The 2013 Smart Choice Best Online MBA Ranking builds on the popularity and success of our best online MBA of 2012 ranking, taking into account user feedback, present economic realities, and the introduction of several new online MBA programs to create the most current and useful online MBA ranking on the web. One of the few online MBA program rankings based on real data about online MBA schools, the Smart Choice Best Online MBA Ranking was designed to help you find a top online MBA program to fit your budget, schedule, and career goals.
- University of North Carolina – MBA@UNC
- Saint Leo University – Online MBA
- Liberty University – 36-hour MBA
The Value of an Accredited Online MBA
An accredited MBA degree continues to be an important credential and stepping-stone for success in an increasingly competitive global business environment. Many companies have made an MBA from a respectable program a requirement for hiring or promoting. While earning an MBA requires a significant investment of time and money, an MBA from an accredited, highly ranked MBA program will typically pay for itself over the long term through increased earnings. Online MBA rankings can help you find which business schools offer the best MBA programs available online. Our editors researched all of the AACSB and regionally accredited distance MBA programs in the United States in order to come up with the most objective and comprehensive ranking of online MBA programs based on factors that matter the most to students.
The Future of Online MBA Programs
Online MBA programs continue to grow in popularity. As more students with job and/or family responsibilities look to earn a top MBA that can move them forward in their career, many are opting online and distance learning MBA programs that allow them to earn an MBA on their own schedule. There are an estimated 11,000 students enrolled in AACSB accredited online MBA schools around the world, with many more enrolled in regionally accredited distance MBA programs. To keep up with the growing demand for online MBA programs, several top ranked MBA programs have made their programs available completely online. As more elite business schools go online with their MBA degrees, the prestige and credibility of online MBA programs will only increase.
The Smart Choice Best Online MBA Ranking
For the 2013 edition of our Smart Choice Best Online MBA Ranking we’ve placed greater emphasis on tuition value, program flexibility, and the availability of specialization options, and de-emphasized the importance of AACSB accreditation (still privileging it over regional accreditation, but not as much). Unlike other online MBA rankings, our Smart Choice Best Online MBA Ranking only includes AACSB and regionally accredited programs, ensuring each program had already met the highest institutional standards of quality and accountability. Each accredited online MBA program was evaluated and ranked based on reputation, recognition & awards, accreditation, flexibility, number of specializations offered, and cost.
One of the most respected names in business education and a high achiever in most MBA school rankings, Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers students multiple specialization options and no required travel with its AACSB accredited online MBA program, our pick for the best online MBA of 2013.
Program Details: Northeastern University’s Online MBA Program can be completed in as little as two years of asynchronous coursework, with no required residencies. The program offers specializations in Finance, Healthcare Management, High Technology Management, Innovation Entrepreneurship, International Management, Marketing, Operations and Supply Chain, and General Management.
Bottom Line: $65,000 (not including fees or textbooks). Financial aid available for qualifying students.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a top-tier private university and winner of numerous awards for its cutting-edge online degree programs and innovative approach to higher education. The SNHU School of Business employs over 60 full-time faculty members, allowing it to offer more than 20 different concentrations with its exceptionally affordable online MBA program.
Program Details:SNHU’s Online MBA is designed for experienced business professionals and recent graduates who want to boost their business knowledge and career options. The 39 credit program is ACBSP accredited and offers over 20 different specialization options, including Athletic Administration, Healthcare Management, and Human Resources, allowing students to tailor it to their specific interests and goals. There is no travel necessary, and no GMAT or GRE is required for admissions.
Bottom Line:$24,453 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
The Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University has been rated one of the top business schools by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. Pepperdine’s unique value-based approach to education has helped make Graziadio one of the most popular business schools in the country.
Program details: The Online Fully Employed MBA from The Graziadio School of Business and Management is an AACSB accredited online MBA designed for working professionals with schedules and can be completed in two to seven years. The curriculum is identical to the on-campus MBA and is taught by the same faculty. Concentrations are available in Dispute Resolution, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Marketing, and more. One on-campus immersion module required.
Bottom line: ~$78,345 for tuition and fees if completed in two years. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
Quinnipiac University is a highly regarded private, nonprofit university in Hamden, CT. The Quinnipiac School of Business is widely considered to be one of the top business schools in the country and its AACSB accredited online MBA program was recently ranked one of the best by U.S. News & World Report.
Program Details: Quinnipiac University’s online MBA program is a 46 credit hour program designed for working adults. Several electives are offered, including Health Care Management, Computer Information Systems, Finance, Management and Marketing. A Health Care Management Track is also available for students seeking management positions in the health care industry. No campus visits are required. GMAT or GRE scores must be submitted for admission.
Bottom Line: $41,170 covers tuition. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
Drexel University’s reputation for technological innovation and academic rigor carries through into its AACSB accredited distance MBA program from the top ranked Lebow College of Business. This MBA Anywhere is one of the best distance learning MBA courses in the world.
Program Details: Drexel University’s online MBA Anywhere is a two-year, part-time program offered through the Lebow College of Business. Students can choose from concentrations in Finance, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Business Analytics, and more. Incoming students are assigned to a cohort of 25-30 students, with whom they take courses for the duration of the program. Three on-campus residencies are offered, with two required and one optional.
Bottom Line: $58,000 covers tuition costs. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
The Hough Graduate School of Business at the University of Florida was one of the first to put its AACSB accredited MBA online and has received international acclaim for its quality from other distance MBA rankings. Excellent quality, an outstanding reputation, and and affordable price tag help make the University of Florida Internet MBA one of the top online MBA programs.
Program details: The University of Florida Internet MBA comes in a one-year (16 month) and two-year (27 month) option. Both options require students to travel to the Gainesville, FL campus once a term for a weekend intensive. Only 65 students are admitted each year, making it the most competitive MBA program at the University of Florida.
Bottom line: $46,000 (One-year Option)/$52,500 (Two-year Option) covers tuition.
Florida Institute of Technology is a top-tier private university in Melbourne, FL. The university’s Nathan M. Bisk College of Business was recently recognized as one of the best online business schools for graduate studies by US News & World Report.
Program details:The Florida Tech MBA is a regionally accredited online MBA program designed for experienced business people looking to take their career to the management level and entrepreneurs. The super flexible curriculum format allows students to build a customized MBA program around their particular interests, with 10 academic specializations to choose from. The entire program can be completed in two years or less and no GRE or GMAT required.
Bottom line:$32,256 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
Walden University is an highly regarded private online university with a reputation for a progressive and experimental approach to higher education. One of the largest online business schools in the world (by enrollment), Walden University’s School of Management offers an ACBSP accredited online MBA program with multiple specializations, dedicated to preparing business students to become agents of positive social change.
Program Details: Walden University’s online MBA degree is a 36 credit hour program designed for working professionals. In addition to the option to design your own program, established specializations are available in Accounting, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management, International Business, Leadership, Marketing, Project Management, Risk Management, Technology Management, and more. No campus visits or other travel required.
Bottom Line: $29,880 covers tuition, fees and all required textbooks. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
The University of Massachusetts’ Isenberg School of Management is frequently ranked among the top MBA schools in the world. When coupled with UMassOnline’s long history of award-winning and affordable distance education you get one of the best AACSB accredited online MBA programs available.
Program Details: UMassOnline’s Isenberg Online MBA can be completed in as little as two and a half years, though students can take courses at their own pace. Courses are administered asynchronously so students can access classes at their convenience. No travel or campus visits are required for the degree, but students are given the option of taking courses at a UMass satellite campus. Interested students can also take two classes prior to enrolling in order to determine if the program is a good fit for them.
Bottom Line: $32,130 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s highly ranked Kenan-Flagler School of Business offers its AACSB accredited MBA program fully online, giving students the chance to earn a top online MBA from one of the most prestigious business schools in the country. Definitely belongs near the top of any list of the best online MBA programs in terms of reputation and quality, if not cost.
Program Details: The MBA@UNC is a 2-3 year distance MBA program that mixes asynchronous and synchronous platforms. In addition to weekly online face-to-face interactions with faculty and classmates, students must attend at least two immersion weekends in different locations around the world.
Bottom Line: $89,000 covers tuition, books and some housing and meals for mandatory immersion weekends. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
Saint Leo University is a top-ranked, private, nonprofit university in Saint Leo, FL. The Donald R. Tapia School of Business recently built a brand new $12 million dollar facility in honor of its namesake, a graduate of its IACBE accredited online MBA program. How’s that for proof of concept?
Program Details: Saint Leo University’s Online MBA is a 36 credit hour program that can be completed in as little as a year or as many as five years. Concentrations are available in Accounting, Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, Information Security Management, Marketing and Sport Business. No campus visits or travel required, though graduates are invited to campus for a graduation ceremony.
Bottom Line: $23,436 covers tuition. Financial aid and military discount available for qualifying students.
Western Governors University (WGU) is a nonprofit online university founded by the governors of 19 western states (hence its name) which awards credits based on demonstrated competency rather than time in the classroom. WGU’s College of Business offers one of the most affordable online MBA programs in existence, which was developed with input from the leaders of major corporations like Google, Microsoft, and Oracle.
Program Details: WGU’s online MBA program was designed with working professional in mind who desire to move up into mid-level and higher management positions. Progress through the program is determined by the student’s ability to demonstrate competency in a given subject area, rather than time spent in class, making it possible to complete the program more quickly that standard format MBAs. Students are each assigned a mentor to help them develop a personalized degree plan. No travel is necessary. No GMAT or GRE required for admissions.
Bottom Line: $3,250 per six month term = $9,750 (18 mos.)/$13,000 (24 mos.). Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
Liberty University is the largest Evangelical Christian university in the world and offers students one of the best values for a regionally accredited online MBA program with a focus on the integration of faith and business.
Program Details: Liberty University’s 36-hour online MBA degree is designed for working adults looking to build their management skills and business knowledge. Up to 6 credits can be transferred into the program on the basis of life experience or prior academic work. Those interested in continuing their business education in a specialized area can apply to Liberty’s 45-credit hour MBA, which offers 10 different specialization options, including Accounting, Human Resources, Marketing, and Public Relations. No campus visits or other travel required.
Bottom Line: $16,740 covers tuition for the entire 36-hr program; $20,925 for the 45-credit hour (if full-time). Financial aid and military discount available for qualifying students.
Regis University’s College for Professional Studies is an award-winning pioneer in online education and offers a regionally accredited online MBA program for working adults rooted in the school’s Jesuit commitment to social justice.
Program Details: Regis University’s online MBA degree is a 36 credit hour program offered in online and blended formats. Specializations are offered in eight areas, including Finance & Accounting, Health Industry Leadership, Health Systems Management, Management, Marketing, Operations Management and Strategic Management. Online MBA class sizes are limited to 15 students. No campus visits or travel required.
Bottom Line: $29,160 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
Washington State University’s top ranked College of Business has been offering online business education for over twenty years, bringing an entrepreneurial spirit and unrivaled experience to its no-travel AACSB accredited distance MBA program. One of the top online MBA programs you will find at a public university.
Program Details: The WSU Online MBA Program can be completed in as little as 24 months. Program places a special emphasis on entrepreneurship, with the completion a full business plan as part of the graduation requirement. An Online Executive MBA Program is also available. No campus visits or other travel required, though students are invited to graduation ceremonies in Pullman, WA.
Bottom Line: $29,250 covers tuition and fees. Military discount available. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
ASU Online’s online MBA program is AACSB accredited and designed and taught by the faculty of ASU’s top-ranked W.P. Carey School of Business. With multiple specializations for students to choose from, this is one of the best online MBA programs for those looking to focus on a specific area of business.
Program Details: The ASU Online MBA is a two year, 48 credit hour program offered by the W.P. Carey School of Business. All student are assigned to a peer cohort and only take one course at a time, allowing for greater focus. Areas of emphasis are available in Finance, International Business, Marketing and Supply Chain Management. One on-campus visit is required during the program.
Bottom Line: $53,900 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University brings a world-class reputation and over ten years of online education experience to its AACSB accredited online MBA program, which offers students exceptional flexibility and value. Anyone in the market for a top distance learning MBA from an elite business school should consider this program.
Program Details: IU’s Kelley Direct Online MBA can be completed at the student’s own pace, in as little as two years or as many as five. Classes are administered asynchronously, meaning coursework can be accessed and completed at student’s convenience. Completion of program requires travel to the IU campus in Bloomington, IN for two week-long immersion experiences.
Bottom Line: $58,395 covers tuition and fees. Books and travel costs not included. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
Oklahoma State University’s nationally ranked Spears School of Business has a long history of innovative distance learning opportunities and offers an AACSB accredited online MBA degree program at a great value. For a top distance MBA at a public school price, OSU demands consideration.
Program Details: Oklahoma State University’s Distance Learning MBA is a 36-48 credit hour part-time program designed for working professionals. Teamwork and team building is emphasized throughout the program, just as in the full-time MBA. Prior professional experience is not required but preferred. No campus visits or other travel required, though graduates are invited to campus for commencement ceremonies.
Bottom Line: $32,004 (36 hr)/$42,672 (48 hr) covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
Florida International University (FIU) is one of the highest ranked public universities in the country and offers an AACSB accredited online MBA through its Chapman Graduate School of Business, widely regarded as one of the top international business schools in the world. Anyone looking for a degree in international business will want Chapman on their shortlist of online MBA schools.
Program Details: The FIU Online Corporate MBA is an accelerated distance MBA program that can be completed in as few as 18 months. Entering students are assigned to a peer cohort with which they stay for the duration of the program. Two classes are taken per term. No GMAT required for admission. No travel required.
Bottom Line: $37,500 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
Drawing on the faculty and resources of Penn State’s renowned Smeal College of Business and other Penn State graduate departments, Penn State World Campus’s distance MBA program offers one of the few AACSB accredited MBA’s that don’t require prior professional experience. A top MBA program for those new to the business world or just finishing up an undergraduate degree.
Program Details: The Penn State World Campus iMBA is a two-year online MBA program. Incoming students are assigned to a cohort of other students with whom they journey through the program together. Coursework is administered asynchronously and completely online, with the exception of two week-long intensive residencies at the Penn State main campus and a participating corporate location.
Bottom Line: $58,352 covers tuition, texts, fees and room & board during residencies. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
Regarded as the top business school for international business by several MBA school rankings, Thunderbird School of Global Management gives students around the globe access to one of the best MBA programs through its distance learning MBA program. Definitely a top online MBA to be considered by those interested in global and international business.
Program Details: The Online Global MBA is available in either 19 or 28 month formats. Online coursework is completed asynchronously. In addition to online classes and interaction with students and professors through chat and bulletin boards, about a quarter of the degree involves student travel to “on-site regional business environment seminars” in locations around the globe.
Bottom Line: $68,000 covers tuition, course materials, room & board and graduation attire. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.
The highly ranked Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas offers one of the most affordable AACSB accredited online MBA programs in the country with several specialization options. Anyone looking for a top MBA they can complete from home should consider the UT Dallas Professional MBA Online.
Program Details: UT Dallas’s Professional MBA Online is a part-time, 53 credit hour program with 24 hours of electives that allow students to craft their own specialization. Students are not assigned to cohorts, allowing them to take courses at their own pace. No residencies or campus visits are required.
Bottom Line: $45,000 covers tuition and fees. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
The nationally ranked George Washington School of Business is located within the unique educational, political and economic matrix of Washington, D.C. and offers students interested in the business aspects of healthcare a unique AACSB accredited online healthcare MBA program. If you want to learn about the business of healthcare, this is one of the best distance MBA programs around.
Program Details: The George Washington University’s Online Healthcare MBA is a two-year, 52.5 credit hour program. Students will be instructed in the same core business curriculum as other GWU MBA programs, with additional healthcare focused courses. No travel required.
Bottom Line: $68,568 covers tuition. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
One of the premier business schools in the world, Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business offers experienced professionals an AACSB accredited online executive MBA program with an international business emphasis. RIT’s international travel component makes this one the best online MBA programs for students looking to broaden their global business horizons.
Program Details: RIT’s Online Executive MBA Program is a 72 credit hour program that is designed to completed in 15 months. The program is designed for working professionals with significant business experience. A required on-campus team building residency occurs at the beginning of the program. Students are also required to participate in a week-long trip abroad to study a business in a foreign country.
Bottom Line: $63,600 covers all tuition and fees; including team building residency and international trip. Financial aid available for qualifying students.
The nationally ranked George Mason University School of Management has been recognized as a business school on the rise and offers experienced professionals two top AACSB accredited online MBA programs. The school’s National Defense MBA is one of the best MBA programs for those interested in the business side of national defense.
Program Details: George Mason University’s Online Global EMBA and Online National Defense EMBA are 18 month, 54 credit hour programs for experienced business professionals. The Global EMBA program emphasizes the new business environment created by globalization and requires students to participate in an eight day Global Residency in an international location. National Defense EMBA are prepared for leadership positions in the defense industry and must complete a week-long residency in Washington, DC.
Bottom Line: $56,700 covers tuition, fees and room and board for Global Residency (Global EMBA) or Washington, DC Residency (National Defense EMBA). Financial aid is available for qualifying students.