What Makes a Top Online MBA Program?
Going back to school for your MBA doesn't mean that you have to quit your job. Online programs allow you balance your studies with your work and family responsibilities. Many schools offer online MBA degree programs, and we evaluated them according to several criteria in order to help you find the top schools. We used seven factors to evaluate schools: brand awareness, flexibility, learning environment, academics, program diversity, support, and career services. See why we chose these factors or scroll down to jump straight to our list of top schools.
We looked at schools that not only offer quality MBA programs but also have a track record of providing programs online. When it comes to taking courses remotely, you'll want to make sure that the school has a solid history in online teaching and a respected, well-established brand.
The main reason most people seek out online education is for the flexibility it offers. Many MBA students balance work with school, so we prioritized schools that offer asynchronous learning, which means you can 'attend' class on your own schedule rather than at set times. We also looked for schools that let you access class from multiple devices and have flexible start dates.
Online learning isn't just for computer experts. We looked for schools that have easy-to-use learning environments that make it simple to submit assignments, view lectures, and participate in discussions.
Accreditation is a key indicator of academic quality, and all of our top schools are accredited. Since MBA programs are designed to prepare you for careers in business, we looked for schools that hire faculty with relevant and recent real-world experience. The instructors in our top picks thoroughly understand the business topics and concepts covered in the program because they've also earned the advanced degrees and spent years in the field, allowing you to benefit from their knowledge and experiences.
Although you can earn an MBA in general business, you can also choose from many specialization options that are targeted at your career goals. Even if you know which specialization you're looking for, choosing a school that offers a variety of specializations means that you'll have access to more elective options and professors with a wide array of expertise.
When you need help, be it academic or technical, you need to know that someone is there to assist you in a timely and effective manner. We looked for schools that make it easy to contact instructors as well as academic and financial advisors. We also prized schools that offer 24/7 technical support so that computer issues don't prevent you from learning.
MBA programs are designed to help students advance their careers. Look for schools that offer online career services, such as resume builders, and access to employers. Many schools offer services for both current students and graduates.
Top 5 Schools for Online MBA Programs
After looking at many of the schools that offer online MBA degrees, we picked the top 5 that excel in all of our criteria.
Strayer University stands out not only for it's online MBA programs, but for the support and versatility the school offers. With around 100 campuses nationwide, you can attend classes at a local campus, participate fully online, or blend the two options according to your preference. In addition to the Executive MBA program, the school offers several concentrations, including standard options like accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, and information systems, as well as targeted concentrations in travel and tourism, health services administration, or international business. The school also offers several incentives to MBA students.
Kaplan University puts faculty front and center so that you can learn from instructors who have recent real-world experience and familiarity with current marketplace knowledge and on-the-job skills. Students can access full support services, including technical support that is available by phone, email, or live chat. Kaplan makes it easy for students to access class on their own schedule. In addition to asynchronous learning, you can access class materials, discussions, and grades on your mobile device. In addition to a general MBA, the university offers six MBA concentrations, all of which are online. Its emphasis on online education means that it has mastered flexible education designed for busy students. For graduates, Kaplan's Career Services provides comprehensive career planning, including career assessments, resume reviews, interview preparation, virtual career fairs and 24/7 online access to job openings through the career network.
Grand Canyon University's online MBA programs are also offered one class at a time in an asynchronous format. This system allows you to focus fully on a single course, which is particularly useful if you're juggling work with your studies. The university offers a regular MBA in a variety of specializations as well as an Executive MBA, which is designed for students who are in leadership positions. Students who meet certain prerequisites may be able to complete the program at an accelerated pace, graduating in just 18 months. You can also add an emphasis by completing 8 additional credits. This kind of flexibility made GCU's programs stand out as one of the most customizable options.
The fully online MBA programs at Liberty University offer cognates in accounting, criminal justice, leadership, marketing, public relations, and several more. You can transfer up to six college credits to reduce the time it takes to get your degree. Classes are offered in 8-week intervals, and you'll have your own admissions specialist to help you plan out your course load. The school offers distance learning students several free resources and online events to keep you connected.
Herzing University's focus on a personalized learning experience and student support makes it a top choice. The MBA program is designed to provide students with real-world skills including a capstone course that allows students to demonstrate their subject matter expertise. Online classes are offered asynchronously, which allows students the flexibility and convenience to complete coursework on their own schedule.
Disclosure: Some or all of the schools listed may be partners of Study.com.