The Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree is one of the most discussed degrees awarded, and every year a number of magazines rank the schools according to their qualities. These rankings make interesting reading, and give folks a good sense of what makes a good MBA program, but the rankings are usually only concerned with full-time MBA programs, which does not strike me as a proper review of the options.
Certainly, it should be understood that there is a bias among academics and certain businesses, that the ‘part-time’ MBA earned by a person who must work for a living while they pursue their degree, is somehow not a “real” MBA. And worse, there is a genuine stigma attached to “distance” MBAs among the “elite” businesses, even though some of the very best business schools have a distance MBA program, and offer the same courses to online students that they do to those attending in person, taught by the same professors using the same materials, and grading by the same high standard. I certainly believe that in time, a proper comprehension of the high standards of certain schools will remove the approbation so falsely applied to the online degree, but for now it means that the major publications simply do not bother to rank the online schools.
Just as there are thousands of ‘brick & mortar’ schools which offer MBAs, there are literally thousands of online schools promising an MBA degree. For the purposes of these rankings, I began by pulling the available data from GetEducated.com, then counting only schools which offered an MBA online, which are regionally accredited by the nominal boards, and which are AACSB accredited and members. I then weeded out those schools which, forgive me, are unlikely to be known by name outside of a close geographic region. This establishes a level of degree which will be truly available online, yet meet the demanding standards of the best-respected business school accrediting association. I then noted the total advertised cost of an MBA for a student from out-of-state and in-state, and ranked them according to those standards. I am only ranking the top 25 schools on that general measure, and in my opinion, so I recommend you examine your options closely. Note that in-state residents often enjoy better tuition rates, for example.
The Top 25 Online MBA Schools in the United States, 2006:
1. Cal State Dominguez Hills - $10,500 (may require prerequisite business courses)
2. Mississippi State University - $13,776
3. University of Nebraska - $14,212
4. Dallas Baptist University - $16,524 (3.2 undergrad GPA)
5. Colorado State University - $18,828
6. University of Colorado – Colorado Springs - $19,032
7. University of Wisconsin Whitewater - $19,800
8. University of Houston – Victoria - $20,544 [$10,696 Tx residents]
9. Duquesne University - $21,132
10. Auburn University - $22,932 (MBA) $42,840 (EMBA), 3-day intensive, EMBA requires 5 “short residencies”, plus 1 week international travel.
11. Oklahoma State University - $23,280 [$13,368 Ok residents]
12. University of Tulsa - $24,264
13. University of Massachusetts - $25,000
14. West Virginia University - $27,036 [$9,288 WV residents]
15. University of Texas Telecampus - $27,200 [$12,400 Tx residents]
16. Marist College - $28,662
17. University of Wyoming - $29,160
18. Texas A&M – Commerce - $29,976 [$16,728 Tx residents]
19. University of Tennessee - $30,500
20. University of North Texas - $30,782.33
21. University of Florida - $32,600 (up to 8 campus weekend visits required)
22. Arizona State University - $38,022 (5 days orientation required first year)
23. Indiana University - $40,800
24. East Carolina University - $42,300 [$11,940 N Car residents]
25. University of Texas – Dallas – $42,500 ($45,408 Global MBA)