Our 2016 list of the Top 10 Online MBA Programs in the Midwest. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
1. Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana (Top 1% of schools considered)
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University offers a flexible Online MBA Program known as “Kelley Direct Online.” The program takes just two years to complete and it allows students to customize their experience by selecting 12 credit hours of electives to create a specialized area. Students may also complete a dual MBA/MS degree with an MS in Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, 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. Offered each quarter, the AGILE curriculum features travel to places such as Gaborone, Botswana; Sao Paolo, Brazil; Beijing, China; New Delhi, India; Myanmar, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International), Kelley Direct Online welcomed 206 online MBA students in fall 2015. Figures for 2016 have not been released.
2. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska (Top 2% of schools considered)
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is home to The College of Business, which offers a 48 credit hour MBA that may be completed entirely online. Per UNL, “you will never have to come to campus, which makes this option the most flexible” of the school’s three MBA programs. The program includes 10 core classes (30 hours), nine hours of breadth electives, and nine hours of electives. Specialization options include Agribusiness, Business Analytics, Finance and Marketing, International Business, and Supply Chain Management.
Students may begin their studies in January, March, June, August or October of each year. The average completion time for the UNL 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 accredited program.
3. University of Wisconsin Consortium, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Oshkosh, Parkside, Wisconsin (Top 3% of schools considered)
The University of Wisconsin Consortium offers an MBA Program that may be completed entirely online. The AACSB accredited program is available through all UW campuses (except Madison) and features “content-integrated, theme-based modules rather than traditional stand-alone courses.” The 30 credit hour Online 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 the program, which typically takes 2.5 to three years, once foundation requirements have been met.
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.
4. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana (Top 4% of schools considered)
Miller College of Business at Ball State University offers a 30 credit hour Online MBA Program that may be completed in as little as two years. The AACSB accredited program offers five optional concentrations including Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Economics, Policy and Administration, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and Sales Management. An additional option is the General MBA, which allows students to customize their experience through a variety of course subjects.
Miller 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.”
Miller College of Business offers another delivery format option for students who prefer a combination of online and on-campus classes. The Hybrid MBA 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. Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio (Top 5% of schools considered)
Cleveland State University is home to Monte Ahuja College of Business, which offers a one-year MBA that may be completed entirely online. One of the first online, one-year MBA programs to be AACSB accredited, the Accelerated Online MBA (AMBA) at Cleveland State emphasizes strategic management skills and equips each student with Apple's iPad 4G upon enrollment. Textbooks, many course modules and other interactive learning materials are fully accessible on the iPad, which comes with 4G service for one year. Upon completion of the 34 credit hour AMBA program, students may keep the iPad.
6. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois (Top 6% of schools considered)
The College of Business at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU Carbondale) offers a fully Online MBA Program with an optional Concentration in Agribusiness Economics. The concentration is offered in partnership with the College of Agricultural Sciences. Per the school, both the General MBA and the MBA with a Concentration in Agribusiness Economics feature a “structured, 23-month curriculum delivered through a focused, modular format,” as well as “participation with a cohort of fellow students that encourages interaction and collaboration.” Course content for the AACSB accredited program is designed and delivered by many of the same faculty who teach in the on-campus MBA program at SIU.
7. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois (Top 7% of schools considered)
The College of Business at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a fully Online MBA (iMBA) that highlights courses that have been grouped into specializations. Per the school, “all the specializations you complete throughout the program ultimately come together as a capstone project and lead to the complete iMBA.” The four required specializations include Strategic Leadership & Management, Managerial Economics and Business Analysis, Value Chain Management, and Financial Management. Focus Area/Advanced Specializations include Global Challenges in Business, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Digital Marketing. Students may take two of the three.
Another highlight of this AACSB accredited program is job placement. According to The Wall Street Journal, the University of Illinois is among corporate recruiters’ top five places to recruit talent. Just a few firms with University of Illinois roots include YouTube, PayPal, and Yelp.
8. Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan (Top 8% of schools considered)
The Global Campus at Central Michigan University (CMU Global Campus) offers an Online MBA Program that features several emphasis areas including Human Resource Management, Logistics Management, Marketing, Value-Driven Organization (VDO), 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, MBA students may have to take anywhere from 36 to 43 credit hours to complete the program. The Online MBA Program at CMU Global Campus is AACSB accredited.
9. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (Top 9% of schools considered)
The University of Cincinnati, Carl H. Lindner College of Business, introduced a new Online MBA Program in spring 2014. The 38 to 48 credit hour program is AACSB accredited and provides core skills in Economics, Marketing, Information Technology, Accounting, and Leadership. Besides earning their degree in 12 to 24 months, Lindner Online MBA students now have seven new concentrations to choose from. Options include Health Care Finance, Health Care Administration, Health Care Operations, Health Care Policy and Regulation, Marketing, Corporate Taxation, and Individual Taxation. At the end of the program, students will receive an MBA degree, along with a Certificate in their area of concentration.
10. University of Michigan, Dearborn, Michigan (Top 10% of schools considered)
The College of Business at University of Michigan-Dearborn offers an MBA Program that may be completed 100% online. Students also have the option to complete program through a combination of on-campus and online instruction (hybrid). Concentrations are optional and include Accounting, Finance, International Business, Investment, Management Information Systems, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management. This AACSB accredited MBA Program may be completed in 36 to 48 credit hours and admission is rolling, so students may begin the program in September or January. May admission is also usually possible for part-time students and total enrollment for fall 2016 is 199. Of this, 90 students attend online.