A Master's in Business Administration, commonly shortened to an MBA, is designed to prepare students for pursuing a management career in business. Students use case studies and business simulations to practice the real-world skills that they will need when they graduate. Classes focus on a mixture of analytical classwork – such as finance and marketing – and management topics, which help them to guide teams of people into making the best decisions for a wide variety of firms. Online programs even allow students to keep working or raise a family while they're earning their degree because course content, assignments, and examinations are delivered and completed without ever having to step foot on campus.
FINDING AN MBA DEGREE
When looking at MBA programs, there are some clear similarities that students will notice. Most programs are designed to be completed in around two years, with a few accelerated programs finishing in as little as one year, or part-time options for students who need some extra time. Program courses are generally divided between the program core, which covers the fundamental material that students need for entering the business world, especially in a business capacity. The other courses are electives, which often will relate to a chosen concentration, allowing a student to gain further in-depth knowledge of a subject like marketing or human resources. Students with a strong idea of their career goals and professional interests might look for programs with more elective coursework or highly-specified options. While students who are still deciding or want a broader knowledge base may consider programs with fully preset coursework, often delivered in cohort structures and sometimes leading to a general MBA, rather than one with a concentration.
Students graduating from MBA programs have fantastic career outlooks, as they not only benefit from the wide range of specialty areas, but also from the growth of the global business market. MBA graduates may pursue roles such as Medical and Health Services Manager, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a position with a median annual salary of nearly $100,000. Beyond this, the job market for these health care administrators is expected to grow by 20% over the coming decade (much faster than average), meaning over 72,000 new jobs that some MBA graduates will be highly qualified for. No matter the specialty, MBA students will have a leg up on the competition. And online students will also have the additional benefit of being tech-savvy, having additional professional experience, and being less indebted than traditional graduate students.
RANKING THE 9 Best Online MBA in Minnesota
Online MBA Today uses eight metrics to grade each school: Quality of Online Programs from U.S. News, Mid Career Pay from Payscale, Student Review Score from Rate My Professor, aggregate reputation score 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. COLLEGE OF SAINT SCHOLASTICA
The College of Saint Scholastica is a private, Roman Catholic college located in Duluth, MN. Saint Scholastica has a Master of Business Administration in Rural Healthcare program, which makes up one of the ten largest MBA programs in the state of Minnesota. It is a 36 credit hour program, which can be completed part-time in as few as two years. Courses are delivered in accelerated, eight-week formats. The core curriculum includes courses such as Economics for Decision Making and Strategic Leadership for Change. For the final class in the program, students complete a thesis or final research project, which involves an academic paper formulating a solution for a chosen topic of inquiry. Students have 16 weeks to complete the project after the proposal has been approved.
In addition to the Rural Healthcare MBA program, students also have the option of pursuing graduate certificates in Global and Strategic Project Management, Advanced Project Management, and Project Management. The College of Saint Scholastica also has a Master of Business Administration program in Leadership and Change. The Leadership and Change MBA is only available as a residency/on-campus program. Applicants to the program are expected to have at least a 2.8 undergraduate GPA and a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited university. The Online Healthcare MBA program has a new start date every September. Each student in the program is assigned a personal advisor, who helps create an individual study plan and also provides ongoing support throughout the program.
#2. CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY – ST PAUL
Concordia University was originally founded as Loyola College in 1896, eventually expanding to form the full university in 1974. Concordia University offers a Master of Business Administration program, which is composed of 42 credit hours of coursework and can be completed on-campus or online. Courses last seven weeks each, with students progressing through a preset grouping of 14 courses. These courses start with Organizational Leadership and Integrated Market Communication and also include special topics courses dealing with Vocation and Value or Mastery of Future Industry. Students complete the program with a Strategic Management course and a final special topics course focused on reflection about the MBA and building a path towards the student's future career. In addition to the base program/General MBA, students also have the option of completing an MBA with an emphasis in either Health Care Compliance or Health Care Management.
One of Concordia's main support systems for MBA students is the Concordia MBA Mentor and Managerial Application Portfolio program. Students are given a faculty mentor who helps to support and guide them through the program, acting as their personal business coach. Mentors develop student interpersonal skills, enhance their resume, and co-develop networking strategies. More than 95% of Concordia St. Paul students receive job offers within their first year after graduation. In addition to the MBA Program, Concordia is also home to a number of other related graduate programs, including a Master of Arts in Leadership and Management and a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication Management, each of which is a 36 credit hour program.
#3. MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY – MOORHEAD
Programs from Minnesota State Moorhead have the fire of dragons behind them, as dragons are the school mascot! The Master of Business Administration program at Moorhead is a 37 credit hour program, designed for effective leaders and strategic thinkers. The credit requirements are divided between core courses such as Marketing Management, Operations Management, and Strategic Management. The final 15 credit hours are then earned through program courses which are geared more towards subjects such as Quantitative Methods, International Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. The program ends with a portfolio course, where students prepare a portfolio demonstrating their accumulated skills for the program. Students may also opt to pursue a Plan B option where they complete an alternate assignment in place of the portfolio, generally designed and approved by the student's faculty advisor.
The program is designed to serve students with undergraduate degrees from any field of study. All courses from the MBA program are available online and no face-to-face or on-campus meetings are required. Courses will have optional live interactive sessions available for interested students. These live sessions are recorded for students who are unable to attend them in-person. There are three available admissions terms, for the fall, spring, and summer. There are application deadlines for each of these terms, but applications are often accepted after these deadlines if space is available. Applicants should have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, or 3.25 for the last 30 semester credits. All applicants must submit GMAT scores as a part of the admissions process.
#4. METROPOLITAN STATE UNIVERSITY
Metropolitan State began as a college for working adults, with an initial class of 50 students in 1972. Now, Metropolitan State University offers working adults an online MBA program divided into three phases. The first phase is made up of 28 credit hours and covers core business topics and grounds students in the fundamental theories, processes, and skills of modern business managers. The second phase is made up of eight credit-hours and engages students in elective courses, which are centered around a student's career goals and needs. Students may also choose to use Phase II to pursue a concentration, which will raise their elective credit requirement from eight to 12 credit hours. The final phase and four credit hours are dedicated to a capstone course, designed to integrate life experiences and previous coursework in the big picture of management and organizations.
In Phase II, students have the option of choosing from the following concentrations: Project Management, Management Information Systems, Finance, and Global Supply Chain Management. As a part of the increased credit requirement, students take four elective courses rather than three when pursuing a concentration. Students may declare a concentration when applying to the program, or they may also choose to wait until they have been fully admitted to do so. Students may declare up to two concentrations, so long as they receive approval from their academic advisor. Applicants to the program are expected to have completed prerequisite courses in Accounting and Economics. Students who have not completed these courses upon entry into the program will have to complete them before beginning the MBA sequence.
#5. BEMIDJI STATE UNIVERSITY
At Bemidji State, when the football team wins its homecoming game, players run from the stadium to Lake Bemidji and dive in. Bemidji State University has a 30 credit online Master of Business Administration program, which is delivered through six- to eight-week courses. The program can be completed in as little as one year, but there are also opportunities for students to study part-time. Students take ten total courses, starting with Business Analytics and Managerial Accounting, as well as Corporate Social Responsibility. The program ends with a capstone course in Strategy and Management, which uses real-world case studies and group work to demonstrate managerial competencies and teamwork skills. These will include oral presentations, presented through video feeds.
All MBA students qualify for in-state tuition. All students must complete a comprehensive examination to fully complete the program. This comprehensive exam is the Major Field Test, which is a standardized test administered by the Educational Testing Service. The MBA Capstone course in Strategy and Management is offered during every semester, including summer. Students without an undergraduate degree in Business or Accounting will be required to take prerequisite courses in Quantitative Analysis and Survey of Accounting during the summer semester before beginning the program. Students may pursue the program by creating a schedule of one or two classes per semester. Applicants must have an undergraduate 2.75 GPA or better, and GRE/GMAT scores are required as a part of the admissions process.
#6. UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
The University of St. Thomas was originally founded in 1885 as a Catholic seminary named after Saint Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas is home to the Opus College of Business, has an online Master of Business Administration program. The program dedicates half of its credit requirements to elective courses, allowing students to customize the program to best fit their career needs. The 45 credit hour program begins with core courses such as Leading Self & Others, Business Ethics Foundation, as well as Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking. Students then complete the other 22.5 credit hours pursuing specialized electives such as Spreadsheet Modeling & Data Visualization, Brand Management, and Innovation & Corporate Entrepreneurship. Courses can be delivered through online, on-campus, or hybrid formats. The most recent cohort had an average age of 30 and students brought an average of eight years of work experience to the program.
The MBA program starts with a three-day on-campus residency, where students meet with faculty and their MBA cohort. Students then progress through the core sequence together as a cohort, before splitting off into elective courses. Certain core course requirements can be waived for students with multiple undergraduate courses or one graduate course in a similar/related topic area. Students may also take waiver exams, which can exempt them from having to take certain core courses. However, students will not earn academic credit for the courses that they have waived or for which they pass the waiver examination, students will instead replace those credits with further elective courses.
#7. CAPELLA UNIVERSITY
Capella University is home to a number of noteworthy alumni, including Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Irene Muloni, the Minister for Education and Minerals in the Ugandan Cabinet. Capella University has a Master of Business Administration program, offered through their school of Business & Technology. The Capella MBA offers four different specialization options for students, which are: Health Care Management, Human Resource Management, Project Management, or a Self-Designated concentration. Capella offers two different structures for the online program, GuidedPath or FlexPath. GuidedPath is based on the quarter system and allows students to take one to three courses per ten-week quarter and the price is based on course load per term. FlexPath allows students to take unlimited courses, up to two at a time, per 12-week billing session, with students setting their own deadlines and no classroom discussions. Students in FlexPath pay a flat fee per session.
Each student in the program receives a personalized leadership coach, who uses an initial leadership assessment to tailor specific goals for each student to focus on throughout the program. Students in the program build an EPortfolio, which showcases the real-world solutions that students build throughout their coursework. Students utilizing FlexPath can complete the Capella MBA in as little as one year. Students working at partner organizations of Capella may be eligible for tuition discounts. Sample courses from the Health Care Management program include Business Strategy, Decision-Making in the Health Care System, and Analyzing the Health Care Environment. Each of the courses, regardless of specialization, consist of seven core courses, three electives, and a capstone, all of which are delivered online.
#8. CROWN COLLEGE
Crown College is home to an 18-hole professional disc golf course on campus. Crown College offers an online Master of Business Administration program, composed of 42 credit hours of coursework. The Crown MBA is specifically designed as a Christian MBA, which integrates the Christian worldview throughout every course and activity. Students in the program come from a wide range of industries, including nonprofit organizations, healthcare, aviation, and education, along with more traditional business sectors. The credit requirements for the program are divided between 27 hours for core courses, such as Theoretical and Spiritual Foundations of Leadership, Managerial Accounting, and Managerial Economics. Students then choose a concentration for their final 15 hours, covering courses such as Non-Profit Law or International Finance.
Crown College is a Christian college and has an affiliation with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Over 98% of students enrolled at Crown College receive student loans, scholarships, or financial aid. Students in the MBA program may pursue a concentration in either the General MBA track or an MBA focused on nonprofit management. Courses from the Non-Profit emphasis include Financial Management for Nonprofits, Fundraising and Philanthropy, and Marketing for Nonprofits. Electives from the General MBA track include Business Law and Ethics, Operations Management, Financial Management, and Marketing Management. In addition to the MBA degree, Crown College also offers programs for a Master of Divinity, Counseling, Ministry Leadership, and Organizational Leadership.
#9. ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY
Saint Cloud State University is one of the largest state universities in Minnesota, enrolling around 14,000 total students in 2017. Saint Cloud's MBA program offers students a broad base of business knowledge and combines classroom education with real-world application. Part-time students typically earn their degree within 28 months, while full-time students can complete the degree requirements in as little as 16 months. It is a 36-credit program that requires students to complete 30 hours of core coursework and six hours of elective courses. Core courses cover Organizational Behavior and the Ethical Environment of Business, while elective options include Leadership in Practice and Ethical Leadership. The elective courses are divided between one course of Professional Development and one course of Specialty Electives. The online version of the program begins a new cohort each fall semester.
The Saint Cloud MBA has three different delivery options, at the St. Cloud and Plymouth campuses, as well as the fully online version. The Plymouth and online versions of the program are part-time only. All three iterations of the program having rolling admissions. Applicants to the program are expected to have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 and a GMAT score of 470 or better. Students meeting the following qualifications may have the GMAT score requirement waived: 3.25 undergraduate GPA for a business degree, five years of full-time work experience, or prior completion of a graduate degree. All faculty for the program hold either PhDs or JDs. Popular careers for alumni of the program include financial analyst, real estate executive, project manager, or marketing communications manager.