Top 20 Online MBA Programs in the Midwest - 2015

Our 2015 list of the Top 20 Online MBA Programs in the Midwest. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University offers a flexible online MBA program that allows students to customize their experience. Also known as “Kelley Direct Online,” the program features 12 credit hours of electives that can be used to create a specialized area.

The program also offers the opportunity for students to complete a dual MBA/MS degree with an MS in Business Analytics, Finance, Global Supply Chain Management, Marketing or Strategic Management. Other unique opportunities for students include AGILE—Accelerating Global Immersion Leadership Education, which allows students to gain international business experience while pursuing their online degree.

AGILE participants can expect to travel to places such as Gaborone, Botswana; Sao Paolo, Brazil; Beijing, China; New Delhi, India; Myanmar, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Accredited by AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International, Kelley Direct Online welcomed 206 online MBA students in fall 2015 and the program takes just two years to complete.

2. University of Wisconsin (Consortium), Eau Claire, La Crosse, Oshkosh, Parkside, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin Consortium MBA program is designed for working professionals looking to advance in their respective career fields. The online format allows students to continue working while completing their program, which typically takes two to three years, once foundation requirements have been met. The 30-credit-hour program features “content-integrated, theme-based modules rather than traditional stand-alone courses,” and it is offered entirely online.

In addition to completing a mandatory Leadership “mini-module,” which occurs concurrently with “Developing New Products and Services,” Consortium MBA students may choose 13 credits of electives relevant to their career goals. Electives are offered in the areas of Accounting & Finance, Healthcare, Information Technology, Management, and Marketing. Students also have the option to earn a 13-credit online certificate that can be applied towards the schools MBA program course prerequisites. The University of Wisconsin (Consortium) MBA is AACSB International-accredited.

3. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska

The College of Business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a 48-credit-hour MBA program that allows students to visit the campus at any time to sit in on classes, utilize resources, and meet with faculty. The program, which is offered entirely online, includes 10 core classes (30 hours), nine hours of breadth electives, and nine hours of electives. Specialization options include Business Analytics, Finance and Marketing, International Business, and Supply Chain Management.

Students may begin their studies in January, March, May, August or October of each year. The average completion time for the online MBA is three years, but it is possible to complete it in 1.5 years. However, students are allowed up to 10 years to complete this AACSB International-accredited program.

4. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

Ball State University is home to the Miller College of Business, which offers a 30-credit-hour, AACSB International-accredited MBA program. Offered entirely online, the program highlights six optional concentrations including Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Economics, Policy and Administration; Information Systems, Operations Management, and Sales Management. An additional option is the General MBA, which allows students to customize their experience through a variety of course subjects.

Online MBA students complete their coursework through a combination of asynchronous (no specific sign-on time each week) and synchronous (specific time to watch and participate in live webcast lectures and discussions) formats. Students will “keep in contact with instructors and classmates using e-mail, discussion boards, file sharing, chats, web page posting, and possibly over the telephone.” The program may be completed in as little as two years.

Another option is the Hybrid MBA, which allows students to choose which classes they would like to take on-campus and which ones they prefer to complete online. Most students (in either program) enroll in an average of two courses each semester and typically complete the program in five to six semesters.

5. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota

The University of North Dakota’s College of Business & Public Administration (CoBPA) offers a 33 to 34-credit-hour MBA program that takes around two years to complete. The online program, which offers a concentration in International Business, does not require any campus visits. Instead, students attend via “live” Web classes held in the evenings, one evening per week, for three hours. Students may enter the AACSB International-accredited online MBA program every fall (August), spring (January), or summer (May).

6. Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

The “Global Campus” at Central Michigan University’s (CMU) offers an online MBA program that highlights several emphasis areas including Human Resource Management, Logistics Management, Marketing, Value-Driven Organization, and ERP Emphasis Using SAP Software. SAP is the world's largest enterprise applications software company, with a wide range of software used by more than 38,000 firms in over 120 countries. The ERP Emphasis/SAP is a 40-credit-hour program that requires a two-week face-to-face SAP Academy.

Depending on the area of concentration, other MBA students may have to take anywhere from 36 to 43 credit hours to complete the program. The Online MBA program at CMU’s Global Campus is AACSB International-accredited.

7. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Carl H. Linder College of Business at the University of Cincinnati introduced a new online MBA program in spring 2014. The 38 to 48-credit-hour program is AACSB International-accredited and provides core skills in Economics, Marketing, Information Technology, Accounting, and Leadership. Linder online MBA Students can expect to earn their degree in 24 to 32 months.

8. University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota

The University of South Dakota is home to the Beacom School of Business, which offers a General Management MBA that may be completed 100% online. The program offers a Health Services Administration or Business Analytics specialization. The General Management MBA and MBA with the Health Services Administration specialization (HSAD) consist of 18 credit hours of foundations courses and 33 hours of advanced coursework. The MBA with the Business Analytics (BA) specialization consists of 21 hours of foundations courses and 39 hours of advanced coursework.

The AACSB International-accredited online MBA program at Beacom takes as few as 12 months to complete, full-time (including summer semester), or two to four years to complete, part-time. However, students are allowed up to seven years to complete the program.

9. Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland State University’s Monte Ahuja College of Business is home to one of the nation’s first online, one-year MBA accredited by AACSB International. The Mobile Accelerated MBA consists of 34 credit hours of study delivered via eLearning & mLearning Platforms developed through a partnership with McGraw Hill and Blackboard. Also called “AMBA,” the program provides students with Apple’s iPad 4G after enrolling in the program to access textbooks, course modules, and other interactive learning materials. This allows them to eliminate textbooks altogether and study whenever, wherever. Students may keep the iPad once the program is complete.

10. University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, Michigan

The College of Business at the University of Michigan-Dearborn offers an MBA program that may be completed online, on-campus or any combination of the two. The program, which highlights courses in Applied Integrated Management, includes 36-48 credit hours of study that may be completed within 12-20 months. Students may choose an optional concentration in Accounting, Finance, International Business, Investment, Management Information Systems, Marketing, or Supply Chain Management. However, some concentrations may require a campus presence.

MBA students may also participate in the school’s study tour in Shanghai, China. The tour includes a one-week program of seminars and travel, together with MBA students from Fondazione CUOA in Vicenza, Italy. The program is offered each spring.

Admission to the online MBA program is rolling, and students may begin the program in September or January. May admission is also possible for students that would like to attend on a part-time basis. The online MBA program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is AACSB international-accredited.

11. Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio

The Baldwin Wallace University School of Business offers a hybrid MBA. The program combines online and classroom instruction so students must visit the Berea, Ohio campus for seven weekend sessions over a two-year period, typically between academic terms in the months of August, December and April. The rest of the work, three-quarters, is done online.

According to the school, “this fixed two-year cohort program is designed to provide the personalization of a classroom with the flexibility of an online program.” In addition to 13 core courses ranging from Systems Management to Human Capital, students will complete a two-year ongoing applied project. Baldwin Wallace University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a commission of the North Central Association.

12. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois

The College of Business at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale offers a 42-credit-hour MBA program that may be completed in just 23 months. Through a partnership between the College of Business and the College of Agricultural Sciences, the program features a concentration in Agricultural Economics. Students may begin the General MBA or MBA with a concentration program during the summer session only. Both programs are AACSB International-accredited.

13. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas

The College of Business at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) offers a 34-credit-hour MBA that may be completed 100% online. This means there are no residency requirements and students can complete their degree on their own time either full-time or part-time. The program also offers the option to sit out a semester or two—if needed.

The online MBA at FHSU offers 10 concentrations from Finance, Marketing, and Information Assurance to Health & Human Performance/Sports Management, International Business, and Tourism and Hospitality Management. A General MBA is also on the menu. Students in the General MBA program may choose any nine credits of MBA concentration courses.

Students with an undergraduate degree in business administration may complete the online FHSU MBA degree in as little as two years. Students with a non-business background will have to complete up to 47 credit hours, so the program will take longer to complete.

14. Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, Missouri

Missouri University of Science and Technology offers an MBA program that may be completed entirely online. The online MBA program may also be completed on a part-time basis and it requires 36 credit hours to complete. Ten optional specialization areas are available and include Business Intelligence, Business Sustainability, Enterprise Resource Planning, Human-Computer Interaction, International Business, Marketing, New Product Development, Project Management, Strategy, and Supply Chain Management.

Courses for the AACSB International-accredited program are delivered over the Internet, via live streaming video and collaborative learning software, which includes WebEx and Blackboard.  In addition, classes are “archived online” for easy access and review. The online MBA program at Missouri University of Science and Technology usually takes just two to three years to complete.

Note: Students interested in earning college credit toward their MBA might consider a Graduate Certificate Program. Students earning a B or better in all core courses may be accepted into the corresponding degree program without taking the GRE. Certificates are available in the following MBA related areas: Business Intelligence, Enterprise Resource Planning, Human-Computer Interaction, and Project Management

15. Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

The Mike Illitch School of Business at Wayne State University offers an MBA program that can be completed online. According to the School, courses are delivered virtually and asynchronously to allow students in any geographic location to complete the entire curriculum.

Students admitted to the Online MBA will take a set of reserved courses. This will allow them to complete the program as a cohort.

The online MBA does not offer concentrations. However, the program does offer opportunities to participate in Wayne State’s study abroad and global programs. Offerings include China: Global Business Experience, China: International Business Seminars, Italy: Global Business Experience, and Brazil: Supply Chain Management.

16. Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska

Creighton University is home to Heider College of Business, which offers a 33-credit-hour MBA that may be completed 100% online, on campus, or a combination of the two. The program, which may be completed in just over two years, offers six unique dual degree programs. Two are available 100% online. They include the MBA/Master of Security Analysis and Portfolio Management (MSAPM) or MBA/MSAPM, and the Master of Science in Business Intelligence and Analytics (MS-BIA) or MBA/MS-BIA. Both programs require 48-credit-hours of study to graduate. As part of the Heider College of Business, all online MBA programs are AACSB International-accredited.

17. Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio

The College of Business at Franklin University offers a 40-credit-hour MBA that may be completed in as few as 14 months. Students may craft their own concentration area by choosing the appropriate number of electives in the areas of Marketing & Communications, Business Psychology, Healthcare Administration, Public Administration, and Human Resource Management. The program, which takes as few as 14 months to complete, is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).

18. Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri

The Business Administration Department at Columbia College offers a 36-credit-hour MBA program with an optional Accounting track or an emphasis in Human Resource Management. Students in this online program can expect to take 12 hours of foundation courses, 24 hours of cores, and nine additional hours if a track or emphasis is chosen. Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

19. Upper Iowa University, Fayette, Iowa

Upper Iowa University’s (UIU) School of Business at offers a 36-credit-hour MBA with five emphasis areas including Accounting, Corporate Financial Management, General Management, Human Resource Management, and Organizational Development. This online program features asynchronous courses that allow students to attend classes on their own schedule. UIU offers six, eight-week terms each year and students may begin the degree program during any term.

Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the online MBA at UIU does not require any residencies. In addition to the Fayette campus, Upper Iowa offers the MBA through the Online Programs at the Des Moines Center, Quad Cities Center, and Waterloo Center.

20. Ohio University, Athens Ohio

The College of Business at Ohio University offers a 35-credit-hour MBA that may be completed in as few as two years. Known as the Professional MBA or “PMBA,” the program offers three concentrations including Finance, Health Care, and Executive Management. A General MBA curriculum is also on the menu.

This AACSB International-accredited MBA program allows students to take two courses each semester over a total of six semesters. With the exception of one on-campus, weekend-long Professional Development Workshop, all coursework for the MBA program may be completed online. However, students have the option to complete two additional on-campus workshops as well as optional participation in the International Study Program.

The international trip allows students to explore businesses and economic sectors abroad, “enhancing and supporting the MBA's course-based and project-based learning by highlighting various issues and practices as they occur in an international context.”