According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Iowa boasts 61 higher learning institutions. These include 44, four-year colleges, which breaks down into eight public universities, 34 nonprofit private colleges, and two for-profit schools. Many of these institutions have shifted more resources toward online learning in recent years.

Between 2013-2019, online enrollment in Iowa grew 44%. The shift makes sense for many learners due to the rural Iowa setting and hazardous weather conditions in Iowa winters. Many students save time by taking online courses instead of commuting to school, which they can then spend working or managing other life responsibilities.

Online MBA Programs in Iowa

The following list highlights the best online MBA programs in Iowa. The list includes public and private universities, each holding both regional and national accreditation. When researching schools, ensure they have received similar accreditation.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
Maharishi University of Management
Location Fairfield , IA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 86 Student Population 1,530 Tuition $18,000 School Type Private

Of all the online MBA programs in Iowa, only the Maharishi University of Management offers an online MBA in sustainable business. This degree reflects the environmentalism advocated by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the university's founder. The program stresses the skills and knowledge graduates need to support businesses with environmentally sustainable practices. The program begins with two courses in environmental business. After that, students continue the synchronous curriculum by taking evening courses held entirely online. The university records all lectures so students can view them when convenient. Students commit approximately 15 hours per week to the program. Full-time students can earn their degrees in 18 months.

Applicants may apply up to 18 transfer credits toward this Iowa MBA online degree. The university exempts new students who majored in business as undergraduates from up to seven foundational courses if they earned a B grade or higher. All students pay the same tuition rate.

  • Sustainable Business
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Saint Ambrose University
Location Davenport , IA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 69 Student Population 3,266 Tuition $31,941 School Type Private

The online master of business administration program at Saint Ambrose University appeals to prospective students who want to earn their degrees as quickly as possible; full-time students can graduate in just one year, while the majority of part-time students graduate in less than two years. The synchronous core curriculum offers courses in social responsibility and human behavior in organizations. MBA students choose from one of five concentrations that include international management and marketing management.

Saint Ambrose grants standardized test waivers to applicants with advanced degrees or those with at least a 3.5 undergraduate GPA. Transfer students may apply up to nine outside credits toward their Saint Ambrose Iowa online MBA. All new students consult with a tuition planner to create an individualized financing plan. Saint Ambrose uses the Yellow Ribbon Program to ensure that active military personnel and veterans receive their full 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits.

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Upper Iowa University
Location Fayette , IA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 65 Student Population 4,797 Tuition $19,260 School Type Private

At Upper Iowa University, students enrolled in the online master of business administration program benefit from a flexible, asynchronous curriculum. Students select from five concentrations, including accounting and organizational development. Students must complete 36 credits to graduate. Upper Iowa offers every course during the fall, spring, and summer terms for full-time students who plan to graduate in one year. The program concludes with a capstone experience wherein students complete a research paper and present their findings to peers and professors.

New students can begin the program at one of six points throughout the year. Upper Iowa considers transfer credit on a case-by-case basis; the university also grants credit to new students with extensive professional experience. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate. Part-time students pay the same for their degrees as full-time students. Upper Iowa awards multiple scholarships to online students.

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Kaplan University
Location Davenport , IA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 64 Student Population 45,355 Tuition $24,320 School Type Private

Graduate students in the online master's degree in business administration at Purdue University Global can begin their educations at one of three points throughout the year. This 76-credit program includes five concentrations: finance, healthcare management, human resources, information technology, marketing, and project management. Students may complete a traditional MBA without a concentration; in the traditional MBA program, students complete just 60 credits. Full-time students can complete the asynchronous curriculum in one year.

When determining transfer credit, Purdue considers work experience, military training, professional training, and graduate-level coursework. All incoming students participate in Purdue's ExcelTrack program to receive the maximum number of transfer credits. Indiana residents save approximately 10% on tuition compared to out-of-state online students. Military veterans receive the same tuition discount. International students receive the most significant amount of tuition assistance; the university charges them 75% of the standard tuition rate.

The Purdue MBA program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and programs.

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Over the last 50 years, Iowa has diversified its traditionally agriculture-based economy, and today, the state has prominent manufacturing and finance industries. Iowa is home to more than 60 colleges and universities, many of which offer online programs to students from around the world. The variety of online MBA programs in Iowa produce graduates who contribute to the state's business-driven economy.

Why Consider an Online MBA in Iowa?

Options for online MBAs in Iowa grew substantially in recent years. Whereas only a few colleges offered the programs online just a few years ago, at least eight schools offer hybrid or online MBAs in Iowa now, including the University of Iowa's new program that begins in August, 2019.

While Iowa comprises more than 55,000 square miles, urban areas account for less than 1,000 square miles. Furthermore, over 33% of Iowans live in rural areas. As such, it proves difficult for many residents of the Hawkeye State to commute to schools in cities, making it more convenient to earn online MBAs in Iowa instead.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 89,695 25,227
Exclusively Distance 53,414 17,230
On-Campus 183,598 20,864
Source: Digital Learning Compass

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 50,022 10,600
Private not-for-profit 54,079 5,845
Public 171,005 8,782
Source: Digital Learning Compass

MBA Concentrations for Iowa Students

Although Iowa has made its mark for corn production, the state also attracts companies from industries other than agriculture. For example, 80 insurance companies call Iowa home, and the state's tax laws attract the renewable chemicals industry. Iowa remains the nation's leading producer of renewable energy, as well.

IT companies invest in the rural areas of Iowa, which include large data centers for Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, and Google. The Hawkeye State's midwest location also makes it the perfect hub for distribution and warehouse companies that ship all over the country. Students pursuing online MBAs in Iowa can choose concentrations that fit these industries.

  • Information Systems: This concentration prepares graduates to work for the major tech companies. Specialization classes include data management, project management, and electronic commerce.
  • Supply Chain Management: Graduates with these specializations can manage the state's many distribution centers and warehouses. Students learn about decision models, planning, purchasing, strategic logistics, and process analysis in supply chains.
  • Sustainable Business: Courses in this concentration may include environmentally responsible management, sustainable community development, and sustainable technology. These specializations help graduates manage teams in the state's renewable energy and chemical industries.

Accreditation in Iowa

The best online MBA programs in Iowa are offered through accredited institutions. These schools meet the strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. Depending on the accrediting body that assesses a school, it may hold national or regional accreditation.

Most nationally accredited schools include vocational or technical institutions, while traditional four-year universities and community colleges typically receive regional accreditation. Of the two types, regional accreditation holds more prestige. Credits earned at a nationally accredited school may not transfer as easily as those from their regionally accredited counterparts.

If you want to improve your career prospects with an online MBA, Iowa hosts many regionally accredited institutions.

Iowa Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

While Iowa's economy and GDP continue to grow quickly, its population has not kept up the same pace. In fact, while the state had the lowest population growth since 1900, its GDP has grown faster than most states in recent years. This abundance of jobs and lack of professionals means that candidates with MBAs can find plenty of opportunities in Iowa's diverse economy. In order to attract more college-educated workers, companies and cities in Iowa continue to make significant strides toward increasing the quality of life for employees.

Some of the most in-demand jobs include operations research analysts, financial managers, marketing specialists, and financial examiners. Some of the highest paying jobs with increasing demand in Iowa include advertising managers, auditors, actuaries, administrative services managers, and engineering managers. Depending on their professional background and specializations, graduates who earn an online MBA in Iowa can fill these positions.

While most of Iowa's economic growth happens in its cities, a significant portion of its GDP comes from rural areas. While metropolitan areas make up 80% to 90% of most state's economies, urban areas comprise just 66% of Iowa's economy. Candidates with MBAs can find work anywhere in the state, including with the employers shown below.

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Iowa City Medical School 11,000
City of Iowa City Iowa City Local Government 10,000
Principal Financial Group Des Moines Investment Advice 8,000
Source: Career OneStop

An online MBA in Iowa can help candidates land jobs at these major employers. For example, the medical college includes a hospital that needs medical services managers to keep things running. Furthermore, Principal Financial Group hires finance experts and managers to help clients find the financial services they need. Other major employers in Iowa include the aircraft part manufacturer Rockwell Collins, Blank Children's Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, and CRST International.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Iowa

Professionals in Iowa with bachelor's degrees or higher experience low unemployment rates of just 1.7%. Not only does higher education lead to job stability, but many professionals increase their earning potential with online MBAs in Iowa. With all majors included, workers with bachelor's degrees earn an annual salary of $53,000, while those with graduate diplomas earn $78,000.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Management and Administration $83,000
Source: Center on Education and the Workforce

Careers for MBAs in Iowa

Advertising Manager

These supervisors oversee the planning, creation, and implementation of advertising campaigns. They can work for internal teams in companies or advertising firms that other organizations hire. Some run a few accounts, while others oversee all advertising operations within a firm. In Iowa, these managers earn $113,030 per year.

Administrative Services Manager

Iowa administrative services managers earn a median annual wage of $91,750. They oversee several functions that keep businesses running, including facilities maintenance, record keeping, mail distribution, and administrative support. Professionals can work for firms to which other companies outsource or as part of an internal team.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

As big tech companies expand to Iowa, they need tech-savvy managers to oversee operations in the state. Depending on the setting, these professionals may manage data storage, programming teams, and information systems. In Iowa, computer and information systems managers earn $126,560 annually.

Industrial Production Manager

Many of Iowa's biggest employers work in the industrial production sector. Managers in this industry oversee manufacturing employees, set budgets, and make plans to hit company goals. They must do all of this while maintaining safe work environments and keeping up with the organization's expected quality. These managers make $98,040 per year in Iowa.

Agricultural Manager

Although Iowa's economy continues to diversify, agriculture remains one of its biggest industries in the state. Managers in agriculture earn $82,070 per year and typically live in rural settings. On farms and ranches, these managers hire workers, make planting and harvesting schedules, purchase equipment, and market their products to buyers.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Iowa

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