A Master of Business Administration, or MBA, degree comes with two different, but equally important, sets of skills. First, students learn how to make dynamic, long-term financial decisions for a wide range of businesses and in a variety of domestic and international markets. Second, students practice leadership and management techniques that allow them to manage diverse teams of employees. When these two skill-sets are combined, they produce business professionals ready to step into management – and even executive – positions at firms across the globe. Thanks to advances in online education, students can now earn an MBA degree at a fraction of the cost, and with far more flexibility, through an online MBA program.
FINDING AN MBA DEGREE
MBA degree programs have a number of distinguishing factors to which students should pay attention, to ensure that they are choosing the best program to fit their personal and professional needs. While many schools are designed for professionals looking for flexible graduate programs, some programs include on-campus elements that may be more convenient for local students than for international students, or those living across the country. The on-campus commitment varies but can include as little as an introductory orientation at the start of the program or feature classes that are mostly offered on campus in the evening, rather than fully online. Online course delivery can also vary by program, with some programs using asynchronous delivery via recordings and online software that allows students to access and complete course materials at any time. Other programs may require students to be available at certain hours for live course sessions or to complete final exams toward the end of a term.
Students should consider whether or not a program offers electives or concentrations in the area of business they are most interested in pursuing after they graduate. Most programs offer concentrations in areas such as Human Resource Management, Finance, and Health Care Management. Other programs may have many further options, possibly even offering highly specialized degrees in Sport Management or Equestrian Management (for those looking to go into the horse business). More specialized courses mean more specific expertise in a given subject area, which is great for students who have a strong idea of their ideal career path. Students who are less sure, or want a more diverse business education, may benefit from programs that have a general emphasis MBA or that preset their entire curriculum. Students with this broad base will have a wider pool of job possibilities after they graduate.
RANKING THE 15 BEST ONLINE MBAS IN KANSAS
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. EMPORIA STATE UNIVERSITY
Emporia State University is the third-oldest public university in the state of Kansas. ESU is home to an online Master of Business Administration program made up of 11 courses totalling 33 credit hours. This requirement is divided among 21 hours of core courses, nine hours of electives, and a three-credit accounting course. Core courses cover managerial economics, advanced financial management, and marketing management. Students select three elective courses from a group of options including Systems Analysis and Design, Business Analytics, and Consumer Behavior. The program ends with a Business Policy & Strategic Management capstone, which integrates all of the core coursework that students have completed throughout the program. The required accounting course is called "Accounting Information for Management."
Program applicants are expected to have at least a 2.65 GPA in their last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Students must also meet the requirement set in the formula (200 x undergrad GPA) + GMAT => 1500 (or equivalent scores on the GRE). Applicants with more than three years of management experience, who have already completed a terminal degree, or who earned a 3.5 GPA or greater in a business major may have the GMAT score requirement waived. Students whose undergraduate degree is not in business are required to complete an additional six credit hours of foundation courses at the start of the program. Emporia's MBA offers six start dates throughout the year, two during each semester: fall, spring, and summer.
#2. UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
The University of Kansas is home to more than 28,000 students, making it one of the largest universities in the state. UK offers an online Professional Master of Business Administration that can be completed in as few as 27 months. Students choose one of three key areas of expertise to concentrate on in the program: finance, management, and leadership, or marketing. The overall requirement for the degree is 14 courses (42 credit hours), split among ten core courses and four focus area courses. Core topics cover managing people, statistics, business law and ethics, and international business. Concentration areas have different levels of flexibility when it comes to electives. Some concentrations preset the four courses, while others allow students to choose some of their electives. Each course in the program is eight weeks long.
The program cohort from November 2018 was made up of 37% female and 63% male students. Students began the program at an average age of 33 and had roughly eight years of work experience. The average undergraduate GPA for a student entering the program was 3.3. As a part of the application process, students must provide three letters of recommendation and should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. In addition to its MBA program, the Kansas University School of Business also offers a one-year Foundations of Business graduate certificate program. The certificate program requires students to complete six courses (18 credit hours) and has three available start dates throughout the year, in spring, summer, and fall.
#3. KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
Kansas State University was the first public institution of higher learning in the state of Kansas. Today, the Kansas State College of Business Administration offers an online Professional Master of Business Administration. Students in the program complete 30 credit hours of coursework, which includes an international business experience course. The international experience is a faculty-led trip abroad designed to give students direct, practical experience with international business practices and culture. In addition to the International Experience course, the program includes core courses such as Economic Analysis for Business, Operations and Supply Chain Management, and Managing the Triple Bottom Line Business. Clases generally last eight weeks and have a specific term during which they are offered (fall, spring, or summer).
Program prerequisites include two undergraduate courses in economics, two undergraduate statistics courses, and one course of business calculus. New students are required to attend a two-day regional student orientation, which includes team-building, networking, and professional development opportunities. The MBA program has five start dates throughout the year: in January, March, June, August, and October. Students complete one elective course during the program, which will be offered during various terms depending on the specific topic chosen. Applicants to the program are expected to submit three letters of recommendation and their GMAT scores. Students with a GPA above 3.5 are eligible for both an application fee waiver and a GMAT score waiver. Applicants should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GMAT score of 500.
#4. FORT HAYS STATE UNIVERSITY
More than one-third of students enrolled at Fort Hays State are online students, with more than 6,800 students taking advantage of the school's distance learning services. The Fort Hays State University online Master of Business Administration program requires 34 credit hours of core and concentration coursework. Students complete nine hours of coursework dedicated to their chosen concentration. Fort Hays offers online students 12 concentration options to choose from, including Information Assurance, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Leadership Studies, and Digital Marketing. Students also have the option of pursuing a General MBA, which involves choosing any nine hours of elective coursework that they wish. The program's other 25 credit hours are dedicated to core courses such as: Marketing Management, Managerial Economics, Organizational Behavior in a Global Context, and a Strategic Management capstone course.
Students without an undergraduate background in business or a related field are welcome to apply, though they may need to complete up to 12 hours of foundational coursework to prepare for the quantitative and business elements of the MBA. Alumni of the program have gone on to pursue leadership roles in a wide variety of organizations, including the US Department of Agriculture, Kansas Department of Commerce, Walmart, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and IBM. Other concentration areas not listed above include Finance, Corporate Communication, Sport Management, and Health Care Management. All application materials must be submitted at least 60 days before a student plans to enroll in his or her first semester.
#5. FRIENDS UNIVERSITY
Friends University was founded by the Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, in 1898. The now non-denominational university offers an online Professional Master of Business Administration program. The program is split among six core courses and four to five concentration courses. The core sequence begins with classes in Marketing Management, Managerial Economics, and Managerial Accounting. Depending on the concentration, students then take 12-18 credit hours of elective coursework. Most concentration options in the program only require four courses (12 hours), but a few (Accounting, Business Analytics, and Human Resources) require at least five. Sample elective courses from the various concentration tracks include Systems Thinking, Fundamentals of Cyber Security, Employment Law, and Healthcare Finance.
Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue employment with groups such as Excel Industries, Kansas Air National Guard, Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Textron Aviation. Students without undergraduate business coursework and who lack at least three years of professional experience in a relevant field may also be required to complete foundational courses. Foundation courses cover accounting, finance, strategic planning, and leaders as change agents. The Accounting Certification, when paired with sufficient work experience, can qualify a student to sit for the Certified Management Accounting exam. Applicants for this track are required to hold a bachelor's degree in accounting, or the equivalent. Applicants to the MBA program must complete an interview and provide both an employer and personal recommendation letter.
#6. SOUTHWESTERN COLLEGE
Southwestern College is a liberal arts college associated with the United Methodist Church and located in the town of Winfield. The Southwestern College Master of Business Administration program offers students the chance to pursue a diverse on-campus environment, in addition to international study abroad opportunities in China. Courses follow an intensive 8-week format, which allows students to complete the MBA in as little as one year. Students ultimately take 12 courses through the program, which begins with classes such as Financial Management, Marketing Strategies, and Organizational Dynamics. Each course in the sequence is preset, which gives students structure and allows them to focus on building personal and professional networks. To finish the program, students compile a professional portfolio of achievements from the degree program and their final applied learning project.
There is no application fee to apply to the program, and students from all academic majors are welcome. MBA courses meet on campus during the day, with students enrolled in three classes during each 8-week session. While the program can be completed in as little as one year, students may opt to work at a slower pace, if that better fits their professional goals or needs. Students have five consecutive years to complete the requirements for the degree and may transfer up to six graduate credits from another institution. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and require two letters of recommendation as a part of the application materials.
#7. PITTSBURGH STATE UNIVERSITY
Pittsburgh State University opened as the Auxiliary Manual Training Normal School in 1903 and is the only American university with a gorilla as its mascot. PSU offers an online Master of Business Administration program, which students can complete in as few as 12 months. There are 30 credit hours of coursework in the program, beginning with classes in Management Control Systems and Quantitative Business Analysis. The core curriculum also addresses leadership, behavioral management, financial strategy, and marketing strategy. These make up the first six courses of the program, before students move on to concentration courses such as International Business, Quality Control, and Consumer Analytics. The program finishes with a strategic management course, in which students role-play the part of a manager to implement policies through either a formal simulation or an academic case study.
Program applicants should have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7. Applicants should also have at least three years of managerial experience. Students who do not meet the GPA threshold, but do have many years of work experience and can provide three letters of recommendation, may be able to earn conditional admission. The online MBA program offers multiple start dates for each semester (fall, spring, and summer); the next start date is Oct. 14, 2019. Graduates of the program have gone on to hold positions such as director of business development, financial analyst, and senior strategy manager.
#8. WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY
Wichita State University offers more than 60 bachelor's degree programs covering more than 200 areas of study, along with 44 master's programs in 100 areas and specialities. Wichita State students can pursue a Master of Business Administration degree through its online program. The program typically takes between 24 to 30 months to complete, and students take between 36 and 51 credit hours of coursework, depending on prerequisite or preparatory courses that need to be completed; this is especially pertinent for students with undergraduate degrees in a subject other than business. The program includes six concentration options: General MBA, Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Healthcare Administration, Human Resource Management, and Marketing. The final course in the program is Advanced Strategic Management. Sample concentration electives include Consumer Behavior, for the Marketing track, and Technology Entrepreneurship, for the Entrepreneurship track.
Wichita State also offers a hybrid MBA program, which combines on-campus and online elements of the degree program. The average age of students in the MBA program is 33, and 96% of students are employed while enrolled; 86% opt for the MBA hybrid, while the other 14% pursue the degree fully online. Applicants to the program must have earned a minimum GPA of 2.75 in their final 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. Students with three or more years of managerial experience, who have earned a master's degree from a US institution, or who earned a GPA of 3.5 or greater in an AACSB-accredited business program, will have the GMAT score requirement waived in their application.
#9. TABOR COLLEGE
Tabor College is operated by the Mennonite Brethren Church, which means that it adheres to the Anabaptist doctrine of Christianity. The Tabor College online Master of Business Administration program is structured across 36 credit hours of coursework, which include leadership and ethics themes as focuses in each class. Courses also include Christ-centered instruction delivered by Christian faculty members with real-world executive experience. Each course lasts eight weeks, and students complete one course at a time. The standard degree plan begins with Leadership Foundations, Organizational Behavior, and Managerial Accounting & Finance courses. Later, students study leadership strategies and operations and compete an MBA Capstone Seminar. Students registered full-time can finish the degree in as few as 24 months.
Applicants are not required to take the Graduate Admissions Test as a part of the admissions process. Students may transfer up to six credit hours (two courses) into the program. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue careers as project managers, accountants, entrepreneurs, marketing managers, and private consultants. Most students in the program choose to complete only one course at a time; however, ambitious students may choose to enroll in more than one at a time. All online class sizes are kept small enough to allow each student to receive personal attention from his or her faculty members. Tabor also offers students the opportunity to pursue an MBA with a specialization in Athletic Administration Leadership.
#10. UNIVERSITY OF SAINT MARY
The University of Saint Mary originally formed as a women's college, but became coeducational in 1988. Saint Mary offers an online Master of Business Administration program that can be completed in as little as one year. There are nine core courses and three elective courses. Core courses include Human Resource Management, Managerial Economics, Managerial Finance, and Global Management. Students then select elective courses from the following concentration areas: Leadership and Organizational Health, Finance, General Management, Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, and Marketing and Advertising Management. The Saint Mary MBA also weaves an element of the university's Catholic mission into the curriculum, through both classroom discussions and lectures. The program ends with a Business, Policy, and Ethics capstone course, which places emphasis on the responsibilities, skills, and perspectives that executives need.
To complete the program in one year, students must take two classes per term (courses are offered in 8-week sections). An on-campus version of the MBA is also available. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and have an undergrad GPA of at least 2.75. There are six program start dates throughout the year. Students may transfer up to nine credits of comparable graduate coursework into the program. All students must pass a comprehensive final exam before graduation.
#11. BAKER UNIVERSITY
Baker University is home an on-campus museum known as the "Old Castle Museum," which tells the story of both the university and its surrounding town, Baldwin City. Baker University offers an online Master of Business Administration degree comprising 33 credit hours. Most students complete the degree in 18 to 20 months, though some are able to finish in as few as 12 months. The MBA can be pursued with a general emphasis, or students may choose from one of the following specializations: Finance, Health Care Administration, Human Resources, or Leadership & Organizational Change. Each concentration includes four courses, though some concentrations offer as many as eight elective courses from which to choose.
Students may take all of their coursework online, or at Baker's campuses in Overland Park and Topeka. The next available start date for the program is Sept. 16, 2019, but new classes begin every seven weeks to give students flexibility when beginning their degree. Program applicants are expected to have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Most students take one course per session, and students who wish to double up on courses must maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher. The program's capstone course, Strategic Planning for Competitive Organizations, gives students the skills they need to build long-term strategies for a given organization. Cases studies and simulation exercises make the course both practical and dynamic.
#12. MIDAMERICA NAZERENE UNIVERSITY
MidAmerica Nazarene is a Christian liberal arts college located in Olathe. It was established in 1966 by the Church of the Nazarene. The university offers an online Master of Business Administration degree that can be earned in as few as 24 months. Students must complete 36 credit hours of coursework, which begins with a Graduate Studies for Success course. Core courses cover ethics, leadership, technology, and economics before students begin focused courses. Each course in the program lasts eight weeks and earns students eight credit hours. The Strategic Management course, that ends the program, examined the basic purpose and objectives of an enterprise, especially within the context of competitors and broader industries. Nazarene also offers a Master of Science in Management degree, which is only available on campus.
The online MBA program includes an option for students to engage with the world through an international immersion experience. The experience begins with an online course in international business, paired with a trip abroad. The trip often includes multiple destinations; students have previously visited China, the United Arab Emirates, Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic), India, Israel, and South Africa. The course's main purpose is to "encourage participants to explore their calling while serving where God has called them to serve." In addition to the fully online version of the program, an evening MBA program meets on campus once per week. Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in the final 60 hours of coursework.
#13. OTTAWA UNIVERSITY
More than half of the students enrolled in degree programs at Ottawa use either the school's satellite locations or its online learning services. Ottawa University is home to an online Master of Business Administration program with a curriculum designed around the principles of personal values and professional ethics. Classes are divided into three modules: behavioral courses, core courses, and capstone courses. Behavior courses include organizational behavior and value systems, core courses cover strategic marketing and economics/finance, and capstone courses cover students' concentration areas and the final graduate seminar. Students in the program may pursue a concentration in Accounting, Finance, Leadership Development, Human Resources, Population Health/Health Care Management, or Strategic Innovation. The graduate seminar challenges students to develop a major case study based on a current organization.
Graduates of the program have gone on to assume a wide range of business roles, including purchasing manager, cost estimator, community association manager, education administrator, and, of course, business executives. Students should have preparatory coursework in business administration; applicants lacking this experience will be required to take up to two courses in economics and accounting before beginning the MBA coursework. Students have the option to complete preparatory or MBA courses in the evening at locations in Arizona, Kansas, or Wisconsin. MBA concentration classes include The Creative Organization, Population Health Management, Servant Leadership, and Money and Capital Markets.
#14. BENEDICTINE COLLEGE
Fifty-three monks live on the campus of Benedictine College, as the school is sponsored by St. Benedict's Abbey and Mt. Saint Scholastica Monastery. The Benedictine College Master of Business Administration program has been offered for more than 21 years. Courses in the online program are delivered through live video conferencing, which allows for interactive and dynamic distance courses. Students are required to take at least 33 credit hours of graduate coursework. Courses in the program are preset and include Accounting Information for Managers, Marketing Strategy, and Leadership, among others. The MBA program also continues the college's mission of "Community, Faith, and Scholarship." Students in the program are encouraged to commit to not only professional and intellectual growth, but also to personal and spiritual growth.
To be admitted to the program, a student must have a bachelor's degree in any major from an accredited institution. Students must also submit a GMAT score of 440 or higher. Those who have taken the GRE instead may submit that score; the minimum GRE score is 480. Students with at least three years of professional work experience or an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.25 will have the GMAT requirement waived. All applicants also sit for an in-person or phone interview with the Director or Assistant Director of Graduate Business Programs. The program requires prerequisite coursework in accounting, economics, and finance. The Benedictine MBA program has an alumni base of over 600 former students.
#15. WASHBURN UNIVERSITY
Washburn University's mascot is known as the "Ichabod," a sharp-dressed, tailcoat-wearing figure.The Washburn University Master of Business Administration offers evening class times designed for working professionals. Classes meet once per week, from 5:15-8:30 pm. The MBA program requires 30 credit hours for upper-level business courses and electives, though students without an undergraduate degree in business are required to complete up to 57 credit hours. Upper-level courses cover financial strategies, managerial economics, and strategic analysis. Elective options include Venture Creation, Investments, Commercial Transactions, and International Marketing. All students are required to take at least one elective course in global business. The program ends with a Strategic Management capstone, the Major Field Test in Business Administration, and a series of essays designed to reflect on the MBA program.
Since 2014, graduates of Washburn's MBA programs have consistently achieved scores at or above the 80th percentile on the Major Field Test for Business Administration. Classes in the program are kept small and offer students the opportunity to interact with business professionals in the classroom, in addition to their faculty members. Students from all undergraduate academic backgrounds are welcome in the Washburn MBA program. A majority of students in the program work full-time while pursuing their degree and have work experience prior to beginning the program (though neither of these factors is required for admission). Students range in age from their 20s to 50s, and roughy 20% of each MBA cohort is made up of international students.