Degree Programs & Majors Online MBA

November 17, 2020 • 6 Min Read

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Students seeking a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree are typically mature and focused. They’ll need to navigate many business degree options, identify core curriculum and choose specializations that map to their career goals. To streamline the process, the following guide sheds light on the major types of MBA degrees, specializations and career opportunities.

Top 10 Degree Programs & Majors Online MBA

#1 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA
#2 University of Denver Denver, CO
#3 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
#4 Boston University Boston, MA
#5 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
#6 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
#7 New York University New York City, NY
#8 Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ
#9 University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, HI
#10 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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The wide variety of fields that hire MBA graduates is matched by the myriad of business administration programs available in full-time, part-time, executive and online formats. The selection of accredited business schools, colleges and universities offering MBA programs allows students to enroll in a program that accommodates work, family and financial obligations. Below are the main options:

  • Full-time MBAs: These typically take two years to complete, or less in accelerated degree programs.
  • Part-time MBAs: These programs allow busy students to complete their online MBA degree in three or more years.
  • Executive MBAs: These fast-paced programs enable senior managers to expand their skills and credentials to rise to executive roles. They typically last for one year or less.
  • Online MBAs: Distance learning MBAs usually take two years to complete, or a year if offered in an accelerated format. Students set the pace for completion.


Because of their flexible schedules and 24/7 access, online MBA degree programs have risen in popularity among working professionals and students who cannot travel to a campus program. Distance learning programs typically offer fine-tuned curriculum on business theory and leadership that can be immediately utilized in the workplace. Some of the most popular MBA specializations include health care, marketing, finance, accounting, project management, entrepreneurship and human resources.

Online MBA schools provide students with full-time, part-time and executive study options. Distance learners have round-the-clock access to courses and research libraries. Class lectures may be delivered via streaming multimedia, Skype, conference calls, Adobe Connect or other communication tools. Depending on the program, online students also may use digital chat rooms, threaded emails and instant messaging to work with instructors and peers.

Best Online MBA Programs in 2017

OUR METHODOLOGY To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:
  • Accredited at the institutional level
  • Specialized accreditation from The Association to Advance
  • Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Private nonprofit or public school
  • Minimum of 1 online MBA program
Schools were then scored on factors such as:
  • Average GMAT score of accepted students
  • Cost & Financial Aid
  • Number and variety of online program offerings
  • Student-teacher ratios
  • Graduation rates
  • Placement and support services offered
  • Academic/Career counseling services
  • Employment services
  • Loan default rates
These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.

Students who pursue a master's in business administration already hold a bachelor's degree and often are working in a professional business setting. The graduate degree affords them more responsibility in their current postion and also sets them up for promotion to the management level. Earning that degree online allows them to continue working full time without having to spend a lot of time commuting to class or missing out on family time. We looked at the data to find the best schools for an MBA in 2017 to help aspiring MBA grads as they look for a good fit for their education.

  1. Lehigh University

    Bethlehem, PA

    Lehigh University is home to the College of Business and Economics, offering programs designed to blend practical, hands-on business experience with rigorous classroom theory. The MBA curriculum offers graduate students the choice of programs including its 12-month, full time 1-MBA degree, a Flex MBA, a joint interdisciplinary MBA/Engineering focus or MBA/Educational Leadership program. The 1-MBA is only offered on Lehigh's Bethlehem campus. The Flex MBA is offered either on campus or wholly online. Interdisciplinary Lehigh University College of Business and Economics MBA programs are held in conjunction with the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and in the College of Education.

  2. University of Denver

    Denver, CO

    The University of Denver graduate business administration degree programs are offered at the Daniels College of Business. The Denver MBA is structured around core business challenges starting with the creation of a student enterprise, non-profit leadership service, corporate-level consulting skills, and global cross-cultural initiatives. The Daniels College of Business maintains workplace and research relationships through the Daniels Corporate Partners Program, offering students exposure and access to opportunities to further their careers. Electives allow students to focus in areas including accounting, business analytics, marketing, finance, and real estate. Courses serve as learning labs where students apply academics, soft skills and technical savvy in the solving of real-world problems.

  3. Syracuse University

    Syracuse, NY

    At Syracuse University, students can pursue an online MBA that doesn't interfere with work or family commitments. The Martin J. Whitman School of Management Master of Business Administration (MBA) requires 54 credits for graduation, comprised of 36 core business units, 15 units in specializations, and three credits of practical experience. Specialties include studies in accounting, business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing management and supply-chain leadership. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and at least one year of full-time professional experience. Prospective students must submit all transcripts and graduate (GRE/GMAT) test scores, letters of recommendation, and undertake an application interview.

  4. Boston University

    Boston, MA

    Boston University's more than 33,000 students hail from around the globe and participate in 250 fields of research and academic study. Full-time or part-time students entering Boston University's 64-credit MBA program must declare a Master of Business specialization in general management, health sector management, or public/nonprofit management. The specialization programs for the MBA degree require completion of 34 credits in core business studies along with specialty studies, electives and a business sector internship. MBA students may also select concentrations in energy/environmental sustainability, operations/technology management, finance, leadership/organizational transformation, entrepreneurship, international management, marketing, or strategy/innovation.

  5. Texas A & M University-College Station

    College Station, TX

    Texas A & M University's College of Business program leading to an MBA requires from 30-48 hours for completion, depending on specialization. The degree curriculum focuses on theoretical and practical solutions to business problems with a concentration of studies in economic, environmental, and ethical issues. Core studies are in business research, financial management, economics, and organizational behavior. Some courses are available online. Up to 6 prerequisite courses may be waived for students who have completed undergraduate work in quantitative analysis for managers, operations and organizations, accounting for managers, marketing environment, economics/finance for economics for decision makers.

  6. Harvard University

    Cambridge, MA

    At Harvard University, graduate students in the business school combine courses that include international immersions, field-based learning opportunities, and practical case studies. The MBA offers a selection of 120 courses in ten subject areas. In their first year of the MBA program, incoming students complete core curriculum together, forging an academic community and lifelong business networks. For the second year, students take up to ten courses to complete their degree. An estimated two thirds of students at Harvard Business School receive financial assistance in the form of fellowships and loans.

  7. New York University

    New York City, NY

    The Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University offers graduate students a choice of a full-time MBA degree program, an executive MBA, and part-time MBA degrees through Manhattan and Westchester campuses. Its TRIUM Global Executive MBA is offered to senior executives or business owners through alliances with the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the HEC Paris School of Management. Prior to beginning coursework in the traditional MBA, students attend a two-week LAUNCH summer program to explore the challenges facing business leaders. An internship is required between the first and second years of the program.

  8. Arizona State University-Tempe

    Tempe, AZ

    Arizona State University-Tempe, one of six campuses in the university, is home to 51,869 students. The W. P. Carey Online Program enables graduate students to complete their MBA from any location. Students enroll in one core MBA course at a time, completing it in a five-week period before enrolling in additional studies. Case-based projects encourage team-building and collaborative skills between the students. Core classes are comprised of studies in financial accounting, managerial accounting, statistics for managers, managerial economics, managerial finance, organization theory, strategic management, marketing management, operations and supply management. Programs start in August and January.

  9. University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Honolulu, HI

    Founded in 1949, the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Shidler College of Business prepares graduates for entrepreneurship or leading business initiatives in the global economy. More than 390 graduate students enrolled in the business college in 2016. The Shidler Global MBA can be pursued through 21-month, 24-month, or 36-month options tailored to student's needs. Professionals can attend the Executive MBA, which takes 22-months for completion. The 48-unit Distance Learning Executive MBA program is an online hybrid degree that includes one campus visit every six weeks and can be completed in 22 months.

  10. Drexel University

    Philadelphia, PA

    Drexel University's accelerated online MBA degree program can be completed in 24-months on a part-time basis. For students who need more time with work and family, the LeBow College of Business offers a 42-month, part-time MBA online option. Curriculum includes concentrated specializations in business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare, and marketing. Four-day campus residencies are required in the program and international residencies are optional. The course sequence in the 51-credit program is concluded with a capstone course in strategic management. Program applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited four-year college or university.



An online master’s of business administration consists of 45 to 60 credits, though some programs allow students to waive certain courses based on prior educational background or work experience.

Designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to analyze business trends and develop effective business strategies, an online MBA degree covers coursework in accounting, economics, ethics, marketing, strategic management, data analysis, financial reporting and leadership. Students can also specialize in a specific area, such as Internet marketing, health administration, financial management, international business or entrepreneurship. Most programs culminate in a capstone or thesis project.

Much of the coursework can be completed online, but some schools may require a certain number of in-person meetings for collaborative projects. Many online MBA programs are offered as a cohort, so students have the benefit of learning alongside the same group of peers from beginning to end. Online students communicate regularly with peers and instructors via Skype, email and live chat, ensuring that the online MBA degree matches the rigorous standards of the traditional on-campus program.




Mode: Online

What has been the biggest benefit of distance learning at your college? The biggest benefit of distance learning would be the ease of communication and scheduling. Last semester I was working full-time and attending school full-time, so finding time to attend class was quite a challenge. Being able to submit assignments within larger time frames and communicating to other students within my class at any time was of great value.
What role has technology played in your online program and courses? Since most of the programs are online, we use several different technologies to assist in our learning experience. The most prominent of these would be Blackboard. It’s a central location for all schedules, assignments, emails and grades. Another would be ProctorU. This is a test proctoring site that uses live proctors to enforce honest testing and eliminates unfair advantages that may come into play for online settings.
How does your online program help prepare you for a career after graduation? I truly feel that online programs simulate real-life experiences. Teachers and peers are always available to help just as they would be in the classroom, but the individual must take initiative to seek assistance. Email and conference calls are tools that are used heavily in online learning as well as in the work force. Most of the programs require a lot of motivation on the individual’s part to keep up with the work, without having an instructor or peers to remind them. I think these are values that are important to grasp but are difficult to learn.


MBA coursework varies by degree program, school and business specialization. Students should evaluate prospective schools with an eye toward their career objectives. Academic and career planning advisers can aid in the search for the appropriate school and degree. Here is a sampling of the kinds of courses offered in each of the online MBA degree specializations:

EntrepreneurshipFocuses on the factors of launching a successful business, including tax laws, venture capital, business plans, human resources and marketing.
Supply Chain ManagementExplores the inter-connectedness of strategic project planning, business analysis, change management and logistics.
Accounting for ManagersReviews the principles of auditing and assessment, projections, taxation and reporting.
Technology ManagementProvides an understanding the information backbone and systems that support enterprise-level transactions, with an emphasis on data security.


After completing their MBA, managers seeking career advancement may return to school to prepare for certification exams. Voluntary certifications, particularly in project management, highlight specialized skills in a specific business niche. Requirements vary by each certifying organization, and may include extensive management experience in addition to the completion of a graduate degree. Below are three popular management certifications:

There are other professional certifications for MBA holders to explore, including:

  • Certified Benefits Professional (CBP)
  • Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
  • Certified Compensation Professional (CCP)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Certified Treasury Professional (CTP)
  • Certified MBA (CMBA)
  • Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)
  • Financial Risk Manager (FRM)
  • Certified Marketing Executive (CME)
  • Global Remuneration Professional (GRP)
  • Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager (CRCM)


The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree has become a preferred college credential among recruiters for management roles. Management and leadership professionals with MBA degrees hold key positions in corporate, non-profit and governmental organizations. Some take mid-management roles within large organizations, directing departments in human resources, finance, information technology, marketing communications, supply chain, change management and planning.

The wide variety of fields that hire MBA graduates is matched by the multiplicity of business administration programs available in full-time, part-time, executive and online formats. The selection of accredited business schools, colleges and universities offering MBA programs allows students to enroll in a program that seamlessly plugs into the hectic realities of working lives, family commitments and checkbooks. Below are some solid career options for those who have earned a degree from an online MBA school:


Compensation/Benefits Managers Compensation/Benefits Managers Compensation and benefits managers oversee a company's benefits policies and advise on compensation rates. They are charged with either designing new policies or modifying existing ones so that the company remains up-to-date and compliant with legal requirements, and also competitive with the rest of the business world. These managers also fulfill written requirements requested by the government, for example, reports on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
  • Median Salary: $95,250
  • Median Hourly: $45.79
  • Est. Growth: 3.1%
  • No. Employed: 19,960
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
Financial Managers Financial Managers A financial manager supervises the financial matters of an organization and is in charge of maintaining a company's financial well-being, or at least sustainability. Their duties include producing financial reports, choosing investment plans, and developing strategies and plans for the long-term success of an organization or company. Though they are found in many industries, financial managers play very significant roles in banking and insurance.
  • Median Salary: $109,740
  • Median Hourly: $52.76
  • Est. Growth: 8.9%
  • No. Employed: 484,910
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
General/Operations Managers General/Operations Managers General and operations managers are responsible for activities related to making products, providing services, and the marketing of either (or both). They work directly with pricing, distribution, production, and sales. These managers use financial and sales statistics to maximize productivity and implement cost reductions. Their daily tasks involve managing a team or staff, overseeing work schedules, delegating tasks, and sometimes hiring new employees.
  • Median Salary: $95,440
  • Median Hourly: $45.88
  • Est. Growth: 12.4%
  • No. Employed: 1,899,460
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
Human Resources Managers Human Resources Managers Human resources managers are in charge of an organization's administrative functions. In general, HR managers act as the intermediary between management and staff and ensure that an organization utilizes and retains employee talent. Most people know them for their role in recruiting, interviewing, and advising new and existing employees; but they also have other important responsibilities. For instance, they advise executives and policy-makers, handle the filing of employee complaints and other staffing issues, and take care of certain tasks related to benefits and compensation.
  • Median Salary: $99,720
  • Median Hourly: $47.94
  • Est. Growth: 13.2%
  • No. Employed: 98,020
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
Industrial Production Managers Industrial Production Managers Similar to general managers, industrial production managers oversee the operations of industrial and manufacturing plants. Large-scale factories have different needs and processes than smaller plants and, therefore, need a specialized manager. Industrial production managers plan, coordinate, and direct the activities involved in mass-producing goods, from automobiles to paper products.
  • Median Salary: $89,190
  • Median Hourly: $42.88
  • Est. Growth: -2.4%
  • No. Employed: 160,550
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
Management Analysts Management Analysts Also known as management consultants, management analysts review an organization's structure, policies, and operations, then develop methods for improving efficiency. Management analysts can be called upon to increase a company's profits by pinpointing areas to reduce costs or optimize time usage. These consultants often handle more than one client, and many works independently. Earning the designation of Certified Management Consultant (CMC) is recommended.
  • Median Salary: $78,600
  • Median Hourly: $37.79
  • Est. Growth: 18.6%
  • No. Employed: 540,440
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
Marketing Managers Marketing Managers Marketing managers are responsible for all of an organization's marketing and promotion strategies with the goal of maximizing profits, market share, and customer satisfaction. They develop and oversee company marketing policies and programs, analyzing market trends, determining demand for the product or service, monitoring competitor activity, identifying potential customers, and creating and implementing pricing strategies. Marketing managers also work closely with advertising and promotion managers.
  • Median Salary: $119,480
  • Median Hourly: $57.44
  • Est. Growth: 12.7%
  • No. Employed: 171,430
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
Public Relations/Fundraising Managers Public Relations/Fundraising Managers Public relations and fundraising managers both work with a client's or an organization's public image; however, unless the position is combined, their individual duties are quite different. The sole responsibility of a public relations manager is to optimize a client's public image, using various strategies, depending on specific needs and situations. A fundraising manager, on the other hand, is responsible for developing and overseeing campaigns to bring in donations and other funding sources.
  • Median Salary: $95,450
  • Median Hourly: $45.89
  • Est. Growth: 12.9%
  • No. Employed 53,520
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
Purchasing Managers Purchasing Managers The role of the purchasing manager is to coordinate the purchasing of all materials, products, and services needed by the organization. Their main duties include managing personnel involved in the buying, selling, and distribution of all materials, as well as representing the organization when negotiating with suppliers. Purchasing managers also develop purchasing strategies, which requires a knowledge of the market and delivery systems, not to mention a thorough understanding of the manufacturing process.
  • Median Salary: $100,170
  • Median Hourly: $48.16
  • Est. Growth: 2.1%
  • No. Employed: 69,400
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's
Sales Managers Sales Managers The main role of the sales manager is to direct and oversee the sales staff. This involves setting quotas and territories for team members and regulating the price schedules and discount rates. Additional duties include training new employees, conducting performance evaluations, reviewing sales statistics and targets, approving budget expenditures, and occasionally handling customer complaints. A sales manager may also advise decision-makers on sales strategies and customer relations.
  • Median Salary: $105,260
  • Median Hourly: $50.6
  • Est. Growth: 8.3%
  • No. Employed 344,730
  • Minimum Education: Bachelor's

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See All Posts is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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