The Top Online MBA Programs

Covid-19 has dramatically impacted MBA programs in 2020 especially the educational delivery for current students. If you are considering an MBA right now, it is important to know that many of the in-person programs have transitioned to either a fully virtual learning environment or a hybrid learning environment. As the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19’s impact on higher education continues, there is no guarantee that these programs will move back to their traditional in-person format. The 2020 Top 5 Online MBA Programs in the U.S. should be considered for applicants.

As you review your MBA options, it is clear that five U.S. online MBA programs stand out above the rest of the uber-competitive market. According to 2020 rankings published by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, those programs are Kelley Direct Online, MBA@UNC, the University of Florida Online MBA, the USC Marshall Online MBA, and the Tepper School of Business Online MBA.

Why Choose a 2020 Top 5 Online MBA Programs in the U.S.

  1. Online programs excel at delivering a high-quality virtual education: The top online programs are already accustomed to providing virtual learning, career services and resources. If you are considering an in-person program, keep in mind these programs may struggle with the new virtual format. You have to consider that you might not receive the same value from those programs that you would expect for the original online MBA programs.
  2. Ultimate Flexibility: Fully online programs offer the most flexibility for working individuals and families. Also, if you were to attend an in-person program or even a hybrid format, you may have to change your work/life balance if classes were to ultimately return to in-person classroom learning. Keeping COVID-19 in mind, you also eliminate traveling or being in a classroom setting which may increase your risk of contracting the disease.
  3. Better prepare for the virtual workplace: It won’t be a surprise if companies provide employees with greater workplace flexibility in the future due to COVID-19. Companies are finding that with the right tools in place, employees can function at the same capacity virtually. An online MBA can help develop your virtual communication, leadership, and team-building skills as you complete your program.

Indiana University – Kelley School of Business – Kelley Direct Online

The Indiana University Kelley School of Business Online MBA is a 54-credit program, which consists of four main components: core courses, elective options, Kelley Connect Week experiences, and experiential learning options. The program can be tailored to choose your electives in a specific area, resulting in a major, or you may add a dual degree with only 12 additional credits.

On average, students participate in two live class sessions per week. Live sessions are held via Zoom allowing for real-time interaction and engagement. Live sessions typically last about an hour to 90 minutes, usually starting between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET. 

The Kelley Direct Online most recent graduating class had an average starting salary of $122,000. All students have an individualized career coaching plan, which has resulted in a 29% salary increase for students and 64% of students earn a promotion during school or within six months of graduation.

University of North Carolina – Kenen-Flagler School of Business – MBA@UNC

The MBA@UNC can typically be completed on an accelerated 21-month schedule, a standard 24-month schedule or a 27-month extended schedule. However, the program can be completed as quickly as 18 months or as long as 36 months depending on your schedule. The MBA@UNC’s curriculum is designed and led by UNC’s world-class research and teaching faculty. Students can tailor their studies to their unique career ambitions and complete classes and coursework from anywhere in the world.

The MBA@UNC’s most recent graduating class had an average starting salary of $159,557, which includes bonuses. On average, MBA@UNC graduates earn a 24% salary increase upon graduation and the average salary increase one year post-graduation from entry is 39%.

University of Florida – Warrington College of Business – Online MBA

The University of Florida Online MBA has two main tracks provided to students, including a one-year online MBA and a two-year online MBA. The one-year online MBA is a 12-month accelerated program for those who have an undergraduate degree in business and graduated in the last seven years. The two-year MBA is a 24-month program that is designed to provide students with maximum flexibility.

The University of Florida Online MBA’s most recent graduating class had an average starting salary of $104,500, plus a $19,700 average signing bonus. On average, 89% of UF online MBA graduates earn a job placement upon graduation while 96% of graduates earn a job placement 3 months post-graduation.

University of Southern California – Marshall School of Business – Online MBA

The University of Southern California Online MBA is a 51-credit program, offering an integrated curriculum comprising a residential intensive element and five required cross-disciplinary courses. The program can be completed in just 21 months. A defining element of the Marshall Online MBA is its use of a full range of technological learning tools to create an engaging online learning experience and providing students with practical skills, such as virtual collaboration, that apply to today’s global, digitally-driven business environments.

The USC Marshall Online MBA’s most recent graduating class had an average starting salary of $125,000 and an average signing bonus of $32,500. The top industries that graduates pursue their career in include: consulting, technology, media/entertainment, financial services and consumer products.

Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business – Online MBA

The Carnegie Mellon Online MBA format has three components: Access Weekends, live weekly classes with faculty and offline content to supplement the weekly class sessions. The CMU Online MBA typically takes 32-months to complete and provides flexible online classes for working professionals.

The official class of 2022 employment salary, promotion and bonus information is not available per the schools website. However, Online MBA students have access to the same career planning resources that our full-time students leverage. The 2019 full-time MBA graduating class earned a median salary of $126,250 with 94% receiving offers by three months after graduation.

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About the Author

Ryan Nemetz

Ryan is the Director of Client Services at MetroMBA and Clear Admit. He has over six years of experience in higher education including his current role and serving as a college basketball coach at Eastern University for four years.

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