By Susan Guillory · 5 minute read
If you’re considering furthering your education by earning a master’s degree in business administration, you may be interested in MBA programs that are all or partially online.
Online MBA programs give students the flexibility to work on assignments and view lectures on your time. If you’re working full-time right now, this could be a great way to expand your knowledge while getting a competitive edge in the workplace…without having to take time away from work to do so.
Most online coursework can be accessed on your schedule, rather than you being required to attend class at a certain time.
Start your research with the top online MBA programs available and then narrow down the list based on your specific needs.
What Is an MBA Program?
MBA programs offer master’s degree-level courses in a variety of business-related content, including economics, finance, marketing, accounting, entrepreneurship, and statistics. Many provide hands-on learning through capstones or client projects, and some also offer the opportunity to study abroad.
There are many types of MBA programs, from an in-person one- or two-year program to an online MBA program. There are also executive MBA programs, which are geared toward working professionals with a bit more professional experience than the average undergrad.
Some programs are 100% online, while others require you to attend classes on the weekend once a month or so. Your willingness and ability to travel, if necessary, should be a part of which format you choose for your MBA studies.
You can pay for an MBA program in several ways: paying out of pocket, taking out a student loan, securing scholarships, or a combination of these.
What Are the Benefits of an MBA Program?
You may wonder whether getting an MBA is worth the investment. Generally, studying topics like management, marketing, or finance can help make you more well-rounded in these areas, which may help you secure a job or a promotion in one of these fields.
And having a master’s degree can potentially make you more appealing to employers, helping you stand out from the sea of applicants. The degree may also help increase earning potential .
The top online MBA programs may also present networking opportunities, whether virtual or in-person, that can connect you with others in your field as well as employers looking to hire MBAs from your university.
Choosing the Best Online MBA Program for You
The program you ultimately choose will depend on factors like:
• How much do you want to spend?
• Are you willing to be on campus for classes occasionally?
• What concentration are you interested in?
• How quickly do you want to complete your coursework?
Each of the MBA programs on this list is ranked highly, but the choice will be personal based on your own criteria. Spend time speaking with admissions reps at each of the schools you’re interested in, as well as talking to grads to understand their experience.
Top Online MBA Programs to Consider
What defines an MBA program as being one of the top online business schools will vary, depending on your criteria. To give you a place to start, we researched, compared, and synthesized online lists to find some of the top online MBA programs in several categories.
Top Affordable Online MBA Programs
Online MBA programs can get fairly expensive: top executive MBA programs can range from $62,000 to $213,000. And not everyone can afford such prestigious education. Instead, consider an affordable MBA program with a smaller price tag.
West Texas A&M University
This university, located near Amarillo, Texas, has one of the best rated affordable MBA programs in the country, and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Courses can be taken in person or online. Its MBA program has been ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report, The Financial Engineer Times, and the Princeton Review.
Tuition per credit: $500, for in-state tuition
Oklahoma State University
Another award-winning online MBA program comes from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business. Not only is it affordable; it also ranks highly for active-duty military personnel looking to expand their education. There is also a mentoring program available for students.
Tuition per credit: $471, for in-state tuition
Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University’s MBA program is a 36-hour program with flexibility: you can choose whether to take courses in person or online from one semester to the next, rather than being locked into one or the other for the entire program.
Tuition per credit: $320, for in-state tuition
Top Executive Online MBA Programs
If you’ve been in the workforce for several years and are looking to move up in your career, an executive online MBA program could be a good fit, as it’s typically flexible in how and when you do your coursework so it doesn’t interfere with your job.
Washington State University
WSU’s Carson College of Business offers an EMBA that can be completed in as little as 16 months. This program offers perks like an option for international field study in a 10-day overseas program, an annual Leadership Conference, and professional coaching.
Tuition per credit: $1,264
Bethel University offers a Master of Business Administration: Executive Concentration that can be completed in 21 months. The classes are writing-based, and there is no GRE required. Courses offered through this executive-focused program include Organizational Behavior, Strategy and Managerial Decision-Making, and Business Ethics.
Tuition per credit: $613
Southeastern Louisiana University
If you’re interested in combining online MBA curriculum with in-person learning, Southeastern Louisiana University offers that balance in its 17-month program. The program is 40% online and 60% face-to-face, with classes on Saturdays only. The program offers three options: general MBA with accounting and financing electives, general MBA with business electives, or MBA with a healthcare concentration. The MBA program has small classes, and is accredited by the AACSB.
Tuition per credit: $626
Top Overall Online MBA Programs
Maybe you just completed your undergraduate degree and want to move straight into your MBA program, and you’re looking for the cream of the crop. Here are some of the top online MBA programs for you to consider.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business offers several different MBA programs, including full-time, online, executive, professional flex, and fast-track. The program offers diverse concentrations, including business data analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, and international business.
Tuition per credit: $1,343
Pennsylvania State World Campus
PennState’s World Campus’ Smeal College of Business offers flexibility in how you build your personal MBA program. There are 20 possible concentrations with the program, including advanced accounting, international affairs, and strategic leadership. There is a three-day residency to kick off the program in person, as well as other sessions throughout.
Tuition per credit: $1,236
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business offers a highly-recognized Master of Business Administration degree. The program is cohort-based and centers around high student-faculty engagement. You can choose from among the many concentrations offered or customize your own. The program also includes an 18-week client capstone project, as well as an international client project to provide more hands-on experience for students.
Tuition per credit: $1,237 per credit hour
Online MBA programs can be one way for students to gain skills desirable for a future career in business. They can offer more flexibility than traditional in-person MBA programs because lectures can generally be watched on the student’s schedule.
But, even paying for an online program can be costly. Some students may turn to student loans to finance all or a portion of the cost of tuition.
Some students may find that later refinancing their loans can help them lower their interest rate, and lessen the cost of the debt over the life of the loan.
Refinancing federal student loans means they’ll no longer be eligible for federal protections like deferment, forgiveness, and income-driven repayment plans, so this option won’t make sense for everyone.