What do athletes Randy Moss, Jerry West, and Deron Williams have in common with celebrities Don Knotts, Steve Harvey, Brad Paisley, and John Corbett? They all hail from the state of West Virginia. The state of West Virginia was established on June 20, 1863 as the 35th state in the Union after the state of Virginia seceded in 1861. West Virginia’s natural resources played a pivotal role during the Reconstruction and helped stoke the fires of the Industrial Revolution with large amounts of bituminous coal found in its mountains.
The state’s rugged terrain earned it the nickname The Mountain State and today many people seeking outdoor adventures take advantage of the state’s opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, camping, and skiing. It doesn’t take long to drive through West Virginia, as it is the 10th smallest state land-wise in the U.S.
While coal mining still plays a major role in the state’s economy, “declining coal production and low energy prices in recent years have seriously hurt the state. Today, mining safety and ecological concerns are major challenges to West Virginia, which still produces the majority of the coal used in other states. Despite an improvement over the last year, the state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. After taking a hit in 2016, mining and logging jobs increased about five percent in 2017. Jobs in the construction industry also grew in West Virginia, while employment in information services and trade, transportation and utilities saw declines. U.S. jobs have increased by two percent, while West Virginia has seen almost a one percent dip in employment, with the sharpest decreases in mining and logging jobs.”
While the state population is just over 1.8 million, West Virginia‘s most populated cities are Charleston (the capital), Huntington, Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Wheeling. Geographically, West Virginia shares borders with Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. “The maximum elevation in West Virginia is 4,863 feet (1,482 meters) at Spruce Knob, in the east. The lowest point is 247 feet (75 meters) at Harpers Ferry, located on a steep tongue of land rising above the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. The land is rugged, ranging from hilly to mountainous, and there are no extensive expanses of level land. The state has two panhandles, one knifing northward between Pennsylvania and Ohio, the other eastward between Maryland and Virginia.”
Home to some excellent colleges and universities, West Virginia also delivers some of the nation’s best online Master’s of Business Administration programs. There is no doubting the Master’s of Business Administration continues to be the most respected degree for professionals seeking to develop leadership skills in business. What you may not know is that the online format for this program continues to offer more flexibility and convenience for students seeking a high-quality graduate degree in business leadership.
The advantages are huge. Most online curriculums are identical to those offered in the classroom while many business schools provide the same access to mentoring and tutoring to distance learners as classroom attenders enjoy. Business professionals within online MBA programs often begin applying the concepts covered in the classroom simultaneously in their work environments.
There are many variables to consider while researching online MBA programs. For that reason, we have compiled the top three online Master’s of Business Administration degrees in The Mountain State. We hope this ranking of West Virginia’s best online MBAs will be a useful tool as you research the program that is right for you.
Note: A detailed explanation of the methodology we used to determine the best online MBA programs in West Virginia can be found at the end of the ranking.
#1 Marshall University Lewis College of Business – Huntington, West Virginia
Marshall University’s Lewis College of Business features an online Master’s of Business Administration. This 46-credit hour program is backed by the AACSB and is very affordable, making it the perfect degree for the budget-minded distance learner.
Home of the Thundering Herd and featuring the mascot Marco, Marshall University is a four-year, public institution of higher learning with a main campus situated in Huntington, West Virginia. The athletic department of the school supports men’s and women’s varsity sports teams that compete at the NCAA Division I level as members of Conference USA. The university delivers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the 13,246 students currently enrolled there. The school was established in 1837 as Marshall Academy, named after Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall. Over the years the school has seen hardships: it was closed through much of the 1860’s as a result of the Civil War, it was badly flooded by the Ohio River overflowing in 1937, and the football team and coaching staff died tragically on Southern Airways Flight 932 in 1970. Marshall receives its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission.
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 100.00
#2 American Public University School of Business – Charles Town, West Virginia
An online MBA is delivered at American Public University’s School of Business. This top-three, very affordable program offers the distance learner a highly-accredited education in business.
Established in 2002, the roots of American Public University are found in the establishing of American Military University in 1991 by Major James P. Etter of the Marines. While AMU was meant to educate military personnel, APU was established to educate civilians interested in public service. Receiving its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission, the university delivers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels to the student body of 46,420 currently enrolled there. Home of the Volunteers, the school’s official motto is “Educating those who serve.” With a headquarters in Charles Town, West Virginia, the school’s official colors are blue and gray.
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 97.07
#3 West Liberty University Gary E. West College of Business – West Liberty, West Virginia
Home of the Hilltoppers, West Liberty University receives its regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission. The athletic department at the university supports 19 men’s and women’s varsity sports teams that compete at the NCAA Division II level as members of the Mountain East Conference. WL is a four-year, public institution of higher learning delivering degrees at the associate, undergraduate, and graduate levels to the 2,443 students currently enrolled there. The university was founded over 25 year before West Virginia entered the Union in 1837 as West Liberty Academy. West Liberty was named after the town it was established in, which got its name as the westernmost point of the liberty put in place by the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The school’s official colors are black and gold.
Affordability Score: Very Affordable
OMBAT Ranking Score: 96.99
To find the top Online MBA programs in West Virginia, a list of over 490 online MBA programs was collected, and each program was examined first for a location in the state of West Virginia, and then ranked on the following factors:
Estimated Tuition Cost (25%): Each online MBA was assessed to find the estimated total base tuition cost. Data was gathered from the most recent tuition information given on each program or school website. The base tuition was calculated for the whole degree program, but does not included fees, books, or room and board; with the exception of programs that use all-inclusive figures. For colleges that offer a lower in-state tuition, the in-state pricing is used. Twenty-five percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this 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, for it attests to which school has attained and upheld high national and global standards in its research and delivered education. Each online MBA program in this ranking is analyzed on whether it holds a regional accreditation from one of the six institutions that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Additional business accreditations affect an MBA’s prestige and brand name, which can then affect a graduate’s competitive advantage in the job market. Each school is ranked on if the online MBA holds an accreditation from one of the top business accrediting institutions: ACBSP, IACBE, or AACSB. AACSB is widely regarded as the gold standard of business accreditation in the world, and thus schools that hold this accreditation are given the highest scores. Twenty-five percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this figure.
Average Base Salary (25%): The average base salary is highlighted in this ranking list because it gives prospective students the chance to explore the affect an online MBA degree can have on a graduate’s salary. This salary data is collected from the 2018 Best Business School Ranking by US News and World Report. Programs without a recorded average base salary from this list was calculated at zero because of no available third-party data. Twenty-five percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this figure.
Prestige (25%): The prestige for each degree is calculated by evaluating lists 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 ranking lists included their program. Twenty-five percent of the final ranking score is calculated from this figure.
All of this criteria 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 West Virginia.