Editor’s Choice For Best Online Business Degree Programs

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10_business_editors_choiceIn an increasingly complex, fast-paced, and transforming business world, businesses, corporations, and organizations need well-trained professionals to lead, manage, and innovate. Time and again, companies have turned to MBA graduates, and the habit is expected to continue. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for MBA graduates will continue to grow through 2022; and jobs for training and development managers are projected to increase 11 percent. MBA candidates study everything from accounting and finance, to strategic management and decision making, to organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. Most programs include experiential, hands-on learning opportunities to provide students with valuable real-world work, and many offer customization options in addition to the core business curriculum. Still, while the traditional on-campus route remains popular, more and more students are choosing to complete the degree online to avoid disrupting their careers. And as demand for the online MBA has increased, so has the quality of the supply: some of the top business schools in the country now offer the same MBA online as one can earn on-campus. Below, find our top fifteen programs.

Methodology:

  • Affordability (1/3): the average out-of-state tuition per credit hour
  • Flexibility (1/3): if the program offers additional specializations and/or an accelerated track
  • Academic Reputation (1/3): the rank of the school’s parent institution according to US News

Featured MBA Programs

Looking for more information on a program below, or info on traditional on-campus offerings? Check out the below programs in our 50 best business schools in North America ranking.

1. University of North Carolina — ​Chapel Hill (Kenan-​Flagler)

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UNC’s Kenan-Flagler, established in 1919, is widely considered one of the nation’s top business schools, and has been ranked highly by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Business Inside, and others. The school places a special emphasis on business ethics and integrity, and, unlike many business schools, Kenan-Flagler requires a course on integrity for all first-year students. Additional core values include community, personal accountability, and teamwork, with the goal to produce graduates eager and able to make the business world a better place. Distinguished alumni include Gary Parr, Deputy Chairman, Lazard Frères & Co.; Brent Callinicos, Chief Financial Officer, Uber Technologies; Donna Dean, Chief Investment Officer, The Rockefeller Foundation; Jason Kilar, Co-founder and former CEO, Hulu; Charles Loudermilk, President and CEO, Aaron Rents, Inc., and numerous other business executives.

Kenan-Flager’s online MBA is ranked as the #1 in the country by both US News and the Princeton Review. All courses are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate working professionals and adult learners, while maintaining the same academic rigor and in-depth curriculum of the traditional brick and mortar program. Totaling 66 credits, students can expect to complete the degree in as little as 18-36 months, depending on the student’s course load. In addition to the MBA core curriculum, Kenan-Flagler students also have the opportunity to to specialize in one of eight offered concentrations to tailor the degree; these include Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurship, Global Supply Chain Management, Marketing, Investment Management, Sustainable Enterprise, Management Consulting, and Data Analytics and Decision Making. According to a survey, 76% of students were promoted or changed jobs while enrolled; 29% reported a salary increase; and more than 500 alumni have received promotions or changed jobs since the program’s founding in 2011.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $54,413
  • Average starting salary: $$129,016

2. University of Florida (Hough)

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The University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business, with a total full-time enrollment of just over 100, allows for individualized instruction and an intimate, collaborative learning environment. With two-year and accelerated one-year options, UF students can choose the track best-suited for their schedules, all while learning from some of the best business professors in the country. Hough’s innovative program also includes case competitions, experiential learning, and guest speakers in order to expose students to the most cutting-edge concepts in both theory and practice. The school’s Career Accelerator Program is another unique resource, encouraging students to gain valuable experience in a specific area of professional interest while still enrolled in the core curriculum. All tracks are customizable and include opportunities for co-curricular work.

UF’s online MBA has been ranked #3 in the country by the Financial Times, marked both for its excellent flexibility and academic rigor. One of the longest-standing online MBA programs around, Hough has been offering the distance degree since 1999, continuing to develop new and innovative educational methods that prepare students to become business leaders across the world. Two tracks are available, depending upon undergraduate experience: a 27-month option is offered to students of any major, while a 16-month accelerated program is offered to undergraduate business majors who have completed the necessary prerequisites. Further, there are three entry dates per year, so students can begin their students according to their own schedules. (Many online students continue their professional careers while pursuing the MBA; many others are adult learners with additional responsibilities.) Additional benefits include a dedicated career development program, turn-key student services, and up-front scheduling.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $$30,130
  • Average starting salary: $109,171

3. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

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Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business is unique in its curricular focus on both business leadership and strategic analytics, which allows students to address and solve complex business problems through leveraging organizational management and data-based decision making. As on the smallest business schools in the country, with an enrollment of just over 400 and 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students receive individualized instruction and benefit from an intimate, highly collaborative learning environment, which double-times as a simulator for real-world business scenarios. In particular, the school’s Accelerate Leadership Center – made up of coaches, mentors, instructors and executives – provides a rigorous training in leadership from professionals who have demonstrated their management skills time and again in the business world. Tepper is also unique in its relatively structured two-part curriculum, in which students focus exclusively on business fundamentals in year one, before advancing two elective course work in year two.

Tepper’s online MBA program is a part-time degree, designed to accommodate working professionals and adult learners with additional responsibilities outside the classroom. Degree completion time is typically 3 years and includes a hybrid component that requires some minimal on-campus course work. Even more intimate than Tepper’s brick and mortar program, the online track consists of just 50-60 students, and courses deliver in synchronous and asynchronous formats to provide maximum flexibility. All students also benefit from an active career services center and specific recruiting preparation. Note that, in addition to the core MBA curriculum, Tepper also offers a number of concentrations to tailor the degree to areas of professional interest, including Accounting, Communications, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Social Responsibility, Finance, Business Technologies, Marketing, Operations Management, Operations Research, Organizational Behavior, and Strategy. While Tepper requires completion of one concentration, many students pursue 3-4.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $60,000
  • Average starting salary: $135,548

4. University of Illinois — ​Urbana-​Champaign

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The University of Illinois’s College of Business, with an MBA enrollment of only 100 students, has develop a curriculum that stresses business fundamentals in the first year, then progresses to more customized course work in the second year, including electives outside of the business school. Areas of focus are offered in Corporate & Social Responsibility, Finance, General Management, Healthcare Management and HR, among others; and all graduates will have earned a well-rounded, in-depth business foundation with which they can apply to a wide range of fields, public and private alike. In addition, the school offers experiential learning opportunities to valuable real-world exposure, and a global consulting program in which students study abroad in countries as diverse as India, China, Brazil, and South Africa.

Illinois’s online MBA – or iMBA, as it’s called – is a 100% distance-learning degree, designed to accommodate working professionals. Courses are highly flexible, and students progress through the degree in cohorts in order to facilitate intimate, peer-to-peer learning. Further, through the state-of-the-art Coursera educational platform, students benefit from a highly interactive delivery model and streamlined teacher-to-student communications. Illinois’s curriculum takes a special focus on business leadership, training students in entrepreneurship, organizational management, and more to prepare the next generation of business leaders; YouTube, PayPal, and Yelp! all have executive ties to the UI MBA program. Most important, the university’s iMBA has been praised for its exceptional combination of affordability and prestige, as highlighted by Poets and Quants.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $34,662
  • Average starting salary: $99,495

5. George Washington University

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Founded in 1928, George Washington University, in D.C., has one of the most consistently ranked top MBA programs in the country, as featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, US News, Fortune, and the Princeton Review, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist, among others. Thanks to its location, GW is able to offer a program unique in its ability to combine business fundamentals, theory, and practice with collaborative learning opportunities alongside US government agencies, multilateral development banks, non-profit organizations, and thousands of national and multinational corporations. In addition to an academically rigorous curriculum, GW teaches students the core values of ethical leadership, sustainability, social responsibility, and corporate citizenship, with respect to business and global affairs.

George Washington’s online MBA includes both a traditional track and a Healthcare MBA, each of which consist of 55.5 credits and average degree completion times of 2-5 years. For maximum flexibility, students can take exclusively online course or follow a hybrid format, and classes are available in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. In addition to the core business curriculum, general business track students have the opportunity to tailor the degree through a wide variety of concentrations, such as Entrepreneurship, Global Management, Sports Management, Government Contracts, and more. Certificates are also available in Sports Philanthropy Executive and Certified Sports Administrator. Additional benefits include an optional, four-day residency course, class projects, digital course materials, live learning opportunities, and co-curricular experiences in Washington, D.C.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $55,705
  • Average starting salary: $107,628

6. Indiana University (Kelley)

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Founded in 1920, Indiana’s Kelley School of Business began offering their MBA program in 1947. Today it is considered one of the best in the country, ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, The Economist, Forbes, the Princeton Review, and Financial Times, among others. (Accordign to the Princeton Review, Kelley ranks 1st in best professors, 7th for family friendly schools, and 10th in best campus environment; the Financial Times ranks it 6th in the country for job placement.) Class sizes are kept small – total enrollment is under 400 – to preserve a low student-to-faculty ratio and provide individualized instruction in an intimate, collaborative educational environment. The school’s 100,000 graduates can be found in over 100 countries around the world and act as excellent business liaisons and networkers to fellow IU alumni.

Kelley’s online MBA consists of 51 credits – 39 required, plus electives. Among the core areas of study include business law and ethics, economics, marketing, finance, operations, information technology, and project management, among others. For those interested, students also have the opportunity to earn dual degrees in one of the following six disciplines: Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Finance, Global Supply Chain Management, Marketing, and Strategic Management. Kelley also offers an elective AGILE course in conjunction with partnering schools, which give students unique experiential learning sessions in areas of emerging economic opportunity, such as Johannesburg, South Africa; New Delhi, India; Gaborone, Botswana, and Sao Paolo, Brazil. Class sizes are typically around 200 students, who have at least 5 years of full-time work experience.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $44,460
  • Average starting salary: $123,855

7. Arizona State University (Carey)

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Arizona State University’s Carey School of Business is among the most forward-thinking in the country, reflected in its #1 ranking in US News‘s “Most Innovative Schools” list, which factored in individual programs’ curriculum, faculty, student makeup, campus culture, technologies, and facilities. In particular, Carey offers individualized instruction through small class sizes, and has a notable ROI against tuition. The school’s unique relationship with business in the Shanghai region also provides graduate with access to one of the most exciting international job markets for business; study abroad opportunities are available in collaboration with Shanghai National Accounting Institute (SNAI). Among the school’s 90,000 graduates, notable alumni include Eric Crown, co-founder of Insight Enterprises; Michael J. Ahearn, CEO of First Solar; Bill Post, CEO of Pinnacle West, and many other business leaders and executives.

Carey’s online MBA is a top 5 program in the country, with world-class faculty and customizable, comprehensive curriculum. Required course work includes Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Statistics for Managers, Managerial Economics, Managerial Finance, Organization Theory and Behavior, Strategic Management, Marketing Management, and Operations and Supply Management. Motivated students also have the opportunity to complete concurrent master’s degrees in Legal Studies, Electrical Engineering, or Electrical Engineering. Courses deliver in accelerated 5-week blocks, and there are several start dates throughout the year to allow students maximum schedule flexibility. Additional resources include career services, student services, 24/7 tech support, dynamic education technologies, case-based learning projects, and academic advising.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $42,086
  • Average starting salary: $113,243

8. University of Minnesota — ​Twin Cities (Carlson)

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Founded in 1919, Minnesota’s Carslon School of Management offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, an executive education program, and dual degrees with the schools of public affairs, law, medicine, and public health. The school has received wide praise for academic excellence from publications like Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, US News, and the Financial Times, among others. With an MBA enrollment of under 200, the school is able to keep a low student-to-faculty ratio and provide individualized instruction and an intimate, collaborative learning environment. Notable Carlson alumni include John G. Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo; Thomas O. Staggs, COO of The Walt Disney Company; John G. Mulligan, CFO of Target; Richard Cyert, President of Carnegie Melon University; William S. Cook, Chairman & CEO of Union Pacific; Duane R. Kullberg, Managing Partner & CEO of Arthur Andersen, and many other business leaders and executives.

Carlson’s online MBA has received high marks across the board: #1 for flexibility, #3 for business faculty intellectual contributions, #3 for average salary increase, and a top 15 program overall. The part-time degree consists of 57 credits, and students typically complete the program in 2.5 years. The MBA also requires two on-campuses experiences, which may be orientation, an in-person condensed format course, or global program experience, or career workshops, professional conferences, case competitions, and other student development events. The core business curriculum is comprehensive, and students have the opportunity to customize the degree through a variety of electives, such as Business Formation, Corporate Venturing, Negotiations, Healthcare Marketplace, Financial Modeling, International Marketing, and Management of Innovation, among others. In addition, Carlson offers career services, academic advising, Moodle learning technologies, tech support, and registration support.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $46,500
  • Average starting salary: $120,000

9. Baylor University (Hankamer)

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Chartered in 1845, Baylor is a private Baptist university in Waco, Texas, with a total enrollment of approximately 17,000. Ranked among the top national universities, and a top school in the region according to the Princeton Review, Baylor has top graduate programs in marketing, law, and business, among others. With a devoted alumni base of over 120,000, notable graduates include recipients of Pulitzer Prizes, Emmy’s, Grammy’s, and GMA Awards, plus a number of top business executives, like Weather Channel CFO Jerry Elliott, American Airlines CEO Thomas W. Horton, Western Refining CEO Paul Foster, Allbritton Communications Company founder Joe Allbritton, XTO Energy CEO Bob R. Simpson, ex-PayPal executive Rod D. Martin, Oracle Corporation CEO Mark Hurd, and many others.

Baylor’s Hanmaker School of Business is considered one of the best in the nation, and offers a full-time MBA, executive MBA, and online MBA. The online option follows the same rigorous curriculum of the on-campus track, plus an identical world-class faculty and learning resources. Hanmaker places a special emphasis on experiential learning that includes a practicum in portfolio management, in which students manage an investment portfolio valued at $5 million; a venture capital practicum in partnership with G-51 Capital Management in Austin; and a focus firm class that allows students to gain real-world experience working with companies like Microsoft, SAP, Walmart, Coca-Cola, 3M, and Patagonia. All online courses are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate students’ schedules, and Hanmaker’s 20,000 alumni provide students and graduates with an excellent business networking platform.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $36,360
  • Average starting salary: $83,411

10. University of Wisconsin — ​Madison

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The University of Wisconsin — Madison is the oldest and flagship university of the state system, established in 1848. Made up of 20 schools and colleges, the university has a student body of over 40,000 and 136 undergraduate majors, 48 master’s degree programs, 120 doctoral degrees. Madison is also one of the most prestigious universities in the country, a founding member of the Association of American Universities and a public ivy. Its research program ranks 3rd in the country for expenditures, which total over $1 billion a year. Graduates of the school benefit from a robust and active alumni network of nearly 400,000, and the school is affiliated with 21 Nobel Prize winners and 34 Pulitzer Prize winners. Among its distinguished alumni include Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Lindbergh, Laurel Clark, Joyce Carol Oates, Dick Cheney, Wayne Morse, John Muir, and many more.

Wisconsin’s online MBA, which can be completed in 2-3 years, consists of 30-credits, in collaboration with UW–Eau Claire, UW–La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh and UW–Parkside. (Note that eligible students may waive standard admissions requirements via Wisconsin’s Consortium’s Foundation Program.) Courses are designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate working professionals and adult learners, and deliver in accelerated 8-week modules. Core requirements include Strategies for Managing Ongoing Operations, Developing New Products and Services, Managing Strategically in a Global Environment, Focusing on the Future, and a mini leadership module. From there, students have the opportunity to tailor the degree through electives in areas like Sustainability, Information Technology, Health Care Administration, Ethics, E-Commerce, Management, and Non-Profit, among others. With an average class size of only 24, students receive individualized instruction and a collaborative, intimate learning environment.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $36,360
  • Average starting salary: $114,815

11. Northeastern University (D’Amore-McKim)

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Founded in 1922, Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business consists of about 3,500 undergraduates, plus MBA classes of about 80. By keeping the graduate school enrollment low, D’Amore-McKim’s student-to-faculty ratio is among the best in the country, and students receive individualized instruction in an intimate, collaborative educational setting. Further, each MBA class represents a diverse range of demographics, with students from over 15 countries across the world, adding an international dimension to the program and creating an environment in which students learn different perspectives, global economics, and business practices. The Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, and US News have praised the business school for studies in entrepreneurship, finance, and overall academic excellence.

Northeastern’s online MBA, which was developed ten years ago, ranks 4th in the Financial Times‘s rankings. Courses are designed for maximum flexibility, and students have the opportunity to tailor the curriculum through 8 areas of concentration, including Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain Management, Marketing, Healthcare Management, and Finance, among others. All online students receive the same curricular rigor as the brick and mortar MBA, plus the school’s active alumni network of over 40,000 business professionals. According to a survey of online MBA graduates, 56% received a salary increase; 48% received more managerial responsibility; and 46% received a new job title. Note also that Northeastern’s admissions places a high value on professional experience, so neither GMAT nor GRE scores are required.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $47,250
  • Average starting salary: $84,047

12. Louisiana State University — ​Baton Rouge (Ourso)

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Louisiana State University’s E. J. Ourso College of Business, located in Baton Rouge, has been offering degrees since 1928. The school offers undergraduate and graduate classes in studies such as Economics & International Trade & Finance, Business, Accounting, Management, Information Systems & Decision Science, and Finance, among others. For its programs that promote entrepreneurship, stimulate economic development, and develop world-class internal auditing processes, the school has been recognized by national and international publications. Further, Baton Rouge has been ranked as one the twenty best cities for economic strength by Portfolio Magazine, and was listed as the 9th best place in America to start a new business by CNN. In addition to its petrochemical manufacturing and production, Baton Rouge has developing markets in healthcare, start-ups, and film production.

Ranked 10th overall among Southern programs, LSU’s online MBA consists of 42 credits and can be completed in as little as 18 months. Courses deliver 100% online in accelerated 7-week blocks for maximum flexibility and to fast-track career opportunities. Required course work includes Managerial Statistics, Understanding Financial Information, Elements of Cost Management, Financial Management, Legal Environment of Business, Managing Sources of Competitive Advantage, and Economic Environment of the Firm, among others. Students then have the opportunity to tailor the degree to areas of professional interest through a wide variety of electives, such as Understanding International Management Challenges, Supply Chain Management, Business Analytics, and Negotiation, Persuasion and Influence. Additional resources include LSU’s business research and resource libraries, student services, and access to an alumni network of 200,000.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $64,144
  • Average starting salary: $67,100

13. University of Miami

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The University of Miami School of Business Administration, located in Coral Gables, Florida, is a top 50 business school that combines a cutting-edge, comprehensive business curriculum with experiential learning, lectures, and guest speakers. A member of the Graduate Management Admission Council, the school has been ranked as one of the best in the country by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, and US News. Further, the city of Miami offers students access to a global hub for international businesses, and students have the opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience through a variety of innovative, hands-on programs. Notable alumni include Ralph Alvarez, president and COO of McDonald’s; Mercedes Aráoz, Finance Minister of Peru; Lyor Cohen, vice chairman of Warner Music Group; David Komansky, former CEO of Merrill Lynch; Drew Rosenhaus, professional sports agent; and Pedro Fabregas, vice president of American Airlines, among others.

Miami’s online MBA consists of 42 credits and can be completed in 26 months. The core curriculum focuses on Marketing, Strategy, Management, Finance, Accounting, Organizational Behavior, and Law. From there, students have the opportunity to tailor the degree by adding concentrations in Corporate Finance, Financial Decision Making, and Accounting Practice. Tracks begin in January, May, and September to allow maximum schedule flexibility, and more than 25% of students receive a scholarship. Courses deliver in 7-week blocks. Appropriate for a city of international scope, UM’s MBA students and faculty come from across the country and around the world. Additional resources include career services, an in-depth orientation, tech support, and student services. Note that eligible students may qualify to waive the GMAT requirement.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $51,800
  • Average starting salary: $86,847

14. University of Texas — ​Dallas

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Established in 1961, the University of Texas at Dallas is a public research university, with a total enrollment of approximately 25,000. Designated as a Highest Research Activity” institution by the Carnegie Foundation, the school offers more than 138 programs across eight schools and hosts more than 50 research centers. Washington Monthly, US News, the Princeton Review, and Kiplinger’s have all cited the university for academic excellence, affordability, value, and individual programs, such as business, audiology, criminology, computer engineering, and electrical engineering, among others. All admitted freshmen are automatically considered for an Academic Excellence Scholarship Award, and the university is one of only 13 universities whose students are eligible for Terry Scholarships.

UT Dallas’s online school is ranked second in the country, and its MBA ranks 16th. Consisting of 53 credits, business core requirements include Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Financial Management, Strategic Management, Marketing Management, Quantitative Introduction to Risk and Uncertainty in Business, Organizational Behavior, Operations Management, Business Economics, Global Business, and Information Technology and MIS Fundamentals. From there, students take 24 elective credits to customize the degree. All course work is 100% online and self-paced for maximum flexibility, and students have up to 72 months to complete the degree. Further, students with previous credits may transfer up to 12 credits into the degree (core or otherwise). Through the Blackboard learning platform, students receive dynamic, innovative instruction and a highly intimate, collaborative educational experience, with group discussion boards, live chat rooms, and video conferencing.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $51,800
  • Average starting salary: $86,847

15. Pennsylvania State University – Global Campus

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Penn State’s World Campus is the university’s online campus, launched in 1998, with students from all 50 states, more than 60 countries, and 7 continents. One of the leaders in distance education, Penn State offers 120 online undergraduate and graduate degrees, plus professional certificate programs. In fact, Penn State has been providing distance education opportunities since 1892, when the university began the nation’s first correspondence study programs to farmers throughout Pennsylvania. Still, online students can take advantage of the many resources on-campus have, including an alumni network of more than 645,000, all of whom are highly active and loyal to the Penn State community. And once Penn State graduates start their careers, they hit the ground running: according to a survey by the Wall Street Journal, PSU graduates are ranked #1 by recruiters for professional preparedness.

PSU’s Global Campus – in partnership with the Smeal College of Business and Penn State Behrend, Penn State Great Valley, and Penn State Harrisburg – offers an online MBA that consists of 48 credits, focusing on accounting, economics, data analysis, ethics, communications, human resources, finance, marketing, leadership, supply chain, strategy, innovation, and digital transformation. In addition to the school’s core business curriculum, students also have the opportunity to customize the degree through 9 credits in a concentration. Courses are designed for maximum flexibility, and students progress through the degree with a cohort in order to support an intimate, collaborative learning environment. While all courses are 100% online, the school requires a 5-day orientation residency to meet cohort members, meet instructors, prepare for online classes, and attend workshops in advising services, career management, stress management, alumni relations and networking, and time management.

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  • Total out-of-state tuition: $56,880
  • Average starting salary: $86,847
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