Education is one of Illinois' top fields, making the state an ideal location for students considering an online MBA in Illinois. Degree-seekers can take advantage of excellent schools and look forward to promising career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Illinois ranks among the top five states for management professionals, with 451,260 people working in management-related positions as of 2019.
An MBA program prepares learners for business management careers, providing a strong base of business knowledge. Enrollees can often pursue a concentration, further honing their expertise in areas like technology, strategy, supply chain management, and accounting.
MBA graduates can qualify for positions with lucrative salaries and abundant advancement opportunities. According to the BLS, management professionals earned a median annual salary of $105,660 as of 2019, more than all other occupation groups.
On this page, prospective students can explore the best online programs in Illinois. This page details degree expectations, career possibilities, and program rankings.
Illinois' 5 Best MBA Programs
|1||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, Illinois|
|2||Western Illinois University||Macomb, Illinois|
|3||Governors State University||University Park, Illinois|
|4||Eastern Illinois University||Charleston, Illinois|
|5||McKendree University||Lebanon, Illinois|
Why Get an Online MBA in Illinois?
Learners considering enrolling in an online MBA program in Illinois should weigh the investment of time and money against the potential benefits. With an MBA, graduates can hone their business skills, pursue specializations, and qualify for advancement opportunities. Additional benefits of obtaining an MBA can include:
The BLS projects jobs across all business and financial occupations to grow 5% between 2019 and 2029, which is higher than the national average for all occupations. The BLS also projects the same upward trend for management occupations.
MBA enrollees learn core business principles. Marketing concepts, accounting knowledge, business communication, and leadership skills can transfer to a variety of jobs within the business world.
According to the BLS, management professionals earn the highest wage of any occupational group the site measures. With a 2019 median annual wage of $105,660 across all management occupations, top-level management professionals can often earn even more.
Illinois is home to 65 Fortune 500 companies, allowing graduates to pursue job and networking opportunities with well-known companies. The state's largest employers encompass diverse industries, including insurance, wholesale pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and financial advisory services. Illinois' top industries also include manufacturing, agriculture, education, and clean energy.
By pursuing an online MBA in Illinois, students can connect to these industries in Chicago, one of the nation's largest cities. Opportunity in Illinois extends beyond this urban center, though, with large employers situated in Springfield, Bloomington, Aurora, and Peoria.
The Best Online MBA Programs in Illinois
#1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business – Champaign, Illinois
|The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign delivers the state's best online Master's of Business Administration through the Gies College of Business. This best-of-the-best 72-credit hour program is a must for the business student seeking a high-quality distance education.|
The Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign features Illinois' best online Master's of Business Administration with emphases in Global Challenges in Business, Innovation: From Creativity to Entrepreneurship, and Digital Marketing. This program is classified as affordable with a total tuition price between $15,000 and $19,999. U.S. News reports that graduates of the Gies College of Business have an average base salary of a healthy $95,295 reflecting the potential for a solid return on the investment of education associated with this program. The business school receives its stellar business accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The business school has designed this 100% online MBA to not only offer students sound business theory, but also practical real-world application. Courses within this program include Strategic Management, Digital Marketing Analytics, Global Impact Psychology and Business Ethics, Fostering Creative Thinking, and Macroeconomics for Business.
Home of the Fighting Illini who wear the school colors of orange and blue, the athletic department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign supports men's and women's varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as members of the Big 10 Conference. The university is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Champaign, Illinois. The university delivers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the 46,951 students currently enrolled there. U of I was founded in 1867 as the Illinois Industrial University before becoming the University of Illinois less than 20 years later. The university receives its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission and features "Learning and Labor" as its official school motto. Comprised of 16 colleges and schools the university's massive campus include over 650 buildings within a nearly 6,500-acre campus.
Affordability Score: Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 100.00
#2 Western Illinois University College of Business and Technology – Macomb, Illinois
|An online Master's of Business Administration is offered by the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University. This prestigious program shines with an excellent accreditation and recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of the best in the nation.|
Western Illinois University offers an incredible online Master's of Business Administration degree with post-baccalaureate certificates in Business Analytics and Supply Chain Management through the College of Business and Technology. Qualifying students with the proper academic experience can waive up to 21 hours of foundational courses and complete all requirements for this program in just 33-credit hours. This 100% online program is classified as very affordable with a total tuition under $14,999. The College of Business and Technology receives its excellent business accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The AACSB is the gold standard for accrediting bodies in higher education. This degree has been designed for the working business professional but is also available to those lacking business education. While the business school has recently been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as offering the 205th best online MBA in the nation, students may choose to take all courses online, in the classroom, or as a combination of the two with a hybrid experience. Candidates for this program are encouraged to complete an online application, request all official transcripts from previously attended colleges and universities, and submit all departmental required documentation in order to begin the acceptance process.
Established in 1899, Western Illinois University is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Macomb, Illinois. Operating under the school motto of "Higher Values in Higher Education," the university was founded on land donated by Macomb's Freemason's with the original name of Western Illinois State Normal School. The institution's first priority was to train students for careers as school teachers. Receiving its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the university delivers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral and levels to the student body of 10,373 currently enrolled. Home of the Bulldogs and the mascot Colonel Rock, the athletic department at WIU supports men's and women's varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as members of the Summit League. The school's official colors are purple and gold.
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 77.29
#3 Governors State University College of Business – University Park, Illinois
|The College of Business at Governors State University features an online Master's of Business Administration. This nationally-recognized, top-three program is backed by the business school's stellar business accreditation through the AACSB.|
An excellent online Master's of Business Administration with a concentration in Supply Chain Management, or offered as a general MBA, is delivered by the College of Business at Governor's State University. This 36-credit hour program is classified as very affordable with a total base tuition price below $14,999. The business school receives its excellent business accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and has recently been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as offering the 205th best online MBA in the country. This 100% online degree has been designed to provide "students with skills to manage organizations and increase profitability. Advanced studies in business allow students to seamlessly enter global markets prepared to lead and innovate." Students interested in this program are encouraged to submit the following items into the admissions office in order to begin the acceptance process, a current GMAT/GRE score, two confidential letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a two-page statement of intent. Students lacking the GMAT may waive the requirement if they maintained a GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 hours of their undergraduate, hold a graduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or meet other academic criteria.
Governors State University was founded as one of the first "universities Without Walls" in 1969. Instead of offering grades within departments, it provided competencies and offered interdisciplinary studies. Over the years the school has added some traditional components to its philosophy and structure. Today, GSU consists of The College of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Health and Human Services. Receiving its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the university exists today as a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus in University Park, Illinois. Delivering degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, Governors State oversees a student body of 5,819. Home of the Jaguars, the official school colors of the university are black and white. The athletic department at GSU consists of men's and women's varsity sports teams which compete within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 75.87
#4 Eastern Illinois University School of Business – Charleston, Illinois
|Eastern Illinois University's School of Business features an online Master's of Business Administration. This 33-credit hour program is one the discerning distance learner should take note of as it features a robust curriculum and is backed by the business school's stellar accreditation through the AACSB|
The School of Business at Eastern Illinois University offers an online Master's of Business Administration with specializations in Applied Management, Geographic Information Sciences (computer systems and geographical data), and Accountancy, or delivered as a general MBA. The business school was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as offering the 150th best online MBA in the nation. This 33-credit program is classified as affordable with a total tuition price between $15,000 and $19,999. The business school receives its stellar business accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This program has been designed to train students "for employment in positions of leadership in small and large businesses, industry, government, and non-profit organizations in a contemporary global environment. The program emphasizes the application of analytical tools and related skills that are essential for making informed business decisions. MBA graduates continue or enter their professions in accounting, finance, operations management, consulting, human resource management, marketing, sales, and information technology." Designed to be completed in just five semesters, the courses within this program include Supply Chain and logistics Management, Business Ethics for Decision Makers, Systems Security, Project Management, Strategic Management, Accounting from a Management Perspective, Financial Management, Management of Information Technologies, and Organizational Behavior and Group Dynamics.
Home of the Panthers who wear the school colors of blue and grey, the athletic department at Eastern Illinois University supports men's and women's varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as members of the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern Illinois University is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Charleston, Illinois. The university delivers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels to the 7,415 students currently enrolled there. Eastern Illinois was established in 1895 and originally named the Eastern Illinois State Normal School. The school was originally founded in order to train public school teachers. The school receives its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission and features Billy the Panther as its official school mascot.
Affordability Score: Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 74.00
#5 McKendree University School of Business – Lebanon, Illinois
|An online MBA is delivered by McKendree University's School of Business. This top-five program offers a high-quality 100% online degree that has been designed to equip future business leaders.|
McKendree University's School of Business features one of Illinois' best online Master's of Business Administration programs with a concentration in Human Resources Management or delivered as a general MBA. This 36-credit hour degree is classified as affordable with a total tuition price between $15,000 and $19,999. The School of Business receives its excellent business accreditation through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. No matter which specialization you choose, each online MBA focuses on "integrated learning experiences which allow students to develop problem solving and team building skills in an environment where they can learn from both the faculty and each other. These programs are designed for students who desire a broad understanding of business operations without concentrating their studies in a particular field." Consisting of 12 courses that take eight weeks each to complete, the core courses within this program include Accounting for managers, Economics of the Firm, Business Research Methods and Applications, Legal Issues for Managers, Corporate Finance, Investments and Financial Markets, Customers and Competitive Advantage, Global Organizations and Management, and Stakeholder Management and Ethics. U.S. News & World Report has recently recognized the business school as offering the 143rd best online MBA in the nation.
Established in 1828 as Lebanon Seminary, today's McKendree University is a four-year, private not-for-profit institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Lebanon, Illinois. Operating under the school motto of Artium Morum et Religionis Disciplinae "The Disciplines of the Arts, of Morals and of Religion," the university stands as the oldest university in the state of Illinois. With an official affiliation with the United Methodist Church, McK has developed in many ways since its humble beginnings of offering courses in two rented sheds for less than 75 students. Receiving its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the university delivers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral and levels to the student body of 2,902 currently enrolled there. Home of the Bearkats, the athletic department at McKendree supports men's and women's varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division II level as members of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The school's official colors are McK purple and white.
Affordability Score: Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 72.91
What Jobs Can You Get With an MBA?
MBA graduates qualify for a diverse variety of positions within the business field. They may work for large corporations, directing multiple departments or handling complex manufacturing plants. Many MBA-holders excel in entrepreneurship, running their own companies. Depending on their expertise and interests, graduates can pursue many different careers.
Those with a penchant for technology might work as computer and information systems managers, helping make a company's computer-related decisions. Illinois employs the nation's fourth-highest number of computer and information systems managers, with 20,370 jobs in the state in 2019. Illinois also employs the country's third-highest number of sales managers.
MBA-holders can also work as financial managers, industrial production managers, and medical and health services managers. By pursuing an online MBA in Illinois, students can often continue working full time while taking classes, allowing them to gain valuable experience as they complete their studies.
Computer and Information Systems Manager
Also called IT managers, these professionals work with top executives to understand their organization's goals and find technology to help meet them. They research and handle technology equipment, oversee maintenance, and supervise staff. Jobs for these professionals in Illinois are projected to grow 7.2% between 2018 and 2028, according to Projections Central.
These professionals often work in industries like wholesale and retail trade, professional services, and manufacturing. Sales managers carry out plans to distribute their company's goods or services. They assign employees to specific tasks and locations, assess sales reports, and plan promotional activities. Projections Central projects sales management positions to grow 3.2% between 2018 and 2028.
Industrial Production Manager
Industrial production managers work in plants that produce goods such as fabricated metal, transportation equipment, chemicals, machinery, and food. They deal with on-the-ground plant operations, overseeing work schedules, quality control, equipment, and safety guidelines. The BLS names Illinois among the country's top five biggest employers of industrial production managers, with 11,330 jobs in the state in 2019.
Top MBA Employers in Illinois
Illinois is home to many corporate headquarters, making the state a promising place for MBA-holders to seek opportunities. Many MBA graduates in Illinois work as financial managers, marketing managers, and human resources managers.
Illinois ranks among the country's top five states for its sheer number of management positions. According to the BLS, 451,260 professionals worked in management positions in Illinois in 2019. With many jobs concentrated near Chicago, business professionals may want to begin a job search near the city.
MBA-holders in Illinois can pursue jobs in some of the state's top industries, which include manufacturing, education, and biotechnology. Learners can also pursue a concentration in supply chain management, information systems, finance, or healthcare.
Illinois' Top MBA Employers
Archer Daniels Midland
- This Fortune 500 food processing corporation headquartered in Chicago employs 38,100 employees around the world. The company thrives through innovation, expanding its focus beyond food processing to add nutrition-oriented business.
- Accenture provides global business consulting, engaging in process, physical distribution, and logistics consulting. The company's Chicago-based innovation hub employs 5,500 workers in diverse areas like consulting, research, strategy, design, and technology.
State Farm Mutual
- With its corporate headquarters in Bloomington, State Farm employs more than 10,000 people in Illinois alone. The Fortune 500 company focuses on automobile insurance, and MBA graduates can find opportunities in the head office for careers in information systems, marketing, and customer service.
What To Expect From MBA Programs in Illinois
Students can typically complete an online MBA program in Illinois in 18-24 months. Part-time enrollees may need more time. MBA programs usually require 36-54 credits. While tuition varies by school, prospective students usually spend $11,200-$46,000.
Online MBA programs may run synchronously, asynchronously, or follow a hybrid format. Asynchronous programs allow enrollees to access lectures and forums on their own schedules. Some programs also require face-to-face meetings through web cameras or attendance at in-person events. Some schools stream on-campus classes for their distance learners, allowing seamless integration between traditional and online learning.
Online MBA programs in Illinois offer many different specialization options, including accounting, finance, healthcare, marketing, and human resources. Concentrations usually run alongside a suite of courses that cover big-picture management topics and strategies.
Admission Requirements for MBAs
While admission requirements vary, online MBA programs in Illinois share some similar expectations. Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some MBA programs expect business prerequisites in areas like accounting, economics, statistics, and finance, while others accept students from all undergraduate majors.
Prospective students should also research whether they need work experience to apply to a specific program. Some programs, particularly an executive MBA, require 3-5 years of work experience. Applicants should plan to submit an online application along with an essay or statement of purpose, a resume, 2-3 recommendation letters, and GRE or GMAT scores. Schools may require GMAT minimums around 500.
Additional application requirements for an online MBA in Illinois can include video essays and interviews. Application fees typically cost $30-$40, though some schools waive it.
Popular MBA Program Courses
Online MBA programs in Illinois include a vast array of courses. Most MBA programs present a core set of foundational business courses. Enrollees can also pursue electives or specializations. Many MBA programs require students to complete a hands-on capstone project before graduation.
Some common MBA courses include:
- Managerial Accounting: This course builds on foundational accounting knowledge, providing information through a lens of managerial decision-making. Covering areas like accounting techniques and strategy, the course prepares students to use accounting and financial reports. Learners study cost and risk management, income determination, and policy development.
- Organization Theory and Practice: Covering the basics of organizational theory by presenting various company structures and strategic planning methods, this course presents theory along with techniques for hands-on application. Learners explore the practical uses of organizational theory, plus its limitations. Topics also include company culture, politics, and ethics.
- Marketing Principles: This course provides an overview of key marketing frameworks. Enrollees explore the relationships among product, place, price, and promotion. Participants also engage in market strategy and analysis of customers, competition, and market trends. Topics can include consumer behavior, marketing communication, and demand forecasting.
How Much Do MBAs Cost in Illinois?
The cost of an MBA program in Illinois depends on many factors, including school prestige, learners' enrollment status, and whether the school is private or public. Generally speaking, per-credit fees range from $339-$1,200, and full programs cost $11,200-$46,000. However, tuition rates can exceed these figures.
Online schools in Illinois often charge flat-rate tuition to distance learners or allow them to pay in-state rates regardless of where they live. Some schools still differentiate between in-state and out-of-state students, so degree-seekers should ensure they understand the details.
Prospective enrollees should also understand all program requirements. Some online MBA programs in Illinois require on-campus visits, which can mean additional travel costs.
Learners can fund their studies through financial aid such as scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans. Follow the link below for more information about financial aid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an online MBA respected?
Yes. Online MBA programs often run parallel to their on-campus counterparts, featuring the same courses taught by full-time faculty members. Employers value the experience distance learners can gain by potentially continuing to work while they earn their degree.
How much does an MBA cost in Illinois?
An online MBA in Illinois ranges from about $11,200-$46,000, with margins in both directions. Distance learners can often access reduced tuition rates, such as in-state tuition for nonresidents.
Is it worth getting an MBA online?
Graduates from online MBA programs can pursue a variety of lucrative careers. The BLS reports a 2019 annual median wage of $105,660 across all management occupations, making this the highest-earning job category in its database.