With more than 30 public and private colleges offering a full range of online programing, Mississippi has awarded an increasing number of degrees in recent years. The state is home to three million people; most of these residents live in rural areas, but the state also boasts popular metropolitan destinations. The capital city of Jackson houses about half of the state’s schools, including Jackson State University (the nation’s fourth-largest historically black institution) and Mississippi State University (ranked among the leading research universities in the U.S. by the Carnegie Foundation). Mississippi also appeals to degree seekers due to its affordable cost of living and relatively inexpensive tuition rates. Below, we describe some of the benefits of pursuing an online MBA in Mississippi.

Online MBA programs in Mississippi vary widely in terms of their cost, length, and study options. Most require between one and two years. Distance learning offers increased flexibility, allowing students to complete coursework at a faster or slower pace depending on their schedules. Qualified students can also reduce their overall program length or waive GMAT requirements based on past business-related work experience.

Distance learners also have the ability to study from anywhere. This is convenient for out-of-state residents and the 51% of Mississippians living in rural areas far from college hotspots. However, several online institutions mandate some level of on-campus participation; be sure to check for these requirements before applying to a school. The best online MBA programs in Mississippi are located in its more populous cities. If you do decide to live in Mississippi while pursuing an MBA, you will benefit from the nation’s lowest living costs. In addition, establishing residency in Mississippi can reduce tuition significantly; some distance programs cost the same for out-of-state residents, while others are nearly twice as expensive.

Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education
Percentage of students enrolled at Title IV institutions in Mississippi by distance education enrollment status (Fall 2012)

MBA Concentrations for Mississippi Students

Many students pursuing an online MBA in Mississippi choose to specialize in areas related to the state’s most popular industries. The top five revenue-generating sectors in Mississippi, according to Newsmax, include agriculture (which draws 30% of the state’s workforce), manufacturing, fishing, gambling, and oil and gas. Below are two concentrations best prepare students for successful careers in the Magnolia State.

  • Agribusiness Economics: Agriculture-related MBAs explore general business management and marketing practices within a farming context. Graduates can manage firms in industries such as bioenergy, transportation, food processing, and agricultural consulting.
  • Energy and Environment: This concentration develops the skills needed to analyze and succeed in businesses related to energy and environmental issues. Covered topics include cleantech entrepreneurship, corporate sustainability, energy policy, and carbon markets. Graduates can work in the areas of consulting, finance, and policy and development.

Accreditation in Mississippi

Schools can earn two types of accreditation: regional and national. Of the two, regional accreditation is more widely recognized by employers and schools. You should make sure to attend a regionally-accredited institution if you plan to transfer credits, pursue another postgraduate program, or pursue financial aid opportunities. The regional accrediting body responsible for approving online MBA programs in Mississippi is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. An MBA from an accredited program can lead to a long, successful career.

Mississippi Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

The rural nature of Mississippi provides room for a variety of growth industries, from automotive and aerospace to forestry and energy. Despite recession-drive decline, the manufacturing industry still leads employment in Mississippi. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), manufacturing–among other fast-growing industries in the state such as mining and logging, construction, and education and health services–has grown 0.9% over the past 12 months. Particularly noteworthy is the state’s production of chemicals, motor vehicles, furniture, and processed foods.

Although Mississippi ranks lowest in the country in per capita income ($21,057), its low cost of living attracts plenty of new industry and new graduates. Mississippi has seen steady growth in occupational employment (projected to grow of 5.2% by 2024), leading to a positive impact on the overall state economy. Philadelphia, Corinth, Oxford, Gautier, and Grenada are among the fastest-growing cities and represent appealing destinations for graduates of online MBA programs in Mississippi.

The table below describes two of the largest individual companies headquartered in Mississippi:

Top Employers in Mississippi

Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
Sanderson Farms Poultry production Laurel 10,000+
Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. Egg production Jackson 1001-5000

Earning an MBA prepares you for higher-paying jobs and a wider range of career opportunities than an associate or bachelor’s of business. Your increased business knowledge qualifies you for leading management roles in a variety of industries. These positions typically come with higher job satisfaction, increased job security, and a high return on your academic investment. An MBA is a powerful differentiator that sets you apart from your peers, especially when your degree is augmented by an industry-specific concentration. The following table compares salaries by degree level:

Average Salary by Degree
Search Programs by Concentration

Careers for MBAs in Mississippi

Depending on your area of interest, Mississippi contains vast career opportunities. The following list discusses five careers graduates of online MBA programs in Mississippi may be interested in pursuing.

Industrial Production Manager

Workers in this role oversee manufacturing plants and operations. The transportation equipment manufacturing industry is the largest employer for this position. These professionals earn a median salary of $97,140.

Architectural and Engineering Manager

Architectural and engineering managers coordinate activities at construction or manufacturing sites. The earning potential for this position can reach $134,730 per year.

Sales Manager

Sales management is a versatile position relevant to any industry. This role involves directing an organization’s sales team. Sales managers, who often start out as sales representatives, earn an average salary of $117,960.

Top Executive

This role is important in all businesses and involves coordinating company operations. Chief executives need extensive experience and are paid accordingly; their salaries average $103,950 per year.

Training and Development Manager

This position is projected to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 10% and is found in all industries. These professionals oversee staff and their development programs. Competitive candidates can expect to earn around $105,830 per year.

Many factors differentiate the various online MBA programs in Mississippi. To help narrow your options, we’ve compiled a list of schools using a rigorous ranking methodology, which ranks programs based on graduation and enrollment rates, quality of academics and support, affordability, and other critical elements. All schools included in this list are accredited.

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

Belhaven University

Location Jackson, MS Tuition Tuition $19,440 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 4,450 School Type Private
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Delta State University

Location Cleveland, MS Tuition Tuition $11,367 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 3,454 School Type Public
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Jackson State University

Location Jackson, MS Tuition Tuition $13,860 % Receiving Financial Aid 75% Student Population 9,802 School Type Public View School Profile

University of Mississippi

Location University, MS Tuition Tuition $27,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 45% Student Population 23,212 School Type Public View School Profile

Mississippi College

Location Clinton, MS Tuition Tuition $17,640 % Receiving Financial Aid 58% Student Population 5,036 School Type Private
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Mississippi State University

Location Mississippi State, MS Tuition Tuition $14,430 % Receiving Financial Aid 50% Student Population 20,873 School Type Public
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University of Southern Mississippi

Location Hattiesburg, MS Tuition Tuition $14,718 % Receiving Financial Aid 66% Student Population 14,551 School Type Public View School Profile

Alcorn State University

Location Lorman, MS Tuition Tuition $13,752 % Receiving Financial Aid 84% Student Population 3,420 School Type Public
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Mississippi University for Women

Location Columbus, MS Tuition Tuition $12,996 % Receiving Financial Aid 59% Student Population 2,956 School Type Public View School Profile

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Mississippi. These include the 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.