The Top 12 Online MBA Programs
An MBA ( or Master’s of Business Administration) degree can be a great way to advance your career and unlock new opportunities.
The problem is not everyone has enough time to be on campus. If you already have a job, chances are you don’t have enough time to be a full-time student, especially if you’re responsible for a family or have any other long-term commitments.
Luckily, online MBA programs have started gaining more popularity in recent years, which has led more and more business schools to offer flexible online MBA programs that provide a similar experience to on-campus programs.
In this guide, we will explore some of the best online MBA programs in the country, so you can decide which is more suitable for your academic and professional goals.
The Top Online MBA Programs in 2022
Our list of Top Online MBA programs is carefully curated based on employment outcomes, student satisfaction, cost, and the quality of the course and technological accessibility and performance.
1. Nexford University
Being one of the most popular online MBA programs regarding student satisfaction and rankings, Nexford University’s MBA offers valuable networking opportunities, flexible schedules, and quality tuition through professional staff members who know how to keep students engaged online.
Professors have the skill to combine theory with real-world practice using business examples and case studies. Many students have also praised the professors’ willingness to provide academic and professional support.
The university offers 5 specializations in its online MBA program, including E-commerce, AI automation, Global Business, Managing Hyperconnectivity, and Sustainability. Tuition costs are tailored to each market, so the programs are globally affordable
The coursework may seem daunting at first, but as you go through it, you’ll find it pretty manageable no matter how much your other commitments take from your time.
Average Tuition and Fees: $5,040 (for a US learner taking an MBA)
2. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
Some of the key features of the University of North Carolina’s online MBA program include professional, highly-skilled staff, a robust curriculum, and flexibility.
The university offers an MBA with an entrepreneurship concentration for students who seek to launch their own startups or grow their existing ones.
The coursework emphasizes leadership, analytical skills, and management. In addition, the program has both synchronous and asynchronous materials, which provides flexibility while also encouraging students to engage with their professors and colleagues.
You need around 10 years of working experience to enroll. On a side note, the acceptance rate is 55%, so you need to ensure that your application stands out with letters of recommendation.
Average Starting Salary: $134,235
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.20
Acceptance Rate: 55%
Work Experience: 10 years
Total Tuition and Fees: $125,589
Average GMAT Score: 694
3. University of Florida (Hough)
The University of Florida’s MBA program is known for its flexibility, faculty level, and high rankings. Its course structure is also one of the best around, and its fast-paced nature makes it suitable for those who need to get their MBA degree quickly.
The curriculum includes real-world business case studies. Not to mention, the learning environment is great because students are usually encouraged to collaborate and work on the same projects together.
GMAT or GRE scores aren’t needed for the application, but a minimum of 7 years of relevant work experience is required. However, keep in mind that the acceptance rate for this program is fairly low, reaching as low as 45% in recent years.
Average Starting Salary: $150,505
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.31
Acceptance Rate: 46%
Work Experience: 6.6 years
Total Tuition and Fees: $59,807
Average GMAT Score: 682
4. University of Pittsburgh (Katz)
The University of Pittsburgh (Katz) is an attractive option for students that are unable to submit a GRE or GMAT score in the application process. While you can still submit one of these scores when enrolling in the program, it’s not mandatory.
The school holds a 92.4% acceptance rate, and you need at least 2 letters of recommendation to apply.
This part-time MBA program lets you choose between fully online and hybrid learning models, so you can customize it based on your schedule and commitments. The academic rigor and adaptability of the program have given it a cemented position in the top rankings for online MBAs.
Average Starting Salary: $95,000
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.35
Acceptance Rate: 92.4%
Work Experience: 6 years
Total Tuition and Fees: $79,500
Average GMAT Score: 589
5. University of Washington (Foster)
The University of Washington (Foster) offers an online MBA program with less-strict application requirements. For example, you don’t need to submit GRE or GMAT scores, but students are often encouraged to provide test scores if their work experience doesn’t showcase their quantitative skills.
The program’s hybrid model enables working professionals to add to their knowledge and advance their careers without having to sacrifice their work-life balance. It’s flexible, but at the same time, students get to meet their peers and professors on campus.
The curriculum is the same as the full-time Foster MBA, so students that enroll in this program don’t really miss out on any foundational concepts or analytics.
The school’s acceptance rate is 80%. You also need 3 letters of recommendation to enroll in this program.
Average Starting Salary: $130,407
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.45
Acceptance Rate: 80%
Work Experience: 3 years
Total Tuition and Fees: $78,000
Average GMAT Score: 615
6. University of Massachusetts–Amherst (Isenberg)
The University of Massachusetts’ online MBA program offers the right balance between academic rigor and flexibility. This makes it suitable for professionals with full-time jobs.
Unlike other online programs where technical difficulties arise daily, the interface in this program is quite intuitive and reliable. In addition, the professors are comfortable teaching students online, and their professional backgrounds allow them to use real-life scenarios in their classes.
The program’s community is very active, and students get to have discussions with each other and the faculty.
The acceptance rate in this MBA program is 92%, but you need to submit GRE or GMAT scores to be considered in the application process.
Average Starting Salary: $90,573
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.40
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Work Experience: 12 years
Total Tuition and Fees: $35,983
Average GMAT Score: 640
7. University of Arizona (Eller)
The University of Arizona’s MBA programs allows students to select the number of courses they take at any given time. It also offers 6 starts every year, making it an excellent choice for working professionals looking for a flexible online MBA program.
There’s a total of 6 concentrations, including entrepreneurship, health care, finance, management and organizations, management information systems, and marketing. You can choose the concentration you think would benefit your career the most.
The program provides 24/7 library services, as well as daily communication with staff and students. As for the curriculum, it’s designed for mid-career professionals who have 8-10 years of work experience up their sleeves.
Average Starting Salary: $88,501
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.45
Acceptance Rate: 86%
Work Experience: 9.3 years
Total Tuition and Fees: $51,525
Average GMAT Score: 605
8. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida’s asynchronous MBA program is pretty straightforward to customize around your schedule. You can submit tasks in your free time, making it easier for you to focus on other commitments like your full-time job and household.
If you don’t have much experience learning remotely, the program provides a walkthrough guide at the beginning that shows you how to take an online class.
Further, the professors tailor different paths for each student based on their background, work position and circumstances, and academic strengths and weaknesses.
Plus, there are various tools on the program’s platform that make it easier to communicate with your peers and establish strong professional relationships.
Average Starting Salary: $105,057
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.40
Acceptance Rate: 53%
Work Experience: 5.2 years
Total Tuition and Fees: $24,750
Average GMAT Score: 513
9. Arizona State University - W. P. Carey School of Business
The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University offers a reputable online MBA program for working professionals with high-quality faculty and curriculum, in addition to flexible schedules.
There are optional concentrations that you can pick from depending on your professional goals. These encompass finance, marketing, international business, and supply chain management.
The program is professionally structured to maximize the effectiveness of course delivery thanks to the top-tier tools, accessibility, and feedback system.
The faculty is well-acquainted with remote learning environments, and they’re always willing to support their students.
The acceptance rate for this program is 59%, and you need a minimum of 6 years of work experience to be considered for enrollment.
Average Starting Salary: $103,771
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.34
Acceptance Rate: 59%
Work Experience: 6 years
Total Tuition and Fees: $61,545
Average GMAT Score: 680
10. Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business
This part-time online MBA program from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University makes no compromises. Despite the fact that the school offers a full-time, on-campus MBA program, students have noted that the program receives the same level of support as the full-time program. Not to mention, the curriculum is almost identical.
The program is quite flexible as it combines online tuition with on-campus “Access Weekends” that are held every two months. These sessions give students the opportunity to have face-to-face discussions with their peers and professors.
The faculty is accessible, knowledgeable, and capable of delivering the course material without overcomplicating things.
You don’t need significant work experience for this post-graduate program since even fresh graduates can apply. However, the acceptance rate is lower than average, reaching 56% in recent years.
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.36
Work Experience: 0.5 years
Acceptance Rate: 56%
Total Tuition and Fees: $141,320
Average GMAT Score: 687
Average Starting Salary: $134,000
11. West Texas A&M University
The online MBA program from the College of Business at West Texas A&M University provides a high value for money with low tuition fees, comprehensive coursework, and experienced staff.
The program is flexible, and you can maintain a good work-life balance if you take 2 classes per semester, but you can push it to 3 classes per semester if your schedule allows for that.
Based on student reviews, professors and admins are very responsive to emails and questions, signaling that the program’s academic and technical support is robust.
The West Texas A&M MBA program is accredited by AACSB, and the acceptance rate is 84%. You need 3 years of relevant work experience to get the most out of this program.
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.45
Work Experience: 3 years
Acceptance Rate: 84%
Total Tuition and Fees: $20,000
Average GMAT Score: 550
Average Starting Salary: $72,500
12. Syracuse University (Whitman)
The AACSB-accredited post-graduate MBA program from Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University provides students with a robust academic and professional foundation, flexible schedules, and excellent networking opportunities.
The curriculum covers critical business problems and provides modern solutions and best practices.
The program gives you multiple days and hours to choose from depending on your schedule so that your job and personal time aren’t affected. In addition, there are synchronous and asynchronous classes, striking the perfect balance between flexibility and communication with peers and faculty.
The school’s acceptance rate is pretty high, reaching 82%, so you have a good chance of getting accepted when you apply. But keep in mind that this program is intended for professionals with around 10 years of relevant work experience.
Average Undergrad GPA: 3.05
Work Experience: 10 years
Acceptance Rate: 82%
Total Tuition and Fees: $93,636
Average GMAT Score: 635
Average Starting Salary: $73,092
How to Choose the Best Online MBA Program for Your Professional Goals
These are some of the factors that you need to take into consideration when comparing different online MBA programs:
Accreditation is the first thing you need to check when deciding on an online MBA program. Accredited MBA programs are more valuable and will definitely add more to your professional skills and knowledge than non-accredited programs.
You can find out if the school offering the MBA program is accredited or not using accreditation platforms like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Accreditation bodies evaluate the program’s services, students, teaching, and faculty, then benchmark them against their standards.
When you pursue an online MBA program, you ultimately want to benefit from it in your professional life. Of course, you can’t tell for sure if an online MBA program would be enough for you to get your dream job, but you can at least gauge the program’s worthiness by talking to previous students.
Online MBA degree programs have varying tuition fees, but none of them are considered “cheap”. So, it’s best to compare multiple MBA programs and decide whether a particular program is worth the extra money.
Of course, you need to put your budget in the equation here. If you can barely afford a particular online MBA program, it’d be best to look for cheaper alternatives.
You might also consider checking out online MBA schools that offer financial aid. Scholarships, loans, and fellowships are some ways to cover the tuition fees.
If you’re currently employed, you can ask your HR department if the company offers any form of tuition reimbursement for particular MBA programs.
Academic support is crucial for you to be able to pass your courses and score a high GPA. However, while it’s easy to get academic support on campus, it’s a bit tricky when the MBA program is entirely online.
Good online MBA programs give students access to faculty contact details for academic and technical support.
Coursework and Curriculum
Nevertheless, if the online MBA program is accredited, you probably needn’t worry about the coursework. Still, it helps to check it thoroughly, especially if you want to learn specific topics for your job. In fact, many online MBA programs offer concentrations that let each student craft their own learning path. These include Advanced AI, supply chain management, and entrepreneurship.
Despite having many advantages, online MBA programs may make you feel isolated since they lack the engaging feel of in-person classrooms. Nevertheless, many online MBA programs compensate for that by integrating an online learning community into the program to help students discuss the curriculum and share their thoughts.
So, before enrolling in an online MBA program, make sure that the community is active and insightful.
Top Ranked Online MBA Programs
Rankings are a useful way to see the top global online MBA programs. There are numerous sources for comparison, including the Financial Times Global MBA ranking and Forbes’s best business schools ranking. However, these global tables tend to focus on the most elite and expensive schools. If you’re considering a more affordable online MBA program, be prepared to look elsewhere.
Online MBA reviews
One of the best ways to decide whether a particular online MBA program is worth it is to talk to current or previous students. They’ll mostly give you an honest opinion on the program. Check as many reviews as you can since each student’s experience is unique and won’t give you the full picture.
Based on the reviews, you can form your perspective about the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Online MBA Worth It in the USA?
Yes, an online MBA is undoubtedly worth it in the USA. Similar to on-campus MBA programs, online MBA programs provide more or less the same curriculum. This can help you expand your job opportunities, get promoted, or increase your current salary.
Does Stanford Offer Online MBA?
No. As of April 2022, Stanford University’s MBA program is limited to on-campus tuition only.
Can You Complete an MBA in 1 Year?
Yes, it’s possible to complete an MBA in 1 year. While it requires more effort from your side, you can graduate from an online MBA program in less than 1 year. Nevertheless, not all universities offer such fast-paced programs, but they’re increasing in popularity to meet the demand of busy professionals that need to earn their degrees in a short time.
Is It Worth Getting an MBA at 50?
Yes, it’s definitely worth it to get an MBA at 50. By acquiring an MBA degree, you’ll increase your chances of getting promoted to managerial positions, either at your current company or a new one.
However, the earlier you get your MBA degree, the higher the return on tuition investment will be.
Summary: The top global online MBA programs
Alright, so that was an in-depth overview of the top online MBA programs you can enroll in.
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” online MBA program that will suit most students. Check the requirements, curriculum, and cost, then decide whether this school is the right one for you or you should just look elsewhere.
MBAs are valuable, even if you don’t get yours from a prestigious school. It’s all about your individual skills and how you can apply the knowledge you’ve gained in your professional life.
About the Author
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Joe has more than 10 years of marketing experience, working within the public sector, client-side, and agency side.
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