The Best Online MBA Programs in Change Management

Published March 29, 2022 | OnlineMBA.com Staff

The Best Online MBA Programs in Change Management

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Change is constant in business. Management and senior-level staff handle change by identifying potential benefits and providing leadership during unpredictable times. From fluid consumer behaviors to implementing new technologies, companies need employees with change management training to assist when challenges arise.

Change managers help minimize workflow disruption and steer their organizations toward positive outcomes. Most change managers work in professional, scientific, and technical services or company and enterprise management.

This page offers a detailed look at typical courses in change management MBA programs. Readers can learn about the differences between general and change management MBA degrees, along with potential career options after graduation.

Why Enroll in a Change Management MBA Program?

An MBA in change management prepares students for leadership roles in organizations. Students develop creative management skills and how to be resourceful. They also learn to manage changes in the marketplace and adapt business strategies to meet consumer needs.

Change management MBAs typically take full-time students about 1.5-2 years to complete.

Change management learners study many of the same foundational topics as standard MBA students, including topics like business analytics, accounting, and microeconomics. However, change management students learn about change, effective leadership, and implementing business changes.

The duration of MBA programs varies among programs. Change management MBAs typically take full-time students about 1.5-2 years to complete. This time frame is similar to that of standard MBA programs. Both types of degrees cost about the same.

  • Creative Leadership: Graduates with an MBA in change management are resourceful, creative leaders. They understand leadership theories, intercultural leadership, and management strategies that lead to efficient and effective organizational changes. Creative leaders help organizations adopt new technologies, business models, and management structures.
  • Adaptability: Change management programs teach students to become more adaptable to issues in the workplace. Change management professionals remain flexible in their methods while creating and implementing organizational changes. They study ever-changing consumer markets and develop business strategies to meet those needs. Adaptability includes knowing when to hire new employees to oversee new transitions, such as a new work-from-home policy.
  • Negotiation: Negotiation skills play an essential role in many change management careers. Graduates know how to navigate complex transactions. They understand how to include key management principles, work with stakeholders, and address cultural aspects in their negotiations.
  • Risk Assessment: Change management students learn to identify potential issues early in the planning process. They strive to reduce risk with strategic planning that considers health and safety, law compliance, and finances.

Top Online MBA Programs

Why You Should Get Your Change Management MBA Online

Aside from rapid changes in business environments due to globalization and new technologies, unpredictable challenges continue to occur during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Professionals with an MBA in change management possess the global perspective, leadership skills, and business savvy to help guide organizations through difficult times while identifying new business opportunities.

Online master's in change management programs may offer synchronous or asynchronous course delivery. Through synchronous learning, students meet online at regular times or work through course material simultaneously with classmates.

Asynchronous learning refers to self-paced coursework without meeting times. Asynchronous courses offer the most flexibility and best serve working professionals wanting to complete an MBA in change management in their spare time.

What to Expect From Online Change Management MBA Programs

Online and on-campus accredited MBA programs typically feature the same courses and graduation requirements. Most importantly, both formats offer quality education and credentials that can help students advance their careers and earning potential.

Depending on the MBA change management program, schools may add additional leadership coursework to the curriculum. These courses may better serve midcareer working professionals, the most common enrollees in online MBA programs.

Change management and general MBA programs differ in how they address modern business challenges, apply across industries, and train soft skills.

Comparing General MBA and Change Management MBA Degrees

GENERAL MBA CHANGE MANAGEMENT MBA
Addresses Modern Challenges General MBA programs offer students a well-rounded business education but may have gaps in certain topics. Change management is an often overlooked yet important topic. Graduates may feel unprepared to handle complex challenges in today's rapidly changing business landscape. Students receive specialty training in change management. This helps them address business challenges brought on by the pandemic, supply chain issues, and stock market flux.
Applies Across Industries MBA students may feel prepared to pursue careers in their chosen industry. General MBA programs cover universal business skills relevant across sectors. However, training in business survival strategies is less common in these programs. Students in virtually any industry benefit from change management training, especially entrepreneurs and professionals in fast-moving industries like healthcare and tech.
Focuses on Soft Skill Development General MBA programs may offer more training in technical and hard skills than specialty MBAs. However, this is sometimes at the expense of learning important soft skills such as emotional and social awareness. Change management degrees typically focus more on soft skills, including leadership and interpersonal communication. These skills help inspire positive systemic change in businesses.

Curriculum

Courses and requirements vary among change management programs. Students may find that courses between schools may cover similar topics but with different course titles. Here's a look at some of the most common change management MBA classes.

Innovation, Design, and Creativity

Students learn how design affects and informs alternative management practices in the workplace. Faculty help students think through course projects and exercises and develop new creative concepts that can improve management styles.

Forecasting and Economic Strategies

Students develop frameworks that support innovative business and economic strategies. The course explores common forecasting tools that analyze financial and economic data. Students also learn about game theory to understand competition and strategic decision-making. Faculty use housing price movements, inflation, and other economic data to demonstrate valuable forecasting techniques.

Leadership Development and Organizational Renewal

Students learn methods for generating sustainable development in organizations and among personnel. Faculty assist students in completing self-reflexive exercises to come up with their own renewal initiatives and ideas. Students then learn how to translate their ideas into actionable plans that may ultimately benefit their future employers.

Decision-Making and Communication in Leadership

Students prepare for complex business scenarios by learning key elements of professional communication. The class addresses leadership positions in both remote and in-person work scenarios and teaches modern communication etiquette. Some courses include instruction in data analysis tools to help students in the decision-making process.

Implementing Change

This upper-level course helps students understand change and challenges in contemporary business environments. Faculty teach students how to consider all aspects of change, including the hurdles associated with developing, initiating, and implementing major changes. The course is especially helpful for learners who plan on pursuing careers in entrepreneurship, corporate venturing, or management consulting.

Career Opportunities After Graduating

Professionals with an MBA in change management can pursue positions across major industries. This includes jobs in the public and private sectors. Many degree-holders work as management analysts and business consultants. MBA in change management graduates can also pursue management positions or start their own businesses.

Change management degrees may help professionals land high-paying jobs. Popular career choices and possible salaries include:

Management Analyst

Median Annual Salary: $87,660

Also called management consultants, these workers help improve company efficiency. They use financial data and company projections to make recommendations for changes in daily operating procedures. Depending on the position, management analysts may need a certified management consultant certificate from the Institute of Management Consultants.

Change Manager

Average Annual Salary (February 2022): $99,990

Change managers help organizations handle transitions. They plan and implement changes based on forecasting techniques and organizational data. Change managers need strong project management and communication skills to ensure company transitions go smoothly.

Human Resources Manager

Median Annual Salary: $121,220

These professionals help direct an organization's administrative functions. They assist with interviewing and hiring new employees. They also work with high-level employees to create strategic plans for organizational growth.

Government Program Manager

Average Annual Salary (February 2022): $91,660

These managers oversee government projects, develop program management plans, and work within larger teams. These positions often require professionals to travel to work on-site for new projects. Program managers often need prior work experience to prepare for these roles.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations offer students and professionals access to valuable resources. These associations are often membership-based. They provide users with career development tools and networking opportunities. Here are three popular organizations for change management degree-holders:

ASQ offers its members educational advancement tools. Members gain access to skills development resources, quarterly academic journals, and networking opportunities through its global network. Membership is $169 per year.

ACMP members take advantage of annual conferences, webinars, and online resource libraries. The organization also helps professionals connect with employers and volunteer opportunities. ACMP also offers a certified change management professional program.

ATD members gain access to online tools and expert advice. Members take advantage of the ATD online library and archival materials. Online training materials include instruction in UI/UX design, user accessibility, and social media for managers.

Choosing Between Change Management MBA Programs

MBA in change management programs vary among schools. Each program reflects the work of core faculty members and the institution's access to resources. When looking for a master's in change management program, here are four features to consider.

  • Faculty Interests: Faculty members' research interests and teaching histories can drastically shape an MBA change management program. When considering a school, be sure to learn about the business faculty members to see if your interests align with your prospective teachers.
  • Internal Funding: Graduate school can be costly. Look for change management degrees that may offer you internal funding opportunities. Funding may come in the form of scholarships, fellowships, and graduate assistantships.
  • Alumni Job Placement and Career Support: Consider where recent alumni work today and how that compares to your goals. Also, look into what career services are available to MBA students and alumni.
  • Course Delivery Format: Online MBA in change management programs offer classes remotely or in a hybrid format. Consider what course delivery format works with your learning style and needs.

Best Online MBA Programs in Change Management

The following ranking includes five of the best online MBA programs for change management in 2022. Explore the link below to learn more about our methodology for selecting these schools.

Edgewood College

A Catholic college with Dominican roots, EC has welcomed students since 1927. In the 1970s, the school introduced flexible weekend programs. In 2002, EC launched a learning program with adaptable scheduling.

MBA with Organizational Leadership and Change Emphasis

Prepare for a career as a business operations manager or management consultant with EC's MBA degree. The 30-credit program includes 21 core credits and nine concentration credits. The organizational leadership and change emphasis concentration adds courses in organizational leadership, organizational change, and individual and team intervention.

The MBA curriculum allows students to complete their degree at their own pace, up to 12 credits per semester. Collaborative projects let learners conceptualize and practice leadership strategies with their peers.

Students without relevant undergraduate credits may elect to test out of four foundational courses counting as one credit each.

EC's Affordability

In addition to federal financial aid, EC allows students to pay their tuition in monthly installments or use their employer reimbursement plan to reduce tuition. The college also applies up to six transfer credits from a previous degree program.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: HLC, ACBSP
  • Tuition: $764/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 18 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online, on campus, or hybrid
  • Admissions
    • Process: Applicants submit official transcripts from their bachelor's degree program from an accredited institution. Applicants with lower than a 2.5 GPA may also need to submit GMAT scores.
    • GPA: 2.5 GPA
    • Standardized Tests: GMAT

Friends University

Located in Wichita, Kansas, Friends first opened as Garfield University in 1887 with just 500 students. Today, the private university enrolls more than 1,500 students in its Christian-based programs that prioritize leadership and service.

Global Master of Business Administration with a Change Management Concentration

Friends' MBA prepares learners to become global business leaders. The change management concentration teaches strategic change, complexity and chaos theory, systems thinking, and sustainable innovation. The 12-credit concentration covers managerial finance and business diversity.

Students can access career services, academic resources, and networking opportunities, whether studying online or face-to-face. Enrollees also complete a business residency abroad to enrich their communication skills and international business competence.

Friends' MBA advisory board collaborates with students throughout the program and advises them on their final projects. A capstone course culminates in a professional portfolio for future employers.

Friends' Affordability

Friends offers financial aid to eligible students enrolling in at least three credits per semester. Optional tuition payment plans also allow learners to make budget-friendly monthly payments each semester.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • Tuition: $636/credit
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 1 year
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
  • Admissions
    • Process: Friends applicants must submit official transcripts of their bachelor's degree and a letter of recommendation. They also complete a director interview prior to acceptance.
    • GPA: 2.75
    • Standardized Tests: N/A
    • Cost: $50

Lenoir-Rhyne University

A Lutheran institution, LRU enrolls more than 2,600 learners from 31 countries. Founded in 1891, the private university supports students through health and wellness programs, religious and spiritual experiences, and quality academics.

MBA in Innovation and Change Management

LRU MBA enrollees enjoy a flexible program that they can complete at their own pace in four semesters. The core curriculum targets theory and practical skills and applications in accounting, marketing, and operations management.

The innovation and change management concentration includes courses such as negotiation and conflict resolution and business networks and systems thinking. A business practicum lets students apply their learned skills to a real-world business project.

Students can enroll in LRU's dual-enrollment program during their senior year of undergraduate studies to begin working on their MBA. LRU allows simultaneous enrollment for up to 12 credits.

LRU's Affordability

LRU offers alumni discounts on their graduate program tuition. Students can also receive up to a 20% discount on their tuition as employees of partnered businesses and agencies.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACBSP
  • Tuition: $710/credit
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous), on campus, or hybrid
  • Admissions
    • Process: Enrollees submit official transcripts, a writing sample, a resume, a recommendation, and GRE or GMAT scores with an application. LRU may require interviews with some applicants.
    • GPA: 2.7 GPA
    • Standardized Tests: GMAT, GRE
    • Cost: $35 application fee

Queens University of Charlotte

Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Queens University prides itself on quality academics and athletics. Its 26 Royals teams feature three Olympians and 18 national championships.

MBA in Leadership and Change

Queens University's MBA in leadership and change holds accreditation with AACSB International. Students in the program prepare for careers as company presidents, executive directors, and management consultants. Although learners complete the core curriculum online, this concentration includes electives only available on campus.

Three concentration electives complete the program following a 21-credit core curriculum. Courses include organizational system change, conflict and negotiation, and management consulting. Some students may waive three foundational courses in accounting, statistics, and finance if they meet academic and professional requirements.

The university's flexible MBA program allows students to pace themselves with 1-2 courses per semester.

Queens University's Affordability

Queens University participates in federal financial aid and military benefits programs. Students may use a combination of grants, scholarships, and employer tuition reimbursement plans to lower their costs. Alumni can also receive a tuition discount for the online MBA program.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
  • Tuition: $1,165/credit
  • Required Credits: 39 credits
  • Program Length: 2.5 years
  • Delivery Format: Online with some on-campus requirements
  • Admissions
    • Process: Applicants submit official college transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and two letters of recommendation.

Tiffin University

TU provides flexible learning opportunities to traditional and adult learners via its Ohio campuses and online programs. The university features advisors and a broad alumni network to assist students at all degree levels.

MBA with a Concentration in Leadership and Change

TU's MBA in leadership and change builds management skills with its 36-credit curriculum. The TU School of Business requires a core curriculum with topics like managerial economics, management of human resources, and legal and ethical issues in management.

The concentration adds 12 credits in individual leadership and influence and negotiations, plus conflict resolution courses. As a final project, learners complete a leadership internship, requiring 200 hours of skills application in a real business environment.

Students can access TU's workshops, mentorships, and other professional resources to grow their careers.

TU's Affordability

Students applying for TU's online MBA do not pay an application fee. TU alumni receive a $250/credit discount for a master's degree program. Military personnel can also receive $250-$325 off each graduate credit.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: HLC, ACBSP
  • Tuition: $700/credit
  • Required Credits: 36 credits
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
  • Admissions
    • Process: Applicants must submit official transcripts with their applications. TU requires a resume and a personal statement for students with GPAs lower than 3.0.
    • GPA: 3.0 GPA
    • Standardized Tests: No
    • Cost: $0 application fee (online); $20 application fee (on-campus)

Common Questions About Change Management

How long does it take to get an MBA in Change Management?

The duration of master's in change management programs vary among schools. Full-time learners often finish in two years or less. Part-time students can expect to spend 2-3.5 years in school, depending on their course load each semester.

What are the advantages of change management?

Change management professionals help organizations handle complex transitions. They ensure that companies and businesses meet their goals on time while staying within budget. Change management helps organizations remain effective in today's competitive marketplace.

What are the risks involved in change management?

According to Harvard Business Review, companies minimize the risk of missing deadlines, going over budget, or underestimating required work by employing change management professionals. Poor company transitions can also lead to employee burnout and decrease workers' motivation for future change efforts.

What do you study in a change management program?

Change management degrees offer training in leadership methods, personnel management, and negotiation tactics. They also focus on implementing and enforcing changes within businesses and organizations. Learners develop hard and soft skills that help motivate teams to facilitate change smoothly.


Featured Image: marchmeena29 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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