College students in Arkansas can choose from 40 in-state higher learning institutions, including 12 private universities and 10 public, four-year institutions. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education reports that enrollment numbers have fallen over the past five years, including a 2% decrease in enrollment between 2016 and 2017. However, the number of high school students enrolling in college for the first time rose during that same timeframe.

As the economy in Arkansas changes rapidly and more residents move to urban areas, businesses in the state may need well-trained managers. Since only 27.9% of Arkansas residents hold college degrees, online MBAs in Arkansas can set candidates apart.

Online MBA Programs in Arkansas

The following list includes the accredited schools in Arkansas where you can earn your MBA. Explore which programs are available and review their requirements.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
University of Arkansas
Location Fayetteville , AR Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 40 Student Population 26,754 Tuition $40,716 School Type Public

Through its renowned Walton College of Business, the University of Arkansas provides an elite executive master of business administration program that focuses on five core study areas: supply chain management, finance, business analytics, retail, and entrepreneurship. Given the Walton College of Business's close alignment with major retailers, including Walmart, the University of Arkansas online MBA program places particular emphasis on practical aspects of the consumer goods industry. Students benefit from outstanding networking and career development opportunities. Each course in the program incorporates representatives of more than 30 well-known companies.

The program's learning model uses case studies and student projects with clear, direct, real-world application. While learners complete the majority of their coursework online, required face-to-face meetings take place one Saturday per month on UARK's Fayetteville campus. Most candidates complete their degree requirements in about 24 months. This executive online MBA also offers affordability, compared to programs at similar schools.

  • Executive MBA
  • Executive MBA Supply Chain
  • Executive MBA Finance
  • Executive MBA Business Analytics
  • Executive MBA Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Executive MBA Retail
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Arkansas State University
Location Jonesboro , AR Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 53 Student Population 13,410 Tuition $20,130 School Type Public

Arkansas State University offers a convenient and highly respected online master of business administration program designed to meet the needs of busy professionals who want to upgrade their educational credentials without giving up their current jobs. Students have the option of earning a concentration in finance or supply chain management in addition to completing the required 27 credits of core coursework. Core courses cover essential topics that help students build professional management, leadership, and decision-making skills. Candidates also take six credits of specialized classes, and in exceptional cases, the program's structure allows students to design their own individual study programs and substitute them in place of preconfigured electives.

The Arkansas State University online MBA program is one of only a few in the state with Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation. Less than 5% of the world's business schools hold this coveted, internationally recognized endorsement.

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Arkansas Tech University
Location Russellville , AR Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 45 Student Population 12,054 Tuition $10,620 School Type Public

Students looking for an informatics-oriented approach to commerce education should consider the online master of business administration program at Arkansas Tech University. Consisting of 10 core courses delivered in three-hour, digitally accessed formats, this online Arkansas MBA program emphasizes managerial decision-making skills informed by the systematic and logical analysis of empirical data. Arkansas Tech displays a high level of investment in student success, as every candidate in the online program benefits from the hands-on assistance and guidance of an academic adviser.

Incoming students must exhibit existing proficiencies in topics like accounting, economics, business finance, and statistics to qualify for enrollment. Arkansas Tech accepts coursework completed at accredited institutions, certified professional experience, or a combination of the two. The school is also a recognized regional leader in educational affordability, delivering excellent rates of return on student investment.

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Harding University
Location Searcy , AR Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 55 Student Population 6,009 Tuition $24,300 School Type Private

Arkansas-based Harding University features a recently updated, fully online MBA program that integrates relevant business education with Christian principles. Students in this flexible program can complete their degrees in as little as 15 months while also enjoying the ability to extend the program duration up to seven years. Committed Christians lead all courses, giving students the opportunity to build and strengthen their faith while advancing their academic and professional interests.

Recognized as one of the best online MBAs in Arkansas, the Harding University program allows students to join cohorts, or learn on individualized timelines. This convenience extends to course launch times, which fall in January, May, and August. Harding University grants students access to master planning tools that deliver detailed scheduling overviews of all degree requirements, allowing learners to optimize their schedules around outside commitments. All students receive one-on-one access to dedicated academic advisers.

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John Brown University
Location Siloam Springs , AR Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 51 Student Population 2,781 Tuition $18,480 School Type Private

John Brown University features one of the most innovative online MBA programs in Arkansas. In addition to taking an internationally centered approach to business education, JBU's MBA program also encourages students to use their newfound management and leadership skills for the common good of society. With corporate citizenship becoming an increasingly important aspect of commerce in the age of social media, JBU graduates emerge ready to make a positive impact in the business world.

Experienced faculty members with high-level management experience at major companies, like Procter & Gamble, Saatchi, and Walmart, teach JBU's online MBA courses. Coursework emphasizes the importance of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to knowledge application. Students can earn a concentration in one of three areas: international business; market research and consumer insight; and design thinking and innovation. These specializations complement the development of core competencies in essential areas including accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, and strategic positioning.

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Southern Arkansas University
Location Magnolia , AR Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 48 Student Population 4,095 Tuition $9,960 School Type Public

The Southern Arkansas University online master of business administration is one of only a few online MBAs in Arkansas accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The program now offers an emphasis in social entrepreneurship, which prepares graduates to lead business ventures designed to make positive social impacts. This concentration joins existing agricultural commerce, supply chain management, and generalist MBA concentrations.

Incoming students do not need an existing bachelor's degree in business administration. Those with undergraduate credentials in other fields can complete a 24-credit program on foundational prerequisites.Through the MBA program, the SAU faculty emphasizes the ethical, environmental, and social impacts of business and commerce. Professors deliver course material with a global focus and help graduates become responsible members of the international business community. Applicants local to SAU's Magnolia, Arkansas campus also have the option to pursue in-class delivery options or a hybrid of traditional and online learning.

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Why Consider an Online MBA in Arkansas?

Students choose from nine hybrid and online MBA offerings in Arkansas. Some schools offer both hybrid and online options, while others only provide one choice. Hybrid options include some online learning and in-person lectures, which happen during evenings and weekends. Earning an online MBA allows learners to stay where they live, support their local communities, and advance their careers as they pursue their education.

Hybrid options allow degree candidates to move to areas with more businesses while also enjoying the benefits of online learning. The tables below highlight how many students in Arkansas choose distance education.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 46,261 10,383
Exclusively Distance 13,005 7,043
On-Campus 135,625 12,729
Source: Digital Learning Compass

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 683 96
Private not-for-profit 17,554 1,206
Public 150,165 9,081
Source: Digital Learning Compass

MBA Concentrations for Arkansas Students

Arkansas hosts thriving businesses in several diverse industries, including aerospace and defense, distribution and logistics, food and beverage, corporate and shared services, and software development and data management. Students pursuing online MBAs in Arkansas should consider these major industries' needs as they choose their concentrations. Employers hire MBAs from all areas of focus, but specialized degrees give applicants an edge over their competitors.

For example, a recent graduate with a concentration in supply chain management may appeal to the state's many logistics companies. Read on for some of the concentrations MBA students should consider.

  • Supply Chain Management: Students in this concentration take courses in logistics, global supply chains, and sourcing materials. The skills gained in these courses qualify graduates for logistics management positions.
  • Data Analytics: This specialization helps graduates find employment in Arkansas's many growing data management companies. Learners study analytic strategy, predictive analysis, and big data strategies.
  • Human Resources: Courses in human capital management, employment law, and team development prepare candidates to work in the corporate services industry as human resource managers.

Accreditation in Arkansas

The best online MBA programs in Arkansas are offered through accredited institutions. These schools have met the strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. Depending on which accrediting body assesses a school, the institution may hold regional or national accreditation. Most nationally accredited schools are for-profit vocational or technical institutions, while nonprofit schools typically receive regional accreditation.

Of the two accreditation types, regional is generally considered more prestigious. Credits earned at nationally accredited schools are less likely to transfer than those from regionally accredited institutions. If you want to improve your career prospects with an online MBA, Arkansas is home to many regionally accredited institutions.

Arkansas Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

Arkansas's rural areas have seen a sharp downturn in population in recent years, but the state's northwest region represents one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country. The region, which includes Springdale and Fayetteville, grows by more than 1,000 people per month thanks to low unemployment rates and continued economic growth. As a result, companies have opened branches in the area.

The fastest-growing positions throughout the state include those for marketing specialists and medical services managers. Students earn online MBAs in Arkansas to fill these roles. MBA graduates also qualify to fill some of the highest-paid, fastest-growing positions in the state, including those for accountants, administrative service managers, business operations specialists, and financial managers.

Experts expect the economy in Arkansas, and particularly in the northwest region, to continue growing as long as the national economy remains stable. The area boasts a low 2.5% unemployment rate and an average annual income of $56,000 per worker. Across the state, workers earn an average of $41,540 per year while those in management positions earn about $90,640 annually. Arkansas is home to one of the world's biggest companies, Walmart. Its divisions take up several spots on the list of top employers in Arkansas.

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
Office of Research Administration Little Rock Medical School 12,000
Walmart Inc Bentonville Retail 11,000
Walmart US Division Bentonville Retail 11,000
Source: Career OneStop

An online MBA in Arkansas with a concentration in medical services management qualifies candidates to work at the University of Arkansas Medical Science's Office of Research Administration. As such a large company, Walmart hires many MBA-educated managers to run divisions within the organization. Other large employers in Arkansas include the Arkansas Children's Hospital, Micheal Carraway, Tyson Foods, Verizon Wireless Call Center, and Cooper Tire and Rubber Company.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Arkansas

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average worker in the Natural State earns $41,540 per year. However, professionals can increase their salary potential by earning an online MBA in Arkansas. The University of Arkansas reports that the school's MBA students earn average salaries of $70,000 by the time they graduate. No matter where graduates earn their MBAs, they increase their average earnings.

PayScale reports that professionals with MBAs who work in Little Rock, Arkansas earn $62,000 per year on average, which tracks with the data from the Georgetown University shown below.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Management and Administration $62,000
Source: Georgetown University

Careers for MBA Grads in Arkansas

Marketing Manager

These supervisors often work for marketing firms, which are corporate and shared services. Marketing managers identify potential customers for their clients, design marketing campaigns to introduce their company to said consumers, and oversee the creative process through the campaigns. In Arkansas, these managers earn an average salary of $155,020 per year.

Human Resources Manager

These professionals earn an average annual salary of $105,000 in Arkansas. Human resources managers work for large corporations or outside firms to manage teams. Depending on the scope of the job, these professionals may oversee hiring, compensation, employee benefits, disputes, training, promotions, and employment termination.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

The growing software development and data management industry in Arkansas needs tech-savvy business administrators to oversee operations. These professionals earn average salaries of $109,890 per year. They manage budgets and timelines for teams that handle technology-related services, such as data analysis, computer programming, and information systems management.

Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager

The state's many distributions and logistics companies hire these professionals to oversee divisions. Depending on the company, these managers may oversee fleets of truckers, large warehouses, or international shipping. On average, these supervisors make $110,300 per year in Arkansas -- significantly higher than the national average.

Administrative Services Manager

These professionals work for administrative services companies, which provide things like record-keeping, mail distribution, and facilities management to corporations. Administrative services managers oversee teams that clients need and maintain client relations. In Arkansas, the average yearly salary for these managers is $93,180.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Arkansas

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Arkansas. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school's business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school's website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.

Online MBA Programs in Surrounding States

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