Known as the Grand Canyon State, the state of Arizona features a population of just over 6.5 million residents. Besides its dry climate and beautiful sunsets, Arizona also happens to deliver some of the nation’s best online MBA programs. The need has never been greater for high-quality distance learning in business as so many professionals across the country would like to remain in their current positions while seeking an MBA. Because of this need, many of the state’s top-notch business schools have designed programs which offer online graduate students flexible scheduling and convenient coursework. Applicants are encouraged to begin the acceptance process by submitting academic and professional history to the business school and will often times allow students multiple start times each year. While some programs offer mentor-type relationships between staff and students, many have structured their curriculum around a cohort-based model in order to encourage team building and a solid base for networking.
There are several factors which make an online MBA the right choice for the business professional looking to develop their skills in business and leadership. While the average term of completion for a part-time distance MBA may be approximately two years, some students prefer to take a more accelerated approach and graduate in just one year while others may want to take a slower pace and graduate between four and five years. Many online MBAs are delivered as 100% online programs which never require students to visit a school campus. However, students preferring the chance to meet a staff of educators or work on special projects on-campus may be more interested in a hybrid MBA which includes short residencies throughout the degree’s completion. Of course, one of the most important features that students take note of is tuition cost and ROI potential of a program.
By weighing these factors, with others a swell, we have ranked the top three online MBA programs in Arizona. These three programs are true standouts above the rest when offering a solid education in business for the distance learner. Students can expect a high-quality curriculum delivered by a seasoned staff of instructors and will be able to enjoy the flexibility and convenience that an online degree provides.
Note: A detailed explanation of the methodology we used to determine the best online MBA programs in Arizona can be found at the end of the ranking.
#1 Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business – Tempe, Arizona
Consisting of five campuses located throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona State University was originally founded as the Territorial Normal School at Tempe in 1885, predating the establishment of Arizona as a state by 27 years. 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 Tempe, Arizona. Delivering degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, ASU oversees a student body of 51,869. Home of the Sun Devils and featuring Sparky the mascot, the official school colors of Arizona State are maroon and gold. The athletic department at ASU consists of men’s and women’s varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as members of the Pac-12 Conference.
Affordability Score: Expensive
OMBAT Ranking Score: 100.00
#2 University of Arizona Eller College of Management – Tucson, Arizona
Home of the Wildcats who wear the school colors of Cardinal Red and Navy Blue, the athletic department at the University of Arizona supports men’s and women’s varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as powerhouse members of the Pac-12 Conference. The University of Arizona is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Tempe, Arizona. The university delivers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the 43,161 students currently enrolled there. UA was chartered in 1885 as a result of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862. The University of Arizona receives its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission and features “Bear Down, Arizona” as its official school motto.
Affordability Score: Above Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 92.89
#3 Grand Canyon University Colangelo College of Business – Phoenix, Arizona
Established in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a four-year, private, for-profit institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Phoenix, Arizona. Operating under the school motto of “Find Your Purpose,” the university was originally founded as a nonprofit college in Prescott by the Arizona Southern Baptists. Receiving its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the university delivers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral and levels to the large student body of 75,834 currently enrolled. Home of the Antelopes, and featuring the mascot of Thunder the Antelope, the athletic department at GCU supports men’s and women’s varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as members of the Western Athletic Conference. The school’s official colors are purple, black, and white.
Affordability Score: Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 53.73
To find the top Online MBA programs in Arizona, a list of 470 distance MBA programs was obtained, and each program was evaluated first for a location in the state of Arizona, and then evaluated on the following five factors:
Estimated Tuition Cost (25%): Each MBA program is ranked based on the estimated total base tuition. All financial data was gathered from the most recent information offered on each program or school website. The data was calculated for the entirety of the degree, but does not included fees, books, or room and board; with the exception of programs that use all-inclusive figures. For schools that offer a lower in-state tuition rate, the in-state pricing is used in order to show the best possible Return on Investment. The final ranking score is based 25% on this calculated figure.
Based on this base tuition data, each program is given an Affordability Score:
Very Expensive = $100,000+
Expensive = $50,000-$99,999
Above Average = $30,000-$49,999
Average = $20,000-$29,999
Affordable = $15,000-$19,999
Very Affordable = $0-$14,999
Accreditation (25%): Accreditation plays a unique role in education. Accreditations signify which school has gone to extensive measures to reach high national and global standards in its research and delivered education. Each program in this top online MBA ranking is evaluated on whether it holds a regional accreditation from one of six institutions that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Additionally, business school accreditations affect an MBA’s brand and prestige, which can thus affect a student’s competitive advantage in the job market. Each school is ranked upon if the online MBA program is accredited from one of the top business accrediting institutions: IACBE, ACBSP, or AACSB. AACSB is widely regarded as the most prestigious business accreditation, and thus schools that hold this accreditation are given the highest marks. The final ranking score is base 25% on this calculated figure.
Average Base Salary (25%): The salary data is highlighted in this top online MBA ranking because it is important for prospective students to explore the effect a degree can have on a professional’s salary. The average base salary is collected from the 2018 Best Business School Ranking by US News and World Report. Programs without a recorded average base salary from US News and World Report was calculated at zero because of no available third-party data. The final ranking score is base 25% on this calculated figure.
Prestige (25%): The prestige for each program is calculated by evaluating rankings from some of the most prestigious educational rankings systems for online MBA programs: US News and World Report’s Online MBA Ranking, the Princeton Review’s Online MBA Ranking, the Financial Times’ Global Online MBA Ranking, and Quacquarelli Symonds’ Distance Online MBA Ranking. Each online MBA was evaluated on how many rankings included their program. The final ranking score is base 25% on this calculated figure.
All of the data for each five factors was weighted equally, averaged, and then calculated on a 100-point scale. This score is the OMBAT Ranking Score, which provides the ranking order for this list. By evaluating the tuition cost, accreditation, average base salary, and prestige, this ranking helps prospective students find the highest quality online MBA programs in Arizona.