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.

Iowa’s three public universities, the largest of which is the University of Iowa, educate approximately 80,000 students. In-state students at public universities benefit from significant tuition discounts. Online tuition at Iowa’s public universities and community colleges is higher for out-of-state students than for Iowa residents, but less than tuition for out-of-state, on-campus students.

Earning an online degree allows students to take courses at their own pace. Some online programs are delivered in a hybrid format, which involves occasional campus visits. Iowa’s low cost of living, roughly 75% of the national average, makes hybrid learning an attractive option.

Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education

MBA Concentrations for Iowa Students

The following chart highlights two common concentrations for MBA students in Iowa. Iowa corporations value these specializations, as they assist the state’s fastest growing industries. Prospective MBA students should research the most in-demand concentrations for the state in which they plan to work after graduation.


  • Supply Chain Management: Supply chain managers optimize the transformation of raw materials into goods and services. Students learn how companies use logistics to save money and extend their reach. Graduates work in Iowa-based multinational manufacturing industries.
  • Marketing: Graduates help employers sell products or services. Courses include marketing research and consumer behavior. Graduates with a marketing concentration work for companies of all sizes.

Accreditation in Iowa

Prospective students should consider only online MBA programs in Iowa that have regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditation agencies review academic programs throughout different regions. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools oversees all colleges and universities in Iowa. National accreditation agencies monitor specialized learning programs, such as online education, and provide an additional measure of certification. At an accredited university, students know that their academic program provides them not only an excellent education but also the tools necessary to succeed in the job market after graduation.

Since 1990, Iowa’s manufacturing sector has been the state’s leading industry. However, as of August 2017, the education and health services sector employs the largest number of Iowans, making concentrations in education and health services attractive options for students earning their online MBA in Iowa. Each of Iowa’s economic sectors requires the services and expertise of employees with MBAs, but graduates find higher salaries in Iowa’s largest cities, where major industries have their regional or national headquarters.

The majority of jobs available to recent MBA graduates are located in Iowa’s three largest cities: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport. In 2016, Des Moines became home to three major corporations in the construction, sales, and information technology sectors, all of which need MBA graduates to expand.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Iowa

An MBA demonstrates an applicant’s value to potential employers. Graduates with an MBA are more likely to gain employment and to earn higher salaries. Many companies require an MBA for management positions, which pay significant higher salaries — more than compensating for the cost of earning an MBA. The table below shows the earning potential of MBA graduates in Iowa.

Average Salary by Degree
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Careers for MBAs in Iowa

Marketing Manager

Iowa’s growing business sector requires the services of knowledgeable and experienced MBA graduates. These managers oversee a company’s marketing programs and earn about $107,420 per year.

Public Relations and Fundraising Manager

Although these managers have a background in public relations, an MBA is a valuable credential. These managers maintain a company’s public image and meet fundraising goals. They typically earn about $87,290.

Advertising and Promotions Manager

Advertising and promotions managers work within a company’s marketing department, overseeing the production of all marketing efforts. The average salary for advertising and promotions managers in Iowa is $84,330.

Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager

Iowa’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors require managers who can apply logistics to supply chains. Companies in these fields employ MBA graduates who concentrated in supply chain management. These managers earn about $81,330 per year.

Financial Manager

With Iowa’s two most profitable companies focused on banking and life insurance, financial managers play a crucial role in the state’s economy. Financial managers research ways to make companies more profitable and average annual salaries of $110,290.

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 Tuition $18,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 86% Student Population 1,530 School Type Private
  • Sustainable Business
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Saint Ambrose University

Location Davenport, IA Tuition Tuition $31,941 % Receiving Financial Aid 69% Student Population 3,266 School Type Private View School Profile

Upper Iowa University

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

Kaplan University

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

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.