Welcome to our ranking of the best value online MBA programs.
Business is far and away the most popular college major among online learners, both graduate and undergraduate, with the most popular business majors being accounting, entrepreneurship, marketing, statistics and international business. In fact, an Aslanian Market Research Report found that nearly a third of online college students (28%) are enrolled in a business or business-related program.
But why? At the undergraduate level, many students may be attracted to the career flexibility and salary potential that a degree in business portends. But once they graduate, these fledgling professionals often find that the competition is fiercer than they expected. To make themselves more attractive to employers, many ambitious individuals will look to an advanced degree program. And despite disagreements over the true value of an MBA (will it really distinguish you if everyone has one, or in fact does this make earning the degree all the more necessary?) 65% of MBA applicants report that their primary goal is to enhance their job opportunities (according to a report by the Graduate Management Admissions Council).
The popularity of the MBA degree has led to a surge in online program options as schools devise new ways to make themselves accessible to more students. But as more choices come available, it grows more difficult to identify the programs that are genuinely worth the investment. Interestingly, although 58% of the online MBA students that Aslanian surveyed said that degree accreditation was very important to them, half didn’t know if their degree was or not!
Your choices on education are some of the most important – and costliest – ones you will make in your life. Doing your research beforehand is crucial, but also time consuming. Our best 50 ranking is your ticket to a head start; from this combination of top tier and low cost schools, you can make an informed decision and set yourself up for success down the road.
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
With a great pedigree, eight industry-specific specializations, and one of the highest ROI's based on an early graduate salary of $64,000 a year (as reported by PayScale.com), the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs rightly earns our top ranking of online MBA programs in the US. This program is particularly advantageous for professionals with substantial management experience or business education, who can submit their credentials to waive GRE/GMAT requirements for admission. For those who weren't savvy to online education when the program was introduced in 1996, it's not too late to earn a world-class business degree at a wholesale price.
Truly ambitious business people are not satisfied with a slice; they want the whole pie. And for the professional with his or her eyes on the prize, a degree in global business is the only way to gain access to the highest echelons of the corporate infrastructure. With an Online Global MBA from the University of Houston-Victoria, students can earn a life-changing degree for just $10,000 a year without ever stepping foot inside a classroom. This program combines integrated approaches in accounting, economics, management, and strategy with a global focus to help students learn what they need to earn.
The University of Wisconsin Consortium harnesses the resources of four influential state colleges (Eau Clair, Oshkosh, Parkside, and La Crosse) to provide the most comprehensive online business program in the state. Available in the most remote corners of the region, and even the country (students hail from 37 U.S. states), the UW Consortium's online MBA is the perfect investment for any professional looking to climb the corporate ladder. In just two to three years after graduation, the average UW online MBA graduate is earning nearly $80,000, and nearly half reported to PayScale.com that their new career path is just as important to them as the money.
If you're a working professional earning an advanced degree at the same time, you are already multitasking. Arizona State University-Tempe's online MBA program is designed to deliver maximum curricular effectiveness with accelerated single-course class modules that ensure you won't have to juggle a handful of different subjects while you're still learning. And with a top 5 online business school ranking, you can be sure that the courses in W.P. Carey Business School's Departments of Finance, International Business, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management are all taught by experts who have been influential in their respective fields.
The Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University has been offering team-based, experiential business education in a remote format since 1999, making it one of the oldest and most effective online graduate schools for business in the country. Full and part-time options are available, meaning students are able to earn the best online MBA in the state while maintaining their current job hours and other obligations. But they won't need to keep those hours for long; nearly half of OSU graduates report that their new degree has helped them find more meaningful work in their field.
Since 1993, Auburn University has been bringing the best online MBA programs to students all over the country with cutting edge distance learning technology. Today, Auburn utilizes HD streaming technology to combine all the virtues and benefits of in-class education with the simplicity of distance learning through its online MBA program. Most online programs, especially in business, are available exclusively through text downloads and webinars, but Auburn is different. Auburn's Raymond J. Harbert College of Business translates all its traditional in-class lectures and courses into engaging online modules. Students enjoy both live and asynchronous streams to eliminate the disparity between delivery methods. After graduation they will also enjoy top salaries (nearly $63,000 a year on average) within just a few years.
Like rowing or synchronized swimming, business is a coordinated venture where everyone has to pull his or her own weight. At Kennesaw State University's Cole College of Business, even the Online WebMBA coursework in business is organized around cohort systems, where classmates work together to solve problems and build projects through collective innovation and effort. During this accelerated, 20-month program, cohorts develop actionable skills in core competencies in business ranging from finance and accounting to leadership and project management. This gives Kennesaw graduates a competitive advantage over those from peer institutions who are not experienced team builders or delegators, despite the similarity in online business school rankings.
Combining advanced coursework in accounting, economics, marketing, quantitative analysis, and management information systems, Southern Arkansas University's Online MBA is a comprehensive guide to modern organizational management. Students also gain insight into "critical perspectives" on ethical, global, environmental, political and legal issues that are of paramount concern to businesses of every size. The flexibility of the degree will allow you to apply for executive and leadership positions in all fields, but specializations in supply chain and agricultural management make it particularly useful for professionals looking to take a step forward in these competitive industries. The fact that one of the best online MBAs is available remotely for under $10,000 a year is just icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, many people only find out after college graduation that their major doesn't equip them to fulfill their full earning potential. The good news is that an affordable online MBA from Sam Houston State University is available to all college graduates, regardless of their academic background. With dynamic, interactive training in business, finance, and management essentials, this program can dramatically increase students' viability in the workforce—even complementing other, more specialized degrees. With rigorous coursework and expert faculty, this is also one of the best online MBA programs for students who are looking to enter academia and earn a doctorate in business as well.
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst's Isenberg School of Management is among the state's top resources for business and leadership education. Thanks to a distance learning program the school launched in 2001, Isenberg now has students from all 50 states and many other international locations, making it one of the best online MBA programs in the country. Students in this flexible program can take advantage of UMass Amherst's renowned Sports Management curriculum right from their own home, or specialize in a number of other cutting-edge fields including Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Healthcare Administration.
You don't have to be an executive to be admitted to George Mason University's Online Executive MBA Program, but you're likely to become one after you graduate! This program is geared towards professionals aiming for leadership roles in three of the most high-stakes and influential career sectors: Global Business, Critical Infrastructure, and National Security. Regardless of which specialty you choose, you will benefit from comprehensive and systematic instruction in the decision-making capabilities that characterize executive roles across industries. And indeed, these particularly fast-paced industries demand particularly quick action from decision makers, which is good news for those attending GMU. Its MBA is available 100% online and takes a mere 20 months to complete, so you'll be diving headfirst into the action in no time.
Any businessperson worth their haircut knows to take a good deal before it's too late. But you don't need an MBA to see that $10,000 tuition for a degree that can earn you over $80,000 a year in the first five years after graduation is good business. University of Maryland-University College offers all this and more with its Online Master of Business Administration degree, easily one of the best online MBAs for the price. With seven seminars covering everything from global business and economics to innovation and organizational management, UMUC thoroughly prepares students for the next promising opportunity that comes their way.
Widely recognized as a leader in digital education, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell has long been home to one of the best online MBA programs in the country. Available through the university's Robert J. Manning School of Business, this program boasts one of the highest early salaries for online MBA graduates (over $70,000 a year), and has earned top rankings for value and quality from the likes ofThe Princeton Review, GetEducated.com, andU.S. News. The best part is that students can earn this valuable degree in as little at 30 credits from the convenience of work or home.
For the last 40 years, Colorado State University-Fort Collins has made it possible for working professionals and remote residents to earn advanced degrees on their own time through innovative distance learning programs. So it's no coincidence that CSU is now offering one of the best online MBAs in the state, ranked first among part-time online graduate business programs in Colorado byU.S. News. This flexible program features the same curriculum and faculty as CSU's on-campus degrees, while giving all students the same chance to earn more ($65K average early salary according to PayScale.com) at better jobs (63% of grads report finding meaningful employment).
Believe it or not, North Carolina State University at Raleigh earned the same online business school ranking fromU.S. News: 15th in the nation. This score is the product of unparalleled flexibility and tangible results from a progressive, young program. NCSU's online MBA is tailored to suit working professionals in every stage of their career and shown to earn graduates an average of nearly $63,000 annually in the first five years after graduation. And with 100%-coursework available in both accelerated and "flexible" formats, you'll have the freedom to charge through the program in as little as 21 months or take as many as six years if you need extra time.
Stetson University offers a unique joint degree program that combines resources from the nationally ranked Stetson Business School with the University of Florida's competitive Master of Pharmacy Program. Pharmacy students who have completed a prescribed number of courses at UF are eligible to simultaneously enroll in one of the best online MBA programs in the state to double the impact of their degree. Since these students can use six hours of elective credits from each degree towards the other, this opportunity enables them to earn both in record time with a net reduction of 12 credits by graduation.
Marist College is another faction of the old guard of online business degree programs, combining time-honored expertise with unparalleled affordability and convenience. Since its introduction in 1998, this program has continuously offered one of the best online MBAs you can find, meeting the evolving needs of working professionals seeking management opportunities. From Ethical Leadership and Financial Management to Healthcare Administration, Marist offers students a breadth of tactical knowledge and skills that are as salient today as they were nearly 20 years ago.
Online degree programs are generally considered subordinate to on-campus programs—a compromise of quality for convenience. At the University of North Texas, it's actually the other way around; in fact, online MBA students get to choose and register for classesbeforetheir on-campus counterparts, giving them greater flexibility and opportunity to graduate more quickly. And out of the four degrees available online—Marketing, Finance, Strategic Management, and Organizational Behavior—the latter two are also available in an accelerated format. Students in these programs can take each class in abbreviated 8-week sessions to take more advantage of their education in less time.
An advanced business degree from the University of Colorado Denver hands students the reins to their career with flexible coursework in several targeted areas of management. Students who elect to complete their degree completely online have the advantage of "attending" class when and where they like, while remaining eligible for a range of select specializations in Finance, Enterprise Technology Management, Information Systems, and more. As a result of this level of control and independence, a reported 61% of online MBA graduates of Denver's business school find meaningful career opportunities.
For many of the schools, an MBA is a one-size-fits-all degree that educates students in the fundamentals of management in the modern business environment. At Lamar University, students not only acquire these underlying principles, but also learn how to apply them in their specific field. Lamar's online business school offers guidance in the intimate practices of four distinct arenas of management: Criminal Justice Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, Healthcare Administration, and Organizational Management. These fields stand among the fastest growing, high-demand sectors of industry today and seek business graduates with tangible skills that can be applied directly to the work.
Globalism is the future of business. With an online MBA with a concentration in International Business from Texas A & M International University, you can gain insights into the financial, economic, and logistical influences that are shaping the global market from the top down. This multiculturally accessible program is one of the best online MBAs available in this country and beyond. Diversity in faculty, students, and curriculum equips both American and foreign students with insights and perspective into the global experience that's an asset when dealing with leaders and business people in different cultures.
Time is money—in business as well as higher education. At the University of Hartford's Barney School of Business, you can save both with an online MBA program that provides a flexible schedule for an affordable price. For just over $12,000 a year, MBA students at Hartford learn the ins and outs of business law, marketing, finance, and leadership management—even before they choose from one of six professional concentrations. Asynchronous coursework means students can organize their classes around their schedule instead of the other way around. The only required campus visit is for orientation, and the opportunities to network with faculty and other classmates make it well worth the trip.
Continuously accredited by the AACSB since 1953, Lehigh University's College of Business and Economics offers a variety of MBA programs geared towards professionals at different stages of the their careers. Lehigh's online "Flex" MBA program was established in 1993 to give industry leaders looking to break into management the flexibility they need to keep their heads above water. Available only to professionals with at least two years of work experience, this competitive program melds communication, leadership, and management skills with thorough investigations into finance and technology in an accelerated, 100%-online format.
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
At Louisiana State University, it only takes 18 months to earn your Master of Business Administration online. And with tuition running less than $11,000 a year, you could earn that all back after graduation in just one fiscal quarter at your new job. PayScale.com reports that graduates of LSU's online MBA program earn an average of $60,000 annually in the first five years after graduation in fields as diverse as information technology, human resources, finance, and healthcare. The best part? 68% of these graduates also report that this work not only pays better, it provides them with a greater sense of fulfillment in their career as well.
It may not be enough to make the top of our list, but Temple University's #1 placement onU.S. News' online business school rankings would get anyone's attention. Considering that the program was only launched in 2009, that's quite an achievement. Here's how they did it: outside of a week-long residency for Leadership Development, the entire curriculum is delivered in 4-week modules, so students can focus on just one course at a time and glean as much knowledge as possible during these concentrated sessions. The Fox School of Business also allows online MBA students to select a specialization in either Marketing or Human Resources Management, which will determine the requirements of their final capstone course: the Enterprise Consulting Practicum.
Since its introduction all the way back in 1999, the University of Florida's online MBA program has grown from one of the only options for working and itinerant students to one of the best. Ranked the best online MBA in the U.S. and third in the world byFinancial Times'online business school rankings, UF has certainly earned a reputation for turning out serious businessmen and women. To cherry pick just one of the metrics, the UF MBA had the largest salary increase (39%) out of all schools in the country.
Graduates of Old Dominion University's Online Master of Business Administration don't have to choose between a dream job and a dream paycheck. With 68% of graduates reporting that their degree helped them find meaningful and important work, Old Dominion University offers one of the best online MBA programs for students who are eager to follow their own path. One of the biggest selling points of this AASCB-accredited program is the PhD faculty who draw from years of experience in their fields to guarantee that every course works just as well in practice as it does in theory.
Business is about making yourself useful. Whether you are looking to start a business or join one, you need to be able to offer something that others want, but don't have. That's why Florida Gulf Coast University educates its online MBA students for careers in all kinds of businesses and organizations, from finance to non-profit work. Equipped with a comprehensive array of "analytical, technical, and behavioral tools," graduates of this online MBA program are fully prepared to become essential members of the workforce and take ownership of their career trajectory.
What would you do with $74,000? For graduates of Purdue University's Online MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management, that's not a hypothetical question. Students in this unique program are able to earn two advanced degrees in less than three years, which gives them a strategic advantage in today's harrowing job market. Agriculture may be a challenging business, but everyone has to eat, and with the right resources anyone can capitalize on this perennial industry. Combining Indiana University's Kelley School of Business with Purdue's College of Agriculture—both highly regarded institutions in their own right—appropriately earns this program a top placement in our online business school rankings.
In just four years, Ohio University has managed to build one of the best online MBA programs that money can buy. Ranked the 3rd best value MBA byFortune Magazine, Ohio's program is a no-frills degree. Students choose from four concentrations (Business Analytics, Executive Management, Finance, and Healthcare), all of which feature 100% online coursework - and none of which require a GMAT. This direct approach has been a resounding success, with 90% graduates reporting improved job performance, 80% saying the degree has advanced their career, and a full half finding career paths that they say are personally meaningful.
Every student working toward an online MBA at SUNY College at Oswego works with faculty to develop an individualized study plan that fits his or her schedule, and many incorporate both online and in-person classes at one of two SUNY locations in upstate New York. However, the program is also available entirely online for those who need it, and the curriculum is identical to the school's traditional MBA. After all, the programs share the same set of faculty! Several of the elective courses offer a close look at cutting edge business topics like Cyber Law, Futures and Options Markets, plus a Special Topics course that changes based on current trends and the professor's area of expertise.
WSU's program offers some of the best online MBA courses in international business through its International Field Study program, which provides students with the opportunity to visit China and South Korea for a week-long residency. Even if you're not interested in visiting that region of the world, one of WSU's concentrations - in Marketing, Finance, International Business, or Hospitality Business Management - might fit your interests better. All concentrations at WSU include courses in Strategic Leadership, Functional Business Tools, and a capstone project that requires students to create and present a business plan.
Theory and real-world applications are two sides of the same coin for Western Kentucky University's MBA. This inexpensive program is basic but comprehensive, offering courses in topics ranging from Applied Microeconomic Theory to Advanced Marketing. WKU has designed its coursework according to "adult learning theory," meaning students focus on just one course at a time and take two sequential courses per semester. Unlike the school's in-person full-time and professional MBAs, students are able to select up to three electives and skip classes for which they've received credit at other institutions.
The MBA at East Carolina University is highly customizable - students can configure their coursework based on their previous business and educational experience as well as the pace at which they want to take classes. Besides prerequisites, there are no sequences for courses, and ECU MBA students can take a semester or more off if they need a break. Online students can even attend some courses at the ECU campus. In addition, ECU offers a wide variety of interesting classes to fill the five elective spots required for graduation. Unique courses include Fraud Examination, Consumer Behavior, Business-to-Business Marketing, and Electronic Markets.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University's Native American Center for Student Success helped develop the school's unique MBA in Native American Leadership, which combines courses in Native American Tribal Sovereignty and other indigenous cultural topics with a core set of traditional MBA courses. Students at SOSU also have the option to add a concentration in Safety, which will allow them to explore topics like safety program management, legal liability, and worker's compensation. Whether you choose one of these unique degree programs or a more traditional track, as a SOSU MBA student you will appreciate the school's high average early career pay (an average of $70,700 a year within the first five years of graduation) and impressively low tuition.
Flexibility is a big part of what makes Fayetteville State University one of the best online MBA degrees; students can take up to six years to complete their degree, and because every lecture is recorded and archived online, it's easy to recreate the classroom experience at any time, day or night. The school also uses Adobe Connect to enable online students to jump into live lectures and interact with the professor and their classmates. With seven unique concentrations, Fayetteville students shouldn't have any trouble finding a specialization that appeals to them.
If going entirely online doesn't appeal to you, Shippensburg University's online MBA may be of interest - "Ship Online" MBA students can take up to three courses in-person at one of the school's many locations across Pennsylvania. The relative newness of SU's online MBA means the school is constantly refining its program, and students benefit from the high degree of flexibility that results. For example, the school is willing to work with students on certain requirements, like taking proctored courses in person. And although Shippensburg already offers a wide variety of electives - including courses in Negotiation, Ethics and Sustainability, and Procurement - it continues to add additional options based on student and faculty interests.
As the most affordable of the online MBA programs on this list, Southern University and A&M College's degree is a great choice for budget-conscious professionals interested in advancing their careers or starting their own businesses. The school has a robust Entrepreneurship concentration that includes elective courses in real-world subjects like Small Business Accounting and Taxation, Entrepreneurial Finance, and Strategic Sales Management, as well as a number of practical core courses in topics like quantitative analysis and leadership. SUMBA focuses on providing a practical, affordable education that keeps up with the rapid development of today's business environment.
Like many of the other programs in this online business school ranking, the University of South Dakota's online MBA focuses on providing higher-level education for students who want to advance their careers. But USD also has one of the best online MBA degrees for those who are interested in teaching business at a college or university. The school's online general MBA includes 51 hours of coursework, although students with undergraduate degrees in business will likely be eligible to transfer many or even most of the 18 hours of foundational classes.
Tennessee Technological University's online MBA is a general management degree — not an Executive or Professional program — so applicants must take either the GMAT or GRE to be considered for admission. Students pursuing their MBA at TTU can graduate in as little as one year and are able to choose from six concentrations. The program's real-world Finance track includes management of a live investment portfolio. TTU also recruits heavily from engineering fields, with engineering students making up the second-largest population in the program (after business undergraduates) and optional business prerequisite courses for students who focused more on engineering than business in undergraduate school.
Unlike most of the other MBA programs in this online business school ranking, Georgia Southern University requires online students to attend a face-to-face orientation in Atlanta, Georgia. All students who live in the United States are required to attend this two-day orientation, which GSU sees as a vital part of what makes its degree one of the best online MBA programs. And with over a decade and a half of experience running a distance-learning MBA, GSU is one of the longest running and well-established online MBA programs in the country.
Along with one of the best online MBA degrees in the country, Mississippi State University offers an interdisciplinary MBA in Project Management designed for students of engineering and other technical fields. This 36-hour degree program includes 27 hours of standard MBA courses along with nine hours of Industrial Engineering classes that relate specifically to project management. MSU's program is ideal for students with technical backgrounds who want to move into supervisory roles, but for those with more general experience, the school's regular MBA is also a great option.
What's an iMBA? That's what the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign labels its hip new online MBA program. Modeled after its long-esteemed on-campus program, this distance ed degree is "specialization-driven" and requires students to choose two elective specialization areas in addition to the four modules all students take. Taken together, these required modules (Strategic Leadership & Management, Managerial Economics and Business Analysis, Value Chain Management, and Financial Management), provide a multi-faceted education that covers every aspect of modern business. UIUP also offers an impressive suite of supplementary resources for online students, including an entire television program dedicated to the iMBA program.
The online MBA at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities incorporates an international business perspective with two separate international experience programs. Students can visit and tour multinational firms without taking a break from their coursework as part of a two-week Global Enrichment program, designed to fit in between academic semesters. Or for a more immersive study abroad experience, students can spend a few weeks at one of UM's partner universities in China, Belgium, or Costa Rica, among other countries. These options, along with the highest early career pay of any school on this list, makes this one of the best online MBA programs for students interested in gaining a global perspective.
Prospective students who already have an undergraduate degree in business or a similar field should look closely at Southern Utah University, where they can graduate from one of the best online MBA programs in just one year thanks to SUU's accelerated schedule. Of course, students have the option of obtaining their degree at a more relaxed pace as well! The school offers in-state tuition rates to online MBA students even if they reside outside of Utah, making SUU's program one of the most affordable and career-conscious options on this online business school ranking.
Working professionals who would rather avoid taking (or retaking) the GREs or GMAT will be relieved to find that the University of Scranton's online MBA program requires only three years of professional work experience for admission, with no requirements for graduate test scores. This decade-old program features unusually small classes sizes, with a maximum of 20 students per course, and a variety of specializations that include unique options like Operations Management. As an MBA student at Scranton, you'll reap the rewards of a program designed to combine real-world experience with cutting edge business theory - and once you graduate, you can be confident in your ability to apply the latest management strategies on the job.
The MBA program at Ohio Dominican University is one of the most affordable in this online business school ranking, making it a great choice for students looking for a Catholic school at which to obtain their online MBA. The program features a high level of interactivity and student collaboration, with regular video chats between professors and other students, a robust and active online discussion board system, and recorded lectures for students who aren't able to "attend" in real-time. ODU's concentration in Leadership is also worth a special shout out, as it provides training for real-world challenges with courses like Conflict Management & Negotiation Strategies for Leaders.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale's unique cohort-based online MBA program provides students with a highly collaborative experience that makes it one of the best online MBA programs in the country. Online students take a series of required and sequential courses in a "lock-step" program that creates an unusually consistent online "student body." Although Southern Illinois has primarily focused on enhancing the well-regarded General MBA program since it went online in 2008, SIU Carbondale students are now also able to obtain an online MBA in Agribusiness Economics.
Students who already have an undergraduate degree in business should look closely at Northwest Missouri State University's Online MBA. This two-year degree program is extremely cost-effective for those coming in with an accredited business degree, making it one of the most affordable in this online business school ranking. NMSU's Master of Business Administration in Agricultural Economics degree is run jointly by the business school and NMSU's Department of Agriculture - perfect for students who have an undergraduate degree in agricultural business. In fact, NMSU MBA graduates have gone on to work at major agricultural and farming organizations like the American Angus Association and Farmland Industries.
The wide variety of concentrations available to students in the University of Dallas' online MBA program must be partly responsible for the high proportion of graduates who consider their current careers meaningful and important to them - UD's 61% is among the highest in this online business school ranking. UD's 100% online program is designed for working professionals, and the school says 85% of its students work at full-time jobs while pursuing their MBA. Of particular interest is the school's cybersecurity track, which provides the perfect avenue for professionals looking to begin work or advance their careers in that cutting edge field.
Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools
At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs.
We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.
Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates
Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid
Admission and enrollment rates
Number of program options
Online Enrollment Score
Portion of learners taking at least one online course
You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.
How did we do it, and how are we sure that these 50 are the best MBA degrees that online education has to offer?
First, we used College Navigator to obtain a general list of public and private non-profit schools (for-profit institutions were not considered) that offer graduate business programs entirely online. From this selection of more than 300, we filtered the list by AACSB-accreditation status. That’s right; students say accreditation is important to them, and we listen – ALL of the online MBA degrees in our final ranking are fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Eliminating non-accredited programs cut down our list by about 50%. We then vetted the approximately 150 remaining degrees on four factors:
Year Established: The number of years an online program has been in operation is important for a few reasons. First, many employers admit they are more likely to hire someone with an online degree if they are familiar with the program and feel that is associated with an “established” school. Second, more years in operation suggests more time for administrators to improve and enhance curricula, and in this case, more continuous years (potentially) that the program has maintained AACSB accreditation. Because of its importance, this category counted for 35% of the overall score.
Early Career Pay: This data, available on PayScale.com, describes the average salary that graduates of different online MBA schools make within their first five years in the workforce. Although there are several factors that can affect salary, compensation earned has more to do with academic credentials in these first few years than later in a person’s professional career (when quality and quantity of work experience begin to matter more). This metric earned 25% of the total score.
High Meaning: PayScale.com also provides data on “high meaning,” which is defined as “the percentage of alumni who say their work makes the world a better place.” While this statistic is likely of little significance to the solely profit-motivated, we like to think that MBA students want a job that offers meaning and personal satisfaction in addition to financial security. We weighted this category 20% of the total score.
Annual Cost: What is the value of a great education if that education is not affordable? Always on the lookout for a great deal, we collected the annual costs for graduate-level tuition and fees for each school (the most recent academic year, as reported by College Navigator), giving high marks to schools with low rates. We valued public schools based on the average of their in-state and out-of-state rates. This category was worth 15% of the total score.
After weighting the categories and tallying the points, we assigned each school a final score out of 100. Although no school earned a perfect score (and given our metrics, it would be almost impossible to do so) we normalized the final results. In other words, we curved the scale so that the top scoring program earned 100/100, and the remaining scores were adjusted appropriately. You can see the end result – the final 50 – in our online MBA degree ranking below.
An MBA, or Master's in Business Administration, is that's popular in America today. It provides the necessary academic background to facilitate a wide range of careers in the development, establishment and...