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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

If you’re looking to advance your career in business and gain a competitive edge, these online MBA programs offer a flexible and convenient way to achieve your goals. Taking as little as 18 months to two years to complete, these online MBAs are known for catering to working professionals seeking to balance their studies with their busy schedules. While tuition costs may vary, the average price of these programs was $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Graduates of these programs are well-prepared for various leadership roles — such as marketing manager, financial manager, and operations manager — with salaries ranging from $97,970 to $135,030 annually.

How to Choose an Online MBA Program

Choose your area of study

While earning a general MBA is an excellent option for students wanting to remain open to a diverse range of career opportunities, those with an eye on a particular field may do well to pursue a specialization. To choose yours, carefully consider your career goals and evaluate which area of study will help you meet those objectives.

For instance, finance and accounting specializations suit people with strong analytical skills, while marketing and sales are ideal for creatives with outstanding communication abilities. Operations and supply chain management may appeal to those with a penchant for efficiency and process optimization.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve decided on a specialization, you should research accredited business schools known for excellence. Consider factors like curriculum relevance, internship opportunities, and the faculty who teach there to ensure the program aligns with your professional goals.

It’s also important to consider the financial aspect of pursuing higher education. While there are many options to help you finance your degree, you’ll want to carefully consider programs within your budget and with ample financial aid resources, which will help you set yourself up for long-term success.

Prepare for tests and applications

Now that you have selected your target schools, you should focus on test preparation and crafting impressive applications. For standardized tests like the GMAT or GRE, create a study plan, take practice exams, and consider enrolling in a prep course.

Simultaneously, research each school’s application requirements and deadlines, tailoring application materials to illustrate your unique strengths and alignment with the program’s offerings. Seek mentor feedback to ensure that your personal statement and resume are polished. By meticulously preparing for this crucial part of the admissions process, you can enhance your chances of admission to your dream MBA program.

Select your program

To select your ideal program, you’ll want to focus on institutions that resonate most with your career goals and values. Revisit each program’s curriculum to ensure it aligns with your professional aspirations and desired specialization. In addition, research faculty expertise, teaching methods, and available student resources that can enhance your educational experience like internships, assistantships, and career services.

Remember to focus on personal fit, as well. Assess the program’s culture, average class size, and networking opportunities to ensure that your decision will position you for success.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Earning your MBA can be expensive, but you can lighten your financial weight by exploring various options. Start by researching scholarships and grants specifically tailored to graduate students, offered by universities, private organizations, or professional associations. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as it helps access federal student loans and potentially work-study programs.

Most Popular Online MBA Degree Programs

Franklin University

Indiana University

Carnegie Mellon University

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Penn State World Campus

University of Michigan

Brenau University

University of Southern California Marshall School of Business

Arizona State University

UF Warrington College of Business

Rice University

Oklahoma State University

Campbellsville University

UW Foster School of Business

UT Dallas MBA

Auburn University

University of Wisconsin

University of Illinois Gies College of Business

Marquette University

University of Nebraska

Florida State University

University of Arizona

UMass Amherst

Washington State University

Liberty University

Ball State University

University of California Davis

East Carolina University

University of Northwestern - St. Paul

University of Maryland

University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management

University of Utah

Wayne State University

Seton Hall University

Santa Clara University

Baylor University

University of Mississippi

University of South Dakota

Temple University

Ashland University

Purdue University

State University of New York

The University of Texas at Tyler

Southern Utah University

University of North Florida

Drexel University

ODU Global

Lewis University

Syracuse University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the country’s most popular online MBA programs. The programs featured on this list are offered by nonprofit, regionally accredited post-secondary institutions, either public or private, and can be completed fully or partially online.

We ranked programs by evaluating their cost, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and more. We also compared this comprehensive list of popular online MBA programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications, such as U.S. News & World Report. Based on these reviews and rankings, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100 for each school. To learn more, read our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect From an Online MBA Program

Online MBA programs give aspiring business professionals a comprehensive education in business administration with the flexibility to study from anywhere. Students learn essential marketing, strategy, leadership, operations, and finance skills, enabling them to make strategic business decisions. These programs usually take 18 months to two years to complete, depending on the student’s pace and whether they enroll part-time or full-time.

Online MBA programs offer a blend of asynchronous and synchronous learning, leveraging virtual classrooms, video lectures, and interactive assignments. Additionally, students can participate in discussions and collaborate with peers from diverse professional backgrounds.

While most coursework is entirely online, some programs may require in-person workshops or residencies, usually lasting a few days to a week. These on-campus components facilitate networking, team-building exercises, and face-to-face interactions with faculty and fellow students, enhancing the learning experience.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online MBA program

  • Operations Management: Frequently a core requirement, courses centered on operations management focus on managing business procedures, supply chains, and quality control. Students learn to optimize operations, reduce costs, and enhance productivity to achieve organizational efficiency.
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Nearly all institutions offer this course tailored to ambitious entrepreneurs. These courses explore the principles of entrepreneurship, covering topics such as opportunity recognition, business planning, and financing options. Students gain expertise in innovation, developing business models, and creating sustainable ventures.
  • Financial Management: Another standard requirement in most curriculums, this course equips students with the knowledge and skills to analyze financial statements, evaluate investment opportunities, and make informed decisions about financing, risk management, and capital budgeting.
  • Business Ethics: While some programs consider this course an elective, many others include it as a segment of their core curriculum. This course teaches students how to examine ethical dilemmas in business and make responsible decisions considering the impact on stakeholders and society. They explore corporate social responsibility initiatives and sustainability practices in modern business settings.

What Can You Do With an Online MBA Degree?

Career outlook

The career outlook for graduates holding an MBA degree is excellent. Individuals with a firm grounding in business best practices are highly desired by employers in a broad range of sectors, from real estate to IT.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in business and finance are growing at a rate of seven percent annually, translating into a need for roughly 715,100 new professionals over the coming decade. The median annual wage for this group is $76,570, although those with an MBA may earn a higher salary depending on their position.

Career paths

Many career paths are open to MBA graduates, although your interests and skills will determine your direction. Many MBA students choose to specialize in a particular field, such as finance or healthcare administration, to pursue a position in an area that appeals to them.

An MBA equips you for leadership-level positions across business and industry. You may also utilize your degree in the classroom at the secondary or higher education level or in the nonprofit world.

Here are some possible career paths you might embark on with an online MBA degree:

  • Product management — oversees the development, marketing, and lifecycle of products or services within a company
  • Supply chain management — ensures the efficient flow of goods and services from suppliers to customers
  • Data analytics — analyzes data to provide valuable insights that drive business performance
  • Human resources management — focuses on talent acquisition, employee development, and organizational culture
  • Entrepreneurship — leverages business skills to launch and manages a successful business

Operations Research Analyst

Earning Potential: $48,690-$160,850

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business, math, or logic; MBA

Operations research analysts apply advanced analytical techniques to optimize complex processes and solve problems for a business. They help identify challenges and organize information from various sources, such as databases, sales histories, or employee feedback. They then analyze the data collected and use it to extract meaningful information about areas where the business could improve. These professionals need a strong understanding of technology since they use it to develop quantitative models and analytical tools. This role bridges the gap between data analysis and practical implementation, driving improvement and innovation throughout.

Finance Analyst

Earning Potential: $57,900-$166,560

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business or finance; MBA

Financial analysts help businesses make money-related decisions that are in their best interests. They evaluate financial data, market trends, and economic factors to provide recommendations for investment decisions, budgeting, and financial planning. They may work with a company’s CFO to assess the business’s financials, looking for strengths, weaknesses, and potential risks. Financial analysts use various tools and models to forecast performance and evaluate investment opportunities. They possess strong analytical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to communicate complex financial information.

Nonprofit Manager

Earning Potential: $46,550-$118,650+

Education Required: bachelor’s degree in business, ethics, or another field of interest; MBA

A nonprofit manager leads and coordinates the activities of a nonprofit organization. They may engage in strategic planning, fundraising, financial management, and program development. They collaborate with various stakeholders, including a board of directors, staff, volunteers, and the general public. Nonprofit managers may oversee day-to-day operations such as staff supervision and resource allocation. They work to build community partnerships and advocate for their cause. Overall, they drive the nonprofit toward achieving its goals and positively impacting society.

Online MBA Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online MBA degree program?

The application process for most online MBA programs is relatively straightforward. While admissions requirements vary, most institutions require applicants to submit their academic transcripts, a resume, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Some programs may require standardized test scores like the GMAT or GRE, while others offer waivers based on work experience or academic achievements.

Communicating with an admissions counselor is crucial to clarify doubts and ensure you meet all requirements. They can guide you through the application process, help with document submission, and provide valuable insights to enhance your chances of admission.

How much does an online MBA degree cost?

As of the 2020-2021 academic year, the average cost of an online graduate degree was $12,000 for public universities and $27,000 for private institutions. However, this figure can vary significantly depending on your chosen institution and program. Private schools are generally more expensive than public schools, and students who qualify for in-state tuition rates usually pay less than those who are considered out-of-state students.

It’s also important to consider additional expenses like textbooks, technology requirements, and potential travel costs for in-person workshops or residencies in hybrid programs.

How long does it take to earn an online MBA degree?

Most full-time students take 18 months to two years to graduate with their MBA. Those who enroll part-time may extend the timeframe to three years or more. Full-time students usually complete courses faster, allowing for quicker program completion. However, many students find that studying part-time enables them to balance work and personal commitments while earning their degree.

Likewise, each program’s length will vary depending on its credit requirements, with most online MBAs ranging from 36 to 54 credits necessary for graduation. Generally, the more required credits, the longer it will take to complete.

Is an online MBA degree worth it?

An online MBA degree program can be worth it if it aligns with your interests and professional aspirations. This degree provides a solid grounding in business principles and can position you for leadership positions in various fields and business sectors.

Earning your MBA provides excellent networking opportunities with peers, faculty, and alums. They and your institution’s career services office can help you gain a position that suits you and offers an acceptable salary.

Management positions, especially those suited to MBA graduates, are increasing roughly eight percent a year, according to the BLS. The median annual wage for this group is $102,450, the highest median salary of any major occupational group.

For those interested in entrepreneurship, an MBA will give them the foundational skills needed to launch, market, and succeed with a business. Many MBA programs offer access to resources such as business incubators and consulting opportunities that can support early-stage startups.

Earning your MBA online can be an affordable and efficient way to gain a graduate credential. The flexibility of asynchronous classes, which can be taken whenever it is convenient for the student, makes it an excellent choice for adult learners with other personal or professional commitments.

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