The 25 Best Online MBA Degree Programs for 2013
Whether seeking to start a new career in business, or to climb the ladder within an already established career, earning an MBA degree may make good career and financial sense. According to a 2011 research survey by The Graduate Management Admission Council, 2010 MBA graduates had a median starting salary of $78,820. The median salary for all MBAs surveyed was $94,542, with an additional $17,565 in bonus compensation. Moreover, nearly 9 in 10 (88%) of 2010 MBA graduates had jobs immediately upon graduation, with hiring prospects expected to improve even more in coming years.
Advantages of Online MBA Programs
Traditional full-time MBA programs come with numerous hidden costs, including at least two years of lost income, experience, visibility, and possible promotions, not to mention major sacrifices in personal and family life. This is why many people choose to pursue their MBA online. With an online MBA program it isn’t necessary for an individual to sacrifice work or family in order to achieve their dreams and improve their quality of life.
The Variety of Online MBA Programs
The quality, status, and popularity of online MBAs continues to rise, with more and more highly ranked business schools offering online business degrees every year. But not all online business degrees are the same. Not only do online MBA’s come in a variety of formats, but their quality and prestige vary widely as well. That is why it’s important to make a thorough investigation of the many different online MBA programs available before making such an important decision and investment.
Online MBA Program Rankings
Our list of the 25 best online MBAs is the place to begin that investigation. While no ranking system is able to substitute for personal judgment about what program is best for an individual student, we offer one of the most comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and up-to-date listing of what we consider the very best accredited online MBA degrees as a helpful starting point for prospective students. These programs have been analyzed and ranked according to their perceived prestige (awards, rankings, reputation), academic quality, and affordability.
Executive Summary — With concentrations in more than seventeen areas, the online MBA program at Benedictine University provides high-quality education in a flexible and convenient online format.
Program: The online MBA program is composed of 24 quarter-credit-hour foundation courses to establish a thorough understanding of business, 28 quarter-credit-hour managerial courses to teach students how to manage various aspects of an organization, and 12 elective credits, which can be used toward one of more than seventeen available concentrations.
Admissions: Applicants for the online MBA program are required to submit official college trascripts, along with an application form, two letters of reference, a statement of educational and career goals, a resume, and any necessary test scores. Applicants may also be asked to have an interview with the MBA program director.
Accreditation: Benedictine University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.
Executive Summary — A completely online program that allows for maximum flexibility with no residency requirements.
Program: You can complete a standard MBA program or a personalized program with 9 credit hours in specializations such as business economics, entrepreneurship, environmental management, finance, global management, health care administration, human resources management, information systems, marketing, organizational leadership, project management, public administration, and supply chain management.
Admissions: Ashford is flexible in its transfer credit policies to allow students maximum credit. Proof of college degree from an accredited school is required.
For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, please visit: http://ashforddisclosures.com/
#3. The University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler School of Business (Chapel Hill, NC)
Executive Summary – The brand new program from one of the top ranked business schools in the U.S. is not as pricey as it looks initially when you consider everything that’s included with tuition.
Rankings: #10 Business School, Wall Street Journal (2010); #15 Entrepreneurship, Princeton Review (2011); #16 Business School, BusinessWeek (2010); #21 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2010); #40 Business School, The Economist (2010).
Program: The first class of the brand new MBA@UNC will start in the fall of 2011. The program can be completed in 2-3 years. Utilizes a blend of synchronous and asynchronous formats, with weekly online face-to-face interactions with faculty and classmates. Two weekend residencies at various locations around the globe required, with four total allowed and included in tuition. No electives or concentration available at this time.
Admissions: Competitive, rolling admissions with quarterly intakes (July, October, January, April). Two years of professional experience, bachelor’s degree, and GMAT or GRE required.
Tuition: $89,000 inclusive of the entire program, including all books, materials, room and board for four immersion weekends.
#4. Grand Canyon University, Ken Blanchard College of Business, Phoenix, Ariz.
Rankings: U.S. News and World Report, #156, Student Engagement and Accreditation; U.S. News and World Report, #83, Student Services and Technology
Program: Online MBA students may choose either a general MBA program, an MBA program with one of six emphases, or a dual MBA/ Master’s of Science in Leadership program. Concentrations include accounting, finance, health systems management, leadership, marketing, and strategic human resource management. Online students take only one course at a time, and 54 credits are required for graduation.
Admissions: Applicants must meet one of a few requirements to be admitted: an undergraduate degree from an accredited GCU-approved college or university with a GPA or 2.8 or better, or a graduate degree from an accredited, GCU-approved college or university.
#5. Northeastern University, College of Business Administration (Boston, MA)
Executive Summary – An extremely flexible and individually tailored degree from a respected business school with no required travel.
Rankings: #5 Online Colleges, The Best Colleges (2011); #56 Business School, BusinessWeek (2010); #62 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2010).
Program: The Online MBA Program is a two year program with specializations available in Finance, Healthcare Management, High Technology Management, Innovation Entrepreneurship, International Management, Marketing, Operations and Supply Chain, and General Management. Five electives are allowed for even greater individual tailoring.For an additional four credits students can earn a Master of Science in Finance in addition to their MBA. No campus visits required.
Admissions: Rolling and competitive with nine different start dates. Bachelor’s degree with 3.0 GPA and five years of professional experience required. No GMAT required.
Executive Summary — Everest’s online MBA program includes coursework in a variety of fields and can be completed with no residency requirements.
Program: Everest’s online MBA students will take coursework in a variety of fields, such as accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, and organizational behavior, and can choose to focus on one of four concentrations: accounting, general management, human resources management, or international business. Students are required to earn 56 credit units for graduation.
Admissions: There are no set admissions requirements and no set admission dates. The enrollment process includes a telephone interview, online forms, and financial aid forms.
#6. DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management
Executive Summary — Offering 16 concentrations, DeVry’s online MBA can be tailored to fit specific career goals through elective courses.
Program: The online MBA program at DeVry is offered with 16 concentrations: accounting, e-commerce management, finance, general management, health services, hospitality management, human resources, information security, information systems management, international business, marketing, network and communications management, project management, public administration, security management, and sustainability management.
Admissions: DeVry does not require completion of the GMAT or GRE exams. Applicants who earned at least a 2.7 GPA in their undergraduate program, including a B or better in college algebra and English composition, are eligible to enroll in the program without testing. Other applicants may take the GMAT, GRE, or DeVry’s graduate school admission test, which is administered free of charge. Online students will submit materials to the school’s Naperville, Ill. office.
#7. Western Governors University, Salt Lake City, Utah
Executive Summary — For students with prior business experience, Western Governors’ program can be completed entirely online.
Rankings: U.S. News and World Report: #128, Student Engagement and Accreditation; U.S. News and World Report: #29, Student Services and Technology
Program: WGU‘s online MBA is available with three concentrations: general business, information technology management, and healthcare management. Graduates will have attained 33 competency units, or the equivalent of credit hours.
Admissions: For WGU’s online MBA program, students must submit a transcript verifying completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and must submit a resume demonstrating at least three years of “significant experience” in business, industry, or a nonprofit organization.
Executive Summary — The online MBA program at Salem can be completed in just one year with no residency requirements.
Rankings: U.S. News and World Report: #77, Student Services and Technology; U.S. News and World Report: #87, Student Engagement and Accreditation
Program: Salem’s online MBA can be completed in one year with a general business or international business focus, or a concentration in healthcare management. MBA students will complete seven core courses and five elective courses and can take one course per month to finish in one year.
Admissions: Salem has open enrollment with no test requirements. To be considered for acceptance, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
#8. Regis University, College for Professional Studies, School of Management (Denver, CO)
Executive Summary – A quick, flexible program at a great value with numerous specializations and a strong social justice/ethics emphasis.
Program: The External MBA Online can be completed in 20-28 months in a fully online or blended format. The program has a strong social justice and ethics emphasis and specializations in Finance & Accounting, Health Industry Leadership, Health Systems Management, Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Strategic Management. Class sizes are limited to 15. No travel required.
Admissions: Mildly competitive rolling admissions with six start dates throughout the year. Bachelor’s degree and GMAT (or GMAT Alternative = 2 formal essays) required.
#9. Baker College Center for Graduate Studies, Flint, Mich.
Executive Summary — Offering a variety of specializations, Baker’s online MBA program can be completed at an accelerated pace.
Program: Baker’s online MBA program, like its other online programs, is available year-round and is offered at an accelerated six-week pace. It is not a self-paced program. The core MBA program includes 33 hours of required courses and between 16-20 hours of specialized courses. Baker’s online MBA is offered in a variety of specializations: accounting, business intelligence, finance, health care management, human resources management, information systems, leadership, and marketing. A total of 53 quarter hours are required for graduation.
Admissions: Online MBA applicants are required to submit an essay addressing the applicant’s reasons for entering the program, official college transcripts from an accredited college or university demonstrating a GPA of 2.5 or better, three letters of recommendation, and a resume indicating at least three years or full-time work experience.
#10. Florida Tech University Online/Florida Institute of Technology
Executive Summary — With specializations in eight disciplines, this top-ranked online program offers MBAs fully online with no residency requirements.
Rankings: U.S. News and World Report: Online Business Programs Honor Roll; U.S. News and World Report: #23, Faculty Credentials and Training; U.S. News and World Report, #16, Student Services and Technology; U.S. News and World Report, #43 Student Engagement and Accreditation
Program: Florida Tech Online MBA students can pursue an MBA in general business administration, accounting, finance, accounting and finance, healthcare management, information technology management, Internet marketing, management, marketing, project management, or information technology. Full-time students can complete the program in two years or less.
Admissions: GMAT and GRE tests are not required for admission. Applicants must submit a one-time application fee along with an online application.
#11. Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of Business (Phoenix, AZ)
Executive Summary – One of the top public business schools in the U.S. offers a very good degree at an excellent value.
Rankings: #10 Best Value MBA in U.S., BusinessWeek (2011); #13 Business School, Wall Street Journal (2010);#27 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2010).
Program: The Online MBA is a two year degree and uses the same curriculum and faculty as the on-campus MBA. Students are assigned to cohort and proceed one course at a time, allowing for more in-depth focus. Emphases are available in Finance, International Business, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management. Only one campus visit required.
Admissions: Competitive. Bachelor’s, GMAT, and two years work experience required. May 1 (March 1 early) deadline for July start.
#12. The University of Florida, Hough Graduate School of Business (Gainesville, FL)
Executive Summary – A quality program with an excellent reputation at a great price.
Rankings: #1 (tie) Distance Learning MBA, The Economist (2010); #2 U.S. Best Value MBA, Financial Times (2011); #9 Recruiter’s Choice, Wall Street Journal (2010); #28 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2011).
Program: In addition to the standard two year program, the Internet MBA comes in an accelerated 16 month format for those with an undergraduate business degree earned in the last seven years. Both programs require one weekend campus visit per four month term.
Admissions: The Internet MBA is the most competitive of all the business programs at The University of Florida, with numerous applicants from all over the world competing for 65 spots. An accredited bachelor’s degree in any subject required for the two-year program, a bachelor’s in business for the accelerated. Both programs at least two years professional experience and the GMAT. Admissions are made on a rolling basis.
Tuition: $47,150 for standard program, $41,400 for accelerated. Books, room, board, and travel are not included with tuition, but all students receive an Apple iPad.
#13. EI Business School (Madrid, Spain)
Executive Summary – An excellent program, especially for those interested in international business, from one of the premier international business schools in the world.
Rankings: #1 (tie) Distance Learning MBA, The Economist (2010); #3 International MBA, BusinessWeek (2010); #6 Global MBA, Financial Times (2011); #24 International Business School, Wall Street Journal (2010).
Program: The Global MBA Online is offered in both English and Spanish formats. The program is 15 months long and requires two week long residencies in Madrid. Offers a very diverse student body and the opportunity to develop international network of contacts. Follows a case study approach using asynchronous online sessions, live interactive video sessions on weekends, and blended sessions.
Admissions: Admissions are rolling, but very competitive. Bachelor’s degree and GMAT or IE Admissions Test required. Professional experience preferred, but not mandatory.
Tuition: 37200 Pounds=~$50350. Does not include books, travel, room or board.
#14. Indiana University, Kelley School of Business (Bloomington, IN)
Executive Summary – Great flexibility and affordable tuition from one the best business schools in the U.S..
Rankings: #2 (three way tie) Distance Learning MBA, The Economist (2010); #8 Best Professors, Princeton Review (2011); #23 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2010); #19 Business School, BusinessWeek (2010).
Program: The Kelley Direct Online MBA can be completed in as little as two years and as many as five years, depending on the student’s individual need and preference. The program is focused on general administration, with 9 hours of electives for more personalized tailoring. All classes are asynchronous, so no set times to be online. Some campus visits required, including orientation at beginning of program.
Admissions: Admissions are very competitive. Bachelor’s degree and GMAT required. At least two years professional experience preferred, but not required. Program begins each fall, with a June 15 application deadline.
Tuition: $54,111. Books and travel costs not included.
#15. Thunderbird School of Global Management (Glendale, AZ)
Executive Summary - A top-quality MBA degree with great flexibility and opportunities for international experience, all at a great value.
Rankings: #1 International Business, The Financial Times (2010); #1 International Business, U.S. News & World Report (2010); #2 (tie) Distance Learning MBA, The Economist (2010); #3 Business School, Wall Street Journal (2010).
Program: The Distance Learning MBA is available in 19, 28, and 36 month formats. Three-quarters of the program is online (asynchronous), with the remaining quarter administered through regional business seminars around the world ( including Beijing, China, Geneva, Switzerland, and Santiago, Chile). Program emphases are available in World Business, International Studies, and Cross-Cultural/English Business Communication.
Admissions: Rolling, but very competitive. Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and GMAT required.
Tuition: $66,800. Includes books and room and board for orientation, international study, and graduation. Travel fare not included.
#16. The University of Maastricht, School of Business and Economics (Maastricht, Netherlands)
Executive Summary – A well respected, reasonably priced international program with an emphasis on European business.
Rankings: #2 (tie) Distance Learning MBA, The Economist (2010); #20 Online MBA, Financial Times (2010).
Program: The Euro*MBA is a two-year program collaboratively offered by six of the top business schools and universities in Europe, drawing a global student body and faculty. The program is administered by University of Maastricht Business School in the Netherlands. Special focus on European business and management focus. A four day orientation and six residential weeks in various European locations required.
Admissions: Moderately competitive. An average of 35 applicants admitted per year. Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and five years of professional experience required. GMAT not required. July 15 deadline for September intake; November 15 for January intake.
Tuition: EUR 26,500=~$36,069. Covers all course materials and tutoring. Required international travel and boarding (EUR 800-900/$1088-1224 a week) not included.
#17. Babson College, F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business (Babson Park, MA)
Executive Summary – Great program, especially for entrepreneurs, but pricey, especially when cost of books and travel are factored in.
Rankings: #1 Entrepreneurship, Princeton Review (2011); #39 Business School, BusinessWeek (2010); #54 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2010).
Program: The Fast Track MBA is a two year program with an entrepreneurial leadership focus and an experience and team based approach. Weekend face-to-face meetings every six weeks required, meeting either at Babson or a satellite in San Francisco, California. Four electives allow some personal tailoring of the program, which terminates with a final capstone project.
Admissions: Admissions are rolling and competitive, with March and October start dates. Bachelor’s degree and GMAT or GRE required.
Tuition: $73,500. Books and travel costs not included.
#18. Duke University, Fuqua School of Business (Durham, NC)
Executive Summary – A prestigious degree that guarantees exposure to a variety of international business contexts and networks, but outrageously expensive with more than the average amount of traveling.
Rankings: #6 Business School, BusinessWeek (2010); #14 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2010); #20 Global MBA, Financial Times (2010); #28 Business School, The Economist (2010).
Program: The Global Executive MBA at Duke is designed for senior global executives and managers. The 15 months program involves five residencies, two in Durham, NC, and the rest in London & St. Petersburg, Dubai & New Delhi, Shanghai & Singapore. Four electives allow for personal tailoring of the degree, as well as an optional 2-course independent project in one of six concentrations (Energy & Environment, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Finance, Marketing, Strategy, Health Sector Management).
Admissions: Rolling and very competitive. GMAT not required, but a bachelor’s degree and at least 10 years work experience with current or pending global responsibilities.
Tuition: $146,600. Includes books, materials, lodging and food, but not travel costs.
#19. Penn State World Campus (College Township, PA)
Executive Summary – An excellent program at a reasonable cost that doesn’t require professional experience.
Rankings: #1 Online College, The Best Colleges (2011);#44 Business School, BusinessWeek (2010); #48 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2010); #56 Business School, The Economist (2010).
Program: The iMBA is a two year program with two one-week required residencies. Students enter and stay with the same cohort througout program, taking the same classes at same time, though classes are offered asynchronously.
Admissions: Bachelor’s degree and GMAT or GRE required. Two years of professional experience preferred but not required. May 1 deadline (March 1 early) for Fall cohort; October 1 (July 1 early) for Spring cohort. Preference is given to early deadline applications.
Tuition: $54,760. Includes books, fees, room and board.
#20. Drexel University, Lebow College of Business (Philadelphia, PA)
Executive Summary - A good school with an excellent reputation, particularly in academic quality and entrepreneurship, but fairly expensive.
Rankings: #3 Entrepreneurship, Princeton Review (2011); #3 Business School, Entrepreneur Magazine; #10 part-time MBA businessweek; #11 Online College, The Best Colleges (2011); Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education Award, Sloan Consortium (2010).
Program: The MBA Anywhere is a two year degree, with specializations in Marketing, Finance, Engineering Management, and Entrepreneurship. It uses a cohort format, with 25-30 per cohort. Three 4-day on-campus residencies recommended, but only one is required.
Admissions: Rolling and moderately competitive. Bachelor’s degree with 3.0 GPA or higher and GMAT or GRE required. Fall and spring semester intakes.
Tuition: $58,000. Does not include books, room, board, or travel.
#21. Warwick Business School, The University of Warwick (Coventry, UK)
Executive Summary - An excellent degree with a high degree of flexibility and reasonable tuition.
Rankings: #1 Distance Learning MBA in the UK, The Economist (2010); #10 Best Value MBA, Financial Times (2010).
Program: The Distance Learning MBA program is self-paced, completed in 2-5 years. Six electives allow for significant tailoring. Consultancy project and dissertation to be completed at end of program. Between 2-4 on-campus seminars required, depending on curriculum path chosen. Optional 5-day international module available.
Admissions: Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), GMAT, and at least four years professional work experience required.
Tuition: 6200 Pounds=~$10,062 a year. Books included, but not room, board or travel costs.
#22. Carnegie-Mellon, Tepper School of Business (Pittsburgh, PA)
Executive Summary – A quality and respected program, but the cost and company-based approach put it out of reach for many.
Rankings: #15 Business School, BusinessWeek (2010); #16 Business School, U.S. News & World Report (2010); #21 Business School, The Economist (2010); #34 Global MBA, Financial Times (2010).
Program: The FlexMode Distance Learning MBA is a three year program delivered at company sites in the U.S. through real-time video conference. Prospective students must get their company to sponsor the program, which requires at least six students. Interested students can schedule a presentation at their company by a Carnegie-Mellon representative. One on-campus orientation weekend required. Optional on-campus seminars each January for more intensive face-to-face study.
Admissions: Bachelor’s degree and GMAT required.
Tuition: $81,936. Does not include books, room, board, or travel.