Master's in Business Administration programs, also known as MBA programs, train students in the personal and monetary aspects of business. Courses give students skills in managing individuals and teams of employees, so they are prepared to step into management and supervisory roles immediately after graduating. They also receive advanced training in high-level finance, economics, and accounting, meaning that they're not just prepared to organize people, but also make dynamic business decisions to respond to workplace and market issues. Even better, getting this training online is less expensive, more flexible, and just as rigorous as offline programs. So, let's look at the 24 Best Online MBAs in Illinois!
FINDING AN MBA DEGREE
MBA programs are generally divided into two camps: programs with more structure and programs with more flexibility. All online programs are flexible, in terms of allowing students to keep up professional and personal commitments while they're earning their degrees, but some programs still present students with a preset series of core courses and offer a smaller number of focused concentration areas. These programs are often based on a cohort structure, meaning that students progress through the sequence of courses in lock-step fashion. This level of guidance can be helpful for students from non-business backgrounds or who lack significant full-time work experience. The cohorts help to build personal and professional connections, while the set course sequence helps them to explore a wide range of business subjects. Once they graduate from the MBA, these students are no longer "catching up" in business, but are instead well prepared to fill a variety of important management roles.
The programs above are in contrast to those with more elective credits or a wider range of concentrations. These programs tend to be a good fit for students who have more academic or professional experience, and who therefore often have a stronger idea of their career objectives and professional interests. Students can earn specializations in areas as specific as Equine Management or Business Analytics. These programs sometimes also offer internship or global experience opportunities, which give students more chances to pursue their ideal career path. In this way, they're not just ready to apply for jobs when they graduate, they might have a full-time management position already waiting for them.
Members of both of these groups will find a strong job market when they graduate, as MBA degrees qualify students for positions such as Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this position has a median salary of more than $130,000!
RANKING THE 24 BEST ONLINE MBAS IN ILLINOIS
Online MBA Today uses eight metrics to grade each school: quality of online programs, from U.S. News & World Report; mid-career pay, from Payscale.com; student review scores, from Rate My Professor; aggregate reputation scores 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. UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS – URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
Urbana-Champaign's Master of Business Administration program also referred to as the "iMBA" is a fully online, career-centered degree path. Courses are delivered in two steps, with basic course content delivered through the online platform Coursera, after which students complete the enhanced version of the same course through Illinois. The core curriculum starts with Everyday Leadership, Designing & Managing Organizations, and Strategic Management, before progressing to cover topics relating to economics, analysis, value chain, and financial management. Students then choose one of eight concentrations to pursue. Some of these are Business Analytics, Digital Marketing, Innovation, and Global Challenges in Business.
Students entering the MBA program represent more than 90 countries and 46 U.S. states. They come from a wide variety of industries, including nonprofits, major corporations, start-ups, and the U.S. military. Applicants to the program are expected to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, as well as three or more years of operational or management experience. GRE or GMAT scores are highly recommended, but not required for admission. The next cohort for the program is being admitted for January 2020, with Priority 2 and Final application deadlines on Sept. 13 and Nov. 22, 2019, respectively. Once they choose a specialization, students may take additional courses related to the above-mentioned core topic areas (e.g., financial management or strategic management).
#2. MCKENDREE UNIVERSITY
McKendree University's online Master of Business Administration program is structured around integrated learning experiences aimed at developing problem-solving and team-building skills. Courses are delivered in eight-week sessions, with students taking one course per session. MBA students are required to complete 12 courses, for a total of 36 credit hours. Students choose to pursue either a general MBA or an MBA with a specialization in Human Resource Management; the track of courses is pre-set for both variations of the program. The initial courses in the program are the same for both tracks: Accounting for Managers, Economics of the Firm, and Legal Issues for Managers.
Students may transfer up to 12 credit hours from another accredited institution. Students who lack undergraduate coursework in accounting, marketing, microeconomics, and/or statistics are required to take foundation courses before beginning the MBA curriculum. The minimum GPA required for program applicants is 3.0, and applicants must submit three letters of recommendation. Students opting for the Human Resource Management specialization replace three of the later core courses with classes such as Strategic HR and Globalization. The capstone course at the end of the program involves the preparation of a business plan to showcase students' skills in leadership and executive decision-making.
#3. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS – CARBONDALE
Southern Illinois – Carbondale offers an online Master of Business Administration program designed to be completed in only 23 months. Courses are delivered in a modular format, and students participate in a peer cohort that helps to foster interaction and collaboration. The online program includes 16 courses, each of which lasts eight weeks and is divided into one-week modules (eight per class). Students take one course at a time, with two courses during the fall and spring sessions, and one course in the summer. Each semester includes core content courses, focused on business subject matter, and one managerial skills course focused on leadership development and career advancement.
There are three concentration options within the program. Students who wish to take a wide range of courses may pursue a general MBA. Students who have a strong idea of their professional plans may opt to pursue a concentration in Agribusiness Economics or Analytics for Managers. Each student cohort in the program has at least two teaching assistants who assist both faculty and students in the delivery and completion of coursework. Sample courses from the program include core courses such as Seminar on Career Effectiveness and Critical Issues for Business. There are also concentration courses such as Agricultural Development, Data Science and Analytics for Managers, and Resource Allocation in the Agribusiness Firm.
#4. WESTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
Western Illinois' Master of Business Administration program can be completed in as few as 18 months. MBA students must complete 33 credit hours of coursework and have the option of choosing a concentration in either Management or Supply Chain Management. The core curriculum begins with courses such as Corporate Finance Reporting, Economics for Managers, and Financial Management. Students then progress through Corporate Information Systems and Decision Making for Global Markets, before arriving at their final capstone course. Four additional elective and concentration courses are required, along with the capstone, Strategic Management. Applicants with at least a 3.0 GPA and GMAT score of at least 500 are automatically admitted to the program, as are students with an AACSB-accredited business degree and a GPA of 3.6 or higher.
Program start dates are available in the fall, spring, and summer. In addition to their main coursework, students are encouraged to pursue internships and independent research opportunities, where they can learn to apply their coursework practically. Hybrid versions of the program are available for students who want to blend online and face-to-face learning opportunities. The hybrid version of the program also allows students to pursue additional concentration opportunities in Accounting and Information Systems (the Information Systems concentration was recently added, starting with the 2018 cohort). The face-to-face requirement for this iteration of the program is one face-to-face class every two weeks during each eight-week term.
#5. CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY – CHICAGO
Concordia University – Chicago is home to a one-year online Master of Business Administration program. This one-year degree is designed around Concordia's four core pillars of social responsibility, critical thinking, communication, and global interconnectedness. There are 12 courses in the MBA curriculum, including offerings such as Managing Human Capital, Strategy for Innovation, and Global Marketing in the Digital Era. On top of the core courses, students may also take electives related to one of ten concentrations, including Chief School Business Official, Finance, Health Care Management, School Business Management, and Leadership and Change Management.
A number of Concordia's MBA specializations can also be completed as MBA certificate programs, including Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Not-for-Profit Management, and Sports Management. Applicants are not required to submit GMAT scores; however, to be considered for full admission, students should have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.8 or have completed a master's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students beneath this standard may be granted either provisional or probationary admission to the program, which will need to be upgraded to full admission by the end of the first semester in the program for them to continue.
#6. EASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
Eastern Illinois University offers an online Master of Business Administration degree that includes 33 credit hours of coursework delivered across 11 courses. Online MBA course offerings are designed to accommodate a two-year degree plan, with at least two MBA classes offered during each eight-week session. Sample courses from the program include Accounting from a Management Perspective, Quantitative Modeling, and Operations Management. The final course in the program is a Management Simulation course, where students use case studies and simulation exercises to apply MBA coursework to practical, real-world business problems. The program's admissions requirements are based on past GPA and work experience, in lieu of GMAT or GRE scores.
There are five degree programs offered within the Eastern Illinois MBA program: an Applied Research option, Research option, GIS option, Accountancy concentration, or a dual degree program that pairs the MBA with a Master of Science in Cybersecurity. Each option requires students to complete seven MBA core courses and then draws the final four from areas related to the concentration. For students who do not have prerequisite coursework in business or related subjects, EIU offers online learning modules consisting of 25-40 hours of course materials. Modules are linked as prerequisites to MBA courses and are offered "on-demand," to allow students to plan on qualifying for specific MBA courses each term. The opening series of module courses in the program is made up of Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and Business Ethics.
#7. UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
The UIC Flexible Master of Business Administration program allows students to take classes at night, online, or on weekends. Students set their own pace, working full- or part-time, and can earn an MBA degree in as few as 18 months. The MBA program covers 54 credit hours of coursework, split among 26 hours of core courses and 28 hours of electives. The seven core courses cover marketing, microeconomics, organizational behavior, and financial accounting. Students choose from one of 12 concentration options – such as business analytics, finance, management information systems, or real estate – to determine their elective courses. Students may also work with an advisor to create a self-directed concentration.
Chicago offers a number of joint degree programs that can be paired with a student's MBA. These joint programs include a Master of Science in Accounting, a Master of Science in Information Systems, a Doctor of Science, and a Master of Public Health, among others. The business bachelor's program at UIC includes a course called "Improv and Leadership." It uses an improvisational theater workshop to help students learn the keys to experimenting with the many facets of their executive persona and presence. The graduate program offers study abroad opportunities for students interested in global business, including a two-week course in Brazil and a four-week "Know Europe" course. Program applicants are expected to have at least two years of full-time work experience.
#8. NORTH PARK UNIVERSITY
North Park University's Master of Business Administration program is available fully online. Courses have no set weekly class times, thus students may choose to study when and where it is most convenient for them. The MBA includes 13 core courses and five electives, for a total of 36 credit hours. The degree program can be completed is as few as 21 months, but most students complete the program in around two and a half years. Core courses from the program include Organizational Behavior and Ethics, Managerial Accounting, Microeconomics for Managers, and Multi-Sector Convergence. The final course is an MBA capstone that is built around a multi-round simulation game that requires the integration of knowledge from much of the previous coursework.
Alumni of the North Park MBA program work with a wide variety of businesses, such as the Chicago Board of Trade, Motorola, Pfizer, and JPMorgan Chase. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 and who do not already hold a graduate degree are required to submit GRE/GMAT scores. Admission to the program is granted throughout the year, so there is no set application deadline. Students may begin classes in August, October, January, March, May, or July. North Park also offers graduate certificate programs in Church Administration, Conflict Management, Accounting, Healthcare Management, and a number of other fields. Alumni from North Park business graduate programs are eligible for a 50% tuition discount on any future business or nonprofit graduate courses they take through North Park.
#9. UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT SPRINGFIELD
The University of Illinois at Springfield offers students a blended format Master of Business Administration program. There are eight core courses, most of which meet on weeknights on the UIS campus. In addition, students complete four elective courses, which are offered in online, blended, and on-campus formats. Some of the program's core courses include managerial Finance, Business Perspectives, Organizational Behavior, and Business Strategy. The Business Strategy course is generally the last course that students take in the program and is designed to focus on the holistic oversight of corporate operations, teaching students how to weigh stakeholders' expectations against legal and ethical considerations.
Prerequisite course requirements for the program include administrative accounting, financial accounting, economics for administration, and introductory economics. UIS also boasts a wide range of graduate certificate programs, including Applied Finance, Healthcare Management, and Operations and Supply Chain Management. Each certificate requires students to complete three courses (nine credit hours). Students are expected to have an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5 and should submit three reference letters showcasing substantial mid-level or higher managerial and supervisory experience. Other courses students in the program take include Information Technology Management, Production and Operations Management, and Management Accounting.
#10. LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO
Loyola University Chicago is home to an online Master of Business Administration program. The Loyola Chicago program operates on a 10-week quarter system, and students may enroll in the program beginning with any quarter. Courses are divided into various subgroups and include core courses on ethics, analytics, and global perspectives; advanced core courses; electives/concentration courses; and a concluding integrative capstone. Advanced core options allow students to delve more deeply into one of four subject matter areas, such as economics or finance. Students may also choose to pursue a concentration, such as Risk Management, International Business, Entrepreneurship, Derivative Markets, Information Systems Management, Marketing, Business Ethics, or Accounting, or opt not to pursue any concentration focus by choosing to take any four elective courses. The final capstone course is Strategy and Leadership in Organizations.
Students with a sufficient undergraduate GPA in business or a related field, or those who hold a graduate degree or professional certification related to business, are not subject to a GRE/GMAT score requirement for admission. The Loyola Chicago Business School has more than 30,000 alumni, many of whom occupy a wide range of leadership positions across the Chicago area and in the national and global business markets.
#11. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY – EDWARDSVILLE
Edwardsville's online Master of Business Administration program offers five specialization options for students: general, management information systems, management, business analytics, and project management. Program courses cover 24 credit hours, while elective/concentration courses cover another 12. Program courses include Managerial Economics, Decision Making in Organizations, and Information Systems and Technology. Edwardsville also offers MBA students the opportunity to study international business abroad via either a 10- or 14-day travel study course. Previous excursions have taken students to Mainland China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, and Italy. Semester and summer abroad options are also available to MBA students.
Graduates of the MBA program have gone on to pursue careers in banking and insurance; federal, state, and local government; and upper-level business and nonprofit management. Students with an undergraduate degree in accounting supplement the program's accounting course (Accounting for MBAs) with an additional elective course. Program applicants should have a minimum GPA of at least 2.5. Work experience is not required to apply to the program, but sufficient work experience coupled with high academic achievement can earn an applicant a GRE/GMAT score waiver. International students are ineligible to receive a student visa to enroll in the fully online version of the Edwardsville MBA program.
#12. GREENVILLE UNIVERSITY
Greenville University offers an online Master of Business Administration program that includes hands-on learning experiences and professional development opportunities. Students complete 13 courses, which generally takes around two years. Coursework begins with foundational subject matter, such as Accounting Management, Strategic Management, and Organization Theory and Practice. One of the focal points of the program is the opportunity for students to complete an action research project. In the final course of the program, Signature Learning Experience, students apply their new body of knowledge to design and implement organizational changes at an organization of their choice.
On top of the action research project, Greenville MBA students have the chance to interview current business managers and develop a portfolio of real-world case studies. As a Christian university, Greenville emphasizes the importance of values-based learning, which includes integrating Christian values into the program and its courses. This includes a Values-Based Leadership course, which focuses on Christian leadership values such as "authenticity, inspiration, motivation, and development of trust within an organization." Students applying to the program must be actively employed or involved with a paid or volunteer position that includes enough professional responsibility for students to be able to complete their Signature Learning Experience course project. Greenville offers additional online master's programs in Management, Organizational Leadership, and Curriculum and Instruction.
#13. LEWIS UNIVERSITY
Lewis University offers an online Master of Business Administration program designed to meet the needs of students from any undergraduate background. Courses are delivered in an accelerated 8-week format with five eight-week-long course sessions offered each year (two each in the fall and spring, and one during the summer). The MBA includes 36 credit hours of coursework (not including foundation courses), split among 24 hours of core courses, nine hours of electives, and a three-credit elective course. There are 12 structured concentration options offered in the MBA program, covering subject areas such as Project Management, Social Media Marketing, International Business, Information Security, and Healthcare Informatics. Students also have the option of creating a personalized concentration, in consultation with their faculty advisor.
Most students in the program (60%) are female, and the average age of students entering the program is 31. The MBA program has seven foundational courses that are designed to prepare students for management-level coursework. Students with sufficient undergraduate coursework in foundational topics may be able to waive these courses. The MBA program includes two options for students who wish to pursue dual graduate degrees, earning an MBA alongside either a Master of Science in Information Security or a Master of Science in Nursing. Admissions are considered on a rolling basis, meaning that students can apply for entry at any time. Both blended and on-campus versions of the program are available, in addition to the fully online format.
#14. GOVERNORS STATE UNIVERSITY
Governors State University's online Master of Business Administration program can lead to either an MBA in General Management or an MBA in Supply Chain Management. Each of these programs can be completed in as few as 18 months. The graduate core requires students to complete 36 credit hours; among these, 24 are dedicated to core courses such as Strategic Management Accounting, Financial Management, and International Business. Students then select three courses (nine hours) to serve as electives/specialization work. Specializations in the program include Business Analytics, Leadership, and Supply Chain Management, among others. The program ends with a final project, completed in the Strategic Management in a Global Context course.
Program applicants must submit either GRE or GMAT scores; this testing requirement may be waived for students with relevant certifications, previous graduate degrees, or an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher in the final 60 credit hours of their undergraduate coursework. MBA students also complete a two-semester seminar series in professional development. These seminars do not count toward the program's credit hours requirement, but they are designed to improve students' interpersonal and professional skills, which increases their post-graduate marketability and success. Students complete these seminars during the first two semesters after they have met all foundation and prerequisite competency requirements.
#15. JUDSON UNIVERSITY
Judson University is home to an online Master of Business Administration program that pairs students with 15 peers in a tightly knit cohort designed to expand personal and professional networks. The 36 credit hours of courses can be completed in as few as 18 months. Students may also choose to pursue a concentration in either Organizational Leadership or Not for Profit Administration. Core coursework in the program includes Managerial Economics, Marketing, International Business, and Financial Management. Sample courses from the Organizational Leadership concentration include Organizational Culture and Politics, Leading High-Performance Teams, and Ethical Leadership. Both concentrations comprise four courses (12 credits) of the total program.
Courses are offered online and on-campus in the evenings. Students can expect to spend roughly 15 hours per week on coursework outside of class. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue careers in positions such as Senior Director of Marketing, Human Resources Manager, VP of Operations, and Computer and Information Systems Manager. MBA students with children may take advantage of free daycare offered at Judson's Rockford campus. MBA program applicants are required to hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university, have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and two years of full-time work experience.
#16. NATIONAL LOUIS UNIVERSITY
National Louis University offers three online Master of Business Administration degrees: a traditional MBA program and MBAs specializing in Nonprofit Management or Entrepreneurship. The programs are offered in a flexible format that is designed for professionals from a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds, and to meet the professional development needs of adult learners. A total of 39 credit hours are required to complete the degree, which is divided among 21 hours of core courses, nine hours of concentration courses, six hours of gateway courses, and a 3-credit capstone course. National Louis offers its MBA fully online, but blended and on-site program options are also available.
Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher will have the three-reference requirement waived. Additional concentrations beyond the three listed above are available for students enrolled in the on-campus or blended versions of the program. NLU has campuses in Florida and Illinois, both of which are available to MBA students. Alumni of the program work in a wide variety of careers, including positions in budget analysis, management consulting, personal financial advising, and entrepreneurial ventures.
#17. DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY
Dominican University's Master of Business Administration program is available 100% online, with 40 credit hours of coursework required for graduation. Core courses, totaling 28 hours, such as Economics of the Firm; Business, Ethics, and Society; and Accounting for Managers. The other 12 hours, comprising four courses, are drawn from elective and concentration course offerings. Each student must choose at least one course with an international focus. Concentration areas from the program include Accounting, Data Analytics, Finance, Health Care Administration, International Business, Leadership, and Marketing. Students who complete the MBA program are eligible to return as a "student-at-large" at any point to complete an additional concentration.
Applicants to the program need two letters of recommendation, along with satisfactory scores on the GRE or GMAT. GMAT/GRE waivers are available for applicants with more than six years of work experience, and for those with previous graduate degrees or sufficient academic performance in an AACSB-accredited business program. Dominican also notes that GRE/GMAT scores are an important factor in determining merit scholarships. Students may enter the program at any one of four points during the year: the fall term (August), spring term (January), first summer term (May), or second summer term (July). Students may transfer up to six semester hours of coursework into the program.
#18. OLIVET NAZARENE UNIVERSITY
The Olivet Nazarene University's Master of Business Administration program is an online degree program offered in 18- or 24-month formats for full- or part-time students. Classes are delivered in an accelerated 8-week format, with requirements for the degree totaling 36 credit hours. The program begins with courses covering topics such as Professional Communication, Managerial Accounting, Data Acquisition and Analysis, and Managerial Finance. Students then choose from concentration areas including Corporate Communications, Nonprofit Management, and Leadership. Each concentration requires students to complete three preset courses in the relevant subject area, which are generally taken with the capstone toward the end of the program.
Olivet Nazarene offers international immersion course options as a part of its MBA curriculum. These courses are designed to give students the chance to experience the intersections of business, faith, and culture. Recent trips have taken students to the United Arab Emirates, Prague (Czech Republic), and Mainland China and Hong Kong. Olivet Nazarene is a Christian university; its curriculum includes values-based elements that consider how faith intersects with business. Start dates for the program are available in October, January, March, May, and July. Olivet Nazarene also offers an online Master's degree in Organizational Leadership. Concentration areas from above may also be pursued as three-course graduate certificate programs outside of the MBA.
#19. BENEDICTINE UNIVERSITY
The Benedictine Master of Business Administration can be completed in just one and a half years. The minimum credit requirement for the program is 48 credit hours (in addition to as many as 16 additional hours of required foundational coursework, depending on the student's undergraduate academic background). Core coursework includes classes relating to the managerial process such as Operations Management and Leadership & Ethics in a Global Environment. Students then choose 12 credit hours of elective courses, which are often related to a specialty area such as Accounting or Internet Marketing. Applications to the program are reviewed on a rolling basis, so prospective students may apply at any time.
Benedictine lists more than 31,000 active MBA alumni; more than 95% of them report that the program prepared them for their current career. All students must complete four foundation courses before beginning the MBA curriculum, but these may be waived for students with an undergraduate business background. To complete the program in 1.5 years, a student must be registered full-time, which requires taking two courses at a time. Many students choose to take only one course per term, thus extending the time to completion to between 24 and 30 months. Benedictine also offers a dual Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior program, which generally takes around four years to complete. Students may waive courses related to the subject matter in which they have a professional qualification, such as a Project Management or Certified Public Accountant certification.
#20. AMERICAN INTERCONTINENTAL UNIVERSITY
American Intercontinental University is home to a Master of Business Administration program offered both online and at its campuses in Atlanta and Houston. This is a 48 credit hour program that comprises eight courses. Students begin with four core business classes: Global Financial Management, Business Research, Managerial Approach to Marketing, and Strategic Management. The final four courses (six credit hours each) come from the student's area of emphasis. Emphasis options in the program include Finance, Project Management, Technology Management, and Accounting, among others. The program's capstone course is Strategic Management, which is centered around advanced research and creative problem-solving.
American Intercontinental also offers a specialized, one-year online MBA program. Students use a personalized learning platform, Intellipath, which allows them to skip lessons about information they already know and to focus on gaining new knowledge and skills. Other specialization options not listed above include Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management, Management, Marketing, and Operations Management. AIU offers other online graduate degree programs related to these fields, such as a Master's in Healthcare Management. The program's four initial core courses may also vary, depending on the specialization a student wishes to pursue. Additional core courses cover topics such as Leadership and Ethics and the Legal Aspects of Business Decisions.
#21. UNIVERSITY OF SAINT FRANCIS
The University of Saint Francis offers an online Master of Business Administration program that can be completed in as few as 12 months. The program is designed to focus on values-based decision making and offers students six start dates each year. Courses are delivered through 8-week sessions, and students complete a total of 12 courses (36 credit hours) to earn an MBA degree. The curriculum for the MBA is pre-set, with students starting the program with Managerial Economics, Accounting, and Management. Later classes build on these and include Franciscan Values and Ethics in Business, Leading Change, and the capstone course of the program, Business Policy and Strategy.
Each online student is assigned a dedicated success coach who works to assist him or her by providing resources for class projects, facilitating communication with instructors and staff, and providing connections to career services. Saint Francis also offers students a 24/7 online tutoring service, known as "SmarThinking." The tutoring service features both asynchronous video tutorials and tutoring and writing sessions for any degree program every Sunday through Thursday. There is also an alumni mentoring program, through which current graduate students can connect with alumni from their program. Graduating in 12 months requires students to take two courses at a time, while part-time status (one course at a time) doubles the completion time to 24 months.
#22. DEPAUL UNIVERSITY
DePaul University offers a Master of Business Administration program that can be taken in a hybrid, weekend format. Students meet at DePaul's Loop campus in Chicago every other weekend and complete online coursework between class sessions. Core coursework is completed with the same cohort of students and uses a curriculum that prioritizes skills related to management and leadership. The weekend MBA generally takes students two years to complete. In addition to core courses, such as Financial Accounting and Economics for Decision-Making, DePaul offers 14 concentration areas for MBA students to choose from; some of these are Hospitality Leadership, Applied Economics, and Real Estate Finance & Investment.
Applicants to the weekend MBA program should have at least two years of full-time, post-graduate work experience. Class sizes in the program are kept small, with an average student to teacher ratio of 12:1. The program is designed to broaden students' personal and business perspectives through diverse classroom interactions and opportunities such as short-term study abroad seminars. DePaul has more than 65,000 business alumni, and Chicago itself is home to more than 400 major corporate headquarters. In addition to its weekend MBA program, DePaul offers a full-time MBA and an evening MBA. The full-time MBA has no work experience requirement, while the evening MBA is generally intended for those with two or more years of work experience.
#23. AURORA UNIVERSITY
Aurora's University's Master of Business Administration can be completed in as little as one year. It is a 36 credit hour program with courses lasting eight weeks each. The first 21 hours of the program are dedicated to core courses, such as Corporate Finance; Applied Research, Insights, and Evaluation; and Marketing Management. The next 15 hours are dedicated to electives. Elective courses cover a wide range of topic areas, including economics, human resources, and analytics. Students may choose to take a Leadership Course Series that includes Leading Organizational Development, Leading Strategically, and Leading Teams.
Program applicants are expected to hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university and have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Students beneath this GPA threshold may be considered on an individual basis and will be required to submit a personal statement along with other application materials. These students may be required to submit additional letters of recommendation, or to schedule an interview with the program director. Students may transfer some graduate credits earned at accredited institutions from classes where they earned a grade of "B" or better. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue careers as advertising executives, consultants, marketing analysts, and brand specialists.
#24. LAKE FOREST GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
Lake Forest offers a Leadership Master of Business Administration program, which may include a mixture of evening, online, and weekend classes. Courses use learning techniques such as facilitated discussions, case studies, computer simulations, and role-playing exercises to keep learning dynamic. The MBA curriculum includes 13 core courses and three electives, which lead to students earning three leadership graduate certificates along with the MBA degree. Students typically take four courses each from their chosen certificate areas, such as Enterprise Leadership, Management Analytics, and Strategy and Execution. They also choose three electives and complete a Strategic Management capstone.
Students have up to six years to complete the requirements for the degree, but these may be completed in as few as 18 months. During the capstone course, students work to create a business strategy plan and work to execute the plan by taking on the role of CEO/General Manager. The program requires an admissions interview, and students may submit either an updated resume or link their application to a "robust LinkedIn profile." Applicants must also submit one letter of recommendation. In addition to the certificate areas listed above, students may pursue concentrations in Healthcare, Finance, Global Business, and Marketing.