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All companies need individuals who understand how businesses operate on a day-to-day and long-term basis. With employment in business-related occupations expected to grow by 7% through 2031, now is an ideal time to begin your educational journey with an online bachelor’s in business management degree.

There are many options for this popular online degree. To help students choose the best online bachelor’s in business management, Intelligent.com reviewed dozens of relevant programs, ranking them based on factors like cost, faculty, retention and graduation rates, and program reputation.

Additionally, we spoke to Northern Illinois University’s Academic Advising Center Director, Michelle Pickett, for her expert insight into this degree’s return on investment (ROI), application requirements, concentration options, career outlook, and more.

Online Bachelor’s in Business Management Program Overview

What can you do with a business management degree?

By earning a business management degree, graduates are well-suited to pursue various roles in both the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors. Says Pickett, “Business management degrees focus on understanding the basics of overall business operations. Students learn how to analyze the business’s strengths and weaknesses, create strategies to streamline services, and maximize the business’s productivity.” Many graduates assume leadership positions in established companies, overseeing finance, marketing, Human Resources, or operations departments.

Their business management degree equips them with essential strategic planning, decision-making, and resource allocation skills, enabling them to contribute to the organization’s growth and profitability. Additionally, their knowledge of business fundamentals, market analysis, and financial management gives them the necessary tools to create and manage successful enterprises at every level.

Furthermore, this degree is a solid foundation for continuing education, such as pursuing an MBA or specializing in a specific field like project management, international business, or finance.

How long does it take to get a bachelor’s in business management degree?

Earning a bachelor’s degree takes about four years of full-time study typically. However, this can be shorter or longer depending on several factors, including the specific program, the student’s course load, and any transfer credits they may have.

Prerequisites

Like most undergraduate degree programs, the prerequisite for a bachelor’s in business management is a high school diploma or equivalent. Some universities may have additional requirements, such as specific courses or minimum GPA criteria.

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Learning

Regarding learning formats, online business management programs are offered in both asynchronous and synchronous formats. Asynchronous learning allows students to access course materials and complete assignments independently. In contrast, synchronous learning requires students to participate in real-time lectures, discussions, and activities according to a set schedule.

Part-time vs. Full-time

Part-time and full-time scenarios are options for pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Part-time study allows students to take a reduced course load, extending the overall length of the program. On the other hand, full-time study typically involves taking a standard course load and completing the program within the average four-year time frame.

It’s important to research specific institutions and programs to determine the exact prerequisites, program lengths, and available learning formats to decide which programs align with your educational goals.

How much does a bachelor’s in business management degree cost?

The cost of a bachelor’s degree in business management can vary depending on many factors, including the institution, whether it is public or private, and whether the student is an in-state or out-of-state resident. Factors like scholarships, financial aid, and transfer credits can also impact the overall cost.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition for public institution students is $18,837. Private universities generally have higher tuition fees, with average annual costs ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.

It’s also important to consider how qualifying for in-state or out-of-state tuition can impact tuition rates. Students who have established residency in the state by meeting specific criteria, like residing there for a specified period or having a permanent address there, may qualify for in-state tuition. Generally, having in-state residency means paying lower tuition than out-of-state students, as the state government subsidizes these to benefit its residents.

What are the admission requirements for a bachelor’s in business management degree?

Admissions requirements vary between institutions, but nearly all colleges and universities share some standard conditions.

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent: Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent credential like a General Education Development (GED) certificate to enroll in any undergraduate program.
  • Academic transcripts: Applicants are usually required to submit their official high school transcripts, which provide a record of their coursework and grades. Some universities may also request transcripts from any previous college or university attended.
  • GPA (Grade Point Average): Many institutions have a minimum GPA requirement for admission. The specific GPA requirement varies but is often measured on a 4.0 scale.
  • Standardized Test Scores: Some universities require applicants to submit scores from standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. However, it’s important to note that not all institutions require these scores, and some universities have moved towards test-optional policies.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Many schools request one or more letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or others who can speak to the applicant’s abilities, character, or academic potential.
  • English Language Proficiency: For international students whose first language is not English, proof of English proficiency is often required. Ability can be demonstrated through standardized tests like the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Business Management Programs

Best Bachelor's in Business Management Programs 2023
01

Oregon State University
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California State University, East Bay
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Florida International University
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Southern New Hampshire University
01

University of Massachusetts Amherst
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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
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University of Arizona
01

Franklin University
01

McKendree University
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UMass Lowell
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University of Minnesota Crookston
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Colorado State University Global
01

University of Wisconsin at Whitewater
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University of Maine at Augusta
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George Mason University
01

Metropolitan State University
01

University of Wisconsin
01

West Texas A&M University
01

Southwestern College - Professional Studies
01

University of Wisconsin at Platteville
01

Southeast Missouri State University
01

UW-Stout
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Franciscan University of Steubenville
01

City University of Seattle
01

University of New Hampshire
01

Cambridge College Global
01

University of Alaska Fairbanks
01

Fort Hays State University
01

Liberty University
01

Columbia College
01

University of Nebraska at Kearney
01

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
01

Minnesota State University Moorhead
01

The University of Texas Permian Basin
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Central Washington University
01

Maranatha Baptist University
01

Regent University
01

University of Florida
01

Thomas Jefferson University
01

Fitchburg State University
01

Bowling Green State University
01

Concordia University at St. Paul
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University of Toledo
01

Texas A&M University at Commerce

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online business management programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list are available at accredited institutions, including The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), both reputable organizations that assess business programs for educational excellence and a commitment to quality education.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and the student resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online business management programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

Business Management Degree Concentrations

Is a specialized business management degree better than a general business management degree?

The “better” choice between a specialized and general business management degree depends on your unique career goals and interests.

Students interested in a specific area within the field of business, such as marketing, supply chain, operations, and Human Resources management, may benefit from pursuing a specialized degree. Students will gain in-depth knowledge and skills in a particular area and develop the expertise necessary to thrive in their future careers.

Conversely, a general business management degree may best fit students interested in gaining a broad foundation in multiple business areas, including finance, marketing, operations, and more. This degree plan can be advantageous for individuals who want flexibility in their career options, are interested in exploring many business areas, or aspire to work in general management positions where a comprehensive understanding of business is valued.

What are some common business management degree concentrations?

Many concentrations are available to students pursuing their bachelor’s in business management. These areas of specialization allow students to focus their studies on specific areas within the field of business. Some of the most popular concentrations include the following:

Operations Management

Those with an analytical mindset and a passion for efficiency may enjoy a concentration in operations management. This degree plan emphasizes the productive management of business operations, including supply chain management, logistics, quality control, project management, and process improvement.

Human Resources Management

Natural, personable leaders may thrive pursuing a concentration in Human Resources Management. Students in this field focus on managing and developing Human Resources within organizations, including recruitment, training, compensation, employee relations, and organizational behavior.

Financial Management

Students with a knack for working with numbers and making strategic financial decisions may be well-suited for a concentration in financial management. This degree plan equips students with a strong foundation in economic principles, risk assessment, financial modeling, portfolio management, and financial strategy.

Marketing Management

Individuals passionate about understanding consumer behavior and developing effective marketing strategies may pursue a concentration in marketing management. This concentration gives students a solid understanding of marketing principles, strategic planning, market segmentation, consumer insights, and marketing communication strategies.

International Business

Curious students interested in different markets, economies, and cultures worldwide may enjoy pursuing a concentration in international business. Students in this field gain the knowledge and skills to navigate cultural differences, assess international market opportunities, develop global strategies, and effectively manage international business operations.

Career Opportunities for Business Management Degree Graduates

Career trajectories

Earning your Bachelor’s degree in Business Management provides a solid foundation for various career opportunities across multiple industries. Some potential career paths for graduates with a bachelor’s in business management include the following:

  • Business Manager: Graduates can pursue managerial roles in various departments or organizations, overseeing operations, leading teams, and implementing effective management practices. Median annual salary: $102,450
  • Marketing Manager: Careers in marketing involve developing and executing marketing strategies, conducting market research, managing advertising campaigns, and promoting products or services. Median annual salary: $135,030
  • Financial Manager: Students can work in finance-related roles, analyzing financial data, conducting investment research, managing budgets, and making strategic financial decisions. Median annual salary: $131,710
  • Human Resources Manager: HR professionals are responsible for recruitment, employee training and development, benefits administration, employee relations, and compliance with employment laws and regulations. Median annual salary: $126,230
  • Sales Manager: Graduates can pursue careers in sales, focusing on selling products or services to clients, managing sales teams, and meeting revenue targets. Median annual salary: $127,490

Is a business management degree worth it?

A bachelor’s in business management degree is almost always valuable, offering numerous career opportunities and a solid return on investment (ROI). The employment of management occupations is projected to grow 7% over the next ten years, adding 23,600 job openings.

Business management is an in-demand field and highly versatile, meaning that graduates can easily align their future with their interests. They can pursue various rewarding careers in top industries, like tech, finance, marketing, consulting, and even entrepreneurship.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in business management can secure a lucrative future in this field. According to a survey by O*NET, 24% of business managers reported needing a bachelor’s degree to perform their jobs effectively. On the other hand, 34% of respondents indicated that a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for their managerial roles. Although salaries vary significantly depending on the industry, business management remains a high-paying field. The median salary for business managers in 2021 stood at $100,170.

Year after year, a bachelor’s degree in business management shows a higher ROI when compared to other undergraduate majors. Graduates often experience higher earning potential than those without a degree, resulting in a positive ROI in approximately 98% of cases. Furthermore, over 50% of the time, the returns from a business management degree amount to $500,000 or more, surpassing the median net ROI across all degree programs, which stood at $306,000 for comparison.

Additionally, a business management degree provides individuals the foundation to advance their careers and secure higher-level positions with increased responsibilities. This upward mobility offers higher salaries, better job security, and a more comprehensive range of industry options.

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How To Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Business Management Degree Program

Pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in business management can offer the flexibility and convenience students need to excel in the dynamic world of business. It’s essential to consider a few factors when choosing your program to ensure that you enroll in the most promising program for your goals.

First, Michelle Pickett suggests checking if the program is accredited. “Accreditation is important when looking at the academic requirements, standards, and quality of a program’s academic curriculum,” she states. “It also factors into a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid funding.” Be sure to look for regional or national accreditation, such as from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.

Second, research and assess the reputation of the program and the institution offering it. To this point, Pickett adds, “How reputable a program is can be based on how long it has been in existence. The longevity of a program speaks to the quality of the program.” In addition to longevity, exploring rankings, reviews, and testimonials from current and past students is important. A reputable program will likely have a positive track record and be highly regarded by employers and industry professionals.

Third, examine the program’s curriculum to ensure it covers various essential business management topics. Look for courses with solid finance, marketing, operations, leadership, and strategic planning foundations. It’s also necessary to examine how the content is structured and delivered. Pickett asks, “Are discussion forms, collaborative, or capstone projects included in the curriculum? Are real-world experiences like practicums or internships required?” These elements can lead to a more engaging, fruitful educational experience, allowing graduates to be well-equipped to succeed in their future careers.

Lastly, Pickett suggests “inquiring about the program’s retention rate, length of time needed to complete the degree, and job placement rates for alumni.”  Higher retention rates indicate that students are satisfied with the program, while higher graduation rates illustrate that students complete their degree requirements. In addition, a strong program will have a reputation for helping students secure meaningful employment in their desired fields. Look for information on internships, career services, alumni networks, and partnerships with businesses or organizations. These resources can significantly enhance your job prospects upon graduation.

5 Steps To Earning an Online Business Management Degree

1. Make sure it’s the right choice

Ensuring an online bachelor’s in business management fits you requires careful consideration and evaluation.

Begin by reflecting on your personal interests, strengths, and career aspirations. While a major in business management can lead to a lucrative career in an in-demand field, it must align with your passions and motivations. Pickett adds, “Consider how completing this program will contribute to your personal and professional goals.” By assessing if the skills and knowledge gained from the program will be valuable in your desired industry and career path, you can be one step closer to feeling confident in your decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business management.

However, evaluating the program’s flexibility and delivery format is also essential. Online learning comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. For example, Pickett says, “Some benefits of earning this degree online is that students will have more ease and flexibility when juggling multiple priorities. Online programs may better suit students better suited to an online environment.”

Yet, online learning requires self-discipline and time management skills, which may be difficult for some students. Individuals who may do best in this learning environment include parents with significant family responsibilities, working professionals with full-time jobs, or highly motivated individuals with a keen sense of organization.

2. Research schools and programs

When researching schools and programs for an online bachelor’s degree in business management, follow these steps to ensure you find the right fit:

  1. Identify your goals and priorities: Clarifying your academic and career goals, preferred learning style, and personal preferences. Determine what factors are most important to you, such as program reputation, flexibility, accreditation, faculty expertise, or networking opportunities.
  2. Accreditation and program recognition: Ensure that recognized accrediting bodies accredit the schools and programs you consider. Accreditation ensures the program meets quality standards. Look for regional or national accreditations specific to business schools and check if the program has any additional industry-specific certifications and recognition.
  3. Curriculum and specialization: Evaluate the curriculum of each program. Check the course offerings, specialization options, and core requirements to see if they align with your interests and career goals. Look for programs that provide a well-rounded education covering critical areas of business management, such as finance, marketing, operations, and leadership.
  4. Faculty qualifications and expertise: Explore the faculty profiles and their capabilities. Review their educational background, industry experience, research contributions, and professional affiliations. Faculty with relevant expertise can significantly enhance your learning experience and provide valuable insights for your future career.
  5. Reach out and engage: Consider contacting admissions offices or program coordinators to ask specific questions and seek additional information. Attend virtual information sessions, webinars, or open houses offered by schools to understand their offerings better and interact with faculty and staff.

3. Research for tests and applications

Crafting a winning application and thoroughly preparing for standardized tests is crucial to ensure you land in one of your top programs.

Admissions requirements vary by institution, so start by researching the admissions requirements of the schools and programs you’re interested in. Look for prerequisites, minimum GPA requirements, and any specific application materials or essays needed. Understanding the requirements will help you plan and prepare accordingly.

Keep an eye out for the standardized test policy. While some schools have dropped this requirement, many still request SAT or ACT scores. You’ll want to dedicate ample time to prepare for these tests and familiarize yourself with the format and question types. Utilize study materials such as practice tests, online resources, and test prep books. Some students find enrolling in a test prep course beneficial. Check out our up-to-date selection of the best SAT and ACT prep courses and classes.

4. Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

While earning a bachelor’s in business management can lead to a bright financial future, you’ll want to figure out how to finance your education best to ensure you cover your costs without going into significant debt.

First, assess the overall cost of attending each institution you’re considering. Consider factors such as tuition per credit hour, textbooks, online learning resources, technology fees, and other educational costs. Understanding the complete financial picture will help you plan accordingly.

Then, investigate your various financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. Look for scholarships tailored explicitly to business management students and general scholarships based on academic achievement, financial need, or extracurricular involvement. Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help you discover your eligibility for federal financial aid programs, including any federal grants you qualify for.

Explore student loan options if scholarships and grants are insufficient to cover the costs. We recommend familiarizing yourself with federal student loan programs such as Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans. Federal loans typically have lower interest rates than private loans, which may offer less forgiving repayment terms and be challenging to repay.

5. Select your program

After completing your research, taking the necessary tests, and organizing your application materials, the time has come to choose your program. Consider applying to multiple schools to increase your chances of acceptance into one of your preferred programs. Remember that the most prestigious institutions often have the most competition, making it wise to have various options when submitting your applications.


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