9 Top Online MBA Programs

By Susan Guillory · December 28, 2023 · 7 minute read

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9 Top Online MBA Programs

If you’re interested in earning a master’s degree in business administration, an MBA program that is partially or totally online might suit your needs. These programs can give you the flexibility you need (in terms of the time you have available for your education, your geographic location, and your finances) to get the graduate diploma you’re seeking.

An MBA can unlock a fascinating and lucrative career path, but not everyone can turn up on a campus full-time for a couple of years. So in this guide, you’ll explore the top online MBA programs available. Equipped with this information, you can then move ahead with your plans, accommodating your particular set of needs and wants.

What Is an MBA Program?

MBA programs offer master’s degree level courses in a variety of business-related content, including economics, finance, marketing, accounting, entrepreneurship, and statistics. Many provide hands-on learning through capstones or client projects, and some also offer the opportunity to study abroad.

There are many types of MBA programs, just as there are many undergrad majors. Some details:

•   There are in-person one- or two-year programs as well as partially and fully online MBA programs.

•   In terms of e-learning opportunities, some programs are 100% online, while others require you to attend classes on the weekend once a month or so. Your willingness and ability to travel, if necessary, should be a part of which format you choose for your MBA studies.

•   There are also executive MBA programs, which are geared toward working professionals with a bit more professional experience than the average undergrad.

You can pay for an MBA program in several ways: paying out of pocket, taking out a student loan for your MBA, securing scholarships, or a combination of these.

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What Are the Benefits of an MBA Program?

You may wonder whether getting an MBA is worth the investment. Generally, studying topics like management, marketing, or finance can help make you a more knowledgeable employee, which may help you secure a job or a promotion in one of these fields.

And having a master’s degree can potentially make you more appealing to employers, helping you stand out from the sea of applicants. The degree may also help increase earning potential, which can be a good thing since you may have to finance your degree.

The top online MBA programs may also present networking opportunities, whether virtual or in-person, that can connect you with others in your field as well as employers looking to hire MBAs from your university.

Choosing the Best Online MBA Program for You

The program you ultimately choose will depend on factors like:

•   How much do you want to spend?

•   Are you willing to be on campus for classes occasionally?

•   What concentration are you interested in?

•   How quickly do you want to complete your coursework?

Each of the MBA programs on this list is ranked highly, but the choice will be personal based on your own criteria. Spend time speaking with admissions reps at each of the schools you’re interested in, as well as talking to grads to understand their experience.

Recommended: Which Debt to Pay Off First: Student Loan or Credit Card?

Top Online MBA Programs to Consider

What defines an MBA program as being one of the top online business schools will vary depending on your criteria. To give you a place to start, here are some of the top online MBA programs in several categories, culled from online reviews, ratings, and other lists.

Top Affordable Online MBA Programs

Online MBA programs can get fairly expensive. Consider an affordable MBA program with a smaller price tag, such as these three highly rated options.

Louisiana Tech University

This university, located near Ruston, Louisiana, has one of the best rated affordable MBA programs in the country, and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Courses can be taken wholly online, and the degree requires 30 credits. Its MBA program has been ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report.

Total tuition: $14,250

University of Texas Permian Basin

Another award-winning online MBA program comes from the University of Texas Permian Basin. This program is accredited, affordable, and ranks highly for services and technologies, as well as being a good option for military veterans. Between 30 and 36 credits are typically required.

Total tuition: $11,729.70 -14,075.64

Fitchburg State University

This Massachusetts-based program requires 30 credits and presents the same learning as in-person classes in the online studies, which are recorded and archived. The business administration-focused course doesn’t require graduate exam results with the application.

Total tuition: $13,080

Top Executive Online MBA Programs

If you’ve been in the workforce for several years and are looking to move up in your career, an executive online MBA program could be a good fit, as it’s typically flexible in how and when you do your coursework so it doesn’t interfere with your job. That said, these programs can be significant investments of time and money, with some programs approaching or topping the $200K mark. So research your financing options for graduate school as you determine your next steps. What follows are affordable options.

Washington State University

WSU’s Carson College of Business offers an EMBA that can be completed in as little as 16 months. This program offers perks like an option for international field study in a seven-day overseas program, an annual Leadership Conference, and professional coaching.

Total tuition: $57,162

Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University offers an online executive MBA program; it can be completed in 24 months. It has received recognition both for its reasonable costs and its academic excellence. Since it’s online, you can fit it in around your professional and personal obligations. While the degree can allow for growth in a variety of fields, there can be an emphasis on the energy sector.

Total tuition: $36,000

Southeastern Louisiana University

If you’re interested in combining online executive MBA curriculum with in-person learning, Southeastern Louisiana University offers that balance in its 17-month program. The program is 40% online and 60% face-to-face, with classes on Saturdays only. The program offers three options: general MBA with accounting and financing electives, general MBA with business electives, or MBA with a healthcare concentration. The MBA program has small classes, and is accredited by the AACSB.

Total tuition: $20,676

Top Overall Online MBA Programs

Maybe you just completed your undergraduate degree and want to move straight into your MBA program, and you’re looking for the cream of the crop. Here are some of the top online MBA programs for you to consider.

Yes, they may be more expensive than other options, but exploring scholarships, grants, and loans can help you afford this degree.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business offers several different MBA programs, including full-time, online, executive, professional flex, and fast-track. The program offers diverse concentrations, including business data analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, and international business. The online MBA has been rated a top-ten program by U.S. News & World Reports.

Total tuition: $66,266

Pennsylvania State World Campus

PennState’s World Campus’ Smeal College of Business offers flexibility in how you build your personal MBA program. There are 20 possible concentrations with the program, including advanced accounting, international affairs, and strategic leadership. There is a three-day residency to kick off the program in person, as well as other sessions throughout.

Total tuition: $59,904

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business offers a highly-recognized Executive Master of Business Administration degree. It’s designed to accelerate the careers of high-performing professionals. The program, which covers the same learning as the on-campus courses, has been recognized as a top-ten option by U.S. News & World Report.

Total tuition: $78,000

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The Takeaway

Online MBA programs can be one way for students to gain skills desirable for a future career in business. They can offer more flexibility than traditional in-person MBA programs because lectures can generally be viewed on the student’s schedule.

But even paying for an online program can be costly. Some students may turn to student loans to finance all or a portion of the cost of tuition.

Some students may find that later refinancing their loans can help make their education costs more manageable. However, it’s worth noting that when you refinance federal loans with private loans, you forfeit federal benefits and protections. In addition, if you refinance for an extended term, you may pay more in interest over the life of the loan. For these reasons, it’s wise to think carefully to uncover the best fit for your debt repayment.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.

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Photo credit: iStock/Miljan Živković

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.

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