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Best online executive MBA programs 2022

You can earn your online executive MBA in a matter of months and advance your business career at one of these top-rated university programs.
maura-deering
Written by Maura Deering, Contributor on
A white female executive wearing a black turtleneck smiles while gazing out a window.
Shutterstock / GaudiLab

An executive MBA offers mid-career managers the opportunity to study advanced leadership topics and move to the next level in their careers. 

Online executive MBA programs, increasingly common across the country, allow students to earn their degrees without leaving their jobs.

Executive MBA graduates hold positions that include chief executive officers, chief financial officers, chief operating officers, directors of operations, and executive directors. Salaries for these positions average $121,000 per year, according to July 2022 Payscale data. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% job growth rate for top executives during 2020-2030. 

Continue reading to learn how you can earn your online executive MBA. 

Top 5 schools for an online executive MBA: Quick facts

College

Program stats

How much?

California State University, San Bernardino

San Bernardino, CA

  • MBA online for executives
  • Acceptance rate: 78% 
  • Graduation rate: 69%
  • Flex track for students needing additional time to complete their degrees

Per course: $3,600

Application fee: $70 

Washington State University

Pullman, WA

  • Executive MBA online
  • Acceptance rate: 80% 
  • Graduation rate: 65% 
  • Cohort-based with professional coaching

Per credit hour: $1,328

Application fee: $75

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Wilmington, NC

  • Executive MBA online
  • Acceptance rate: 68% 
  • Graduation rate: 73% 
  • International residencies in Europe or Asia

Per credit hour:

  • $503 in-state
  • $1,271 out-of-state

Application fee: $75

University of Nevada Reno

Reno, NV

  • Online executive MBA
  • Acceptance rate: 87%
  • Graduation rate: 58%
  • Applicants can pair with a recent EMBA graduate program ambassador

Per semester: $5,000 per semester

Application fee: $60

Ohio University

Athens, OH

  • Online MBA in executive management
  • Acceptance rate: 87% 
  • Graduation rate: 65%
  • On-campus leadership development residency weekend

Per credit hour:

  • $1,032 in-state
  • $1,051 out-of-state

Application fee: $50


The best online executive MBA degrees

ZDNet's ranking methodology relies on federally reported datasets, expert curation, and rigorous editing and fact-checking. Metrics include school reputation, academic quality, and affordability. 

Readers can trust that our ranking lists contain up-to-date and objective information. Schools cannot pay for inclusion. 

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard. Note that for public colleges, the average annual net price given is for in-state students.

1. California State University, San Bernardino
San Bernardino, California 

About the program: CSUSB's master of business administration online for executives emphasizes conceptual knowledge and practical skills. The program culminates with a portfolio course and comprehensive exam.

  • Acceptance rate: 78% 
  • Graduation rate: 69% 
  • Program cost: $36,000 plus fees
  • Time to completion: 21 months or Flex track for additional time
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three (spring, summer, fall) 
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: California State University, San Bernardino is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and College Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

2. Washington State University
Pullman, Washington 

About the program: The executive MBA online at WSU emphasizes big-picture decision-making with opportunities to bring workplace projects into the classroom. The final course consists of a capstone project and presentation. 

  • Acceptance rate: 80% 
  • Graduation rate: 65% 
  • Program cost: $55,776 plus fees
  • Time to completion: As few as 16 months
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three (spring, summer, fall) 
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous and asynchronous

Accreditation: Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).

3. University of North Carolina Wilmington
Wilmington, North Carolina 

About the program: Students enrolled in UNCW's executive MBA online combine distance learning with residencies that take place on campus and internationally in Europe or Asia. The program focuses on analytical and quantitative skills.  

  • Acceptance rate: 68% 
  • Graduation rate: 73% 
  • Program cost: $24,957-$57,255 plus fees
  • Time to completion: As few as 12 months; accelerated seven-week courses
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • GRE/GMAT: GMAT above 500 (waived for managerial work experience, 3.2 GPA, or graduate degree with quantitative coursework)
  • Enrollment periods per year: Six 
  • Course delivery method: Hybrid

Accreditation: University of North Carolina Wilmington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).

4. University of Nevada Reno
Reno, Nevada

About the program: UNR's cohort-based online executive MBA offers 12-week courses that develop skills in complex problem-solving, evidence-based reasoning, and qualitative and quantitative decision-making. 

Accreditation: University of Nevada Reno is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).

5. Ohio University
Athens, Ohio 

About the program: The master of business administration online at OU offers an executive management concentration that focuses on analytics, ethics, and leadership and change management. The program requires one weekend on campus for a professional development workshop.

  • Acceptance rate: 87% 
  • Graduation rate: 65% 
  • Program cost: $36,120-$36,785 plus fees
  • Time to completion: As few as two years
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three 
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).

6. Queens University of Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina 

About the program: Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, Queens University includes a flexible master of business administration among its online options. Enrollees can customize their degrees with specializations that include executive coaching and leadership and change. 

  • Acceptance rate: 68% 
  • Graduation rate: 53% 
  • Program cost: $27,960
  • Time to completion: 18-24 months
  • Minimum GPA: N/A
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three (spring, summer, fall)
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Queens University of Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).

7. Bethel University
Mishawaka, Indiana

About the program: Missionary Church-affiliated Bethel offers an online executive MBA for students with management experience. Courses include organizational behavior, statistical analysis, managerial economics, and an organizational development project. 

  • Acceptance rate: 93% 
  • Graduation rate: 66% 
  • Program cost: $22,716 plus fees
  • Time to completion: 21 months; accelerated option available
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Nine
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Bethel University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


SEE: How to spot an unaccredited MBA program


8. Bellevue University
Bellevue, Nebraska 

About the program: At BU, distance learners can earn their master of business administration and concentrate on executive coaching. The curriculum includes skill-, competency-, and performance-based internship courses. 

  • Acceptance rate: 100% 
  • Graduation rate: 50% 
  • Program cost: $22,680 plus fees
  • Time to completion: Self-paced
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling 
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Program accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

9. Southeastern University
Lakeland, Florida 

About the program: SEU, an Assemblies of God school, lists an MBA in executive leadership among its online programs. The curriculum includes executive leadership core courses, such as leadership philosophy, current issues in business, and global social entrepreneurship, and culminates with a capstone. 

Accreditation: Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

10. Jacksonville University
Jacksonville, Florida

About the program: At JU, distance learners in the executive master of business administration program focus on executive leadership style and communication. Students choose one of two tracks: executive accounting/finance or management development. 

  • Acceptance rate: 78% 
  • Graduation rate: 52% 
  • Program cost: $46,144
  • Time to completion: Self-paced
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • GRE/GMAT: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Four (fall, winter, spring, summer) 
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Jacksonville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).

What should I expect in an online executive degree program?

Executive MBA programs are designed for experienced managers and focus on high-level decision-making. Students typically have nine years of leadership experience. 

Online executive MBAs offer flexible learning, such as asynchronous, part-time, or self-paced options, to allow enrollees to continue working. Accelerated tracks may also be available at some schools. 

Executive MBA courses

Online executive MBA programs include core MBA courses, along with executive MBA core courses and electives. While content varies depending on program emphases, executive MBA students can expect some version of the following courses. 

Business analytics

This class introduces data-driven decision-making, including descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive approaches. The course covers topics in data mining, data visualization, decision analysis, optimization models, and simulation. 

Corporate strategy in a global environment

Students examine long-term business strategies from a global economic perspective through such topics as diversification and strategic alliances, industry competitive analysis, and strategy formulation and implementation.

Information and communications technology in organizations

In this course, learners explore topics in end-user involvement management, including change management, process reengineering, and requirements specification; strategic values creation; and systems development outsourcing and process.

Managerial leadership and productivity

This course focuses on organizational behavior and human motivation in work settings and includes leadership models and theories that improve productivity, such as East Asian, European, and modern philosophies. 

In conclusion

An online executive MBA can provide a flexible path to career advancement and higher-level leadership roles. 

You can continue your research and explore your options by following the links on this page and accessing our other resources to learn whether an MBA is worth it, which MBA to get, and how to get into a top MBA program.

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