The Best Online MBA Programs in Innovation of 2022

| Amy Boyington Modified on April 15, 2022

The Best Online MBA Programs in Innovation of 2022

Are you ready to discover your MBA program?

Innovation is an experimental process that uses new methods to achieve positive outcomes. Some of the most successful businesses thrive because of their leaders' innovative strategies.

In innovation and strategy MBA programs, enrollees use tools and techniques that drive sustainable business growth and change. A prospective innovation MBA student typically must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and some professional leadership experience.

Innovative leaders can work for companies as management consultants, business analysts, or company executives. They often have entrepreneurial mindsets that make them effective in starting and running businesses.

This guide explores some of the best MBA in innovation programs, including top reasons to choose this concentration and what to expect.

Navigate This Page: Why Enroll in Innovation | What to Expect | Career Opportunities | Organizations | Best Programs in Innovation | Common Questions

Why Enroll in an Innovation MBA Program?

A traditional MBA program develops students' ability to manage successful businesses. An on-campus or online MBA in innovation strengthens those skills by teaching creative strategies that help businesses thrive.

An MBA in innovation gives students the tools to create out-of-the-box business strategies and environments. Courses typically cover sustainability, marketing strategies, business development, and product development. Students develop complex problem-solving and strategic design skills, along with understanding new technologies.

Generally, an MBA in innovation requires 36-45 credits, about the same number of credits as a traditional MBA. Enrollees complete electives related to their concentration after finishing the core MBA curriculum. Full-time students typically take 1-2 years to graduate — the same as a regular MBA.

  • Complex Problem-Solving: An MBA in innovation focuses on new ways of thinking to solve business problems. Enrollees learn advanced techniques and strategies to become dynamic leaders. Students build skills in diagnosing, fixing, and preventing problems through ethical and exploratory leadership.
  • Project Management: Pivotal for any MBA student, project management skills help leaders oversee and move projects along a timeline. Innovation MBA students learn to develop creative solutions and motivational team strategies.
  • Business Technology: Innovative leaders adapt to new technologies that drive businesses forward, like project management software and collaboration tools. These classes cover internet technology, digital marketing tools, and supply chain management applications. Students also learn to use real-world tools through practical coursework.
  • Product Design: These courses teach students creative skills for product conceptualization and design. Students learn the theory and practice behind consumer marketing and user interface design. Product design courses may also cover project management strategies and methods for tracking metrics.

Why You Should Get Your Innovation MBA Online

Online innovation MBAs may feature flexible asynchronous classes. Asynchronous formats do not require enrollees to attend class at a specific time. Instead, full-time workers can complete coursework around their work obligations while meeting class deadlines.

Instructors use forum discussions, video lectures, and digital tools to deliver information and coursework to students. Learners can expect to study the same curriculum as in-person students.

What to Expect From Online Innovation MBA Programs

Students should consider whether an on-campus or online MBA in innovation best suits their needs. Similarities between on-campus and online formats include:

  • Learning from the same curriculum
  • Accessing the same career resources
  • Having discussions and completing projects with peers

Still, learners can expect a few differences with online MBAs. For instance, online enrollees typically do not receive as much teacher-student interaction, but they may find that they can complete assignments at a more flexible pace.

Students can also compare innovation MBAs and general MBAs to find their ideal fit. Innovation MBAs cover the same core curriculum as general MBAs. However, innovation concentration courses can assist students seeking different types of leadership positions, such as sustainable management or entrepreneurship.

Length, cost, content, and outcomes can also vary between the two degrees. The following table explores their key differences.

Comparing General MBA and Innovation MBA Degrees

General Innovation MBA
Length Generally take between 1-2 years to complete May take slightly longer due to additional specialization credits
Cost Between $40,000-$70,000 a year Students typically pay the same amount per credit as general MBA students, but they might pay more for their full program for additional credits.
Practicum, Internship, or Capstone A general MBA usually includes a capstone course requiring students to apply learned concepts to a project. Innovation MBAs often require an internship or practicum for learners to develop practical experience in a business setting.
Content Generalized business courses, such as financial management and business analytics. Includes the core MBA curriculum and courses in strategic leadership, creative marketing, and global management strategies.
Outcomes Graduates often pursue work as data analysts, sales directors, and financial advisors. Graduates can pursue creativity-focused careers as entrepreneurs, consultants, and marketing directors.

Curriculum

An MBA in innovation management features business courses that encourage students to think outside the box. Learners develop organizational skills that foster cultural diversity and unique strategies within their companies.

Typically, change and innovation electives follow a traditional MBA core curriculum, including business analytics and financial management courses.

Social Marketing Strategies Today's businesses rely on social media to reach new audiences through product and service marketing. This course highlights the necessity of social media in modern marketing while teaching actionable strategies for planning, managing, and improving social media campaigns. Students may also gain experience with social media scheduling and analysis tools.
Entrepreneurship Forward-thinking business leaders sometimes venture into entrepreneurship, making these courses common to innovation MBA programs. Future leaders often learn to create socially conscious businesses, successfully acquire and manage established companies, or grow sustainable profits.
International Organizational Behavior This course prepares learners to manage companies with global workforces. Students learn to consider diverse workforces when managing companies. Some programs include practicums or internships for enrollees to gain practical experience.
Strategic Innovation Businesses have varied needs that require strategic thinkers. Strategic innovation courses develop foundational skills for students to apply to projects, workforces, and operations. Learners also explore ways to guide their teams in executing innovative strategies that enhance productivity.
Design Thinking Methods Design thinking is the process of creating solutions to solve problems. In this course, students use creative thinking strategies to recognize potential organizational problems and outline ways to solve them. This thinking process can also become a blueprint for learners to apply to product and service design.

Career Opportunities After Graduating

An MBA in innovation and strategy lays the groundwork for creative leadership. Therefore, graduates can apply their skill sets to various positions, including executives, consultants, and analysts. Managerial roles are among the most popular for graduates of this program.

Additionally, many potential careers for innovation MBA graduates offer high-paying salaries. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a median salary of $121,220 for human resources managers and $141,490 for marketing managers in 2020.

The following list includes a few examples of potential careers for innovation MBA graduates.

Human Resources Manager

MBA in innovation graduates who desire people-focused careers can consider roles in human resources management. These professionals solve and prevent organizational problems affecting staff. They also develop recruitment, training, and disciplinary strategies.

Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs start or grow businesses. They may manage several facets of their organizations, including business operations, departments, and finances. These leaders can use innovative techniques learned in their MBAs to solve complex financial problems and grow their companies.

Chief Marketing Officer

Chief marketing officers take hold of a company's marketing process, including planning projects and overseeing teams. These creative leaders are also problem-solvers, excellent communicators, and proficient in marketing management and analytics software.

More Information

Management Consultant

Equipped with forward-thinking strategies, these consultants offer solutions to management teams to solve problems and lead others effectively. A management consultant may work with one or several organizations in various industries.

More Information

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations provide unique networking and professional development opportunities for innovation professionals. The following list includes a few top organizations for innovative leaders.

AMI connects professionals who commit to using creative strategies in promoting growth and change. Its research identifies global processes that leaders use within their organizations. Members can attend virtual and face-to-face meetings as learning, networking, and sharing opportunities.

IAOIP delivers industry research, news, and training to innovation professionals. Members can access certification programs, such as certified management of innovation and certified professional innovator, along with more than 30 courses to develop their careers.

ISSIP is a collaborative effort of IBM, HP, Cisco, and higher learning institutions. The organization advocates for innovation policy and creates educational opportunities for members. Its digital badges recognize individuals for their contributions to innovative leadership.

Choosing Between Innovation MBA Programs

The best MBA for innovation depends on each student's current and future goals. For instance, current professionals may need online programs with flexible schedules. However, learners just beginning their careers may prefer on-campus programs and plenty of career support.

Consider the following factors when choosing your innovation MBA:

  • Curriculum: While many MBAs in innovation offer similar curricula, some emphasize different types of leadership, like entrepreneurship or global leadership. Explore each program's curriculum to find one that aligns with your goals.
  • Length: Credit requirements for innovation concentrations vary among schools. Some also offer accelerated pathways. Some programs allow enrollees to test out of foundational classes and shorten their program's length.
  • Career Resources: Some MBAs in innovation include mentorships from industry professionals, internships, and networking opportunities. Speak with an advisor to learn more about available resources.
  • In-Person Components: Innovation MBAs often require learners to complete internships and practicums in real business settings. If you are interested in a fully online MBA, you should consider finding a program with a capstone project that you can complete virtually.

Top Five Online MBA Programs in Innovation

An MBA in innovation can prepare students for lucrative, change-oriented management careers. Explore our ranking of the five best online MBA programs for 2022. See the link below to learn more about the methods we use to rank schools.

Concordia University-Ann Arbor Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, CUAA is part of a national network of schools affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The private university offers more than 60 majors and programs.

MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CUAA's online MBA in innovation and entrepreneurship combines real-world experiences like internships and study abroad trips with classroom learning. Students learn to think creatively to help start new businesses. Faculty with real-world business experience teach the online classes. The curriculum explores venture capital, long-term planning strategies, and intellectual property.

One of the best online MBA programs, Concordia's MBA offers free business coaching and the opportunity to pitch ideas through the CU Launch initiative. The 36-credit MBA includes classes like people-focused management, group dynamics and leadership, and sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Students complete a strategic management capstone in their final semester.

CUAA's Affordability

CUAA's MBA in innovation and entrepreneurship costs $779 per credit. Students can apply for one of the university's many scholarships and grants to make the program more affordable.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $779/credit
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete online application and submit an essay, resume, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.
    • GPA: 2.75 preferred
Regent University Established in 1968, Regent offers more than 150 programs online and at its Virginia Beach campus. The private, Christian university gave out almost $24 million in institutional scholarships and aid for the 2019-20 school.

MBA in Innovation Management

Regent's Christ-centered, entrepreneur-focused MBA in innovation management ranks among the best online MBA programs. Suitable for recent graduates and experienced working professionals, the globally-based degree features international faculty with diverse perspectives. Students can complete the degree completely online, on campus, or through a combination of in person and distance learning.

The ACBSP-accredited program offers accelerated eight-week courses. Full-time students who take two courses at a time can graduate in 16 months. The curriculum includes classes like corporate learning and change, new product development, prototyping methods, and consumer behavior. Class projects allow students to create a professional portfolio.

Regent's Affordability

Regent's affordable online MBA in innovation management costs $675 per credit. Regent students received almost $24 million in institutional financial aid and scholarships for 2019-2020. Eighty-six percent of learners got financial aid for 2018-2019.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Tuition: $675/credit
  • Required Credits: 42
  • Program Length: 16 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online, on campus, or hybrid
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete an online application and admissions questionnaire. Submit transcripts and government-issued ID.
John Brown University JBU in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, enrolls nearly 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students online and in person. The school offers 61 undergraduate majors and 26 graduate programs.

MBA in Design Thinking and Innovation

Students can find one of the best online MBA programs in JBU's ACBSP-accredited MBA in design thinking and innovation. The curriculum includes classes like design thinking methods, creativity in business, international business practicum, and marketing strategies.

The two-year program requires 36-45 credits depending on whether students completed business coursework as an undergraduate. The degree is available completely online, in person, or through a combination of the two. Students develop critical thinking, global leadership, and organizational skills.

Within six months of graduating, 87% of JBU graduate students in 2019-2020, found a job, volunteer position, joined the military, or were pursuing further education.

JBU's Affordability

JBU offers affordable MBA tuition, charging $600 per credit. Students can also benefit from Arkansas's status as the state with the second lowest cost of living. The majority of JBU students receive financial aid each year.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Tuition: $600/credit
  • Required Credits: 36-45
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous and asynchronous) or hybrid
  • Admissions
    • Process: Submit an application form, transcripts, and three recommendation forms.
    • GPA: 2.75
Brenau University A private university in Gainesville, Georgia, Brenau offers fully online degrees in disciplines like business, education, and healthcare. The school's small online classes feature an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

MBA in Strategic Thinking and Innovation

Brenau's ACBSP-accredited MBA in strategic thinking and innovation is one of the best online MBA programs that explores complex problems and creativity in organizational settings. The College of Business and Administration offers the program, which develops critical thinking, problem-solving, budgeting, and business operations skills.

The 42-credit curriculum requires classes like leadership in innovative organizational cultures, complex problem-solving, and creativity and change leadership. Designed for business leaders, the program offers an accelerated, 12-month track. Students can complete the degree completely online or in person.

Graduates can pursue careers like corporate development manager, financial manager, or program manager.

Brenau's Affordability

Brenau's online MBA in strategic thinking and innovation offers an accelerated 12-month option that lets learners graduate in half the time of the traditionally paced program. Eighty-five percent of Brenau students receive a form of financial aid.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
  • Tuition: $755/hour
  • Required Credits: 42
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete an online application and submit college transcripts and a resume.
    • GPA: 3.0
Bay Path University A member of the Women's College Coalition, Bay Path in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, offers on-campus and online degrees. Founded in 1897, the university serves more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

MBA in Entrepreneurial Thinking and Innovative Practices

Designed for working professionals, Bay Path's cohort-based MBA in entrepreneurial thinking and innovative practices prepares students for leadership positions in business settings. Classes start every February, June, and October. The program welcomes part-time and full-time learners and takes 1-2 years to complete.

Students can complete the degree 100% online, on campus, or through a combination of online and in-person classes. The 36-credit MBA offers five career-focused concentrations in areas like data analytics, finance, cybersecurity, or healthcare management.

The curriculum offers accelerated eight-week courses that include introduction to entrepreneurial thinking, business analytics, and managing innovation. Students learn to lead, innovate, and manage.

Bay Path's Affordability

Bay Path offers accelerated eight-week courses that let students graduate more quickly and save money. The 36-credit degree costs $855 per credit. Graduate financial aid options include federal and private loans.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $855/credit
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Program Length: 1-2 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online, on campus, and hybrid.
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete an online application and submit transcripts, an essay, a resume, and two recommendations.
    • GPA: 3.0 or higher preferred

Common Questions About Innovation

How are innovation and creativity related?

Creativity often sparks innovation, which leads to new ideas, designs, or products. An innovative idea typically requires creativity to make them a reality. The best MBA for innovation programs foster both types of skills.

What are the four types of innovation?

Innovation splits into several subcategories. In business, the primary types of innovation include disruptive, architectural, incremental, and radical. Incremental and architectural innovations improve existing ideas while disruptive and radical innovations create new concepts.

What are the risks involved in innovation?

Innovative strategies may stray too far from customers' or staff's needs. Innovation also risks abrupt changes that may affect corporate culture, finances, or growth potential.

What is an innovation and strategy MBA?

An MBA in strategy and innovation incorporates general business topics and forward-thinking courses that focus on developing efficient strategies and processes. This specialization is best for leaders interested in driving change through strategic planning and disruptive practices.


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