Nearly 1.5 million people live in Hawaii, a 5% increase from 2010. Seven of the state's eight islands are inhabited, and they comprise 6,422 square miles of land. Most Hawaiians live and work on the three biggest islands: Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu. Eighteen non-profit colleges are located on the islands, including the University of Hawaii system, Hawaii Pacific University, and Chaminade University of Honolulu. Hawaii's employment rate grew .9% in the last year, mostly in the tourism and healthcare industries, which drive the state's economy. Because these industries rely on skilled managers, MBA graduates are qualified for many positions in the state.

Online MBA Programs in Hawaii

Below, we cover each online MBA program in Hawaii. The following information includes curriculum requirements, available concentrations, capstone projects, internship opportunities, and available distance learning options. Each school is regionally accredited.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Location Honolulu, HI Tuition Tuition $32,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 44% Student Population 2,466 School Type Private

Located at the "crossroads of the Pacific," Chaminade offers an education tailored towards working professionals. Addressing business education from a global perspective, the school's Hawai'i MBA online program focuses on management education for social good.

In addition to its general business degree, the MBA program offers five concentrations, each comprising of 12 credits: nonprofit, accounting, healthcare management, science and technology innovation, and island business. Students complete coursework in small classes following an accelerated 10-week format. Core courses include managerial finance, strategic management, and economic analysis for managers. Elective course options include international finance, services marketing, and strategic issues in philanthropy. Most students complete the program within 18-24 months.

Prerequisites include quantitative and accounting skills. Chaminade offers four start dates per year, and conducts admission evaluations using a holistic model. While admitted students typically have three years of work experience and GPAs above 3.0, qualified students without these benchmarks may still apply for provisional acceptance.

  • Accounting
  • Not-For-Profit Management MBA
  • Island Business MBA

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Location Honolulu, HI Tuition Tuition $44,880 % Receiving Financial Aid 37% Student Population 18,865 School Type Public

Established in 1949, UH Mānoa stands proud as a premier institution among business schools focused on the Asia-Pacific region. Emphasizing emerging technologies, UH Mānoa provides a multicultural, collaborative learning environment.

The University of Hawai'i online MBA administers a distance learning executive MBA program comprised of 48 credits and designed for completion in 22 months. After an initial five-day residential intensive, students attend online classes synchronously with their cohort during evenings and weekends. The school also offers a healthcare management track, including a pathway to complete both an MBA and a doctor of nursing practice degree in three years. The core curriculum includes business analytics, managerial finance, and a consulting practicum.

Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA, GMAT or GRE scores, an interview, and at least five years of work experience. The same tuition rates apply for residents and nonresidents. Many Hawai'i companies also sponsor scholarships and transportation stipends for distance learning students on neighbor islands.


Hawaii Pacific University

Location Honolulu, HI Tuition Tuition $42,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 45% Student Population 4,781 School Type Private

HPU offers a diverse education recognized for its respect for the land, local ecology, and commitment to serving the community. For students seeking an online MBA, Hawai'i Pacific offers a flexible program including 27 credits of core coursework and six credits of capstone courses in strategic management.

Students select one of seven concentrations, each comprising of nine credits: finance, human resources management, information systems, international business, management, marketing, and organizational development. All concentrations include a paid internship. Core coursework includes information system management, management accounting, and decision models for managers. The school also offers an accelerated one-year MBA option for exceptionally qualified students.

Admission requirements include GRE or GMAT scores and prerequisite coursework in accounting, finance, statistics, and economics, waivers are granted to qualifying applicants. The MBA program at HPU is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Why Consider an Online MBA in Hawaii?

Though each school in Hawaii emphasizes different specialties, their programs are similar in structure. All online MBA programs in Hawaii are regionally accredited, and most also boast programmatic accreditation. A full-time student can complete an online MBA in Hawaii in about two years. GMAT requirements vary by school. Online MBA students may take classes completely online or enroll in a hybrid program, which combines distance learning with on-campus instruction.

Most Online MBA programs in Hawaii have similar tuitions. PayScale estimates that the cost of living in Honolulu is 90% higher than the national average. It may be easier to earn an online MBA in Hawaii while maintaining a residence in one of the state's less expensive areas. Online MBA programs in Hawaii can be completed from any of its islands. In the table below, we've illustrated the percentage of students that take advantage of online education in the state.

Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education

Percentage of students enrolled at Title IV institutions in Hawaii, by distance education enrollment status, Fall 2012

MBA Concentrations for Hawaii Students

Online MBA programs in Hawaii offer many concentrations. Some students may prefer traditional MBA specializations, such as accounting, human resources, information systems, and finance. Other students may choose to concentrate their studies in areas that directly apply to the tourism or hospitality industries. Below, we illustrate two concentrations that are uniquely applicable to the Hawaiian economy.


  • Island Business: Hawaiian businesses face many challengers, including a reliance on imported resources, environmental hazards created by waste, and high costs of living. This concentration addresses the business models that encourage these problems and explores healthier alternatives for Hawaii.
  • Healthcare Management: Emphasizing the legal, political, and organizational influences that affect Hawaii's healthcare industry, this concentration prepares graduates for leadership or management consulting roles within Hawaii's healthcare organizations.

Accreditation in Hawaii

Accreditation signifies that a school has allowed its admissions and academic policies to be vetted by a third party. The resulting accreditation assures potential students that the online MBA programs in Hawaii are trustworthy and good investments. Some schools may have programmatic accreditation, which signifies that a school meets an industry standard for training within a specific subject.

Hawaii Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, local employment is concentrated in occupations that serve the tourism and hospitality industries. The BLS data also shows that these occupations offer a greater percentage of management positions for online MBA Hawaii students.

Healthcare and social assistance organizations provide Hawaii's second-largest source of revenue, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Residents enjoy a consistently low unemployment rate. Graduates of Hawaii's online MBA programs are most likely to find jobs on one of the three largest islands, where population clusters are largest. Recent BLS data indicates that more than 84% of Hawaiian employment takes place in either Honolulu County or Maui County.

Top Employers in Hawaii

Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
Altres Industrial Personnel Consultants Honolulu 10,000+
Kapiolani Medical Center Hospital Honolulu 5,000-9,999

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Hawaii

Online MBA graduates are valued by employers in Hawaii and elsewhere and are able to step into high-level roles after graduation. It's common for MBA students to earn more than individuals who hold a bachelor's or associate degree.

Average Salary by Degree

Careers for MBAs in Hawaii

Healthcare Administration

These professionals oversee the coordination of healthcare delivery services. They may manage an entire medical facility, a smaller clinic or practice, or an internal department. Responsibilities include legal and regulatory compliance. The BLS projects healthcare administration jobs to grow by 20% through 2026.

Healthcare Operations

Operations managers are responsible for purchasing goods and services that are required for medical facilities to function. Job duties include negotiating contracts, maintaining vendor relationships, and auditing vendor product quality. According to Payscale, an MBA grad in this role can expect to earn an average of $86,176 per year.

Healthcare or Hospitality Financial Management

Responsible for the oversight of an organization's financial health, these managers develop long-term strategic plans for financial growth. Duties include managing investments, identifying cost efficiencies, and analyzing market trends.

Hospitality Management

Executives in this sector oversee the functions of hospitality businesses. Responsibilities include maintaining quality control, supervising customer service efforts, and managing a staff of service personnel. Payscale reports that hospitality directors make a median salary of $71,732 per year.

Healthcare or Hospitality Marketing

Marketing managers are responsible for the advertising and promotions that drive consumers to use their organization's goods or services. Responsibilities include budget development and maintenance, media selection, campaign direction, and campaign performance analysis.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Hawaii

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Hawaii. 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