts and test scores.

Score: 87.75 Program Cost: $37,000 Business school:College of Business and Economics

The University of Idaho offers its Executive MBA program for non-traditional students looking to earn a degree with minimal on-campus presence. It is designed for working professionals who plan to continue their careers while still in school. Although the degree cannot be earned fully online, on-campus classes are held only once a month for three days, Thursday through Saturday. Additionally, there is a one-week session of workshops and courses when students first enter the program. The rest of the program requirements can be completed online.

The Executive MBA program takes 22 months to complete, and addresses traditional MBA topics such as accounting, finance, management, marketing and operations. Other topics of focus in the program include leadership, globalization, sustainability, decision-making and relationship management.

Students typically have eight-to-ten years of work experience prior to entering the program, and a minimum of five years’ experience is required. The program uses a cohort model of instruction, where students work in a peer group and learn together as they progress toward their degrees. The cohort also provides valuable networking contacts and opportunities for after graduation.

Score: 87.42 Program Cost: $38,400 Business school:Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics

UNH Main’s online MBA course enables students to earn an advanced, AACSB-accredited degree from anywhere in the world in between two and six years. Students can complete their degree entirely online, or take some courses at the physical campus, if they choose. The same faculty who teach at the campus teach the online courses, as well.

The admissions committee uses a “portfolio” approach. Applicants are judged on recommendations, a history of academic excellence, test scores and essays. If they meet professional experience requirements, students may waive the GMAT exam.

The MBA is available to all undergraduate majors, but their baccalaureate degree program must be completed before they can be accepted into the MBA program. The program consists of five terms of either five or 10 weeks each. Classes include management accounting, organizational behavior, organizations, leadership and environments and technology and operations management. The program is administered through Blackboard, and although students are permitted to use a PC or a Mac, several necessary courses require a computer with a Windows operating system.

Score: 87.39 Program Cost: $30,420 Business school:Rohrer College of Business

Offered through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education and the Rohrer College of Business, the online MBA program at Rowan University can be completed in 24 months over six semesters. Courses cover topics such as e-commerce, financial decision making, new venture creation, and international business. An AACSB-accelerated program, the online MBA features the same curriculum that can be found in the on-campus program, and faculty members are composed of the same business professionals who teach on-campus programs.

Rowan University’s online courses are delivered through a learning management system capable of delivering digital slide shows, multimedia presentations, and audio/video content. Other features of Rowan’s online classrooms include class discussion boards, chat rooms, and 24-hour technical support. Online courses are eight weeks in length and are offered twice each semester.

Admission to the program requires letters of recommendation, a resume, a written statement of goals, GMAT or GRE scores, and an undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Prerequisite courses are also required, including coursework in statistics, accounting, economics, marketing, and operations management. According to the school, the average MBA student at Rowan University has a 3.25 undergraduate GPA and a GMAT score of 501. Students should consult the College of Graduate and Continuing Education for additional admissions requirements.

Score: 87.32 Program Cost: $49,296 Business school:Hankamer School of Business

Baylor University’s accelerated online MBA program requires 48 credit hours for completion. The program focuses on skills such as defining, discovering and delivering, with the chance to explore an integrity-based approach to complex business situations. Baylor’s goal is for graduates to be able to communicate in a professional manner and have a good sense of teamwork. Students in the online MBA program take a variety of business, finance and marketing-related courses. Subjects include negotiations, ethical leadership, economics for managers, strategic marketing and managing for higher performance. Also available are studies in manufacturing and information technology management. Students can earn a certificate of completion for the Bloomberg Professional service and gain access to data used by many finance professionals.

Individuals seeking admission to Baylor’s MBA program submit several supporting documents with their application fee, and they have the option of participating in an online or on-campus interview. Undergraduate transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a resume and three essays are required. Applicants need GRE or GMAT scores unless they have four years of leadership, managerial or project management experience. Students can start classes in the summer, fall or spring terms; there are two start dates in each term with separate application and registration deadlines.

Score: 87.17 Program Cost: $47,136 Business school:School of Management

Three specializations are available through the New Jersey Institute of Technology online MBA program: management information systems, marketing and finance. A total of 48 credit hours are required to graduate. The school operates on a rolling admissions schedule, allowing students to enroll in an online MBA program during a fall, spring or summer semester. However, students must apply and register before the semester deadlines.

Online MBA specializations are administered through the college’s School of Management division. Focus areas of the management information systems specialization include enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, executive information systems, information management and supply chain management.

The marketing specialization primarily has an international focus and is designed to introduce students to analyzing marketing segmentation, overseeing an organization’s marketing process, measuring campaign results and building intuitive corporate brands. In comparison, the finance specialization covers areas such as accounting regulations, capital management, income measurement and investment banking.

Among the tools used to teach online courses are video conferencing, email and webcasts. Other technologies that students and instructors use to deliver and listen to lectures and seminars and complete coursework include Virtual Classroom, discussion forums, podcasts, DVDs and CD ROMs. Access to classes, grades and course materials is available through online learning platforms.

Score: 87.17 Program Cost: $37,167 Business school:Poole College of Management

North Carolina State University offers the Jenkins Online MBA Program, which relies on digital course delivery combined with a 3-day on-site immersion experience. NC State online business students can choose a flexible or an accelerated schedule, with the opportunity for an optional international residency. It takes up to six years for some part-time students to finish the flexible track, while only 21 months are typically required to finish the accelerated track.

In addition to focusing on business and management, NC State’s program emphasizes information technology. The online MBA curriculum comprises core courses like these:

  • Accounting for Managers
  • Enterprise Systems
  • Technology, Competition and the Law
  • Managerial and Career Effectiveness
  • Investment Theory and Practice

The program targets candidates with professional experience as well as strong test scores. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree and certain prerequisites, such as college courses in calculus or statistics. In-person or telephone interviews may also be part of the admissions process.

A 15-20 hour a week commitment is recommended to succeed in the program, which uses technologies such as Moodle, Blackboard Collaborate, Student Impact, live video streaming, podcasts and discussion boards. Many courses employ asynchronous methods allowing self-paced studies.

Score: 87.03 Program Cost: $11,088 Business school:School of Business

The online MBA program at Emporia State University is designed to develop critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork skills for mid- to high-level management and executive careers in the 21st century. The online MBA program was developed for business and non-business bachelor’s degree holders and is fully accredited by AACSB International.

The online MBA program integrates management, marketing, strategy, information systems, finance and accounting courses. The curriculum consists of 12 courses or 36 hours: 7 core courses, 4 elective courses and 1 required course that covers accounting information for management.

Applicants to Emporia State University’s online MBA program need a bachelor’s degree and an acceptable Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) score or GRE equivalent. The higher the applicant’s grade point average, the lower the required test score. However, the lowest acceptable GMAT score is 450 and the minimum GPA is 2.75. An applicant with a GPA of 3.5 or better from an AACSB-accredited undergraduate program is exempt from the GMAT or GRE requirement. Non-business degree holders may qualify for the program on the condition that students take prerequisite courses in areas such as finance, economics, computing and statistics. In some cases, students can meet requirements through professional experience.

Score: 86.64 Program Cost: $81,113 Business school:School of Business

George Washington University’s School of Business accepts students each spring, summer and fall for the online MBA program. Although classes are available online, students participate in an on-site residency focused on business and society. Online MBA students are able to work at their own pace, completing all the assignments right away or spacing them out over seven weeks, as long as all work is completed at the end of the seven-week period. Online classes at GWU comprise video lectures, animations, podcasts and reading assignments. Most classes also offer the option of attending live lectures a few times per semester. Online students have the choice of a general MBA or a concentration in topics such as consulting or project management.

Students who wish to apply for the online MBA program must take the GMAT or GRE and submit two academic or professional recommendations in addition to essays, transcripts and a resume. Essay topics center on students’ reasons for attending GW and choosing an MBA program. Another topic relates to students’ plans to become more knowledgeable about global affairs. International applicants have a few more steps to follow, including taking the Academic IELTLS, TOEFL or Academic PTE to demonstrate proficiency in the English language.

Score: 86.19 Program Cost: $70,000 Business school:Frank G. Zarb School of Business

For its online MBA program, Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business accepts applications from students with varied academic backgrounds, including undergraduate majors such as nursing, engineering, business and education. Hofstra’s online MBA program requires 48 credit hours, divided into the areas of core competencies, advanced core and major concentration. Core competencies include class titles like survey of economics and business ethics and society. The advanced core has a greater variety of classes, including accounting and financial reporting, marketing analysis and management, global decision making and operations management. Students can choose to concentrate in strategic business management or strategic healthcare management.

The online MBA program utilizes the Blackboard Learning Management System, and individual courses blend online “live” sessions with self-paced studies. The university offers both a two-year program and a customized schedule — after completing one semester, students can choose to take up to five years to complete requirements. Typically, participants attend a four-day residency for orientation.

To apply, students need to submit GMAT or GRE scores, a resume, college or university transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement and, for international applicants, TOEFL or IELTS scores. Potential candidates who can show at least five years of managerial-role work experience may have the GMAT or GRE requirement waived.

Score: 86 Program Cost: $29,148 Business school:Robert H. Smith School of Business

The University of Maryland (UMC) University College offers a fully online MBA that allows students to continue working while earning their degree. The 42-credit program takes two years to complete, with four 10-week programs each year. Courses focus on management, leadership, finance, marketing, strategy, decision making and operations.

UMC has several options that allow students to specialize their degree for their chosen field. Students can add a global business focus to learn about emerging global economies. There are also dual degree options where students earn a second degree after their MBA with eighteen additional credits from online courses. The following fields of study are available for the dual degree:

  • Distance education
  • International management
  • Biotechnology
  • Cybersecurity policy
  • Environmental management
  • Financial management and information systems
  • Health care administration
  • Information technology
  • Management

For local students, a hybrid program is available, with both online and on-campus instruction. In hybrid courses, the majority of work is still done online, but there are three or four face-to-face sessions as well. Whether in a hybrid or fully online program, all students are members of a cohort – a group that progresses through the progress together. Cohorts (also called pods or teams) are limited to 25 students and can also serve as great networking mechanisms, as well.

Score: 85.99 Program Cost: $5,630 Business school:School of Business and Economics

Fayetteville State University’s online MBA programs are administered through the School of Business and Economics. Degrees can be completed fully through distance learning or via a hybrid model combining online with on-campus studies. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the online MBA program requires that students complete 27 credit hours in core courses plus a specified number of electives; the general business degree calls for 9 credit hours of electives. Specializations focus on fields such as health care management, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, management, international business and project management. A concentration requires weekly seminars and lecture hours — for example, the online MBA program with a finance concentration includes three lecture hours per week.

Systems that Fayetteville State University uses in its online MBA programs include:

  • Videoconferencing (an interactive system that connects professors and students taking classes from home or at remote locations)
  • Live streaming
  • Polycom HDX 9000
  • Email (used by both students and professors to comment on coursework, seminars and lectures)

The North Carolina Research Education Network offers services like webcasting and network transport services. Students can access archived class sessions and can watch pre-recorded as well as live classes using mobile devices.

Score: 85.78 Program Cost: $59,312 Business school:Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration

Penn State World Campus’ online MBA program takes 48 credits to complete and focuses on six business areas—strategic planning, process management, leadership, customers and markets, information analytics, and human resources.

In addition to attending online lectures and turning in assignments to earn those 48 credits, students take part in Term 3 and Term 8 residences. In Term 3, students spend time on-site studying the organizational structure and strategy at a U.S. company. In Term 8, they visit Penn State University Park in State College to take part in a team business simulation.

Students don’t need to worry about books or other course materials—each semester the university sends them straight to the student’s home. Classes are self-paced and can be completed anywhere that has Internet access and a computer. There are due dates, however, and students can expect at least an assignment a week, as well as readings and other course-related activities. While many assignments are individual, there are some team assignments that require communication with classmates. Online students interact with professors and classmates via individual and conference calls, online message boards, web conferencing, email, and chat services.

Score: 85.7 Program Cost: $55,000 Business school:Warrington College of Business Administration

The University of Florida (UF)’s Internet MBA program allows students to earn their MBA through nearly all online instruction and participation.

There are two online MBA options offered:

  • One-year option: This 16-month accelerated degree is for students who earned an undergraduate degree in business in the past seven years.
  • Two-year option: This 27-month program is available for students with any undergraduate major.

Both online MBA options are the same as UF’s on-campus MBA program. Students are expected to have a minimum of two years’ work experience prior to applying for the one- or two-year MBA program. Students are also required to come to the Gainesville campus for one Saturday and Sunday each term (every four months). During this visit, students take final exams, deliver presentations, and meet faculty members for the next term. Attendance at an on-campus orientation is required at the start of the program.

A hybrid distance/on-campus MBA is also available for more experienced professionals: the executive MBA. This degree is designed for students with a minimum of eight years of work experience, including a management or leadership role. This program takes 20 months to complete and requires more on-campus time: one weekend (Friday through Sunday) each month.

Score: 85.62 Program Cost: $29,424 Business school:Business School

A fully online program, the online MBA at the University of Colorado Denver is a 48-credit program nationally recognized for excellence in online graduate education. Students who want to tailor their degree program can choose a specialization in finance, enterprise technology management, information systems, or managing for sustainability. The curriculum includes a set of core MBA courses that utilize computer simulations, class discussions, case studies, and group projects. Students also have the opportunity to connect with Colorado business leaders through a series of networking opportunities.

Online classes at the University of Colorado Denver are asynchronous, a flexible online format that allows students to access courses at any time of the day. Chat rooms and newsgroups provide students the opportunity to have live discussions with peers and participate in group projects. Online discussions are a key component of virtual classes, and participation in discussion boards comprises a significant portion of the final grade. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform.

Applicants to the online MBA program do not need an undergraduate degree or significant business experience, but a successful record of work achievement will enhance one’s application. Applicants must take the GMAT to be considered for admission.

Score: 85.58 Program Cost: $33,174 Business school:Carl H. Lindner College of Business

The University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business offers multiple graduate-level options for business students, including a fully online MBA. The program takes 24-32 months to complete and offers a slightly reduced tuition for in-state students. There are also reduced rates for residents of certain areas of Kentucky, through a graduate metropolitan rate program, and for residents of Indiana, through a tuition reciprocity program.

Academic, research-oriented learning as well as real-life experiences are emphasized in the program, and students have the opportunity to work with actual companies throughout their schooling. Course topics include accounting, economics, marketing, information and technology management, data analysis, and corporate legal and social responsibility. Most courses span seven weeks. There is some flexibility in course choices, as students are able to choose electives to specialize their degree. A study abroad option is also available.

Students who have earned relevant credits through an undergraduate business degree can waive foundational courses and replace them with additional electives. Many benefits and services offered to on-campus students are also available to distance learners, including Lindner Career Services. This center provides an extensive database of job postings and student profiles, as well as recruiting, career coaching, and networking events.

Score: 85.51 Program Cost: $45,031 Business school:Saunders College of Business

The Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology offers both an online and an on-campus Executive MBA program. The online program starts every fall and spring semesters.

This program is targeted to those who already have extensive business experience—one requirement of admission is that students have at least six years’ professional work experience. As such, potential students aren’t required to take the GMAT exam. They do, however, still need to have an undergraduate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. In addition, a resume, school transcripts, a personal statement, and two recommendation letters must be submitted with the online Executive MBA program application.

Online classes offer executives flexibility while still maintaining a connection to peers and professors via online discussions. Students move through the courses with a group of 15-20 professionals, allowing them to communicate and possibly even forge business connections.

Executive MBA program courses include:

  • Team Building and Ethics
  • Leadership
  • Financial Planning & Analysis
  • Microeconomics
  • Power and Influence
  • International finance

Online students take four classes per semester and are able to complete the program in about 17 months, having earned 49 credits when they finish.

Score: 85.46 Program Cost: $81,328 Business school:Graziadio School of Business and Management

Pepperdine University’s distance learning MBA program is 100 percent online and is designed to offer flexibility for part-time graduate students. The general master of business administration degree is supplemented with three concentrations: finance, marketing, and leadership and managing organizational change. Primary areas covered in the finance concentration include portfolio management, investment banking, and financial risk management.

Topics that the marketing concentration highlights include marketing strategy, various marketing programs, and corporate finance. Students who select the leadership and managing organizational change concentration can expect to take courses that focus on business ethics, conducting business with a global perspective, valued-centered leadership, and responsible business practices.

It can take up to five years to finish Pepperdine’s online MBA on a part-time basis. Pepperdine University does, however, offer a fast track program that allows students to graduate in 20 months. The fast track program is open to undergraduate students who have a minimum GPA of 3.5 from a university that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The minimum Graduate Admissions Test (GMAT) score is 600, while the minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are 161 for verbal and 160 for quant.

Satellite delivery, video conferencing, e-journals, Pepperdine Digital Commons and electronic databases are used to deliver lectures, seminars, and other class materials.

Score: 85.17 Program Cost: $35,000 Business school:College of Business and Administration

Southern Illinois University’s College of Business offers an online MBA program for students who wish to earn their graduate degree without interrupting their careers. The program is delivered through 16 courses over a span of 23 months, and students take one course at a time.

All classes are fully online, requiring no face-to-face or on-campus time. The program begins in the summer semester, and prospective students can expect to spend about 15-20 hours per week on their courses.

The program focuses on several aspects of successful leadership:

  • Critical thinking and in-depth analysis of business problems
  • Communication skills and multimedia digital presentations
  • Organizational leadership skills
  • Use of quantitative analysis, computer simulation, database management, and business gaming to aid in decision making
  • Integration of theoretical and practical aspects of business

Students are part of a cohort of peers to encourage and support interaction, collaboration, and networking with fellow professionals. Since students are in a cohort and take all classes together, transfer credits are not accepted.

Many students in the program have professional work experience of five or more years before they enter Southern Illinois University’s MBA program. However, students with less experience can take the GMAT or GRE and include these scores in their application to be considered for admission.

Score: 85.04 Program Cost: $18,840 Business school:The Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business

The Murray State University online MBA program is administered through the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business. The curriculum encompasses a total of 30 semester hours. Nine of those semester hours are electives; the remaining 21 semester hours are core courses. Examples of core courses include:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Principles of Management
  • Principles of Marketing
  • Business Calculus
  • Statistics

Admission to the program requires a minimum GPA of 2.75 and submission of the Graduate Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The minimum GMAT score is 400 out of 800 to gain full admittance to the program, whereas the minimum score allowed on the GRE is 286. Murray State University operates on a rolling admissions schedule, allowing students to enroll in the online MBA program during the spring, fall or summer semesters.

Students and instructors communicate via platforms such as discussion forums, Blackboard, MyGate and video conferencing. Textbooks are ordered through the university bookstore online or by telephone. Access to Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) and digital databases is also available. Instructors who teach courses in the fully online program also teach classroom based business courses at Murray State University. There are no concentrations associated with the online MBA program.

Score: 84.62 Program Cost: $55,200 Business school:David Eccles School of Business

The University of Utah’s online MBA program has no concrete prerequisites. The 24-month program is designed with full-time working professionals in mind, as students take only two classes at any time. Classes last either five or 10 weeks.

Online MBA students at the University of Utah complete 48 credit hours. The university says that some learning objectives include developing problem-solving skills and learning and exercising strategic thinking. The curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including business communication, data analysis global business, managerial economics, project management and strategic human capital.

Students earning a degree online learn from the same professors that teach campus courses at the David Eccles School of Business. Although all classes take place online, students will be required to visit the University of Utah at least once. The three-day visit takes place at the start of a student’s second year of coursework.

To become an online MBA student, an application, GMAT or GRE scores, academic transcripts and an essay must be submitted. Potential students also undergo an interview with an MBA administrator prior to admission, either in person or via the computer. Students may start classes in February, May or August.

Score: 84.48 Program Cost: $61,200 Business school:Kelley School of Business

Students who wish to earn an online MBA at Indiana University-Bloomington should apply in February for a spring start date or in July for a fall start date. International applicants have earlier deadlines than those in the United States — January for a spring start and June for a fall start. Future online MBA students must submit an application, GMAT or GRE scores, academic transcripts, a resume, personal statement and letter of recommendation. Some students may be able to bypass the GMAT or GRE, but it’s not automatic. Future students can ask for an exception if they already have a Ph.D, MBA or other terminal degree.

Indiana University-Bloomington’s online MBA classes include strategic marketing management, information technology, global business and developing strategic capabilities. MBA students need to take 51 credits overall, but 12 units are from electives. One elective called Accelerating Global Immersion Leadership Education, or AGILE, allows students to study abroad and learn more about the global economy in places such as Beijing, China; New Delhi, India; and Johannesburg, South Africa. Students earning an MBA online may also pursue a dual degree by taking 12 additional credits. Options include an MBA or MS in business analytics, finance, marketing, global supply chain management or strategic management.

Score: 84.35 Program Cost: $35,140 Business school:College of Business

Fully online, the Ohio University distance learning MBA program consists of nine core courses and three concentration courses in finance, health care, or executive management. Thirty-five credit hours are required to graduate, regardless of the concentration students select. Full-time students should expect to commit one year to the coursework to meet graduation requirements.

The program offers core courses and professional development seminars. Among the core courses are:

  • Data Analysis for Decision Making
  • Accounting for Executives
  • Strategic Marketing and Supply Chain Management
  • Applied Business Experience
  • Managerial Finance

Professional development seminars that students must attend include team coaching, project management, and strategic management of human resources. Live streaming of guest speakers are also offered and focus on key concepts such as international business, ethics, communication, strategic leadership, and entrepreneurship.

The Ohio University uses eCampus to administer its online MBA program. After students register with the university, they are given an ID and password to access eCampus. Video conferencing, webcasts, official school email, class schedules, examinations, and library databases are all available through eCampus.

Although they are not required to travel to the physical campus to complete courses, students can take advantage of student services and in-person tutoring. Financial aid is also available to eligible online MBA students.

Score: 84.24 Program Cost: $37,500 Business school:Ahuja College of Business Administration

Cleveland State University’s Mobile Accelerated MBA program offers self-paced classes. The accelerated curriculum is designed to allow students to earn the required 34 credits in one year. Tuition includes an Apple iPad 4G, which students use to access course materials such as textbooks and interactive learning activities. Exams and quizzes must be taken from a laptop or desktop computer, however. Students interact with peers and professors via the learning platform Blackboard. Courses include:

  • Team dynamics
  • Marketing strategy
  • Global supply chain
  • Management of innovation
  • International business

CSU’s Mobile Accelerated MBA program offers start dates in June, August and October, so interested individuals need to apply by specific dates in May, August and September. In addition to an application and application fee, candidates must submit any academic transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores. Students who already hold an MD or Ph.D. can waive the GMAT or GRE requirement. International students are accepted, though they must live in the U.S., and they have additional requirements for admission. International students must supply financial statements and proof of English proficiency, such as passing scores on the TOEFL, iTEP or IELTS exams. Depending on an applicant’s academic background, certain prerequisite courses may be required.

Score: 84.11 Program Cost: $25,488 Business school:College of Business Administration

Ranked #6 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, UNL’s online MBA program is accredited by the AACSB and is available fully online. Terms start in August, October, January, March and June.

Although the prerequisites are an undergraduate course in statistics and calculus, students can start coursework before they have completed the prerequisites. Two years of management/leadership experience, a 3.0 GPA and a 600 GMAT score are recommended, but not required.

Up to 12 transfer credit hours will be accepted from AACSB-accredited business programs, as long as they are from courses taken within the last five years. Six credits per semester is considered part-time, and nine credits or more is considered full-time.

It is possible to complete the program in 1.5 years, but the average completion time is three years. UNL has only one MBA with two delivery systems. Your diploma and transcripts will not differentiate between an MBA earned online and an MBA earned on campus.

The first year focuses on the basics of business, and cross-functional classes apply skills learned in one class to solutions in another. Courses include business analytics, international finance, environmental law, managerial marketing, applied organizational behavior and strategic database marketing.

Score: 83.73 Program Cost: $30,294 Business school:Erivan K. Haub School of Business

The online MBA program at St. Joseph’s university is offered through the Haub School of Business (HSB) and can be completed in one year of full-time study. Opening with a set of “Gateway Courses” that cover stakeholder theory and social responsibility, the program consists of eleven courses covering core concepts in accounting, financial management, marketing, statistics, and information technology. Up to eight foundational courses are also available, but they can be waived for students who meet academic prerequisites or take placement exams. Nearly all MBA courses are offered completely online, but for those courses that are not offered online, equivalent online courses are available.

Accredited by the AACSB, the online MBA offers qualified graduate students the opportunity to complete a graduate assistantship. During the assistantship, graduate students assist faculty with research, create monthly newsletters and assist undergraduate and graduate students. Students must hold a 3.0 GPA to be considered for an assistantship.

Admissions requirements include a resume, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and official GRE or GMAT scores. However, students who are members of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Society are not required to take the exams. Deadlines for applying for the fall, spring, or summer semesters are July 15, November 15, and April 15, respectively.

In addition to the online MBA, Saint Joseph’s University also offers the world’s only online executive food marketing MBA to help students prepare for senior management roles in the food and food marketing industry. The university also has an online pharmaceutical & healthcare marketing MBA for executives. On average, students who enroll in this program have 10 years of pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing experience, at least a bachelor’s degree, and are middle or senior level managers in sales, marketing, market research, finance, clinical research, marketing operations, or product management.

Score: 82.96 Program Cost: $36,000 Business school:Jesse H. Jones School of Business

Texas Southern University offers distance students two online Executive MBA programs through the Jesse H. Jones School of Business:

  • Executive MBA – General Business: Prepares students for upper management positions with a focus on virtual teamwork.
  • Executive MBA – Energy Finance: Prepares students to lead organizations in the energy sector.

Both programs are administered fully online and designed to allow mid-career professionals to continue working as they earn their MBAs. Each program consists of twelve classes, typically taken over six semesters, and features a cohort setup where students enter the program as a group and take classes together in a lock-step progression.

Instruction is delivered through Blackboard, an online learning platform where instructors can post readings and course materials, students can submit assignments, and students and professors can communicate through forums and private messages. Classes may utilize virtual classroom, live chats, online lectures, and teleconferencing.

The Executive MBA programs at Texas Southern University feature an optional international business trip (included in the cost of tuition) to an economically emerging country for seven to ten days, which the college states is what sets their programs apart from many other online MBA options.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Students typically have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of progressive work experience at a management or supervisory level.

Score: 82.32 Program Cost: $27,348 Business school:University of, College of Business Administration

U.S. News and World Report ranked The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga one of the top 50 schools for 2014. Their online MBA is designed to give busy, working students well-rounded theoretical knowledge, practical understanding and application, and tangible business skills.

Applicants must have three years of professional business experience. Although the average accepted student maintains a GPA of 3.0, students can be accepted with a minimum GPA of 2.7. An overall minimum GMAT score of 450 is required, but the program’s average is 500. Non-GMAT students must have a GRE composite score of 296 or higher AND minimum scores of 146 on the verbal section and 144 on the quantitative section.

For students with more than five years of work experience and a GPA of 3.25 or higher, the GMAT requirements can be waived. Applicants need two letters of recommendation from previous employers, as well as a letter of intent.

Score: 81.74 Program Cost: $30,600 Business school:School of Business

The online MBA program at Robert Morris University is offered completely online and includes 14 courses in general management over three semesters. This AACSB-accredited online program offers courses such as managerial accounting, strategic management, marketing management, economics, and operations management. Students can also create a specialization based on elective coursework, available in the third phase of the program. Options include marketing, management, information systems, and sport management.

Online courses in this MBA program are eight weeks in length and are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to access courses 24 hours a day, seven days per week. The same experienced faculty members who teach on-campus courses teach online courses, and all the amenities offered to on-campus students are also available to online learners. The online program can be completed in 27 months.

Admission into the MBA program requires a minimum score of 470 on the

GMAT, two letters of recommendation, and a personal goal statement. Admissions are on a rolling basis, with classes starting every eight weeks. Prerequisites to the program include 14 credits of coursework in subjects such as accounting, economics, finance, marketing principles, and quantitative skills.

Robert Morris University offers different payment options and methods to help online students pay tuition. Payment options include a revolving deferred credit agreement, Graduate Plus Loans, Stafford Loans, company reimbursement plans, and third party billing.

Score: 81.68 Program Cost: $13,170 Business school:College of Commerce and Business Administration

The MBA Online program offered by the College of Business at Jacksonville State University is an AACSB International-accredited fast-track program designed to serve full-time students and working professionals. Students must complete 30 graduate credit hours over 5 eight-week terms plus an intersession over one calendar year to graduate. The school requires students to complete two courses during each term. Depending on the student, the online program could be completed in 12 months. Tools for digital education include the Blackboard learning platform.

The online program is intended to prepare students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue careers in professional management. The JSU College of Business faculty follows a curriculum similar to traditional MBA programs with courses in accounting, finance, economics, business statistics, marketing and management. The program is open to individuals with a bachelor’s degree in business or another field. However, applicants without an undergraduate business degree must complete a series of prerequisite modules prior to beginning the MBA curriculum. In order to be admitted to the MBA Online program, applicants must submit an application to the Graduate School, including undergraduate transcripts, GMAT scores and three letters of recommendation. Applicants also have the option of submitting evidence of professional and managerial business experience.

Score: 81.6 Program Cost: $33,300 Business school:McColl School of Business

The McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte offers an online MBA with concentrations in healthcare and leadership. Taught by business executives and leaders, the program combines traditional instruction with interactive elements. Students are paired with an executive coach throughout the program and have numerous opportunities to meet with speakers and faculty members during residency experiences. Courses in the MBA program include nine core courses in fundamental subjects such as organizational behavior, managerial accounting, and business analytics, as well as three courses in the student’s chosen concentration area.

The curriculum can be completed mostly online, but students are required to participate in assessments and teambuilding exercises during two residencies on the Charlotte campus. During the residency, students receive a 360-degree feedback report that assesses their leadership skills. Students also hear a keynote address and view presentations from leading executives who hail from some of the world’s most successful companies.

Online classes are composed of eight-week classes and 15-week classes, delivered through the MyCourses learning platform. Online classes feature interactive learning tools such as instant messaging, social media integration, shared blogging, and Skype conferencing. Applicants who lack professional experience and have an undergraduate GPA of less than 3.0 must submit GMAT or GRE scores.

Score: 81.17 Program Cost: $9,075 Business school:College of Business Administration

Missouri State University-Springfield offers standard and accelerated online MBA programs through Missouri State Outreach, the school’s continuing education and distance learning platform. In addition to taking courses that are conducted fully online, there is the option to complete blended online MBA courses.

Four concentrations are available: finance, CIS, management and marketing. It generally takes two years or four semesters to complete the programs. Graduation requires a total of 33 credit hours (24 credit hours for core courses and 9 credit hours of electives). Core courses include management information systems, advanced financial management, organization strategy and policy and quantitative methods in business decision making.

Among the services available to online students are:

  • Online Student Support Services (career counseling, financial aid advice, tutoring)
  • Blackboard (used to submit coursework, complete group assignments, participate in interactive discussions, check grades)
  • Videoconferencing

Preparing to enroll in the programs includes completing an undergraduate degree and taking the Graduate Admissions Test, or GMAT; it’s important to verify the minimum GMAT score or equivalent GRE score and the minimum GPA for admission. The application process for the accelerated graduate business program can begin in a student’s junior year. Admissions approval is also required from the MBA director and dean of the graduate school of business.

Score: 81.04 Program Cost: $27,756 Business school:College of Business

Western New England University’s online MBA is administered through the Kodiak portal. Kodiak enables students to post and receive assignments, attend class, chat with students and professors and download lecture podcasts.

The MBA is 100 percent online, but students have the option of doing some of their coursework on campus. International candidates, however, are required to attend in-class sessions to be in compliance with their student visa requirements.

The MBA program takes two years to complete. To apply, students must submit GMAT test results, one official transcript, two essays and a resume. Candidates must complete prerequisite courses, including accounting, finance and statistics. Students must have a “B” average for all three prerequisites, never earning lower than a “C”. WNE offers two different tracks for students to complete prerequisite courses: self-study modules and undergraduate courses.

Rolling applications are accepted in fall, winter, spring and summer. The MBA consists 12 three-credit courses. Nine credits are dedicated to electives, which students choose based on preference. 27 credits are for core courses. Core courses include Accounting for Decision Makers, Decision Support Models, Information Technology Management and Applications, Organizational Behavior and Theory and Managerial Finance.

Score: 80.08 Program Cost: $20,250 Business school:College of Business

The University of Wisconsin, Eau-Claire Consortium MBA can be completed in two years, once the MBA foundations have been met. Most foundation courses are two credits and run for eight weeks. Students are graded on:

  • Class participation
  • Projects
  • Written case studies and reports
  • Quizzes and examinations

Once the foundation work is complete, MBA students begin the Consortium MBA program, which features content-integrated, theme-based modules, rather than traditional standalone courses. The 30-credit program is broken down into 16 credits of required modules, 1 required mini-module credit and 13 credits of electives.

Students will gain a broad, practical understanding of business and the dynamic, global environment in which it operates. The program is divided into two knowledge and skill areas: general and management-specific.

Applicants must first achieve a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, and have maintained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7. They must have a GMAT test score of 475 or a comparable GRE score. Non-business majors are accepted, but MBA course prerequisites must first be completed.

MBA module courses include Leading the Organization of the Future, Managing Strategically in a Global Environment and Strategies for Managing an Ongoing Operation.

Online MBA Programs:

Accredited and Affordable Options

Meet the Expert

Doug Jones earned his MBA online in 2004, graduating with a specialization in entrepreneurship. He utilized the knowledge and skills acquired during his program to forge a successful career in technology and management. Doug works in the tech industry and contributes his expertise occasionally to Affordable Colleges Online.

Hybrid and online MBA programs offer students the most flexible learning options. Some or all of coursework and group projects take place remotely, allowing participants to schedule study time around work and family commitments. But how do they really work? Can a student earn an MBA entirely online without meeting anyone face-to-face? Yes and no. Here’s a detailed look at hybrid and online MBA programs, whom they benefit and how they fit into the business education landscape.

Online MBA Basics

Nearly all MBA programs thrive on collaboration. Groups of various sizes work on projects together, drawing from each others past education and experience to create a quality, well-rounded product. Of course, such collaboration necessitates regular communication that goes beyond the surface, which usually takes place in coffee shops, conference rooms or on-campus offices. Hybrid and online MBA programs also focus on group work, but leverage different modes of communication. For example, in the distance learning environment, peer groups might use video conferencing technology such as Skype or Go To Meeting to kick off a project or coordinate responsibilities. Some online programs, and likely most hybrid programs, also schedule periodic visits to campus, usually at the beginning of each semester. This helps students establish working relationships face-to-face, which they can build upon via both routine and ad hoc follow-up.

Luckily, colleges and universities across the country are recognizing the need for “diversity of delivery”. MBA students come from a wide range of backgrounds and therefore need to find a program that fits their lifestyle. Whether online, accelerated, part-time or full-time, research is the key. Learn as much as you can about your target programs before committing time, money and effort. An MBA can make a resume; the right MBA can make a difference.

Finding the Right Online MBA

Identifying the best MBA program starts with assessing your own personal and professional needs. Family, cost, time, return on investment and current career path make up just a handful of things each future applicant should consider. Before taking first steps down the online MBA path, perform a little due diligence on available options, what they entail and the potential impact of their pros and cons.

Types of Programs

Traditional MBA programs work for many people. They involve regular campus visits, group projects, face-to-face interaction and more. Some of these in-person elements, however, may not be ideal for working professionals and/or those with family obligations that extend beyond the classroom. Some potential MBA students may have circumstances that require even more flexibility. For example, the bank manager with ten years of experience yet no time to study for or take the GMAT. Or the junior manager with two years of experience but needs to finish an MBA program fast. See if these types of MBA programs meet your needs.

Educational Need Full-Time Part-Time Accelerated No GMAT Online or Hybrid Veterans Only
An MBA program that looks more heavily at work experience, GPA and letters of recommendation than at test scores. I have a lot to offer but studying for and taking an entrance exam aren’t for me.
A program that takes two years (or close) to complete and involves daily time commitments. I plan to earn my MBA in lieu of working.
A program with ultimate time and place flexibility, where I can submit work, coordinate with classmates and take exams from just about anywhere.
An MBA program that allows me to work full-time while earning my degree. It may require 4 – 5 years, but that’s OK.
A program where I can work with and learn from veterans like me. Not only would this make the social aspect of the program more comfortable, but I’d be working with people who are battletested.
An MBA program that blends quality with speed, where I can graduate and apply my new skills to a current role (or new role) in less than two years.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time

Every student researching MBA programs needs to do their due diligence. While this includes finding the right school, program and setting, it also means considering the financial pros and cons of the different MBA types. For example, a full-time MBA program lasts just two years on average, but makes working while in school a major challenge. A part-time MBA, on the other hand, allows students to work toward a degree without sacrificing the day job. Sure it can take three years or more, but students can keep earning a salary and gain more work experience while hitting the books. Each option has its own merits, but only a closer look at the numbers can help gauge the potential return on investment.

Annual Costs (est.)* Full-Time MBA Part-Time MBA
Tuition $40,000 $20,000
Room & Board $20,000 $20,000
Books & Other Materials $10,000 $5,000
Gross Annual Cost $70,000 $45,000
Lost Income $60,000 $0
Net Annual Cost $130,000 $45,000
Program Length (in years) 2 4*
TOTAL MBA COST $260,000 $180,000
* All costs used in the table are estimates based figures from the GMAC.

Specialization

Many MBA students already have work experience in a specific industry sector. For example, someone with five years working in health care may want an MBA to facilitate a move into management. Yet for that student, a general MBA may not be the best choice. An MBA program focused on health care teaches leadership, management and processes both in general and focused on the field. The latter gives students specialized knowledge they can take back to their jobs and put to immediate use. See which career goals mesh with some of today’s most popular MBA concentrations.

Career Goal Consulting Energy Finance Govt. / Non-Profit Health Care Technology
To work in a leadership position for an organization that makes a difference, either in the community or on a global scale.
To work among some of today’s top minds, collecting and analyzing data to discern patterns and craft needle-moving recommendations for a wide range of clients.
To work with large companies on issues related to fossil fuels, alternative fuel sources and other areas where physical science and business come together.
To manage or lead a team within the health care and medical field, whether clinical, pharmaceutical or related to public health and disease prevention.
To work and/or manage on the cutting-edge of tech. This could include running a business or serving as a senior manager or executive for an online-based company. If it involves software, hardware or online solutions, I’m in.
To secure a management/leadership role at an investment firm, bank or related institution. To work with stocks, bonds, securities and other investments, either with personal clients, small businesses or large corporations.

Other Factors to Consider

Understanding the various types of online MBA and the numerous specializations available is a great place to start. It establishes basic wants and needs and provides initial direction. However, for the students who may already have first steps down, the researching programs against the following categories should help filter choices down to a relatively short list.

Accreditation

The bottom-line value of an online MBA degree depends on whether the school and its MBA program have proper accreditation. Most schools earn accreditation from one of the six regional organizations recognized by the Department of Education. In addition, MBA programs should also be accredited by 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).

Program Assets

Another key consideration is whether the online MBA program includes opportunities for internships, a critical consideration for students who wish to integrate learning and create life-long business contacts and mentors. MBA students typically complete internships with organizations in the corporate, governmental or non-profit sectors where they intend to hold managerial roles after graduation. Business leaders may also plan on obtaining professional certifications to benchmark their abilities in fields such as project management, consulting or as a Certified MBA. When evaluating a program, students should think about whether courses lead to knowledge necessary for obtaining certifications.

Career Certifications

A master’s in business administration degree is often sufficient for managers to take on leadership roles at top companies and organizations. However, in addition to completing an MBA, business management professionals may also prepare and test for certifications that benchmark their skills, mainly for career advancement or specialization. Work experience can be a principal requirement for earning certifications. While certifications and tests are evolving all the time, it’s vital for students to seek certifications from organizations that offer reputable programs. Here are a few types of certifications to consider:

The Certified Business Manager (CBM): The Association of Professionals in Business Management (APBM)offers this credential, which validates business management knowledge based on practices worldwide. The CBM examination may be taken by professionals with three years of full-time work experience (for those with existing master’s degrees) or four years’ experience for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree.
Project Management Professional (PMP): The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers this certificate, which evaluates each manager’s education, experience and competency in directing projects from inception to completion. It is one of the most highly sought certifications for professional managers. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree and have accrued 4,000 hours of professional project management experience.
Certified Management Consultant (CMC): Applicants must be a member of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) to qualify for a CMC certification. To sit for the examination, professionals must have accrued at least three years of consulting experience and either work for, or own, a consulting firm.

Other certifications sought by management professionals can be industry specific and include:

  • Certified Benefits Professional (CBP)
  • Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)
  • Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)
  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
  • Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Certified Marketing Executive (CME)
  • Certified MBA (CMBA)
  • Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM)
  • Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)
  • Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
  • Global Remuneration Professional (GRP)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

Courses and Curriculum

Online MBA programs typically surround a core curriculum and a series of elective courses that match the educational niche or career goals for each student. Core curriculum focuses on leadership, human resources, strategic planning, information systems, process management and change management. Examples include:

  • Accounting for Managers: Students explore accounting concepts, principles and audits relating to economic measurement and management choices.
  • Entrepreneurship: A study of factors contributing to the success of new business ventures with a focus on venture capital, human assets, business regulations and competitive analysis.
  • Information Systems: A comprehensive overview of essential business software, data security practices, database management and enterprise-wide systems development.
  • Supply Chain Management: A detailed examination of key concepts and processes in strategic planning operations, project management, logistics, production, delivery methods and quantitative assessments.

The Online MBA Timeline

Everyone learns differently, and the variety of programs out there makes establishing a concrete, tried-and-true MBA timeline a tough task. However, it is possible to map out a common pathway from test prep to degree completion so aspiring management professionals can visualize what many students experience.

Year 0: Application

Prepare for and Take the GMAT

The year before school starts should be chalk full of organized preparation. And this begins with the GMAT. A typically study period lasts for 6 – 10 weeks, and can be done through an official prep course, with a private tutor or with good old fashioned self-study and determination. Regardless, the earlier a candidate gets ready, the better. Some people opt to take the test more than once.

Visit Schools

Even students planning to enroll in an online MBA program should visit their target schools in-person. Why? To meet professors, talk to current students and get a general lay of the tech and resource land. Many online programs require periodic visits to campus anyway, so this will be good practice. The goal here should be to pinpoint what you like, what you don’t and then to start narrowing down to a short list.

Community Service and Leadership

When vetting applicants, business schools look for more than just good grades, solid test scores and work experience. They also want to see what each person has done from a leadership perspective, whether professionally or unofficially in the community.

Get Your References Ready

B-school admissions may want to contact past supervisors, professors or other mentors to ask about your work ethic, abilities and intangibles. Make sure to reach out to these people, discuss your desired educational choice and anything else that might be helpful. Connecting with them early also gives them time to think about what they might say, or what they need to write should you require a formal letter of recommendation.

Identify Target Schools

With the GMAT on the horizon and schools releasing essay questions, it’s time to narrow your choices. There’s no minimum or maximum to the number of programs you can target, but the more you consider, the options you have – but also the more materials you’ll need to submit. This is also a great time to think about which type of MBA you’re interested in, including part-time, full-time and specialization.

Polish Your Resume

Many business schools require submission of a resume with the application packet. This includes work history, prior education, experience, references and more. Make sure to highlight achievements, goals accomplished, and other endeavors that stand to make you shine.

Start Writing Your Essays

Most business schools release unique topics for applicants to reflect on and address in writing. These essays allow potential students to show admissions representatives what they’ve accomplished and/or give them a taste of their problem-solving prowess. In other words, it’s a chance to show them how you stand out from the crowd. Keep in mind that these are not essays that can (or should) be completed in a day or a week. Research, brainstorm, revise and edit until you have a product you’re proud of. Also note that some schools require a second round of essays.

Submit All Application Materials

This includes your full packet of materials, final drafts of essays, answer to the short question portion of the application, and letters of recommendation. Different schools may have different submission schedules for all these materials, so make sure you research the requirements thoroughly. The last thing you want to do is miss a deadline…

Schedule Interviews

If the application process goes well, schools may want to interview you for candidacy. Some interviews take place at a campus, others closer to home with a local rep, and others via Skype (especially for online programs). Make sure you know your resume and your essays inside and out.

Accept an Offer

If the interview process goes well, one or more schools will offer you a place in their program. Hopefully you’ve narrowed down the list to two or three schools and can soon get down to the final choice. You may want to visit the campus again or speak with faculty one more time to be sure.

Secure Funding

Some companies sponsor employees and pay for their stint in business school. For students without this luxury, it’s time to secure funding either by scholarship or financial aid. The latter comes in the form of federal loans, private loans or even loans from the institution itself. For detailed information on financial aid options, including for online college opportunities.

Year One: Acclimation

The first year means getting your feet wet, meeting fellow students and taking many of your core courses. There’s also building relationships with your “pod” or “cluster”, the students you’ll work with on group projects and case studies. For online students this may begin with a remote “meet up” via Skype, or, take place in-person with subsequent meetings online. Although every school is different, here’s a list of activities online MBA students may face in year one:

  • Building relationships with your team or pod
  • Taking the first courses that make up the core curriculum
  • Participating in program-sponsored community service
  • Attending conferences or forums
  • Going to social events with fellow students
  • Joining various clubs or advisory boards
  • Applying for summer internships

Year Two: Completion

The second year of a standard online MBA program includes finishing up core classes, diving deeper into electives and establishing an areas of expertise. It’s also a time to hone leadership skills by taking charge of conferences, presentations, networking and other career-focused sessions. Here’s a list of things you might encounter during your second year:

  • Finishing up required coursework
  • Carving out a niche/specialization
  • Networking, networking, networking
  • Visiting target companies to learn and meet
  • Finish up advanced student projects
  • Graduate

Online MBA programs may tackle these things a bit differently considering their remote nature. For example, networking and expos can take place or be attending locally instead of near a campus. And, students can visit companies nearby to really get a handle of what’s available in their area. To see how an online MBA student navigated such a program, let’s turn to Doug Jones, a graduate of Arizona State’s online master’s of business administration program in 2004.

Meet an Online MBA Graduate

Doug Jones

Degree:  Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with emphasis in entrepreneurship.

College:  Arizona State University Online (2002 – 2004)

To MBA or not to MBA… That’s a decision thousands of potential graduate students make each year after pondering certain questions: Is an MBA worth the money? Can I earn my degree online? Will I be able to juggle work and family at the same time?

It’s easy for an outsider to do a little research and answer these questions, but nothing beats the inside scoop from someone whose been there and done that. Meet Doug Jones, the founder and CEO of Affordable Colleges Online, who used distance learning to earn his MBA, build a successful career in tech, and eventually become a web entrepreneur.

Q&A with Doug Jones
  • What’s the best thing about your online MBA program? The toughest?

    A couple things stand out. First, the ability to pursue my MBA while working full-time was huge. I can’t emphasize that enough. Quitting work to earn a degree would’ve meant tremendous opportunity cost in the form of lost salary.

    Second, working with classmates globally made case studies more interesting (and more valuable). And because I worked for Intel at the time, an international company, I could apply what I learned to my job rather easily.

    The toughest? School + work + family can be challenging. My wife and I didn’t have children yet, but we still had other things to think about that demanded time and effort. However, there’s no way I could’ve juggled everything if I had been in a campus program.

    Many MBA programs rely on tight collaboration with fellow students, especially for group projects. How did the online nature of the program help or hinder communication with peers?

    It helped significantly. Online forums, email, video conferencing – both lectures and meetings – kept us connected. It also helped that we met in-person at the ASU campus one week per semester. Here we met each other and the professors to establish a rapport, and then worked virtually for the remainder of the session.

    You completed your undergraduate degree on campus. How did your online MBA program compare to your campus-based bachelor’s degree?

    They differed in a lot of ways. Obviously, my online MBA had much less face time (although we had plenty of video chats). Also, in MBA programs, most students are professionals already, so the maturity level was higher. Lots of fellow students with a tremendous amount of experience to tap into and learn from.

    Did you have much interaction with your professors? Did you find it tough to communicate with no face-to-face office hours?

    In addition to the week on campus, each professor had weekly office hours where we could email, IM, talk on the phone or video chat. We also had daily forum discussions about course materials and projects. I actually interacted with my professors a lot – far more than I anticipated.

    Did ASU have a support system in place to help you as you worked toward your degree?

    ASU Online had career placement services and guidance counselors, all very accessible. I was also able to bounce ideas off some of my professors because many had significant work experience in the field.

    Did you receive any form of financial assistance? If so, was it easy to get for an online program?

    I was really fortunate when it came to paying for the program. Intel paid for my online MBA. But if you don’t work for Intel, many companies out there have tuition assistance and tuition reimbursement programs to help employees further their education. One thing I’ve learned during my current job is that financial assistance – whether from the government or a company – almost always requires that the target college has the proper accreditation. When applying to MBA programs, make sure it’s accredited by an agency like the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business).

    Anything that really surprised you as you earned your online MBA?

    The caliber of the students and the professors. I knew there would be smart people in the program, but many of the students and profs I worked with blew me away. Probably the most surprising thing, however, was the value of the online experience. ASU’s program challenged me academically and professionally, but also offered tremendous flexibility. The online programs – whether MBA or otherwise – that strike such as balance stand to change the face of higher education.

    Any words of advice for future online MBA students?

    If you can’t afford going to school on campus, don’t be afraid to embrace online learning. This new model comes with so many benefits, and the technology improves year after year. And if you can’t study full-time, explore part-time programs. My program at ASU had more of a real-time schedule, but others can be more self-paced for the super busy.

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