Earning a Master’s of Business Administration is considered to be one of the business world’s highest academic achievements.
Accredited online MBA programs offer a proven stepping stone to an executive-level business career. Business administration studies give learners knowledge of enterprise fundamentals, including economics, branding and marketing, accounting practices, organizational structures, and operations optimization. Degree-seekers can pursue a general MBA or choose a concentration to develop advanced skills in a specific aspect of business management.
Most MBA graduates go on to work in management positions in the business world, but the degree also qualifies candidates for high-level jobs in government and nonprofit agencies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that demand for business executives will keep pace with growth in the overall job market between 2018 and 2028. Recent BLS figures reveal that business executives earned a median salary of $104,980, which is approximately double the nationwide median for all professions.
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Top 10 Best Online MBA Programs 2020
||University of the Cumberlands
||Fitchburg State University
||Touro University Worldwide
||Texas Woman's University
||North American University
||Concordia University Chicago
||University of Colorado Denver
||New Castle, DE
||National Louis University
||Louisiana State University in Shreveport
What Are the Top Online MBA Degrees?
Ranking agencies use thorough detailed methodologies to generate lists of the nation’s leading online MBA programs. These methodologies typically combine peer review input from business school deans with assessments from job recruiters. Additionally, rankings consider statistical factors such as job placement rates, graduates’ starting salaries, and overall employment rates for MBA students. Applicant acceptance rates also influence rankings, with more selective schools tending to score higher.
One common factor unites all of the best online MBA programs: national or regional accreditation. Accrediting bodies audit colleges and graduate schools, assessing the quality of their academic programs to ensure they meet competitive standards. For MBA programs, rankings agencies usually prefer regional accreditation, which signals that a business school focuses on traditional academics. National accreditation usually applies to for-profit institutions and vocational or practical training programs.
Reputable MBA programs may also hold programmatic accreditation, a type of endorsement provided by a discipline-specific accrediting body that extends only to a particular degree or department rather than the school as a whole. Prominent accreditors of business programs include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
By attending an accredited school, you guarantee that employers and other higher education institutions will recognize your MBA’s validity. Not all schools that offer online MBA degrees hold proper accreditation, and bogus agencies known as accreditation mills can give an institution or program an undeserved air of legitimacy. Be sure to look for warning signs and red flags of unaccredited online schools, including low admission standards, unusually fast or compact degree completion timelines, and no physical address.
You should also watch out for any school that claims to hold international accreditation, since neither the U.S. Department of Education nor the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize any agency that provides internationally valid endorsements.
Best Online MBA Degree Programs for 2020
Given the sheer number of MBA online programs available, students need research tools that help them source schools and programs that match their educational and career goals. Rankings reports meet that need, providing prospective applicants with convenient, at-a-glance comparisons of leading programs. Use them to explore costs, admission standards, curricula, and many other important factors.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of the Cumberlands
Founded in 1888 by Baptist ministers in Williamsburg, Kentucky, Cumberlands offers a slate of fully online programs in business, including an online MBA with diverse concentration options.
The 46-credit online master of business administration typically takes two years to complete. Core course topics include managerial accounting; organizational behavior; and legal, ethical, and social environment. The program includes concentrations in areas like accounting, strategic management, and healthcare administration. Students must pass a comprehensive exam in their final semester to complete the program. Distance learners access mostly asynchronous coursework through Blackboard.
Applicants must have a 2.5 minimum undergraduate GPA. Cumberlands is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The MBA program is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Fitchburg State University
Founded 1894, Fitchburg State University now maintains a strong reputation as a provider of distance learning. Its online catalog features an online MBA that caters to the needs of busy working learners.
The program’s 30-credit curriculum takes a year to complete and allows students to enroll both part time and full time. Core courses include marketing management, corporate finance, and accounting practice for managers. Concentrations include accounting, marketing, and health administration. The experience culminates in a selected topics course in each student’s concentration.
Fitchburg State is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The MBA program is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Touro University Worldwide
An innovator in distance education, Touro University Worldwide branched off from the original Touro University International in 2008 to provide affordable postsecondary education to working professionals. TUW’s diverse graduate offerings include a fully online MBA, which features several technology-related concentrations.
The 36-credit program typically takes two years to complete. Relevant courses include management across cultures, ethics for business professionals, and strategy and planning. The program offers concentrations in diverse fields such as artificial intelligence management, cybersecurity management, and global management. The curriculum culminates in a capstone project that involves real-world, hands-on experience. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously.
Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 minimum GPA. TUW is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Established in Denton, Texas in 1901, Texas Woman’s University is the largest state-supported university focusing on women’s education. TWU’s growing online catalog includes an online MBA with a focus on health administration.
The 45-credit program provides accelerated courses and usually takes a year for full-time students to complete. Core courses include decision analysis for managers, global business, and business ethics and legal environment. Program concentrations include health administration, general business, and business analytics. Learners complete a business strategy and policy capstone course in their final semester.
The program does not require GMAT or GRE scores for admission. TWU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
North American University
Founded in 2007 as a one-year institution specializing in business, North American University became a private four-year school in 2010. NAU has since expanded its repertoire to fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees, including an online MBA.
NAU’s 30-credit master of business administration offers concentrations in business analytics, leadership and change management, healthcare management, and operations management. Core courses include marketing management, managerial economics, and financial management. All students complete either an internship or a project management course. NAU delivers coursework asynchronously through Moodle.
The program does not require GRE or GMAT scores for admission. NAU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
Concordia University Chicago
Based in River Forest, Illinois, Concordia University Chicago focuses on providing personalized educational experiences through small class sizes. Working professionals can benefit from CUC’s distance learning programs, which include an online MBA.
CUC’s 36-credit online master of business administration usually takes 1-2 years to complete and gives students the option to take accelerated courses. Notable courses include accounting for decision-making, managing human capital, and organizational behavior. Program specializations include leadership and change management, digital marketing, and healthcare management.
CUC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. CUC’s business school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
University of Colorado Denver
University of Colorado Denver’s online programs offer an 18-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, affordable tuition, and flexible scheduling. CU Denver’s online MBA deserves consideration from working professionals looking for smaller class sizes and diverse specializations.
The 45-credit master of business administration takes 1-5 years to complete and prepares graduates to handle the challenges of a global business environment. Foundational courses cover data analysis, law and ethics, and economics. Concentrations include business intelligence, change management, and managing for sustainability. The program culminates in a hands-on international business elective that students can take either in Denver or abroad. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously.
CU Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
A private research university established in 1968 in New Castle, Delaware, Wilmington University has since developed a large slate of distance learning programs. One such program, WilmU’s accredited online MBA, maintains close affiliations with companies like JP Morgan and Christiana Care.
The 36-credit master of business administration typically takes two years to complete and prepares graduates to work as business managers, marketers, and analysts on a global scale. Relevant courses include business strategy, introduction to data analytics, and financial management. Concentrations include environmental sustainability, management information systems, and organizational leadership. WilmU also offers its doctor of business administration degree in a fully online format.
WilmU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The MBA program is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
National Louis University
Opening its doors as a normal school for women, Chicago’s National Louis University has since added an extensive online campus in addition to campuses throughout Illinois and Florida. The online catalog at NLU now includes an online MBA.
NLU’s 39-credit master of business administration offers blended learning and fully online formats. The core curriculum covers macroeconomics, managerial economics, and technology and leadership. Learners can complete concentrations in entrepreneurship, human resource management, and accounting. The program culminates in a three-credit capstone course in strategic management. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously through Desire2Learn.
Applicants must either present Official Criterion Online Writing Assessment scores from within the last five years or have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. NLU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Louisiana State University in Shreveport
Opening its doors in 1967, Louisiana State University in Shreveport now embraces distance learning. The online catalog at LSUS now features an online MBA that primarily serves working professionals.
Students can complete the 30-credit online master of business administration at LSUS within 10 months. Available concentrations include data analytics, hospitality and casino management, and nonprofit administration. In all concentrations, the core curriculum covers economic analysis for management, management information systems, and marketing strategy. The program delivers most coursework asynchronously through Moodle. Applicants without professional experience must complete four additional courses.
LSUS is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Texas A&M University-Commerce serves students in north Texas and beyond through an array of online degrees and certificates, including an online MBA with diverse concentrations.
The 30-credit program typically takes under two years to complete and allows students to enroll full time or part time. Core coursework covers business analytics for managers, advanced managerial accounting, and macroeconomics for managers. Concentrations available online include international business, cybersecurity, and agribusiness. The curriculum culminates in a thesis and a comprehensive exam.
Many TAMUC business students find opportunities for professional networking through the school’s management club. TAMUC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. TAMUC’s business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Originally a distance education satellite of Chapman University, Brandman University has grown into one of the largest distance education-oriented private universities in the nation. Brandman’s expansive online catalog offers a highly customizable online MBA that primarily serves working professionals.
Students usually complete the 48-credit online master of business administration in two years. Core courses include leading organizational change, data analysis for decision-making, and human resource foundations. Concentrations include accounting, e-business strategic management, and business intelligence and data analytics. The program culminates in a business strategy capstone course. The program delivers most coursework asynchronously through Blackboard.
All applicants to the MBA program must have a 2.5 minimum undergraduate GPA. Brandman is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
One of the most well-respected public schools in the country, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill now offers an online MBA that provides a blend of academic rigor and flexibility for working professionals.
The 62-credit master of business administration takes part-time students 2-3 years to complete. The program also offers full-time learners an accelerated, 18-month track. Core coursework covers strategic economics, business communication, and leading and managing. The program offers concentrations in areas like finance, marketing, and data analytics and decision-making. All students must participate in two in-person summits held in a variety of cities nationally and worldwide to graduate.
Carolina is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Established in 1905 in Gainesville, the University of Florida enrolls around 56,000 students, making it one of the largest schools in the country. UF’s online catalog includes an online MBA that serves professionals looking to advance in their field.
UF’s online MBA program gives students the choice between a 32-credit, 12-month accelerated program and a 48-credit, two-year program. Students in both tracks take core coursework in operations management, organizational behavior, and global strategic management. Program concentrations include finance, real estate, and human capital. UF provides all students with access to professional development resources such as career assessments.
Applicants must have a minimum of two years of professional work experience in business. UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Based in Davie, Florida, Nova Southeastern University has grown from a small college to a large research university offering on-campus and online degrees in 150 majors. NSU’s online MBA merits consideration from working professionals on a budget.
The 46-credit online master of business administration primarily serves established professionals and provides access to internships and professional development events. Core courses include information strategy for digital transformation, marketing decisions for managers, and financial management. Students in the program can choose from 12 concentrations, including process improvement, supply chain management and operational systems, and complex health systems.
Online students access asynchronous and synchronous coursework through Canvas. NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of South Florida
The University of South Florida provides a student body of around 43,000 with an extensive catalog of on-campus and online degrees and certificates. Among USF’s distance learning offerings, the online MBA stands out as a strong option for working professionals.
Students can complete the 33-credit online degree in four semesters. Core courses include communication skills for managers, financial statement analysis, and data analytics for business. Concentrations include cybersecurity, data analytics, and healthcare analytics. Students must complete biannual residencies that feature impromptu workshops, seminars, and events for networking.
USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. USF’s Muma College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Established in 1923 in Beaumont, Texas, Lamar University has embraced education for working professionals through an array of online degrees and certificates, including a fast-paced online MBA.
The 36-credit online master of business administration typically takes 16 months to complete. Core courses include managerial decision-making, ERP overview, and financial management. Online concentrations include construction project management, marketing, and enterprise resource planning. Graduates leave the program experienced with technological tools such as data visualization software.
LU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. LU’s business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Miami Shores, FL
Founded as a women’s college, Barry University now serves around 9,000 students in Miami Shores, Florida with liberal arts education in the Catholic tradition. Barry now offers an online MBA that caters to working professionals.
Students can finish Barry’s 36-credit online master of business administration in 12 months. The curriculum serves established business professionals looking to advance in their field. Core courses include managerial accounting, marketing in a dynamic environment, and technology and information systems. The program allows students to transfer in up to six credits of previous graduate coursework. Applicants with under two years of work experience and a sub-3.0 GPA must submit GMAT scores.
Barry is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Opening its doors in Baltimore in 1876, Johns Hopkins University lives up to the philanthropy of its namesake by providing distance learning programs that serve the needs of working learners. The university’s online catalog currently features a flexible and challenging online MBA that allows working professionals to customize their curricula.
The 54-credit program typically takes three years to complete and primarily serves working professionals enrolling in courses part time. Core courses include information systems, operations management, and the firm and the macroeconomy. Concentrations include healthcare management, leading organizations, and financial businesses. The program delivers coursework through Blackboard. Applicants with strong academic backgrounds do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores.
Johns Hopkins is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Governors State University
University Park, IL
Located in University Park, Illinois since 1969, Governors State University serves working, returning, and first-generation students through its growing catalog of fully online programs. Working professionals should consider GSU’s online MBA, which offers both hybrid and fully online delivery methods.
The 45-credit online master of business administration takes two years to complete and allows students to enroll part time or full time. Required courses include financial management, international business, and organization behavior in the global context. All students complete either a capstone project or a thesis. Applicants with a GPA above 3.5 may waive the program’s GMAT/GRE requirement.
GSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. GSU’s business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Established in 1872 by the Order of the Sacred Heart, Maryville University now offers an online MBA that features unique concentrations and accelerated coursework.
The 36-credit program allows students to take courses full time or part time. Students who enter the program having already completed foundational coursework can take the program in an accelerated one-year format. Core courses cover business economics, the legal environment of business, and strategic marketing. Concentrations include accounting, sport business management, and emerging and digital media. All applicants must have a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA.
Maryville is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Maryville’s business school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Webster University has earned a reputation as a provider of quality distance learning programs due to its small class sizes, affordable price tag, and academic rigor. The school’s fully online MBA meets the needs of working professionals looking for an accredited, specialized business graduate degree.
The 36- to 54-credit online master of business administration varies in intensity and length based on the area of emphasis each student chooses. Available areas of emphasis include international relations, environmental management, and gerontology. All areas of emphasis include coursework in advanced corporate finance, applied business statistics, and marketing. Many students also earn their MBA as a dual degree with master’s majors such as finance, marketing, and human resources.
Webster is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Webster’s MBA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Detroit, Michigan’s Wayne State University provides dozens of fully online degrees and certificates to its 27,000 students. WSU’s online catalog offers a variety of business-related degrees, including an online MBA.
The 36-credit program takes full-time students around two years to complete. Core courses include managerial accounting, managing organizational behavior, and corporate financial management. The degree offers concentrations in global supply chain management, information systems management, and international business. The school gives students the option to earn their MBA as a dual degree with a JD.
Applicants with a 3.2 minimum GPA from a regionally accredited school or a 3.0 minimum GPA from an accredited school may waive the program’s GMAT requirement.
WSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. WSU’s Mike Ilitch School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
George Washington University
Established in 1821 in Washington, D.C., George Washington University excels in marketing, business, and social sciences and offers many degrees through distance learning, including a comprehensive online MBA.
GW’s 55.5-credit MBA program only accepts part-time learners and typically takes 3-4 years to complete. Core courses include financial accounting, business ethics and public policy, and microeconomics for the world economy. The curriculum allows students to earn the degree with a general business or healthcare concentration or with an optional graduate certificate. Students complete coursework both synchronously and asynchronously through Blackboard. Applicants with seven years of professional experience do not have to submit GMAT scores.
GW is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
A highly respected urban public university since its founding in 1925, the University of Baltimore now offers online programs catering to working professionals. UB’s online MBA provides flexible scheduling, an affordable price tag, and a highly personalized learning experience.
The 36- to 48-credit program typically takes two years to complete part time. Core courses include creativity and the entrepreneurial mindset, IT for business transformation, and financial management. Optional concentrations for the degree include data analytics, managing financial performance, and marketing. The curriculum culminates in an experiential capstone in strategic management. The program delivers most coursework asynchronously through Blackboard. Applicants do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores.
UB is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Why Are More Students Choosing College Online?
Degree-seekers continue to embrace the unique advantages of online learning. Many students who pursue an MBA online must balance work and school. Working professionals rank among the leading demographic groups seeking to upgrade their educational credentials with advanced business training. Asynchronous online programs make this easy, allowing students to learn on their own schedules at convenient times. Self-pacing also supports accelerated and decelerated degree completion timelines, further enhancing online learning’s flexibility.
While many MBA programs lean toward the expensive side, studying online provides cost advantages. Some business schools offer lower per-credit tuition rates to online learners. Plus, those who study online save money by avoiding travel and room-and-board expenses. Online learners can also study in a familiar and comfortable environment, which can support stronger academic performance.
These advantages rank among the leading reasons online learners report such high levels of satisfaction. A 2019 study found that among online learners, 72% of poll respondents said they were satisfied with their educational experience. This significantly outpaced every other surveyed group, which included graduate students, adult undergraduate students, and learners at four-year colleges.
What Are the Requirements for an MBA?
Entry requirements vary among online MBA programs. Each business school maintains its own admission policies and standards. However, applicants can expect to encounter some common elements.
At minimum, you need a bachelor’s degree. Some MBA schools accept applicants with any educational background, while others prefer prospective students with undergraduate studies in business-related fields. In addition, you must provide recent GMAT or GRE scores. If English is not your first language, schools will ask for your TOEFL/IELTS results.
Beyond these core requirements, schools may also consider your employment background. For instance, some online MBA programs only consider students with 1-2 years of full-time work experience after completing their bachelor’s degree. Personal statements give admission officials insight into your career plans and objectives. Professional references or recommendation letters round out the list of commonly requested supporting documentation.
What Can I Do With an MBA?
After completing MBA programs online, most graduates enter career paths leading to management and executive positions with private enterprises. Professionals may work as business operations managers, management analysts, operations research managers, marketing managers, and financial analysts. Those with an MBA and a computer science background can also work as a computer and information systems manager or information technology director.
MBA graduates possess versatile, valuable skills that transfer well to other management fields. Thus, they also work as human resources managers, healthcare administrators, architectural and engineering managers, construction managers, and sales managers. For those who aspire to work in business or organizational leadership, an MBA is a professional gateway and an essential credential. However, individuals should note that even the best online MBA does not guarantee professional success.
How Much Money Will I Make With an MBA?
Graduates of accredited online MBA programs generally enjoy excellent earnings. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, an MBA graduate from the class of 2019 landed an average starting salary of more than $84,000. Computer and information systems managers earned an average of $142,530 in 2018, while sales managers made $124,220 and HR managers made $113,300. Compensation rises with experience, with many MBA-holders going on to earn six-figure salaries.
You can further enhance your earning potential by specializing in a high-growth, in-demand concentration. Top-earning MBA specializations include finance, marketing and management, and information technology. Completing an MBA in entrepreneurship represents a unique and intriguing path, as you can enjoy unlimited earning potential by using your degree as a stepping stone to starting your own business.
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