Wisconsin offers a vibrant higher education system with 84 two-year and four-year colleges in the state, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Many of these colleges offer distance learning options to meet the increasing need for this mode of delivery. NCES notes that, in 2015, 5,965,813 students enrolled in distance education courses at degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States. In 2016, that number jumped to 6,294,801, underscoring distance education's prevalence as a common educational choice.

The popularity of distance education at postsecondary institutions in Wisconsin mirrors that of the national trend. The Distance Education State Almanac 2017 noted that in 2012, 70,063 of the state's undergraduate and graduate students participated in distance education to varying degrees, with 28,059 of them studying exclusively online, By 2015, 88,369 were enrolled in some form of distance learning, with 34,174 learning exclusively online.

Online MBA Programs in Wisconsin

If you're considering earning an online MBA in Wisconsin, look no further than our comprehensive list of top online MBA programs in the state. We understand the process may seem daunting, so we've only included schools that hold institutional accreditation from a reputable accrediting agency; some online MBA programs on our list also include programmatic accreditation specifically awarded to deserving business degrees.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
Cardinal Stritch University
Location Milwaukee , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 74 Student Population 3,176 Tuition $23,940 School Type Private

This Wisconsin online MBA program welcomes working professionals. Learners who choose the general MBA plan must earn 36 credits in order to graduate. All MBA candidates at Stritch begin the degree with a graduate seminar introducing them to the program. They then complete core classes in subjects like strategic management of information systems, hiring practices, and organizational financial planning.

Students who want to add a concentration must take an additional 12 hours of concentration coursework along with the core courses. The school offers concentrations in healthcare management, justice administration, and marketing. All degree candidates end the program with two capstone courses that enable them to apply their skills to real business situations.

Successful applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program with a GPA of 2.5 or better. Applicants must also have three years of professional experience with some demonstrated organizational, planning, budgeting, or other managerial duties.

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Concordia University - Wisconsin
Location Mequon , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 67 Student Population 8,268 Tuition $27,261 School Type Private

CUW's dedication to flexibility and academic rigor make it one of the best online MBA programs in Wisconsin. From the moment a candidate applies, CUW makes convenience a top priority. Applicants never need to submit GRE or GMAT scores, and the school accepts up to six transfer credits. Once accepted, students can take as many or few classes as they need per term. Degree candidates can combine online and in-person learning at any of the university's campuses. Flexible scheduling allows working professionals to earn their degrees within two years.

All MBA candidates take the same eight business courses. Then, MBA students take five classes in their chosen concentration. CUW offers 15 unique concentrations, including communications and public relations, nonprofit management, international business, and human resource management. Candidates can also earn certifications in high-demand subjects, such as Oracle business applications, risk management theory application, and six sigma process.

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Edgewood College
Location Madison , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 75 Student Population 2,678 Tuition $34,410 School Type Private

Edgewood College hosts one of several online MBA programs in Wisconsin that offers accelerated course schedules. Students take classes in eight-week terms. Those who take two courses per semester can graduate in one year. However, learners can take courses at their own pace. Students earn 27 credits in core business classes like operations management, accounting, business ethics, and corporate finance.

Then, degree candidates take two classes in their desired concentration. They can choose from specializations in health systems leadership, marketing, and organizational development. At the end of the program, learners must complete a four-credit capstone class that brings all of the program learning together.

New students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Applicants must hold a GPA of at least 2.75 from an accredited bachelor's program. They must also demonstrate a score of at least 430 on the GMAT or the equivalent on the GRE. Candidates with GPAs of 3.25 or above can waive the standardized testing requirement.

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Herzing University
Location Madison , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 99 Student Population 2,156 Tuition $14,000 School Type Private

This Wisconsin online MBA helps students develop the practical skills they need to become business leaders. Students at Herzing can choose between specializations in accounting and finance, data analytics, technology management, project management, human resources, and healthcare management. The curriculum contains three business fundamentals courses, and seven core MBA classes. Each concentration option provides students with the choice of at least three elective options. Depending on a student's chosen concentration, this degree may help qualify graduates for certain industry certifications. MBA candidates must complete either a capstone, internship, or international capstone at the end of the program.

Applicants must complete interviews with admissions specialists at Herzing. If the admissions representatives approve of the candidate after the interview, the prospective student can then submit their application. When students earn acceptance, they must pay their enrollment fees. At that point, the university automatically enrolls learners in the appropriate courses.

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Lakeland College
Location Plymouth , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 65 Student Population 3,671 Tuition $21,780 School Type Private

This Wisconsin online MBA allows learners to design their own concentrations. Students at Lakeland can combine courses to meet their career goals and interests. However, degree candidates who want to follow a structured plan can choose from specializations in a variety of subjects, such as accounting, healthcare management, hospitality management, sports leadership, and finance. To further distinguish themselves, students can also take courses to prepare for professional certification exams. Regardless of specialization, all MBA candidates at Lakeland take eight core business courses. Full-time students can complete the program in about two years while part-time learners often take up to five years.

Lakeland does not enforce strict GPA or GMAT minimums for applicants. Instead, the admissions committee considers the student holistically. However, the school suggests that applicants hold at least a 2.75 GPA and GMAT scores at or above 500. Candidates must also submit 250-word statements of purpose and current resumes.

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Milwaukee School of Engineering
Location Milwaukee , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 70 Student Population 2,906 Tuition $35,550 School Type Private

MSOE offers one of the best online MBA programs in Wisconsin for professionals who want to manage technology businesses. While the university welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds, it boasts a rich history of turning engineers into business leaders. Degree candidates must earn 30 quarter credits in core classes, which include creating financial intelligence, building value through technology, and enterprise performance optimization. Learners also earn 15 quarter credits in their specialization area. Students can choose between leadership, construction management, and business analytics concentrations.

Educators can also earn specialized business degrees through MSOE, such as the educational leadership MBA or the STEM leadership MBA, both of which follow different curricula than the other specializations. Applicants to any of these programs should demonstrate a GPA of at least 2.8 to waive the GRE or GMAT requirement. Candidates must also submit two letters of recommendation and hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

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University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Location Eau Claire , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 59 Student Population 10,592 Tuition $20,250 School Type Public

Learners who wonder, "how difficult is the University of Wisconsin's online MBA?" ask the wrong question. Instead, they should focus on how the UWEC program can further their careers. In three years or less, candidates can earn a personalized MBA degree without ever setting foot on campus. The 30-credit program includes 16 credits in core business courses, such as leading a diverse workforce, strategic management in the global environment, and new product development.

The curriculum also includes 14 credits of business electives in a variety of topics, such as accounting, sustainability, healthcare administration, and international business. Learners can take all of their electives in one area or design well-rounded concentrations.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75. The program also requires a GMAT score of at least 475 or a comparable GRE score.

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University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Location Whitewater , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 63 Student Population 12,360 Tuition $22,932 School Type Public

UWW offers one of the top online MBA programs in Wisconsin. Learners can customize their program emphasis or choose from 10 different emphases, including IT management, international business, marketing, and international business. UWW offers this 36-credit program in online, on-campus, and hybrid formats. Students can enroll on a full- or part-time basis. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 in order to graduate.

Learners with bachelor's degrees in business start with graduate courses in management, technology, and economics. Applicants with other educational backgrounds can work with the school's advisers to determine which prerequisites they need to complete before beginning the core coursework. The program welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds, including those with military training, professional experience, and business certifications. UWW's MBA program boasts accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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Viterbo University
Location La Crosse , WI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 74 Student Population 2,756 Tuition $20,910 School Type Private

While Viterbo offers an MBA on campus in Wisconsin, this online MBA in healthcare leadership particularly suits working healthcare professionals seeking career advancement. The coursework for this program consists almost entirely of online components. However, learners must come to campus twice during the program for fewer than three days each time. Learners enter the program as part of a cohort. These cohort groups take seven- or eight-week courses together and graduate in two years. This accelerated timeline accommodates busy professionals.

In total, students must earn at least 34 credit hours to complete the program. Coursework covers subjects like healthcare systems, population health, outcome improvement, complex systems change, and ethical issues in healthcare. The program culminates with a capstone course. Students who hold bachelor's degrees in non-business majors must additionally take one business foundations course. Applicants should submit transcripts showing a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75, or 3.0 for their final two years of their undergraduate degree.

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Why Consider an Online MBA in Wisconsin?

The University of Wisconsin (UW) Milwaukee leads the way in the state's distance education enrollment, according to 2015 figures reported by the Distance Education State Almanac 2017. The UW system also boasts reputable business schools such as the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which ranks in the top 15 among public part-time and full-time MBA programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Students interested in an online MBA in Wisconsin can receive a reputable education from colleges in the UW system and other business schools in the state. Online learning benefits the state's nontraditional learners who desire a flexible mode of delivery that allows them to continue to work and meet other obligations. Distance learning in Wisconsin also opens opportunities for those who live in rural areas with limited access to MBA programs. The state's residents pay affordable in-state tuition for online MBAs in Wisconsin, but out-of-state learners also benefit from steep tuition discounts if they live in one of 12 states in the Midwestern Higher Education Compact.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 77,720 10,649
Exclusively Distance 26,489 7,685
On-Campus 283,854 32,220
Source: Distance Education State Almanac 2017

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 8,420 367
Private not-for-profit 59,578 4,292
Public 282,250 5,990
Source: Distance Education State Almanac 2017

MBA Concentrations for Wisconsin Students

The University of Wisconsin-Madison notes that the school's MBA students receive training and hands-on expertise that make them sought-after by Fortune 500 companies, mid-sized organizations, and start-up firms. The school is one of many in Wisconsin to develop MBA concentrations that prepare graduates for the state's top industries, such as aerospace manufacturing, biohealth, and food and beverage. Read on for three concentrations that prepare MBA students for managerial careers in these fields.

  • Corporate Finance and Investment Banking This specialization cultivates experts in financial modeling and valuation. Students can study topics such as financial management, multinational finance, security analysis and valuation, and mergers and acquisitions. They prepare for positions such as director of finance, chief financial officer, and investment banker.
  • Supply Chain Management This specialization examines the supply chain, from raw materials to finished goods, and how products and services reach the customer. Students can study topics such as data analytics, goods sourcing, logistics management, and marketing and promotion, for future roles as international logistics managers or purchasing managers.
  • Operations and Technology Management This specialization provides learners with the operational and technical training needed for senior leadership roles within organizations. Students can study topics such as financial management, operations management, project management, and supply chain analytics. The specialization trains students for roles like IT operations manager and director of operations.

Accreditation in Wisconsin

The best online MBA programs in Wisconsin are offered through accredited institutions. These schools have met the strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. Depending on the specific accrediting body, it may be considered regionally or nationally accredited. Most nationally accredited schools are for-profit vocational or technical institutions, while nonprofit schools typically receive regional accreditation.

Of the two types, regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious. Credits earned at a nationally accredited school are less likely to transfer than those from their regionally accredited counterparts. If you want to improve your career prospects with an online MBA, Wisconsin is home to many regionally accredited institutions.

Wisconsin Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

Wisconsin ranks high in terms of cost of living and career opportunities for workers. The state uses a relatively low cost of doing business, tax incentives, and other policies to maintain a friendly business climate that spurs investments. Manufacturing, food and beverage, biohealth, and energy lead Wisconsin's industries, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Employers in these industries and many others rely on a highly educated workforce to continually drive innovation.

A look at Wisconsin's top 50 "hot jobs," as outlined by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, shows that general and operations managers; accountants and auditors; market research analysts; management analysts; human resource specialists; and financial managers take positions in the top 20 among the state's top 50 careers with the most projected annual openings. Furthermore, sales, financial, and general and operations managers take the first, second, and third spots in terms of "hot jobs" with the highest annual median wages. MBA graduates can qualify for several of the "hottest" and top-paying jobs on the list.

The following table lists three of the largest employers in Wisconsin, giving prospective MBA students a sampling of the available job opportunities.

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison Education 14,464
Menard Eau Claire Residential Remodelers 10,000
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor

MBA students can develop the business acumen, leadership skills, and specialized training that employers seek. An MBA's skills seamlessly transfer, given that all industries require senior staff like market research analysts, financial managers, and general and operations managers. MBA schools in Wisconsin also prepare leaders for specific fields. At the Wisconsin School of Business, the MBA concentration in operations and technology management prepares learners with science and technology backgrounds for careers at STEM-focused firms.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Wisconsin

The investment in an MBA pays significant dividends over a lifetime. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that graduate students in the physical sciences, social sciences, and business fields enjoyed a graduate degree wage premium exceeding that of graduate-level peers in other fields.

In its 2015 report The Economic Value of College Majors, CEW researchers found that graduate business majors in finance, statistics and decision science, business economics, and operations logistics and e-Commerce were among the highest earning graduate majors nationwide. CEW also notes that graduate degree holders in general business, finance, business management and administration, and accounting earned a median annual salary at or exceeding $80,000 in Wisconsin.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
General Business $91,000
Finance $88,000
Business Management and Administration $81,000
Accounting $80,000
Source: The Economic Value of College Majors

Careers for MBA Grads in Wisconsin

Financial Manager

Financial managers oversee organizations' finances to ensure stability and growth. They develop investment strategies, produce financial reports, and engage in long-term financial planning for institutions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that financial managers earned a median pay of $127,990 in 2018, with a projected 19% job growth between 2016 and 2026.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts serve a critical function to help companies understand the sales environment for their products/services, including potential customers and prices. BLS notes that these analysts earned a median pay of $63,120 in 2018, with a forecasted 23% job growth between 2016 and 2026.

General and Operations Manager

Companies in nearly every industry rely on general and operations managers to plan, direct, and manage the day-to-day operations of firms. They oversee staff, develop policies, examine budgets, and coordinate activities across departments to ensure productivity and efficiency. BLS notes that these top executives earned a median pay of $100,930 in 2018.

Human Resources Manager

These executives work in nearly every industry as organizations' key recruiters and managers of compensation, benefits, training, and performance management. The human resources manager must also ensure the organization complies with state and federal legislation. BLS notes that human resources managers earned a median pay of $113,300 in 2018, with a forecasted 9% job growth between 2016 and 2026.

Management Analysts

Management analysts often work as consultants recruited to do a complete review of an organization's operations to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. BLS notes that management analysts earned a median pay of $83,610 in 2018, with a projected 14% job growth between 2016 and 2026.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Wisconsin

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