When selecting an online MBA program, prospective students must consider cost, program length, delivery format, and concentration offerings. This school ranking aims to compile key information about top online MBA programs in one place to help learners narrow down their choices and select an institution that fits their needs.

Illinois boasts 194 universities offering on-campus and online degree programs. Data demonstrates that 24% of the Illinois student population takes at least one course online. The state recognizes the growing popularity of online learning, and it has committed to a 10-year plan that includes online education investments and increased student access to higher education.

Online MBA Programs in Illinois

When choosing an online MBA Illinois program, distance learners face many options. While deciding factors often include program requirements and costs, accreditation also adds value to an online MBA Illinois program. Accreditation means the university or college offering the program meets professional standards. The list below features online MBA programs in Illinois. All of the schools named below hold accreditation.

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

American InterContinental University

Location Schaumburg, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $28,586 % Receiving Financial Aid 77% Student Population 11,560 School Type Private

With over 80% of its 10,000 students enrolled in distance learning programs, American InterContinental University boasts one of the best online MBA programs in Illinois. AIU's fully online MBA has received programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Concentrations within the MBA include accounting, human resource management, project management, and healthcare. This 48-credit degree may be completed in less than one year, and AIU's personalized learning platform allows students to pace their online coursework, retake exams to improve grades, skip over material already learned, and receive real-time support when needed.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students may transfer up to 12 credits in graduate courses completed with a B or higher from other accredited institutions. The university offers a 20% graduate tuition discount to active military personnel including members of the National Guard and Reserves.


Concentrations

Aurora University

Location Aurora, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $20,340 % Receiving Financial Aid 71% Student Population 5,423 School Type Private

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Aurora University has an enrollment of approximately 5,600 students, including distance learners. This Illinois online MBA requires 36 credits delivered through its Moodle platform. Students complete 21 credits in core courses in marketing, management, accounting, finance, and applied business research, and 15 credits in electives. Full-time learners may complete the degree within 12 months, through eight-week course modules offered throughout the year.

Admission to the MBA program requires a minimum 3.0 GPA from a regionally accredited institution. Applicants with less than a 3.0 GPA may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students do not need an undergraduate business major to apply, and the GMAT is not required. The program accepts up to six graduate credits in transfer from another accredited institution. AU participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements initiative, which allows students in 35 participating states to enroll in its online programs.


Concentrations

Benedictine University

Location Lisle, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $38,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 60% Student Population 5,954 School Type Private

Founded in 1897, Benedictine University offers 56 undergraduate majors and 18 master's and doctoral degrees. As one of the fully asynchronous online MBA programs in Illinois, Benedictine's degree programs allow students to work at their own pace. Students have the option of choosing a three-course concentration in one of these areas: entrepreneurship and managing innovation, accounting, financial management, marketing, international business, healthcare administration, and internet marketing.

The MBA consists of 16 courses, delivered in six sessions through two available formats. Students in the traditional track take one course each session, finishing the degree in two years. In the accelerated track, learners complete two courses each term, allowing them to earn a degree in one year. The MBA includes a capstone experience but no written thesis. Applicants must have earned a 2.75 GPA from an accredited four-year institution. Those who majored in business may be eligible to waive the GMAT requirement and up to four of the required foundation courses.


Concentrations

Concordia University - Chicago

Location River Forest, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $24,840 % Receiving Financial Aid 75% Student Population 5,239 School Type Private

Concordia University, Chicago offers associate, undergraduate, master's, and doctoral level degrees online and at its River Forest, Illinois campus. This private not-for-profit institution holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learner Commission. CUC's 39-credit graduate degree in business has been recognized as one of the best online MBA programs in Illinois. Students complete the fully online MBA by taking two eight-week courses in each of two sessions per semester, for six continuous semesters. The versatile program covers a broad range of themes through 10 specializations and seven concentrations.

A distinctive program feature, the Business e-Portfolio, gathers signature projects from each course that students assemble into an electronic portfolio to share with current or prospective employees, demonstrating their accomplishments and mastery of skills. Applicants to the MBA must have an overall 2.85 GPA for full admission. Students with a GPA between 2.25 and 2.84 may be considered for probationary admission.


Concentrations

Dominican University

Location River Forest, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $45,080 % Receiving Financial Aid 65% Student Population 3,696 School Type Private

Established in 1901 as a women's Catholic college, Dominican University has grown into a comprehensive coed institution offering 50 undergraduate and 25 graduate programs. Holding Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation, this online MBA program can be completed online or in a hybrid format in just 18 months. The program requires 40-46 credits, depending on acceptable undergraduate coursework and work experience. Some applicants may be eligible for GMAT and course waivers. Students may transfer up to six hours of coursework with a grade of B or higher earned in a graduate program at a regionally accredited institution.

Dominican's MBA program offers dual master's degrees with its School of Social Work, School of Library and Information Science, and Dietician program. It also administers a joint MBA/JD with the Chicago-based John Marshall Law School. Online MBA students may take advantage of career planning and advising through the School of Business Executives in Residence program.


Concentrations

Eastern Illinois University

Location Charleston, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $22,673 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 8,520 School Type Public

Eastern Illinois University's online MBA, introduced in 2016, features asynchronous course delivery providing students with the flexibility to access lectures, readings, and assignments at their convenience, without having to attend live on-campus sessions. EIU's business degree has been awarded programmatic accreditation from the AACSB. Online MBA courses carry 3 credits each, offered in six summer or eight fall or spring sessions, one course per term. Depending on GPA and evidence of professional experience, entrance to the program requires GMAT or GRE scores. Applicants must also submit two letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

EIU's distinctive curriculum features a bookended structure, differing from most other online MBA programs in Illinois. The MBA 5000 Strategic Management course, taken in the first semester, provides an introduction to subject areas covered in the degree. MBA 5900 Management Simulation, a capstone course taken in the last semester, requires students to integrate their knowledge and training into a series of business applications.


Governors State University

Location University Park, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $14,616 % Receiving Financial Aid 76% Student Population 5,938 School Type Public

Founded in 1969, Governors State University is a comprehensive public university located 40 miles south of Chicago, Illinois. With an enrollment of over 5,500, GSU offers over 130 online courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. The 36-credit MBA, accredited by AACSB, can be completed in 18 months, with classes taught completely online or in a hybrid environment. In addition to the concentration in General Management, GSU offers one of the only online MBA programs in Illinois with a concentration in Supply Chain Management.

Entrance to the program requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, resume, and submission of GMAT or GRE scores. Test scores and core foundation courses may be waived in some cases, depending on undergraduate background and GPA. GSU also waives the graduate application fee for veterans and service members. All distance learning students pay in-state tuition.


Concentrations

Greenville College

Location Greenville, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $17,485 % Receiving Financial Aid 76% Student Population 1,321 School Type Private

A private coed institution located in southern Illinois, Greenville College became Greenville University in 2017. Its graduate business program has been lauded as one of the best online MBA programs in Illinois. Students may complete the 40-credit MBA degree totally online without any required on-campus attendance. Students progress toward the degree at their own pace in 8-week classes. Most students complete the online degree in two years.

Applicants for admission to the MBA must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, with at least a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework. The GMAT may be waived for students with two years of work experience or 12 credits of business-related undergraduate coursework with a minimum B grade. A distinguishing feature of the program requires students to demonstrate active involvement in a voluntary or paid position that serves as the foundation for a capstone project.


Concentrations

Judson University

Location Elgin, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $25,350 % Receiving Financial Aid 55% Student Population 1,274 School Type Private

Founded in 1913 and established as Judson University in 2007, this private institution offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs online and at its Elgin, Illinois location. It has established one of the few online MBA programs in Illinois delivered in a cohort format, where students in groups of 15 move through the program together, one class at a time, benefitting from mutual support and peer interaction. The 36-credit MBA may be completed in 18 months. Judson also offers MBA students the opportunity to pursue a dual degree by adding a master's in organizational leadership for a total of 60 hours.

Applicants to the MBA program must provide evidence of two years of work experience, and submit transcripts indicating completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year institution with a 3.0 GPA. They also must include two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal essay.


Lake Forest Graduate School of Management

Location Lake Forest, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $38,588 % Receiving Financial Aid - Student Population 500 School Type Private

Known for its practical education model and "business leaders" faculty, the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management has operated as an independent, nonprofit institution of higher education since 1946. One of the online MBA programs in Illinois that participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement initiative, LFGSM provides its distance education courses and programs to member institutions in other states. LFGSM's fully online MBA program can be completed in as little as 18 months, with an average completion time of three years. The curriculum includes 12 core courses and a capstone course. Students may also complete two optional courses to achieve a specialization in Global Business.

Alumni of LFGSM interested in earning a graduate degree receive a 25% tuition discount on courses taken toward the new degree. Applicants to the program who do not receive tuition assistance from their employers may be eligible for a Tuition Assistance Grant.


Concentrations

Lewis University

Location Romeoville, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $28,620 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 6,544 School Type Private

Lewis University delivers degrees at the associate, undergraduate, master's, and doctoral level to over 6,500 students. Lewis offers its 36-credit MBA through fully online and blended formats in five 8-week sessions per year. Students who enter the MBA program without an undergraduate business major may have to complete up to 21 credits in foundation courses, though students may be waived from some foundation courses depending on their previous undergraduate coursework. Apart from the foundations, the MBA requires 24 hours in core courses, nine credits in any of 12 concentrations, and three credits in electives. The GMAT is not required for admission.

Lewis is one of the only MBA programs in Illinois that offers dual degrees, giving students the opportunity to combine an MBA with either a master's of science in nursing or a master's of science in information security. These joint MBAs allow students to complete two master's degree programs in significantly less time than taking the two degrees separately.


Concentrations

McKendree University

Location Lebanon, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $20,340 % Receiving Financial Aid 56% Student Population 3,001 School Type Private

McKendree University offers students the choice of two degree tracks: a general MBA degree and an MBA in human resource management. The completely online 36-credit degree consists of 12 courses presented in eight modules over an eight-week timeframe. The MBA program may be completed in one year.

Admissions requirements include an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher from a regionally accredited school. Students who apply to the program without a business major must complete a set of foundation courses in accounting, economics, marketing, management, and statistics. All applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement. McKendree does not require the GMAT or GRE and accepts up to 12 transfer credits for courses taken at another graduate institution. Out-of-state and in-state students pay the same tuition rate.


Concentrations

National Louis University

Location Chicago, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $30,459 % Receiving Financial Aid 63% Student Population 4,384 School Type Private

National Louis University, a private, nonprofit institution, offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs to over 8,000 students in seven locations in Illinois and Florida, and online. Its 39-credit MBA program offers concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management in addition to the general MBA. Students may choose between two different delivery formats: the fully online option provides the greatest flexibility and convenience, and the blended format enables learners to complete the MBA through a combination of online courses and occasional classroom attendance. Illinois-based students in the blended MBA meet face-to-face every other week each term.

Students must take 21 credits in core courses including Managerial Economics, Macroeconomics, Managerial Accounting, Financial Markets, Financial Management, Strategic Marketing, and Technology and Leadership. Applicants to the MBA program must have an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA and submit two letters of recommendations and a personal statement outlining their professional goals.


Concentrations

North Park University

Location Chicago, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $41,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 70% Student Population 3,159 School Type Private

Chicago-based North Park University delivers undergraduate and graduate degrees to over 3,000 students. North Park offers a fully online degree requiring 36 credits consisting of 13 core courses and five electives. Core courses include Organizational Behavior and Ethics, Marketing Analysis and Consumer Behavior, Financial Decision Making, Multi-Sector Convergence and Social Responsibility, and Strategy for Competitive Advantage. Students also have the option to choose from 16 certificates in business and nonprofit areas.

North Park also offers rolling admission to the MBA program, with coursework beginning three times per year. Applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary school with a 3.0 GPA or better do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores. Students with undergraduate GPAs lower than 3.0 may qualify for provisional acceptance. All applications must include two letters of recommendation and a personal essay.


Concentrations

Northeastern Illinois University

Location Chicago, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $12,672 % Receiving Financial Aid 31% Student Population 9,538 School Type Public

Northeastern Illinois University serves over 12,000 commuter and online students in more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs. With 18 years of experience in distance learning, NEIU offers one of the AACSB-accredited online MBA programs in Illinois.

Students can enroll in the MBA program full or part time through online, hybrid, or traditional classroom settings. The 33-credit online option features the same class offerings as the other formats, including 24 credits in core courses such as information systems and technology, managerial accounting, corporate finance, marketing management, applied business research, and business strategy and policy, along with nine credits of electives.v

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher and a GMAT score of at least 450 or an equivalent GRE score. Two letters of recommendation, a statement of career goals and objectives, and a resume must accompany applications.


Concentrations

Olivet Nazarene University

Location Bourbonnais, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $24,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 72% Student Population 4,892 School Type Private

From its original campus location in Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet Nazarene University has grown into a comprehensive private institution offering more than 30 programs online and in over 100 different locations throughout the Midwest. It delivers a fully online 36-credit accelerated MBA that students can complete in 18 months by taking two eight-week classes each session. Students may also opt for a 24-month program requiring only one class per term. The online degree consists of 12 courses, with concentrations in leadership, healthcare, corporate communications and media strategy, nonprofit management, and intercultural competence. Students select one elective, satisfied through either a research project or a Global Business Experience. This global immersion focus makes ONU one of the only online MBA programs in Illinois to feature an international travel option.

Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students do not need an undergraduate major in business to apply to the program.


Concentrations

Quincy University

Location Quincy, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $15,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 70% Student Population 1,293 School Type Private

This small, Catholic-sponsored university, based in southwestern Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi River, offers a fully online MBA. This 30-credit accelerated degree may be completed in one year through 10 courses offered in 10-week sessions. Students may study at their own pace, completing a total of six core courses and four electives, but all classes must be completed within five years.

Admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, two letters of recommendation, and an autobiographical statement describing work experience and career goals. Students with a 3.0 or higher GPA in undergraduate courses do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores. Quincy's MBA program accepts no more than three courses transferred from other graduate programs. As one of the online MBA programs in Illinois approved by the American Institute of Public Accountants, the program offers interested students the opportunity to fulfill the 150-credit requirement for the CPA exam.


Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

Location Carbondale, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $36,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 61% Student Population 17,292 School Type Public

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale offers an AACSB-accredited master's degree program. This rigorous fully online degree uses a specially designed cohort platform where students move through a 16-course program as a group, taking each eight-week course at a time sequentially. Students take two courses in the fall and spring semesters and one course in the summer. In addition to these courses, students take one managerial skill class each semester. Students take these managerial skill courses in eight modules, delivered every two weeks throughout the fall and spring semesters, and in one module each week during the summer session.

The program offers a 42-credit general MBA or a 43-credit MBA with a specialization in Agribusiness Economics. Students can expect the same course content offered in the on-campus MBA, taught by many of the same faculty.


Concentrations

University of Illinois - Springfield

Location Springfield, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $13,140 % Receiving Financial Aid 54% Student Population 5,402 School Type Public

The University of Illinois, Springfield offers 21 master's degrees including a 36-credit MBA. This program requires completion of eight core courses delivered in a blended format and four electives offered fully online. The on-campus component for the blended courses requires course attendance some evenings at the UIS campus. While the program does not require a written thesis, students must pass a culminating business strategy class with a grade of B or better to graduate. As one of the online MBA programs in Illinois with AACSB accreditation, the UIS Master's in Business Administration degree program offers a rigorous curriculum focusing on globalization and technological advances in the marketplace.

Admission requirements include a GMAT of 400 or higher, three letters of reference, a resume, a personal statement, and a GPA of at least 2.5 in undergraduate coursework. Students without business prerequisites from their undergraduate coursework may apply for provisional acceptance.


Concentrations

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Location Champaign, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $21,844 % Receiving Financial Aid 39% Student Population 45,842 School Type Public

The flagship of the state's public institutions, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana serves over 47,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The University of Illinois online MBA features a distinctive design of fully online and cohort-delivered components. The completely online component, delivered through the Coursera platform, consists of asynchronous courses with no on-campus requirements. The second component, delivered through the Illinois Compass 2G platform, provides live sessions and group assignments. For each eight-week Illinois course, students compete two four-week courses on the Coursera platform. Students must complete both components for a total of 72 credits to earn a degree. The MBA offers several specializations, including strategic leadership and management, value chain management, managerial economics and business analysis, global challenges in business, and digital marketing.

Entrance requirements consist of a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited program, a personal essay, three references, and three years of professional experience. GMAT or GRE scores, while not required, are strongly recommended.


Concentrations

University of St. Francis

Location Joliet, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $28,728 % Receiving Financial Aid 69% Student Population 3,957 School Type Private

The University of St. Francis, with its main campus located in Joliet, Illinois, has offered online learning since 1998. Its Masters of Business Administration, recognized as one of the best online MBA programs in Illinois, can be completed in 12 to 18 months. Applicants to the online program must have completed a bachelor's degree with a 2.75 GPA from an accredited regional university. One letter of recommendation, a resume and a personal statement should accompany the application. Entrance to the MBA program also requires two years of full-time employment in a management position or appropriate Peregrine Inbound Exam score.

The 36-credit online MBA requires 12 hours in core courses, 12 in competency areas, and 12 in a selected concentration. Students can select a concentration in accounting, business analytics, finance, healthcare administration, human resource management, logistics, management, and training and development.


Concentrations

Western Illinois University

Location Macomb, IL Tuition $$$$$ Tuition $12,309 % Receiving Financial Aid 70% Student Population 11,094 School Type Public

Western Illinois University boasts an enrollment of over 10,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degree programs. One of the online MBA programs in Illinois delivered in both a fully asynchronous and a hybrid format, WIU's degree can be completed in two years or less. The 100% online program, delivered through WIU's Desire2Learn (D2L) course management system, requires no face-to-face sessions and takes approximately two years to complete. The hybrid option, blending online classes with on-campus meetings, can be finished within one calendar year. Hybrid courses run for eight weeks in length, and require two half-hour campus meetings every two weeks, on a weeknight or a Saturday morning. Available concentrations include accounting, management, supply chain management, and information systems.

Qualifying students with the appropriate undergraduate background in business-related courses can waive up to 21 hours of foundational core courses to complete all requirements in just 33-credit hours.


Why Consider an Online MBA in Illinois?

Illinois is home to 194 degree-granting universities, including the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois — Urbana Champaign. Both offer highly ranked MBA programs. Most Illinois schools offer on-campus, hybrid, or online MBA programs. This allows students to choose a format that fits their schedule and learning style.

Online MBA programs give students access to a quality, affordable education without the hassle of commuting to campus. The higher cost of living on or near college campuses in Illinois may prohibit students from earning degrees. On the other hand, the flexibility of learning from anywhere gives students more opportunities to pursue college degrees and advance their careers.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 149,217 44,718
Exclusively Distance 66,361 33,864
On-Campus 584,722 117,837

Source: Distance Education State Almanac

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 71,797 14,598
Private not-for-profit 221,883 20,931
Public 509,104 9,189

Source: Distance Education State Almanac

MBA Concentrations for Illinois Students

Illinois boasts the nation's fifth-largest GDP. Its diverse economy consists of several industries, including advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, agribusiness and food processing, life sciences and biotechnology, business and professional services, and energy. Online MBA programs develop multiple skills, but many programs offer concentrations such as operations management, healthcare management, marketing, and financial management. These options allow students to align their degrees with their career goals.

Students should consider Illinois' top industries and career options before selecting an online MBA program and concentration. Students should understand the state's job market to ensure that they earn a degree that appeals to employers and develops the skills they need to excel in their chosen fields.

  • Operations Management: The operations management concentration teaches students to use common logistics software, and it develops learners' understanding of key principles in logistics, customer service, and supply chain management. Career options in this field include operations manager and procurement operations manager.
  • Healthcare Management: This concentration prepares students for careers as healthcare consultants, hospital administrators, or health information managers. Coursework covers healthcare law and ethics, information systems, and healthcare operations, preparing students to manage healthcare facilities and staff.
  • Financial Management: The financial management concentration teaches investment management and financial modeling skills. Coursework focuses on key areas including tax, retirement, estate, and investment planning. Common jobs in this field include financial planner, trust officer, and financial analyst.

Accreditation in Illinois

The best online MBA programs in Illinois are offered through accredited institutions. These schools meet strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. Depending on the accrediting body, a school may obtain either regional or national accreditation. National accreditation typically applies to for-profit vocational or technical institutions, while nonprofit schools usually receive regional accreditation.

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

Illinois Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

Illinois' diverse array of industries gives the state's MBA graduates several potential career options. The three largest employers in Illinois are the University of Illinois, Shire, and Allstate Insurance Company, each located in or near the city of Chicago.

Students may consider careers as operations research analysts, software developers, management analysts, financial planners, or marketing research analysts, as data indicates these are some of the fastest-growing occupations in Illinois. Online MBA programs teach core business concepts and develop the critical-thinking, analytical, and leadership skills students need to excel in these positions. Students must understand Illinois's job market trends to ensure that they select an in-demand career and earn a pertinent degree.

Illinois is still recovering from the Great Recession, which caused stagnant wages and job loss. The rising cost of living and increasing crime rates may further impact Illinois' population and workforce. However, job growth should increase modestly in the coming years, by about 0.9%. Some experts say incoming tech companies, along with a resurgence of manufacturing in the suburbs of Chicago, may create more profitable jobs and attract new residents.

Top Employers in Illinois

Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
University of Illinois at Chicago Education Chicago 20,000
Shire Biotechnology Bannockburn 17,000
Allstate Insurance Company Insurance Northbrook 13,000

Source: CareerOneSource

Illinois' top three employers span various industries. An online MBA may benefit graduates seeking jobs in any of those industries, since all types of organizations must function efficiently and operate strategically to remain competitive in their respective fields. Students should research available positions at the top employers to determine their requirements and preferences.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Illinois

An MBA program represents a significant investment of time and money. Prospective students should research each program's cost along with their earning potential to determine whether they would receive a positive return on investment. According to wage data for Illinois, MBA graduates may earn $20,000-$30,000 more annually than candidates with only a bachelor's degree. MBA programs may be expensive, but they give students a competitive advantage over other candidates, significantly increasing graduates' earning potential.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Economics $100,000
Business Management and Administration $86,000
General Business $96,000
Miscellaneous Business and Medical Administration $78,000

Source: Center on Education and the Workforce

Careers for MBAs in Illinois

Financial Manager

A financial manager's primary tasks include producing financial reports, planning a firm's investment activities, and developing long-term strategies to maintain an organization's financial health. Professionals in this field earn an annual salary of $127,990 per year. These roles require at least a bachelor's degree, but a growing number of employers prefer candidates with a master's degree.


Hospital Administrator

Hospital administrators manage healthcare facilities and personnel. An administrator's primary tasks include recruiting and training employees, creating work schedules, developing department goals, and improving efficiency across all departments. Administrators may also attend shareholder meetings and serve as liaisons between department heads and staff. Professionals in this field earn an annual salary of $99,730.


Operations Manager

Operations managers assume responsibility for budget monitoring, managing personnel and wages, inventory management, and coordinating their organizations' processes to maintain efficiency and productivity. These professionals work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and information technology. They earn an annual salary of $62,280.


Marketing Research Analyst

Market research analysts gather data on consumers and competitors to forecast marketing and sales trends. They also analyze data on an organization's performance to develop marketing strategies and determine the success of marketing campaigns. These professionals earn an annual salary of $63,120.


Insurance Underwriter

An insurance underwriter interviews applicants, processes medical records, and assesses risk factors to determine eligibility and coverage amounts. Earning an MBA with a concentration in risk management may give students a competitive edge over other candidates and lead to career advancement opportunities. Insurance underwriters earn an annual salary of $69,380.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Illinois

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