MBA stands for a Master's in Business Administration, which is an economical and organizational degree designed to grow the managers and executives for tomorrow's business world. MBA programs give students quantitative skills in key subject areas like accounting, economics, finance, and marketing. They also have classes dedicated to organizational management and leadership, that prepare students to lead teams of any size through the complex and exciting world of business. Many professionals also like to keep their lives moving while they're in school, and so programs across the country now offer fully online and hybrid programs, which give students maximum flexibility in pursuing their career and their education.
FINDING AN MBA DEGREE
Looking at MBA programs can be a difficult thing at first. Programs share a number of similar courses, concentrations, and credit-hour requirements, which can make them all start to blend together. But in fact, even differences that can seem small on the surface can be important to consider when choosing an MBA program. For instance, some programs use a cohort structure, where students are grouped together and progress through the exact same set of courses at the same time throughout the duration of the program. This might seem incidental, especially for a distance learning program, but for students looking for networking connections, it can be a great way to find job opportunities or explore real-world roles related to a student's interests.
It's also important to look at what type of student the program is geared towards. Some programs have no work experience requirements and allow students from a wide variety of majors. These programs help professionals just entering the business world to gain management and financial skills that can jump-start their careers at a key time. Other programs, such as Executive MBA programs, require students to bring in anywhere between five to ten years of work experience, often in a managerial or upwardly mobile capacity. These programs are structured more to build off each student's professional experiences, and to help each student benefit from the knowledge of other business professionals outside of their sector or niche of the broader economy. These are the details that matter not just when being admitted to the program, but also when students graduate back into the real world of business. The right education and the right skill set, thanks to a well-chosen MBA, can be the difference in finding the well-paying and stable career that managers dream of.
RANKING THE 15 BEST ONLINE MBA IN NORTH CAROLINA
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. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA – CHAPEL HILL
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill boasts one of the top college basketball programs in the country, along with a light blue color scheme that makes their alumni the fashion envy of North Carolina. UNC Chapel Hill has a Master of Business Administration program, which can be completed in as few as 18 months. Students are required to complete 62 credit hours of coursework, which covers a broad business curriculum, with an emphasis on strategic leadership. In addition to the core coursework, students also have the option of choosing a specialized concentration, which allows them to pursue a career-specific topic in-depth. Available concentrations in the program include Data Analytics and Decision-Making, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Finance, and Strategy and Consulting.
UNC Chapel Hill also offers an online Executive MBA program, designed for business professionals with around ten years of full-time work experience. The program can be completed in as few as 18 months, but students may also complete the program part-time, which leads to a project program duration of 36 months. The average student entering the program brings six to ten years of work experience with them. The program is designed for executives, managers, and business professionals looking for a more nuanced understanding of the modern business world. Students with six or fewer years of work experience will be required to submit GRE/GMAT scores as a part of the admissions process. UNC's MBA program allows students to start classes four times per year, in January, April, July, and October.
#2. DUKE UNIVERSITY
Once you step onto Duke University's Durham, NC campus, it's clear that you're in Blue Devil Country! Duke's Global Executive Master of Business Administration program is an 18-month program that includes international residencies that help showcase the ways in which cultural and institutional factors form the foundation of modern businesses. It is structured with short-term residencies, which combine with online learning to give students the most immersive and diverse experience possible. Students start with a residency in Durham, before progressing through one-week residencies across the globe in October, January, April, and June. Students complete the residency requirement with a final two-week residency in Durham at the end of September in the second year. The program structure also divides students into learning teams, which are teams of five to six peers designed to diversify the way that students think and approach business issues.
Previous international experiences from the program have included Santiago, Chile; New Delhi, India; Shanghai, China; and Berlin, Germany. Core courses cover Managerial Effectiveness, Managerial Economics, and Financial Accounting. In addition to the program's core coursework, students are able to pursue concentration options, which include: Energy and Environment, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Finance, Marketing, and Strategy. There is also an option for students to earn a Health Sector Management certificate. Students pursuing either a concentration or the certificate will incur additional fees. The most recent cohort of Global Executive MBA students had students between 25-54 years old, bringing anywhere from five to 30 years of work experience to the program. The class was made up of 33% women in the most recent cohort, and 38% of students had international citizenship.
#3. NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
North Carolina State University is home to a statue of one of their old coaches Jim Valvano, who believed people should do three things every day: cry, laugh, and think. NC State offers an online Professional Master of Business Administration program. Students can choose an Accelerated or Flexible version of the program, which allows them to finish in as few as 21 months. The program requires two three-day residencies at NC State's main campus. Students are required to complete 40 credit hours of coursework, and while students do not complete a concentration as a part of the degree, they do choose an area of emphasis. Six credit hours of study are dedicated to this topic, and the topics mirror the concentration areas available to full-time, traditional MBA students. Students also have the option of pursuing a certificate in a given area of study.
Students may begin the program in either the fall or spring semester. Active duty military personnel are able to waive the residency requirement and replace it with other elective courses. Applicants to the program are expected to have a minimum of two years of full-time post-baccalaureate work experience. Students must also have passed an undergraduate statistics course with a grade of âC' or better before they can begin the MBA coursework. They may also combine elements of the professional online and professional evening versions of the programming, working with academic advisors to balance face-to-face courses with online courses. However, beyond the two required residencies, students may complete all of the coursework for the program online.
#4. EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
At ECU, Pirates don't plunder or set sail, they hit the books and learn the art of the sale! East Carolina University has a Master of Business Administration program, which can be completed on-campus, online, or as a combination of the two. There are 18 courses in the base program structure, but students may earn course waivers and reduce this down to as few as 11 courses. There are seven foundation courses, which are mostly intended for non-business majors, who lack significant business coursework from their undergraduate studies. There are then eight common body of knowledge courses, which provide students a chance to build up their professional business skills and portfolio. Students then finish the course with three elective/graduate certificate courses.
Completing a graduate certificate will generally require students to complete an additional one to two courses as compared to the base program. Students are allowed three electives, but most certificate programs require three or four courses to complete. Certificate options include Business Analytics, Finance, Hospitality Management, as well as Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality. ECU offers a number of ways to earn a waiver for the GMAT requirement of the admissions process, which can include full-time work experience, a strong GPA, or to have previously completed a master's degree program. ECU does not employ a cohort structure and the program has no dictated pace, to allow students the greatest ability to customize the program to their needs and desires.
#5. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA – CHARLOTTE
The University of North Carolina Charlotte originally began as a post-World War II G.I. Bill university, founded in 1946 as the Charlotte Center of the University of North Carolina. Today UNC Charlotte offers more than 60 Master's programs, including a Master of Business Administration program. The MBA program is composed of 36 credit hours of coursework, divided between 24 hours of core coursework and 12 credit hours of elective coursework. Core courses cover key subject areas, such as Ethical Leadership, Management Accounting, and Human Behavior in Organizations. Students may dedicate their elective hours towards the completion of a concentration. The final course in the program is a Global Strategic Management course, which focuses on problem-identification and functional integration of desperate organizational stakeholders.
As a part of the admissions process, students must submit GRE/GMAT scores, unless they qualify to have this requirement waived. Competitive scores for the GMAT are in the upper 500's and competitive scores from the GRE are around the 50th percentile for both the verbal and quantitative sections. Concentration options for the program include Applied Investment Management, Business Analytics, Business Finance, and Energy, among others. UNC Charlotte also offers three Graduate Certificate programs: Business Analytics Certificate, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Certificate, and an MBA Plus Certificate. MBA Plus is a post-master's graduate certificate designed to help students broaden and update their business knowledge.
#6. APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY
Appalachian State University was founded in 1899, as a teacher's college by the brothers B.B. and D.D. Dougherty, each of whom still has buildings named after them on campus. The ASU online Master of Business Administration program is a 36 credit hour program, which can be completed in as few as two years. Students complete two classes per semester and generally attend the program on a part-time basis. There are elements of the program which are completed online, but students also meet on-campus with professors during the evenings throughout the semester, approximately twice a week. These on-campus meetings occur at the Hickory, NC learning center. Students who pursue the Hickory MBA will earn an MBA with a concentration in Interdisciplinary Business.
The program has application deadlines available during the spring, summer, and fall. In addition to the Hickory MBA, Appalachian State University has an MBA program offered through their main campus, which students may pursue on a full-time or part-time basis. Students in the main campus MBA program have seven concentration options which they are able to pursue. Core classes from the MBA program include Problem Analytics, Economics for Decision Making, and International Experience. Previous International Experience courses have taken students to China, Japan, Thailand, and France. This course is designed to give students a practical look at the way in which global markets have become an integral part of the modern business world.
#7. FAYETTEVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY
Fayetteville State University was founded immediately after the Civil War, as one of the first schools of higher learning for African-American students. The historically black college has an online Master of Business Administration program, which consists of 27 credit hours of core courses, followed by nine to 12 elective credits dedicated towards a concentration area. Core courses include Modern Marketing and Data Analytics. Some of the available concentration areas in the program are Finance, Management, Entrepreneurship, and Project Management. Overall there are ten different functional areas from which a student may earn their concentration. The course ends with a capstone project structured through the Small Business and Technology Development Center, pairing students with firms in need of real-world expertise.
Fayetteville State has a rolling admissions process, with classes starting five times per year. Applicants who may need to build up their GPA or GMAT score may enter under Professional Development status before transitioning to Degree Seeking status. Professional Development status allows students to take up to four classes while building their numbers, and these credits apply to the MBA once they are accepted into the program. Applicants are expected to have a minimum GPA of 2.75 and a minimum GMAT of around 400. Students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.6 or higher, or those with at least ten years of full-time work experience, may waive the GMAT requirement.
#8. NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE UNIVERSITY
Alumni from this school have a history of making history: from Civil Rights icons such as Jesse Jackson or the Greensboro Four to tv host Terrence J and filmmaker Kevin Wilson. N.C. A&T offers an online Master of Business Administration program, designed for students who are both intellectually curious and prepared to exercise ethical leadership. Students complete 36 credit hours of coursework, which is divided between 24 hours of core coursework and 12 hours of concentration coursework. Concentration options from the program include Accounting, Supply Chain Management, and Human Resource Management. Students may also choose to pursue a General MBA concentration. The final course in the core sequence is a Corporate Strategy and Policy capstone course.
U.S. World News & Report ranked A&T the best public, historically black university in the country. Above 90% of students from the Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 classes in the program found relevant jobs before commencement. Recent graduates from the program have gone on to work for companies including International Paper, Volvo, Rubbermaid, John Deere, Boeing, and Amazon. Applicants are expected to submit GRE or GMAT scores as a part of the admissions process, but students with a GPA above 3.30 will have this requirement waived. The program's capstone course is based on intensive capstone cases drawn from a wide range of business industries and managerial settings. Students learn about the role of the general manager, crafting corporate and business-level strategy, and the global aspects of strategic management.
#9. QUEENS UNIVERSITY OF CHARLOTTE
The motto of Queens University is "not to be served, but to serve", beginning originally as a women's seminary in the late 19th century and growing to what is now a small, around 2,400 total students, university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The Queens MBA can be completed fully online in as few as two years, but students are able to self-pace as best fits their life or career. Requirements for the program cover 36 credit hours of foundation, core, and elective courses. The program is specifically designed to center around the idea of leadership, meaning that each of the programs emphasizes the management aspect of a given topic area. Concentration areas from the MBA cover subject such as Executive Coaching, Finance, Healthcare Management, and Leadership & Change.
Students have the option of choosing one of the above-listed concentration areas; however, they may also simply pursue elective coursework options totaling 12 credit hours. There are even elective course options that do not come from or count towards a specific concentration area. These include courses such as Creative Connections or Global Business Strategy. There are also Independent Study and International Experience courses. Applicants to the program are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, as well as GRE/GMAT scores. Seven years of full-time work experience or three years of work experience and an undergraduate GPA above 3.0 will qualify an applicant for the waiver. A waiver may also be earned by student's entering with relevant professional certifications or a previous graduate degree.
#10. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA – PEMBROKE
The Lumbee Nation Native American tribe helped found and build this university in Pembroke, NC, as a way to preserve the tribe's unique identity in an ever-changing American culture. Pembroke's MBA program consists of eight core courses and four elective courses, which covers a total of 36 credit hours. Coursework can be completed in as few as 12 months, starting with core courses such as International Business, Managerial Finance, and Managerial Accounting. Students may either pursue a General MBA degree, or they may select one of the following concentration areas to focus their elective coursework toward Supply Chain Management, Financial Services, and Business Analytics. The Strategic Planning capstone course is the end of the program and uses a computer-simulated company to help students apply their accumulated knowledge towards real-world problem-solving.
Students without an undergraduate background in business may be required to take foundational courses in key subject areas, such as accounting, economics, or statistics, before beginning the program. Applicants to the program are expected to have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, along with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 in all major courses. Students should also have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all coursework from their senior year. Requirements for submitting GRE scores are waived for students with an overall undergraduate GPA above 3.0.
#11. UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA WILMINGTON
At UNC Wilmington you can fly high with over 16,000 fellow Seahawks at this mid-large public university situated right off the Atlantic Ocean. Their base Online MBA program can be completed in as few as 12 months, with students taking 36 credit hours of coursework in the curriculum. The core curriculum covers constitutional, legislative, judicial, regulatory, and public relations aspects of the business world. Students take accelerated seven-week courses geared towards practical leadership and quantitative analysis skills. Students may either pursue the General MBA program, or they may add on a specialized concentration in Business Analytics, Finance, Healthcare Management, or International Business.
The program format is designed to be ideal for working professionals with a rolling admissions process and six start dates available each year (two each in the fall, spring, and summer semesters). Applicants to the program are expected to have a minimum of two years of work experience before entering the MBA. Applicants should also have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate coursework. Students below this threshold must show professional experience or advancement that demonstrates professional progression and indicates their potential to contribute to the program. Wilmington also looks for a GMAT score above 500 or an equivalent GRE score, though this can be waived for students with five or more years of managerial work experience, a GPA above 3.2, or the completion of another advanced degree.
#12. GARDNER-WEBB UNIVERSITY
Students at Gardner-Webb never stop! Known as the Runnin' Bulldogs, students at this private Baptist university look to live up to their school motto of, "For God and Humanity." Gardner-Webb offers a one-year MBA program, which can be completed in as few as ten months. The program is delivered through a grouping of pre-set courses, covering topics such as Managerial Finance, Organizational Behavior, Entrepreneurial Management, and Business Law and Ethics. Graduates from the program have gone on to pursue careers as Corporate Executive Officers, Healthcare Administrators, Contract Specialists, and Software Analysts. Courses from the program are designed to give students skills in innovative problem-solving and decision-making.
Gardner-Webb is a Baptist university affiliated with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Applicants to the program have no testing requirement if they have a graduate degree, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, or a GPA of at least 2.5 and three years of professional work experience. For students who do not meet these qualifications, the admissions committee uses a QA Formula: (GPA x 200) + GMAT score, to determine a student's acceptance. Students must have a score of 950 or better as determined by this formula to be admitted into the program. Coursework includes course projects, simulations, and interactions with business leaders from the local community, which helps transition student knowledge from the classroom to the real world.
#13. CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY
Campbell University is the largest private university by enrollment in the state of North Carolina, so even online students will never have to feel alone! Campbell has an online Master of Business Administration program, which is delivered through a self-paced, asynchronous format. Students choose when to begin each eight-week course, which allows them to complete the program in as few as 12 months. Most students, however, complete the curriculum within a 16-24 month range, but students are given up to 60 months to complete the requirements of the degree program. Campbell's MBA covers 37 credit hours of coursework, divided between ten core courses and three elective courses. Electives can lead students to a concentration in the following subject areas: Financial Services, Healthcare Management, or Traditional/General MBA.
Campbell uses a rolling admissions format for the program, and there are six terms/start dates available for the MBA: January, March, April, June, August, or October. Most students choose to begin the program in either January or August. The program content can be pursued in a hybrid format that merges online and on-campus studying. Students may take one course or switch their program entirely to an on-campus MBA at the downtown Raleigh or Buies Creek campus. They may switch back to the online structure whenever they wish. Applicants are expected to have a minimum GPA of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale, as well as a minimum score of either 450 on the GMAT or 298 on the GRE.
#14. PFEIFFER UNIVERSITY
Pfeiffer began as a junior college in the early 1900s – the architecture from the Pfeiffer Junior College Historic District is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pfeiffer also has an online Master of Business Administration program, which can be completed in two years or less. The program coursework is divided between core courses, such as Marketing Management, Economics for Leadership, and Quantitative Decision-Making. The other coursework is dedicated to electives, which may be used to pursue a concentration in Human Resource Management, International Studies, Leadership, or Financial Fraud Investigations. Elective courses include options such as Effective Leadership and Negotiation, or Conflict Resolution for the Leadership concentration.
The Pfeiffer degree program allows students the option to pursue a joint degree. Students may combine their MBA with a Master's in Health Administration or Master of Science in Law degree. Applicants to the program should have an undergraduate background in key competency areas, such as Accounting, Math, Statistics, and Economics. Students without these core competencies may be admitted to the program on a provisional basis. It is recommended that students enter the program with a working knowledge of commonly used computer programs, such as word processors and database and spreadsheet software. Applicants must also submit scores from the MAT, GMAT, or GRE, though this is waived for students who have already completed a Master's degree program.
#15. LENOIR-RHYNE UNIVERSITY
Lenoir-Rhyne is one of the few schools with more than one mascot – school spirit duties are delegated to both Joe and Josie Bear, a couple that cheers on the crowds together at Bears games. LR has a non-cohort-based Master of Business Administration program, which can be delivered through on-campus, streaming, or asynchronous video presentation course structures. Students may even switch their delivery method during their program. Lenoir-Rhyne's MBA requires students to take 36 credit hours of coursework, which allows full-time students to complete the program in as little as four semesters. MBA core courses cover 24 credit hours, with courses such as Marketing Strategy, Human Behavior in Organizations, and Accounting Theory. Students then choose from elective course options such as Advanced Topics in Cost Accounting, Global Environment of Business, and Business Information Systems for their final 12 credit hours.
Lenoir-Rhyne is a Lutheran University affiliated with the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In addition to the core program, there is also an option for students to pursue concentrations in the LR MBA program. Concentration options for the MBA include Accounting, Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Global Business, Healthcare Administration, Innovation & Change Management, and Leadership Development. LR also offers Post-Bac certificate programs in Accounting and Healthcare Management. Students may enter the program during any semester (fall, spring, or summer) and any practicum experiences included in courses can be completed at home to maximize the convenience for distance students. All students in the program receive a full-time faculty mentor who is available at both campuses and online to support student needs.