Compiled and Written By OnlineMBA.com Staff


Most students seeking online MBA programs take cost into serious consideration. Even so, they should search beyond the cheapest online MBA programs to find ones that provide the best return on investment. Truly affordable online MBA programs deliver high-quality education at a cost that will not saddle students with years of debt. Tuition rates are not the only indicator of affordability; prospective learners must understand all of the factors that make an online MBA program affordable.

Affordable programs increase students' earning potential without burdening them with excessive debt. That said, not all online MBAs offer the same benefits. With this in mind, we ranked the 10 most affordable online MBA programs of 2020. Read on for more information regarding program costs and other factors that make them good investments.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs

  1. University of Wyoming - $23,640
  2. University of Nevada-Reno $30,000
  3. University of Utah - $58,800
  4. Ashland University - $29,500
  5. Kennesaw State University - $23,945
  6. Georgia College and State University - $22,870
  7. Fort Hays State University - $12,527
  8. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus - $29,808
  9. California State University-Fresno - $24,732
  10. Union University - $20,700

Top Online MBA Program Rankings

The programs ranked below are the 10 most affordable online MBA programs for 2020, providing a great resource for students beginning their online MBA program search. This list breaks down the most affordable online programs and gives additional details on what students can expect if they enroll.

Affordability should factor into students' MBA decisions, but they should also consider their career aspirations and which concentration options would best suit them. For more information on each school's program offerings, click to expand their respective boxes. Additional information includes available concentrations for each school's MBA program and admission requirements.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
1
University of Wyoming
Location Laramie , WY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 36 Student Population 12,648 Tuition $23,640 School Type Public

The University of Wyoming offers one of the most affordable online MBAs in the country. The school has an energy concentration for e-learners who are interested in or already working in the energy industry. Students in the 39-credit online energy concentration MBA complete courses in supply chain management in the energy industry, energy finance: project evaluation, and fundamentals of accounting in the energy industry. Applicants should have a minimum of five years professional work experience, at least three of which should be in a supervisory or managerial role. Students must also submit GMAT or GRE scores; test scores may be waived if the applicant has extensive professional experience. The online MBA starts every fall term and follows a cohort model. The general program can be completed in 24 months while the energy concentration is extended by two semesters. Students pursuing the general MBA program must earn 30 credits. The program is fully AACSB accredited.

Concentrations
  • Energy
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2
University of Nevada-Reno
Location Reno , NV Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 40 Student Population 20,898 Tuition $30,000 School Type Public

University of Nevada at Reno’s executive online MBA program is taught through a 12-course, 36-credit curriculum, which can be completed in about two years. The cohort program only accepts applications for the fall term. Every class lasts 12 weeks. Courses include personal branding, communications technology, and managing organizations in a global economy. In order to be accepted to UNR’s affordable online MBA program, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, have at least a 2.75 GPA, and provide proof of at least five years of professional work experience. Degree seekers should plan to spend between 15 and 20 hours per week completing assignments, participating in discussions, and engaging in independent research. Students are required to complete the degree in two years. There are three semesters each year. Each course contains at least one proctored exam, which students take through Examity or in the 365 testing room.

Concentrations
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3
University of Utah
Location Salt Lake City , UT Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 34 Student Population 31,592 Tuition $58,800 School Type Public

The University of Utah established its David Eccles School of Business in 1917 in the tradition of business success and leadership. The school offers one of the country’s cheapest online MBAs, which is designed for working professionals. Up to 25% of a student's curriculum can be taken as electives, allowing them to pursue personal or career interests. The degree features multiple start and can be completed in 24 months. The program requires one three-day, on-campus residency during the first semester. The remaining courses are delivered through live online sessions that are recorded for those who aren’t able to attend live over six semesters. Applicants are required to have at least one year of work experience and submit GMAT or GRE scores, in addition to other materials. On average, graduates earn a 30% salary increase after completing this program.

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4
Ashland University
Location Ashland , OH Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 58 Student Population 5,677 Tuition $29,500 School Type Private

Ashland University offers one of the most affordable online MBA programs with GMAT exemption options. One year options are available and the curriculum covers traditional MBA topics such as accounting and finance. Within the 1 Year Online MBA Program, students are prepared to take the PMP exam, and the fee is included in the tuition. The 30-credit program is delivered through five learning sessions that are offered completely online. Part-time learning opportunities are also available, which typically involve 16 to 24 months of enrollment. All students enter Ashland’s program as part of a cohort, meaning they’ll be working with the same students in each class and have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships during the program. Distance learners may begin the program during any entry point. Online students are eligible for financial aid. Part-time students are able to complete the program within a three year time frame.

Concentrations
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5
Kennesaw State University
Location Kennesaw , GA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 55 Student Population 33,252 Tuition $23,945 School Type Public

KSU is among the 50 largest public institutions in the United States. The school has a student body of more than 35,000 and an alumni network of more than 100,000. The school’s Coles College of Business offers an affordable online MBA. The degree is taught exclusively by instructors who have graduate faculty status. Teachers are trained in the most effective elearning methods. The program is taught through a team-based, cohort model. Students can begin coursework in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Learners take two courses each term for five consecutive terms and graduate in about 20 months. One two-day, on-site orientation is required to begin the program; all remaining coursework is completed entirely online. Applicants to the AACSB-accredited online MBA are required to submit GMAT scores, a resume, and official transcripts.

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6
Georgia College and State University
Location Milledgeville , GA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 47 Student Population 6,889 Tuition $22,870 School Type Public

Georgia College and State University was founded in 1889. The school’s Georgia WebMBA delivers all courses asynchronously and online through a cohort format. The curriculum in the 10-course, AACSB-accredited online MBA combines foundation and WebMBA courses; no electives are required. The program culminates with a business strategy capstone project. Course topics include economics, statistics, global and international business, managerial finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship. One mandatory, non-credit orientation is required to begin the program. Students complete two courses per term for five consecutive terms, including one summer semester, and can complete the degree in 18-20 months. Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores. Students can transfer up to three credits from an AACSB-accredited school. Coursework includes exams, discussion posts, cases, and simulations. Distance learners receive access to the online library.

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7
Fort Hays State University
Location Hays , KS Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 41 Student Population 15,100 Tuition $12,527 School Type Public

Fort Hays, founded in 1902, is a Kansas school that provides programs to more than 15,100 students at all academic levels. The university’s affordable online MBA offers 12 concentrations. Coursework combines core and concentration requirements, emphasizing collaborative elearning methods through the use of online technology, which includes Skype, WebX, and YouTube. The degree requires students to earn 34 credits, which translate to 12 courses. Transfer credits are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are limited to no more than nine credit hours in the program of study. Students without prior education in business are still encouraged to apply, however, they must complete four additional foundation courses or seek exemption through the graduate coordinator to the MBA Committee. MBA concentrations include digital marketing, healthcare management, human resources management, and leadership studies. All concentrations add nine credits to the program curriculum.

Concentrations
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8
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
Location Denver , CO Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 36 Student Population 23,671 Tuition $29,808 School Type Public

CU Online's affordable MBA online is AACSB-accredited and emphasizes advanced analytical thinking, communication, and leadership and diplomacy skills. The 48-credit program features four specializations: finance, enterprise technology management, information systems, and managing for sustainability. The degree does not require a comprehensive exam or thesis for completion. Courses are taught through case studies, simulations, group projects, and involvement with real Colorado businesses. Online MBA students may join the experiential learning team, which helps facilitate internships and study-abroad and professional work opportunities. The school offers the same tuition for online and on-campus classes and awards an additional discount to online students who live out of state. Students have earned internships at The Department of Energy, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, Merrill Lynch, and Frontier Airlines.

Concentrations
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9
California State University-Fresno
Location Fresno , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 33 Student Population 24,136 Tuition $24,732 School Type Public

Known as Fresno State, this comprehensive public research school is one of 23 institutions operating within the California State University system. Postgraduate learners make up a small, but close, community of learners, and students enrolled in the online MBA program enjoy intimate class sizes. Offered as a blended program, students are able to complete all of their classwork online, but must visit campus for an orientation, to take specific exams, and for final culminating experience portfolio presentations. The program is AACSB accredited. Study abroad programs are available. All coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. For admittance, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. Students who are unable to take tests on campus can take them through approved testing locations.

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10
Union University
Location Jackson , TN Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 52 Student Population 3,583 Tuition $20,700 School Type Private

Union University, the oldest Southern-Baptist-Convention-affiliated school in the U.S., has been providing a Christ-centered education in Tennessee since 1823. The school offers more than 100 academic programs and has a student body of 3,500. With one of the most affordable online MBAs in the country, Union emphasizes valuable, versatile, and career-oriented learning. Courses last eight weeks, and students can complete the program in one to two years. The program is available in four concentrations: accounting, human resource management, leadership, and marketing. The degree features multiple start dates and can be tailored to part-time or full-time study. Union University’s McAfee School of Business works with employers who participate in tuition reimbursement programs. MBA students may pursue a dual degree in MSN, DNP, PharmD, or MSW; graduate certificates in human resources, leadership, and marketing are also available.

Concentrations
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Methodology

When calculating our rankings, we try to include the factors that are most important to students. We consider the overall cost of the program, the average loan default rate among the school's students in recent years, and the percentage of students attending the school who have accepted federal loans. We also require that each school be accredited by either the AACSB or ACBSP for consideration.

Tuition Breakdown
$
$15K
$$
$15K - $25K
$$$
$25K - $40K
$$$$
$40K - $60K
$$$$$
> $60K

How Much Does an Online MBA Program Cost?

Tuition rates for online MBA programs vary by location and students' residency status. Even online programs sometimes distinguish among in-state, out-of-state, and international students, though some allow all online students to pay in-state tuition. For this reason, online programs often offer more affordable MBA options. Many schools' online tuition rates are even lower than their in-state rates, as the table below demonstrates.

Full-time MBA tuition (reflecting the full cost of the program from start to finish)
Student Provenance Mean Price
In State $35,809
Out-of-State $43,136
Out-of-Country $44,561
Online $31,568
Source: AACSB

What Factors Affect the Affordability of an Online MBA Program?

Affordable Online MBA FAQs

Is an MBA Online Worth It?
Graduates with an accredited online MBA can qualify for lucrative job opportunities, which typically pay well above the median annual income for their state of choice.
How Are Online MBA Programs Accredited?
Accredited online MBA programs meet the same standards as in-person programs, which are set forth by regional, national, and programmatic accrediting bodies. Regional accreditation typically ensures the most rigorous academic standards.
How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online MBA?
Students can complete most online MBA programs in two years. Some programs offer expedited options that allow students to graduate in one year, depending on whether they study full time or part time.
How Does Accreditation Affect Affordability?
Accreditation indicates a quality MBA program. Unaccredited schools may provide a cheap online MBA, but their degrees are less valuable. By that same token, while accredited programs may cost more at the outset, the benefits outweigh the cost.
Are Online MBAs Cheaper?
Online programs can offer a more affordable MBA option, as many schools allow online students to pay in-state tuition or even lower prices. Some schools make no distinction, however, and students should research tuition expectations before enrolling.

Financial Aid Options For an Online MBA Program

Prospective students should begin the search for MBA funding by completing the FAFSA, which qualifies students to take advantage of federal loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs. The government offers students the opportunity to repay federal loans at low interest rates. Graduate students, including MBA learners, qualify for unsubsidized loans, which carry higher interest rates than the subsidized loans students may have borrowed for undergraduate studies.

By filling out a FAFSA, students also qualify for grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities. Grants constitute need-based funding that students do not repay, while scholarships tend to be merit-based. Some organizations use the terms interchangeably. Students often need to complete the FAFSA before they can qualify for school-specific grants and scholarships.

Work-study programs also provide a source of income for MBA students. Funded by the federal government and administered by the school, work-study jobs consist of hourly tasks that may include faculty assistance, research, or administrative tasks.

Students looking to fund their MBA studies also research scholarship opportunities through professional organizations related to their particular area of interest. For example, the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management offers scholarship opportunities for members and their families, as does the Society for Human Resource Management.

Affordable Online MBA Programs That Do Not Require the GMAT

Online MBA schools use the GMAT as a benchmark to select prospective students for program admission. The GMAT can be a great tool for the admissions process, but many students do not feel comfortable taking such a high-pressure test. For those learners, many online MBA programs do not require applicants to provide GMAT test scores.

This relieves some stress from the application process and saves applicants some money. Graduate school entrance exams, such as the GMAT, can create an extra financial hurdle due to the expense of preparation and the fee for taking the test. GMAT preparation books often cost around $50, and practice tests cost around $30. It costs $250 to sit for the GMAT exam, and some students may need to take it more than once.

Applicants can save this money by attending a program that does not require GMAT scores. This list of affordable online MBA programs differs from the one previously mentioned because it only includes programs that do not require GMAT scores.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
1
Ashland University
Location Ashland , OH Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 58 Student Population 5,677 Tuition $29,500 School Type Private

Ashland University offers one of the most affordable online MBA programs with GMAT exemption options. One year options are available and the curriculum covers traditional MBA topics such as accounting and finance. Within the 1 Year Online MBA Program, students are prepared to take the PMP exam, and the fee is included in the tuition. The 30-credit program is delivered through five learning sessions that are offered completely online. Part-time learning opportunities are also available, which typically involve 16 to 24 months of enrollment. All students enter Ashland’s program as part of a cohort, meaning they’ll be working with the same students in each class and have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships during the program. Distance learners may begin the program during any entry point. Online students are eligible for financial aid. Part-time students are able to complete the program within a three year time frame.

Concentrations
View School Profile
2
University of Colorado Denver
Location Denver , CO Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 36 Student Population 23,671 Tuition $29,808 School Type Public

CU Online offers one of the cheapest online MBAs without a GMAT requirement. The AACSB-accredited program emphasizes advanced analytical thinking, leadership, communication, and diplomacy skills. The degree consists of 48 credits. Students must complete core, elective, and international business requirements. The program offers specializations in finance, enterprise technology management, information systems, and managing for sustainability. No comprehensive exam or thesis is required for completion. The online learning model incorporates case studies, simulations, group projects, and introductions to Colorado business owners and entrepreneurs. Online MBA students have access to the experiential learning team, which allows them to explore internships and other professional and study-abroad opportunities. Graduates think analytically and strategically, are good communicators, and have leadership and diplomacy skills.

Concentrations
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3
University of North Dakota
Location Grand Forks , ND Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 51 Student Population 14,951 Tuition $18,619 School Type Public

The University of North Dakota’s online MBA is a flexible degree that allows students to begin in August, January, or May. The 43-credit curriculum incorporates cutting-edge research and technology. Program specializations include general, international business, and social entrepreneurship. Online MBA students must complete the successful MBA: executives introductory course. Experiential learning is a large component of the program, with opportunities available in government and business, or through a student managed investment fund. A survey of recent graduates found that alumni were making between $70,000 and $80,000 within five years of graduation. The majority of graduates can be found working in managerial positions related to business and financial operations. Students can complete the program in two years, and live web classes are held once a week in the evenings. All online students pay in-state tuition.

Concentrations
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4
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Location Odessa , TX Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 21 Student Population 6,077 Tuition $9,396 School Type Public

UTPB, a member of the University of Texas System, has a campus in Odessa and offers a general online MBA program that requires students to earn 30-36 credits. Learners who complete the minimum number of credits can finish the program in 12 months, while those taking additional courses for the finance or accounting concentration typically require approximately 18 months. Applicants who hold a minimum GPA of 3.25 can submit two letters of recommendation to bypass GMAT requirements. Students can begin the program at six different points throughout the year: January, March, May, July, August, or October. Courses include analytical models for decision-making, production and operations management, legal environment of business, and management of financial institutions. The accounting concentration offers a CPA and non-CPA track.

Concentrations
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5
Texas A & M University - Texarkana
Location Texarkana , TX Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 46 Student Population 1,848 Tuition $17,316 School Type Public

Texas A&M's Texarkana campus is home to a small student population of under 2,000. Students can choose from more than 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs in six academic areas, all offering the benefit of small classes taught by qualified faculty. The school offers one of the country’s most affordable online MBAs. MBA concentrations include general, energy leadership, and supply chain. The 36-hour, 12-course curriculum combines core and elective coursework in macroeconomic theory and policy, international management, organizational behavior, and more. The program culminates with a managerial policy and strategy capstone during the final semester. Qualified applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum 2.5 GPA for the last 60 hours of their undergraduate study. Applicants with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 do not have to submit GMAT scores.

Concentrations
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6
University of Missouri - Columbia
Location Columbia , MO Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 47 Student Population 35,424 Tuition $73,000 School Type Public

University of Missouri offers more than 100 degrees and thousands of courses through its Mizzou Online system. The school's online ExecMBA is a blended program that requires some campus visits, though it still ranks among the country’s most affordable online MBAs. The program is AACSB-accredited and emphasizes advanced analytical thinking, communication, and leadership and diplomacy skills. The 48-credit program includes personal coaching and assessment, online webinars, and workshops. The curriculum is completed through a cohort format. Learners complete four online courses each semester and can complete the program in about 20 months. Students are required to attend campus four times each year to complete the required eight weekend sessions with their cohort. Distance learners must also attend an international residency, visiting two global locations over nine days. During the 2016-2017 academic year, the school counted nearly 16,500 students enrolled in at least one online class.

Concentrations
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7
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Location Durant , OK Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 45 Student Population 3,754 Tuition $11,880 School Type Public

SOSU, founded in 1909 as a school for educators, is located in Durant. The university offers numerous online and on-campus programs across four academic areas: arts and sciences, education and behavioral sciences, business, and graduate studies. SOSU’s cheap MBA online is as affordable as it is diverse, with more than 11 specializations to choose from, including some that are unique to SOSU, such as Native American leadership, safety, and aerospace logistics. The 36-hour, 12-course curriculum comprises core and emphasis curriculum. Students can complete the program in 12 months. The program offers an expedited application-acceptance process, ideal for students looking to start online courses as soon as possible. Applicants with a non-business bachelor’s degree must complete prerequisites to qualify for core coursework in the MBA. No GMAT is required for admission.

Concentrations
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8
Texas A&M International University
Location Laredo , TX Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 39 Student Population 7,192 Tuition $19,380 School Type Public

The multilingual and multicultural branch of the Texas A&M system serves nearly 7,500 students from its Laredo campus. The school offers dozens of programs spanning five academic departments. TAMIU’s affordable online MBA is available in five concentrations: international business, international banking and finance, international trade and logistics, management, and international business (Spanish). The 30-hour program is designed to be completed part-time over the course of two years. Students take courses in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Preferred applicants have a business degree, though students with a non-business background can satisfy prerequisites through TAMIU’s six-hour online MBA bootcamp. TAMIU’s online MBA promotes global business skills to enhance career advancement opportunities for its graduates in local and international markets. The MBA with a concentration in international business prepares students for careers as vice president of operations, customer broker, trade analyst, and more.

Concentrations
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9
Northwest Nazarene University
Location Nampa , ID Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 61 Student Population 2,207 Tuition $19,635 School Type Private

Idaho’s Northwest Nazarene University offers one of the cheapest online MBAs of any private school. Students can complete the program in 16 months. Classes are taught through an accelerated eight-week format, allowing learners to take four courses per semester while still balancing professional and personal responsibilities. Learners take two courses per half-term and typically spend 12-16 hours per week, per course completing assignments and engaging with peers and professors. Students can concentrate in accounting, but must take an additional 12 credits. The 33-credit general curriculum includes studies in ethical management, leadership development, organizational dynamics, and managing in a global economy with an optional international component. For admittance, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and a favorable recommendation from the business school’s graduate committee.

Concentrations
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10
California State University - San Bernardino
Location San Bernardino , CA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 45 Student Population 20,024 Tuition $36,000 School Type Public

CSUSB serves more than 20,000 students each year. The school is one of 23 California State University campuses that make up the largest system of higher education in the country. CSUSB offers more than 70 academic programs to students at all academic levels. The school’s AACSB-accredited affordable online MBA is designed for working professionals and offers an 18-month and flex track option. The program requires students to complete an MBA business boot camp before their second quarter. Boot camp subjects include accounting, finance, information management, and supply chain management. Students must satisfy core, foundation, and elective requirements. The program culminates with a business analysis project and MBA portfolio. No GMAT or GRE is required for admission into the online MBA program.

"California State University, San Bernardino is one of 23 institutions operating in the California State University system. The Jack H. Brown College of Business offers an affordable online MBA taught exclusively by instructors trained in the most effective E-learning methods. Students can begin coursework in the fall, winter, spring, or summer terms. The program is AACSB accredited, and offers Study abroad programs. Students taking two courses each term can expect to graduate within 18-months. For admittance, applicants must have 5 years of professional experience (determined from a professional resume), a minimum GPA of 2.5, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose."

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How to Save Even More Money on Your MBA

Budgeting and saving money plays a key role in saving on online MBA programs, as well, since the median price of the degree lands at $31,568, according to AACSB. Consider the following money-saving tactics:

Will Getting My MBA Pay Off?

Online MBAs can be expensive, but graduates compensate for their initial investment with increased earning potential over the long haul. MBAs provide learners with a competitive advantage in the job market, opening doors to more lucrative positions. Many companies require candidates for executive roles to hold MBA degrees from accredited programs.

MBAs represent an investment in the future, preparing learners for a variety of positions that would be difficult to obtain without a graduate degree. Read on to take a look at a few common careers for MBA graduates and their respective median salaries.

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers take charge of an organization's plans for appealing to new customers and retaining existing ones. They create marketing strategies for the brand and manage a team of workers who help execute these plans.

Median Salary: $64,636

Financial Director

Financial directors work with their organizations' senior management teams, taking charge of financial strategy and overseeing operations that contribute to the companies' financial health, including accounting and major business initiatives.

Median Salary: $112,510

Vice President of Operations

A vice president of operations helps an organization strategize and set business goals. These professionals also oversee their companies' everyday activities to ensure that they meet those goals.

Median Salary: $127,289

Executive Director

Executive directors take charge of strategy and operations for nonprofit organizations. They oversee the budget and make sure the organization complies with relevant laws governing nonprofits.

Median Salary: $78,787

Program Project Manager

Program project managers oversee individual, consecutive projects for their organizations, managing employees involved with the project to ensure project goals and timelines are met.

Median Salary: $83,487

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