The Commonwealth of Virginia, home to approximately eight million people, forms the geographical boundary between the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States. While most Virginians live in the eastern portion of the state in cities such as Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Richmond, the state’s overall economy is on the rise. Virginia boasts a GDP of $493.3 billion and analysts project much faster growth in 2017 and 2018. Several large higher educational institutions operate in Virginia, including Liberty University, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Many offer quality MBA programs, making the state an excellent place to explore business management education opportunities.

According to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, higher education plays an increasingly important role in the state’s economy. While manufacturing remains fairly strong in the state, business and health services drive economic growth in Virginia. Because these sectors require employees with specialized skills, many public and private colleges and universities offer respected MBA programs to meet these evolving educational demands. Large public universities including George Mason University in Fairfax and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond host some of the best online MBA programs in Virginia. Private universities such as Liberty University in Lynchburg and Marymount University in Arlington also offer respected Virginia online MBA programs.

Virginia is also a cost-effective place to look for MBA programs: most institutions offer lower tuition rates to Virginia residents, but reduced tuition rates are available for online students residing in other states as well. Students increasingly choose online options to maximize their time and avoid the relatively high cost of living in cities, but note that some programs may require students to attend administrative appointments on-campus. Online MBA programs in Virginia also typically require applicants to take the GMAT exam, however some universities waive this requirement, especially for executives with extensive professional experience.

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

MBA Concentrations for Virginia Students

Although MBA programs cover many of the same core issues, they also present opportunities to focus on specific topics. Certain online MBAs in Virginia offer several degree concentrations, where students can select the program that best matches their learning interests and career goals. However, prospective students should consider state economic trends when comparing online MBA programs in Virginia. Some concentrations are particularly relevant to emerging industries in the state, such as healthcare and marketing, and therefore develop skills likely to be in high demand in future years.


  • Healthcare Management : MBA healthcare management concentrations train healthcare managers to oversee all aspects of health-related businesses. Students learn organizational structures of various health-related businesses, accounting practices, human resource issues, and legal and ethical matters.
  • Marketing: MBA marketing concentration programs prepare future marketing managers to identify and manage business opportunities. Candidates conduct market research, analyze consumer behavior, and develop promotional campaigns to sell goods and services to customers.

Accreditation in Virginia

Accreditation, the process by which outside agencies verify the quality of academic institutions, is conducted by two types of organizations in the United States. Regional accrediting agencies usually set standards for academically-focused universities, including those offering MBAs in Virginia. National accreditation normally applies to career-preparatory colleges. Specific programs can also apply for additional accreditation. For example, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) provides specialized accreditation to qualifying MBA programs.

Graduates can expect their MBA degrees to prepare them for professional advancement. Potential Virginia online MBA students should select degrees from accredited institutions, preferably with additional program-level accreditation. Businesses in various Virginia industries prefer graduates from MBA programs that adhere to rigorous quality standards.

Home to 64 corporations with annual revenue greater than $500 million, Virginia ranks as the twelfth largest economy in the United States with a 2016 state GDP of $494.3 billion. Virginia’s central location on the East Coast, extensive transportation infrastructure, and relatively low labor costs continue to attract investors to the state. Economic growth, modest in recent years, is poised to improve as the overall national economy improves. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports Virginia’s GDP increased by 2% in the first quarter of 2017.

Virginia’s economy, once dominated by manufacturing and resource extraction, increasingly depends on retail, real estate, business services, and healthcare sectors. Virginia currently boasts a low 3.7% unemployment rate, compared the national average of 4.3%. Unemployment rates remain lower near cities in the east of the state — especially along the Atlantic seaboard and in the northeastern corner of the state — and highest in the southwestern Appalachian region.

Virginia affords residents opportunities to achieve more comfortable lifestyles than elsewhere in the region. MBA salaries go further in Virginia than in other states on the East Coast, yet corporate jobs in abound. For candidates considering an online MBA, Virginia may be an ideal place to work and live.

Virginia’s economy depends on large, structurally complex corporations. These companies need highly skilled leaders to fill top management roles. MBA programs prepare managers to meet emerging economic challenges and opportunities, and demand remains strong for MBA graduates in various business sectors. As expected, management professionals with advanced degrees earn higher pay than their less qualified colleagues. In Virginia, for example, employees with MBAs earn 24.2% higher average salaries than those with bachelor’s degrees in business administration. This equates to over $15,000 more per year on average, so increased earning potential rapidly offsets potential degree costs. Certain MBA concentrations, such as finance, can offer even higher salary gains.

Average Salary by Degree
Search Programs by Concentration

Careers for MBAs in Virginia

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager

These professionals use market research and consumer behavior analysis to plan and execute complex marketing strategies for companies in various industries. They promote goods and services to other businesses and individual consumers. The retail and business services sectors lead economic growth in Virginia, sustaining demand for marketing managers

Financial Manager

Financial managers help complex business organizations in various industries achieve their financial goals. They oversee investment strategies and produce financial reports for company executives. Rewarding opportunities for MBA-qualified financial managers increase as business services and financial sectors become more important to Virginia’s economy, and as larger, more complex corporations operate in the state.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Professionals in this role run healthcare related businesses such as hospitals, clinics, and medical practices. They must understand medical technology and law, as well as best practices in business administration. The demand for medical and health services managers is on the rise as the healthcare industry grows within the state.

Sales Managers

Sales managers direct revenue generation efforts for various kinds of businesses. They oversee business to business and business to consumer sales, using sales data to set goals and help inform marketing strategies. Retail and business services sectors continue to thrive in Virginia, driving demand for sales managers.

Top Executive

Large corporations need experienced leaders to make informed decisions about company goals and develop detailed strategies to reach them. Executives work with managers to direct all operational activities of companies. As large, complex companies increasingly dominate Virginia’s economy, executive positions for experienced management professionals become more abundant.

For candidates interested in online MBAs, Virginia offers many quality options. Various programs offer different degree concentrations, allowing MBA students opportunities to pursue focused specializations and prepare for specific career paths. The following list of accredited MBA programs in Virginia gives potential business management students a resource to explore their choices.

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

College of William and Mary

Location Williamsburg, VA Tuition Tuition $55,200 % Receiving Financial Aid 29% Student Population 8,484 School Type Public View School Profile

Regent University

Location Virginia Beach, VA Tuition Tuition $27,300 % Receiving Financial Aid 76% Student Population 6,950 School Type Private
View School Profile

George Mason University

Location Fairfax, VA Tuition Tuition $79,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 43% Student Population 33,929 School Type Public
View School Profile

James Madison University

Location Harrisonburg, VA Tuition Tuition $37,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 38% Student Population 21,227 School Type Public
View School Profile

Liberty University

Location Lynchburg, VA Tuition Tuition $20,340 % Receiving Financial Aid 66% Student Population 80,494 School Type Private
View School Profile

Longwood University

Location Farmville, VA Tuition Tuition $20,988 % Receiving Financial Aid 54% Student Population 5,087 School Type Public
  • Real Estate
View School Profile

Marymount University

Location Arlington, VA Tuition Tuition $38,610 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 3,363 School Type Private View School Profile

Old Dominion University

Location Norfolk, VA Tuition Tuition $19,840 % Receiving Financial Aid 56% Student Population 24,672 School Type Public View School Profile

Radford University

Location Radford, VA Tuition Tuition $17,352 % Receiving Financial Aid 60% Student Population 9,743 School Type Public View School Profile

Virginia Commonwealth University

Location Richmond, VA Tuition Tuition $39,500 % Receiving Financial Aid 51% Student Population 30,918 School Type Public View School Profile

Averett University

Location Danville, VA Tuition Tuition $25,625 % Receiving Financial Aid 49% Student Population 991 School Type Private
View School Profile

University of Virginia

Location Charlottesville, VA Tuition Tuition $130,000 % Receiving Financial Aid 28% Student Population 23,883 School Type Public
View School Profile

Stratford University

Location Fairfax, VA Tuition Tuition $26,730 % Receiving Financial Aid 18% Student Population 3,303 School Type Private View School Profile

Virginia International University

Location Fairfax, VA Tuition Tuition $18,288 % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population 895 School Type Private
View School Profile

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