A Master's in Business Administration degree, commonly shortened to an MBA degree, offers students the chance to become a leader in the modern business world. Students build on quantitative skills that help them to problem-solve issues relating to finance, accounting, economics, or marketing. But they also gain insights into the strategies behind the successful management of individuals and teams within organizations. This allows them to not only make the right quantitative decisions but also helps them to build teamwork and prevent problems on the human end. Online programs enhance this by giving students flexibility with their courses and saving them money through lower tuition and eliminating on-campus costs.
FINDING AN MBA DEGREE
Many different types of programs share the moniker of "MBA degree program", but each university designs its MBA program for specific types of business professionals. Programs without specific work experience requirements tend to focus on the bigger picture, covering all key areas of business management, such as economics and finance. These programs often structure a majority of their coursework and courses, and some even preset the entire course sequence that students will take. This is in contrast with programs that give students far more latitude when it comes to selecting their courses. Certain programs will dedicate as much as 50 to 60% of their coursework to elective courses or courses related to a specialization. These programs often appeal to students who have a strong idea of what area of business they will eventually wish to pursue a career in, and consequently what would most benefit them as professionals.
Another key difference is the way that courses are organized in a program or what range of specializations a school might offer. Programs might choose to utilize a cohort format, which has students take classes simultaneously with their classmates throughout the entire program. This generally helps students looking to build personal or professional connections with their classmates. Other programs allow students to complete courses in asynchronous or even accelerated fashion, which means students can go at the pace they want to best fit their academic, professional, or personal needs. Programs will also differ by offering as few as one specialization option or upwards of twenty areas of emphasis. Students may benefit from either case, but programs with fewer options will mean that more classmates are sharing the same path. On the opposite spectrum, the more spread-out programs might allow a student to dig deeper into a particular business niche that they have a passion for.
RANKING THE 12 BEST ONLINE MBA IN KENTUCKY
Online MBA Today uses eight metrics to grade each school: Quality of Online Programs from U.S. News, Mid Career Pay from Payscale, Student Review Score from Rate My Professor, aggregate reputation score from other ranking sites, and Percentage of Online Programs, SAT Scores, Average Net Price, and Retention Rate from the National Center for Education Statistics. For a comprehensive breakdown of how we categorize and source data, please visit our methodology page.
#1. WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
WKU students are always on top of their game, as the school's athletic team mascots are the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers. Western Kentucky University has an online Master of Business Administration program, which students can complete in as few as 12 months. There are seven core courses that consist of 21 credits as well as three elective courses that consist of nine credits in the curriculum. Courses last eight weeks and there are two sets of courses offered each semester. Some examples of core courses from the WKU MBA include Advanced Marketing, Advanced Managerial Finance, and Advanced Organizational Behavior. Students finish their degree in the summer term, first by completing a Strategic Decision Making course and then with one final elective course. Two courses from the program include proctored exam requirements. WKU offers services to help coordinate those requirements with distance students.
In addition to the core WKU MBA program, there are also a pair of graduate certificate programs available to students. The graduate certificate in Business Sustainability focuses on training students in the most complex social and environmental problems in the contemporary business world. There is also a certificate program in Business Core Competencies, which coordinates with the online MBA program which means that some requirements do overlap. Applicants to the program should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher and are also required to submit GMAT scores. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, who have earned a doctoral degree, or who possess a Certified Public Accountant certification do not have to submit GMAT scores.
#2. UNIVERSITY OF THE CUMBERLANDS
Cumberlands has shared an affiliation with the Baptist Church of Kentucky since its founding and maintains a close relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention. The Cumberlands online Master of Business Administration is a 31 credit hour program, split up between 21 hours of core courses, nine hours of electives, and a one-credit toward the Applied Learning Practicum course. Core subject matter covers Managerial Finance, Organizational Behavior, and Marketing Management. Sample elective courses include Managing in a Global Environment, Research and Report Writing, and Management of Investments. To complete the program, all students are required to take a written Comprehensive Examination, which occurs toward the end of their Strategic Management capstone course. There is also the Applied-Learning Practicum, which allows students to apply professional techniques to their academic coursework.
Applicants to the program must submit an updated resume, which should specifically highlight professional experiences. All documents should be submitted a minimum of two weeks before the start of the intended term of entry. However, students can be admitted and registered during the first week of classes. Students who wish to complete a concentration in the program may do so by completing an additional six credit hours of coursework on top of the base program. Concentrations available through the UC MBA include Project Management, Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare Administration, Marketing, and Accounting. The program of study must be completed within a maximum of four years after enrollment in the first course of the program.
#3. CAMPBELLSVILLE UNIVERSITY
Campbellsville has a satellite center in Hodgenville, which is also the birthplace of President Abraham Lincoln. Campbellsville University is home to an online Master of Business Administration program, which includes 36 credit hours of coursework and generally takes students two years to complete. The program allows students to complete an MBA concentration, focused on topics such as Church Management or Information Technology. Coursework is divided between 27 credit hours of core courses and nine credit hours of electives. Required core courses include Management Information Systems, Managerial Finance, Business Ethics, and Managerial Economics. Elective options can cover a wide range of topics, such as Managing Mergers and Acquisitions and Health Finance. Classes in the program last eight weeks each and the next available start date for the program is August 19th.
Campbellsville is a Christian university and the university's MBA program is designed to give graduates the ability to "integrate Christian values into their business practices." Other concentration options not listed above include Accounting, Healthcare Management, HR Management, International Business, and Marketing. Students without an undergraduate background in business will be required to complete Primer, which is an online web-based course. Primer consists of four modules and post-tests, with students being required to score 70% or higher to pass. Applicants to the program are expected to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 and should submit either GRE or GMAT scores. Campbellsville is a Yellow Ribbon Program school, which helps provide additional funding opportunities for veterans.
#4. EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
Eastern Kentucky was originally founded as a state normal school, educating future teachers for Kentucky, before eventually becoming an independent university in 1966. EKU offers a 36 credit hour online Master of Business Administration program, which is delivered through a 15-course sequence of eight-week long classes. Each student begins the program with an MBA Bootcamp, which both introduces technical topics and employs team- and culture-building activities. Core courses then elaborate on key areas such as Big Data Analytics and Leading and Managing Human Capital. Later courses then build on this through courses such as Enterprise Risk Management and Dynamic Marketing Management. All students then complete the program with a knowledge-synthesis course, which embeds students with companies from EKU's Service Region for real-world business experience.
There are no prerequisite courses required for entrance. EKU offers "stackable" graduate certificates, which allow students to earn up to three graduate certificates during the course of their MBA program. Courses in the program incorporate Design Thinking seminars, guest speakers, capstones, and in-class networking opportunities to help transition student knowledge into real-world applications. All courses in the program are taught face-to-face during evening hours, which is specifically designed to help professional students. Applicants to the program should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Applicants should also have a minimum GMAT score of 450 or scores of 145 on the verbal section and 147 on the quantitative section of the GRE.
#5. LINDSEY WILSON COLLEGE
Lindsey Wilson College is a private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Lindsey Wilson has a General Business Emphasis Online Master of Business Administration program. Students complete 30 credit hours of study, which takes an average of 18 months for students registered as full-time students. There are 21 units of core requirements and nine units of emphasis credits. The core includes courses such as Organizational Behavior, Managerial Economics, as well as the Legal and Ethical Environment of Business. The General Business Emphasis then requires students to complete the following three courses: Organizational Communications, International Business Management, and Organizational Leadership. Organizational Leadership will be the final course for online MBA students, as their final course taken in the fourth semester of study if they are on a full-time schedule. MBA students are required to take the ETS MBA Major Field test in order to graduate.
Business Alumni from the 2016 graduating class report an employment rate of more than 90%, and nearly the same number, around 88%, say that their degree was important for obtaining their current job. Students from all undergraduate backgrounds are welcome to apply to the program; however, students without courses in accounting, economics, and statistics will either have to take those courses or demonstrate proficiency before beginning the MBA program. Students with at least four years of post-baccalaureate work experience or sufficient undergraduate academic performance may waive the GRE/GMAT score requirement. Most courses in the program are eight weeks long, but there are intensive course options that may require fewer meetings, these are a part of the "Lean Emphasis".
#6. NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
North Kentucky University awarded its first undergraduate degree in 1973 and took only four years to earn full university status. NKU has an online Master of Business Administration program, which requires 33 credit hours of coursework. These are divided between essential, stacks, and capstone courses. Stacks refer to specialization areas, which students may either dedicate to specific subject areas or mix between myriad subject areas. Students are required to complete eight essential courses, six stack courses, and two capstone course. Core courses include Marketing in Organizations, Managing in Organizations, and Legal Environment for Business. Stack course cover topic areas such as Finance, Leadership, Innovation through Competition Intelligence, Marketing, and Healthcare Administration. The capstone courses are then divided between a Practicum Preparation course and then a final Practicum course, the two of which total five credit hours.
Example stack courses consist of things like Competitive Ideation to Innovation, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, International Finance, and Health Policy and Economics. If students pursue the Healthcare Administration stack then they only pursue that individual stack, which includes four courses that total 12 credit hours. Applicants to the program are expected to have three years of professional work experience and should possess a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Students whose transcripts do not show successful completion of quantitative courses will be required to submit GRE/GMAT scores. Most successful applicants have a minimum overall score of 520 on the GMAT. Active military members or veterans receive an application fee waiver. The program offers students multiple start dates throughout the year.
#7. UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE
The University of Louisville was home to the first civilian ambulance, emergency department, hand transplant, and self-contained artificial heart transplant, making it one of the homes of modern medicine. Louisville's Master of Business Administration program is available in a fully online format and can be completed in as few as 20 months. The program not only builds on important business skills but is also designed to apply these skills through an international study trip. The Louisville MBA is a 45 credit hour program, which students can complete in 20 months (five semesters). Students generally take three classes per semester, with course offerings in the program such as Financial Accounting, Global Business, and Operations Design and Analysis. The first four semesters include a preset sequence of 13 courses before students then finish the program with three elective courses in the final semester.
The international study trip is one of the unique aspects of the Louisville MBA program, with students gaining firsthand business know-how through a 10-day adventure, the cost of which is included in the program. The trip occurs in May and generally includes visits to more than one country. Previous destinations for the trip have included Argentina and Chile, Romania and Croatia, China and Taiwan, South Africa, and India and the United Arab Emirates. Elective credits may be used by students to pursue a graduate certificate, such as the Franchise Management certificate or the Distilled Spirits Business certificate. The University of Louisville is a military-friendly school, which allows active-duty servicemembers to skip the GMAT and to qualify for merit-based scholarships.
#8. UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY
The University of Kentucky is the largest university in the state, with over 30,000 total students and more than 160 different graduate programs. UK is home to an online Master of Business Administration degree program, which it refers to as the "Real-Time, Online MBA". The degree plan for the program can be designed for students to meet requirements in either two or three years. Students begin with courses such as Managerial Economics, Corporate Finance Policy, and Managing Effective organizations during their earlier semesters in the program. Later courses focus on elective work, or on health services related topics for the Leaders in Healthcare MBA. In total there are 36 credit hours of coursework required by the program, divided between nine core courses and three electives.
The personal statement for the program is on the topic of "Servant Leadership", covering the idea of a life focused on service that adheres to appropriate ethical and moral behavior. Candidates for the program should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75. Students who have not completed previous coursework in subjects such as economics or accounting will be required to complete preparatory courses. In addition to the program's online learning environment, students also have the option of attending classes in person or through a mixture of online and in-person coursework. Kentucky offers a One-Year MBA, Professional for Leaders in Healthcare, and a number of dual degree programs related to the MBA. There is also a Graduate Certificate in Improving Healthcare Value program available.
#9. MOREHEAD STATE UNIVERSITY
Morehead State University has a public radio service that serves over 20 counties throughout Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, through programming that is intended to be, "educational, informative, and entertaining." Morehead State also offers a 30 credit hour online Master of Business Administration program, which includes 21 hours of core courses and nine hours of electives. Students have the option of choosing between the general MBA track and the Health Systems Management track, which prepares students for leadership in the healthcare industry. MBA Core courses from the program include Marketing Administration, Leadership and Ethics, and Business Policies and Procedures. MBA elective options cover a wide range of topics, such as managerial communications, systems security, and women and men in management. The Health Systems Management track requires a total of 33 credit hours of coursework, as students complete two electives and two Health Core courses.
Students without undergraduate coursework in business may be admitted to the program on the condition of completing an appropriate number of prerequisite courses, as determined by the MBA program director. Applicants to the program are required to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Students with an undergraduate GPA above 3.0 or who have already earned a master's degree are not required to submit GMAT scores. The Health Systems Management track may also be taken outside of the MBA program as a graduate certificate program. Applicants to this program must have two years of relevant work experience in a healthcare or business position. MSU offers students a number of career support services, including resume and interview preparation, as well as job and internship placement services.
#10. MURRAY STATE UNIVERSITY
After each touchdown at a Murray State home football game, a thoroughbred racehorse, nicknamed "Racer One", does a full lap around the track surrounding the field. Murray State University has an online Master of Business Administration program, which begins with a preset series of seven core courses. Core courses from the program cover topics such as business analytics, accounting for decision making, and marketing planning and application. After completing the business core, students then have the option of choosing from a number of different concentration options, though they may also simply pursue a general MBA. Concentration options include Finance, Economic Development, and Global Communication, among others. The program ends with a capstone course entitled "Seminar in Strategic Management." The capstone course is designed to integrate functional business areas from each of a student's previous courses. Students work on applying their previous knowledge, acting as a manager rather than a researcher or an academic in the classroom.
Students whose undergraduate major is in a subject other than business have a number of different options for completing prerequisite courses for the MBA degree program. Students may take online MSU undergraduate courses, online community college courses, or courses offered through Ivy Software. Active-duty students stationed in places like Germany or South Korea are able to complete the programs, thanks to the fully online options. In addition to the 100% structure, classes are also taught at night and during the day, with the same experience and qualified faculty teaching each iteration of the program. Online tuition is the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. Murray State is home to one of the only 5% of business schools that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
#11. SULLIVAN UNIVERSITY
Sullivan University was the first for-profit university to receive accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Sullivan offers an online Master of Business Administration program, designed to focus on problem-solving, leadership, and communication. Students are required to complete 48 credit hours of coursework. Completion time varies based on the number of courses taken per term, but the program can be completed in 18 months. Thirty-six hours of coursework are dedicated to core courses such as Leadership and Team Development, Advanced Quantitative Methods, and Managerial Finance. There are also 12 hours of elective coursework that students can complete, and these courses can also be dedicated to the completion of an MBA concentration. The final course is an Integrative Management Capstone course, which students take during their final semester.
Students may pursue the following concentrations within the online MBA program: Hospitality Management, Public Management, Accounting, Conflict Management, Healthcare Management, and Strategic Human Capital Management. Each concentration requires students to take three four-credit classes such as Conflict and Culture and Conflict Coaching for Leaders if they pursue the Conflict Management concentration. Along with the online version of the MBA program, Sullivan also has MBA options available on-campus, at both its Lexington and Louisville locations. Sullivan's MBA is the largest online MBA program in Louisville, which is the largest city in the state of Kentucky. Some of the other core courses from the program are Managerial Communication Skills and Operations Strategy, and Managerial Economics.
#12. MIDWAY UNIVERSITY
Midway University is a Christian University, which is specifically affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Protestant denomination. Midway is home to a fully online Master of Business Administration program. The program is designed to build leaders prepared for a technologically-driven global workplace. The general MBA program requires 30 credit hours of coursework while students who chose to pursue a concentration in the program will require 33 credit hours. Midway University offers career-focused concentrations in particular business areas, such as Equine Management, Health Care Administration, Sport Management, as well as Tourism and Event Management. For the concentration option, core courses take up 18 of the required hours, while the final 15 hours are dedicated to elective coursework. There is also a Foundations of Graduate Business course that students without an undergraduate business background must take before beginning the MBA.
Applicants to the program are not required to submit scores for either the GRE or the GMAT. Students may transfer in up to six credit hours from a regionally accredited institution. Midway offers career support services for both on-campus and online students. The Student Success Center offers academic and professional support, with career services such as career-readiness training through education and experiential learning. Students receive this training through internships, job shadowing, career counseling, and through opportunities offered through Midway's corporate partners. Courses in the program are delivered through an accelerated eight-week format, which allows students more flexibility for scheduling and completing their courses.