With 300 miles of scenic coastline, North Carolina is a popular travel destination, but the Tar Heel State is also a prime place to start a life. Raleigh-Durham was recently named by U.S. News & World Report as the seventh-best place to live in the United States. Charlotte was ranked 14th, ahead of San Francisco and Dallas-Fort Worth.

North Carolina is home to one of the nation’s oldest public universities. The state also boasts 36 regionally-accredited private, liberal arts, research colleges and universities. North Carolina includes 14 Fortune 500 and 26 Fortune 1000 companies that have a headquarter in the state. These companies provide many job opportunities for online MBA graduates.

North Carolina’s public university system is comprised of 16 university campuses and one high school for gifted students. The state is also home to private, research institutions like Duke University and Davidson College.

When deciding on a business school, several factors must be considered: curriculum, location, overall cost, GMAT requirements, and accreditation. Some schools may waive the GMAT for students who meet certain requirements. NC State encourages candidates to apply for a waiver if their CGPA is 3.6 or higher, they already hold a graduate degree, or have military experience.

North Carolina online MBA programs, which typically take two to six years to complete, prepare graduates for leadership roles. It’s common for in-state students to receive a discounted tuition. Out-of-state students pay, on average, four times more than NC residents at state colleges.

Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education
Percentage of students enrolled at Title IV institutions in North Carolina, by distance education enrollment status, Fall 2012

MBA Concentrations for North Carolina Students

In addition to choosing between the best online MBA programs in North Carolina, business students need to decide on a degree focus. MBA candidates should pay attention to market trends and industry shifts when choosing a concentration. North Carolina’s strongest sectors for the past three years have been professional and business services, like trade, transportation, and utilities. Concentrations that focus on manufacturing supply chain, financial services, and retail trade would be most beneficial to North Carolina MBA students.


  • Supply Chain Management: Manage and reconfigure supply chains to help improve productivity and boost the efficiency of operations. Graduates are prepared for careers as purchasing managers, logistics managers, and consultants, with potential for executive roles.
  • Marketing: Graduates use market research to support and positively brand an organization. Students gain the skills and knowledge for careers as brand managers, product managers, and marketing directors.

Accreditation in North Carolina

Students looking at online MBA programs in North Carolina should make sure that the colleges they apply to have obtained regional accreditation. This ensures that learners earn a degree that companies will recognize.

Regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious than national accreditation; it is reserved for academic, nonprofit institutions, while national accreditation is granted to for-profit schools. There are six regional accrediting bodies in the U.S., which the Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize. MBA candidates weighing the pros and cons of online MBA programs in North Carolina should also check for AACSB accreditation.

According to the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management, the state’s economy is approaching pre-recession employment levels. The strongest sector, professional and business services, had a payroll employment increase of 26.1% from December 2015 to December 2016.

Companies with headquarters in the state include Bank of America, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, and Hanes. MBA graduates are prepared for management roles within these companies. Profitable North Carolina companies are found in the metropolitan areas of Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro. Graduates have similar earnings in these areas given the state’s low cost of living.

Top Employers in North Carolina

Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
Lowe’s Retail Mooresville 290,000+
Bank of America Financial Services Charlotte 208,000

Graduates of North Carolina online MBA programs should begin their job search in metro areas, where the highest concentration of MBA-related positions are. Companies are looking for talent that can help them continue to grow, and MBA graduates have the skills, ideas, and drive to manifest that success.

According to findings from the College Board’s Education Pays triennial report, obtaining a college degree can help graduates obtain higher salaries. Jennifer Ma, senior policy research scientist at College Board, explains that by age 34, the average bachelor’s degree holder will have recovered from the costs of going to college.

Comparing the average salary of workers with associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees shows that earning potential increases as educational level increases, according to Payscale. While a master’s degree holder makes about $25,000 more than someone with a two-year degree, a person with an MBA in finance makes, on average, about double what an AAS degree-holder earns.

Average Salary by Degree
Search Programs by Concentration

Careers for MBAs in North Carolina

Marketing Manager

With retail being a major sector in North Carolina, there is a need for campaign planning and effective marketing of products and services. An online MBA in North Carolina program prepares graduates to help local companies in their advertising efforts. The BLS projects that marketing manager positions will increase by 9% in the next 10 years.

Purchasing Director

MBA graduates with the skills and knowledge of logistics and trade are in high demand as companies look to increase efficiency in their supply chain. Paths to becoming a purchasing director often start in supply chain management.

Financial Manager

Financial managers advise organizations on ways to improve financial health and create workable budgets. The BLS projects a job growth rate of 19% for financial manager positions and notes that most have at least five years of experience as an accountant, securities agent, or budget analyst.

Construction Manager

Demand for new homes in North Carolina’s metro areas is expected to sustain the state’s construction industry, according to NC OSBM. The BLS projects management positions to increase by 11% between 2016 and 2026.

As North Carolina’s economy grows, so too will the need for enterprising, business-savvy thinkers who can effectively lead an organization. The following list represents popular North Carolina online MBA programs.

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

Appalachian State University

Location Boone, NC Tuition Tuition $15,912 % Receiving Financial Aid 47% Student Population 18,295 School Type Public View School Profile

Campbell University

Location Buies Creek, NC Tuition Tuition $27,380 % Receiving Financial Aid 75% Student Population 6,484 School Type Private View School Profile

East Carolina University

Location Greenville, NC Tuition Tuition $12,342 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 28,289 School Type Public
View School Profile

Fayetteville State University

Location Fayetteville, NC Tuition Tuition $7,813 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 6,104 School Type Public
View School Profile

Gardner-Webb University

Location Boiling Springs, NC Tuition Tuition $19,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 40% Student Population 4,329 School Type Private
View School Profile

John Wesley University

Location High Point, NC Tuition Tuition $9,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 42% Student Population 158 School Type Private
View School Profile

Montreat College

Location Montreat, NC Tuition Tuition $21,930 % Receiving Financial Aid 78% Student Population 1,008 School Type Private View School Profile

North Carolina State University

Location Raleigh, NC Tuition Tuition $44,920 % Receiving Financial Aid 42% Student Population 34,015 School Type Public
View School Profile

Pfeiffer University

Location Misenheimer, NC Tuition Tuition $23,580 % Receiving Financial Aid 75% Student Population 1,624 School Type Private
View School Profile

Queens University of Charlotte

Location Charlotte, NC Tuition Tuition $39,780 % Receiving Financial Aid 65% Student Population 2,286 School Type Private View School Profile

University of Mount Olive

Location Mount Olive, NC Tuition Tuition $20,520 % Receiving Financial Aid 74% Student Population 3,371 School Type Private View School Profile

University of North Carolina

Location Chapel Hill, NC Tuition Tuition $114,078 % Receiving Financial Aid 32% Student Population 29,084 School Type Public
View School Profile

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Location Pembroke, NC Tuition Tuition $8,306 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 6,441 School Type Public
View School Profile

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