Known as the birthplace of former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, Arkansas is home to over half-a-million acres of lakes and nearly 10,000 miles of streams and rivers. Arkansas contains “six national park sites, two-and-a-half million acres of national forests, seven national byways, three state scenic byways, and 50 state parks.” It’s the birth state of Johnny Cash and where Sam Walton started his Walmart empire. Arkansas is also a state which features some of the most respected and high-quality online MBAs in the nation. Many of the state’s most reputable universities were founded in the late 1800’s, however these schools are anything but antiquated as they have designed online degrees in leadership and business that have loads to offer the distance learner.
There has never been a better time to pursue an online MBA program in Arkansas, as many of the state’s top business schools make the acceptance process simple allowing students to submit past academic and professional experience records in order to get the process started. Most schools require just a few years of professional experience and an undergraduate degree awarded by an accredited college or university. Some schools even waive all GMAT or GRE requirements. Students looking for a convenient 100% online MBA will have many to choose from while those desiring short on-campus residencies for better networking can also find those in Arkansas.
The programs highlighted in this ranking offer a variety of course lengths and tuition rates, with three of the five programs featuring very affordable overall base tuition rates below $14,999. One constant throughout these programs is the assurance distance learners can have knowing that they are receiving a top-notch education from the state’s best educators. Each one of these programs is also backed by their business school’s stellar business accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Let this ranking of the best online MBA programs in Arkansas help guide you in the important decision of finding a degree that is the right fit for you.
Note: A detailed explanation of the methodology we used to determine the best online MBA programs in Arkansas can be found at the end of the ranking.
#1 Arkansas State University College of Business – Jonesboro, Arkansas
Home of the Red Wolves (formerly known as the Indians from 1931-2008) who wear the school colors of scarlet, black, and white, the athletic department at Arkansas State University supports men’s and women’s varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as powerhouse members of the Sun Belt Conference. Arkansas State is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The university delivers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the 14,085 students currently enrolled there. A-State was founded in 1909 as the first District Agricultural School by the Arkansas Legislature with the express intent of educating students for careers in agriculture. Arkansas State receives its regional accreditation through the Higher learning Commission and features “Educate, Enhance, Enrich” as its official school motto.
Affordability Score: Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 100.00
#2 University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business – Fayetteville, Arkansas
Established in 1871, the University of Arkansas is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Operating under the school motto of Veritate Duce Progredi (“To Advance wit Truth as our Leader”), the university was originally founded as Arkansas Industrial University as a result of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862 and also met the requirement listed in the state’s Constitution of 1868 claiming the establishment of a state university. Receiving its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the university delivers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the student body of 27,194 currently enrolled. Home of the Razorbacks and featuring the mascots Tusk and Big Red, the athletic department at UA supports men’s and women’s varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as members of the Southeastern Conference. The school’s official colors are cardinal and white.
Affordability Score: Above Average
OMBAT Ranking Score: 80.54
#3 University of Central Arkansas College of Business – Conway, Arkansas
The University of Central Arkansas was originally founded as the Arkansas State Normal School and opened its doors in 1907 after an act by the Arkansas State Legislature. The school went through several name changes over the years before settling as the University of Central Arkansas in 1975 to reflect its developing to the point of being a comprehensive, regional university. 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 Conway, Arkansas. Delivering degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, UCA oversees a student body of 11,487. Home of the Bears and Sugar Bears and featuring mascot Bruce D. Bear, the official school colors of the University of Central Arkansas are purple and gray. The athletic department at UCA consists of men’s and women’s varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division I level as members of the Southland Conference.
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 78.81
#4 Southern Arkansas University David F. Rankin College of Business – Magnolia, Arkansas
Home of the Muleriders who wear the school colors of royal blue and gold, the athletic department at Southern Arkansas University supports men’s and women’s varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division II level as members of the Great American Conference. Southern Arkansas University is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Magnolia, Arkansas. The university delivers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, and graduate levels to the 4,771 students currently enrolled there. SAU was established in 1909 as Third District Agricultural School with the express intent of educating high school students. The school would later change its name after receiving university status in 1976. Southern Arkansas receives its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission and features such student body traditions as “bed racing,” “Celebration of Lights,” and “Mulegating.”
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 78.73
#5 Henderson State University College of Business – Arkadelphia, Arkansas
One of Arkansas’ best online MBA programs is delivered by Henderson State University’s College of Business. This top-five program offers the distance learner a top-notch higher education in business without sacrificing flexibility and convenience.
Established in 1890, Henderson State University is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus located in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Operating under the school motto of “The School with a Heart,” the university was originally founded as Arkadelphia Methodist College by Confederate States Army Veteran Rev. John McLaughlin. The school would later be renamed to honor Trustee and businessman, Charles Christopher Henderson. Receiving its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the university delivers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, and graduate levels to the student body of 3,551 currently enrolled there. Home of the Reddies, the athletic department at Henderson State supports men’s and women’s varsity sports teams which compete at the NCAA Division II level as members of the Great American Conference. The school’s official colors are red and gray.
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 70.27
To find the top Online MBA programs in Arkansas, a list of 470 distance MBA programs was obtained, and each program was evaluated first for a location in the state of Arkansas, and then evaluated on the following five factors:
Estimated Tuition Cost (25%): Each program is partially ranked based on the estimated total base tuition cost. All financial data was taken from the most recent information given on each program or school website. The tuition 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 an important role in education. It helps prospective students identify which school has gone to extensive measures to reach high national and global standards in its research and delivered education. Each online MBA program in this list is ranked 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. Each school in this list is ranked on whether 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 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 program in Arkansas.