2022’s Online MBA Programs With the Most Diversity

Updated July 6, 2022 | Cynthia Widmayer

2022’s Online MBA Programs With the Most Diversity

A master of business administration (MBA) is a graduate program that teaches in-demand skills for leadership roles in the business field. An MBA can help professionals stand out in competitive industries, attract employers from a wide range of companies, and pursue high salaries and career advancement.

Historically, women, Black people, and Hispanic people have been underrepresented in business schools. Only recently, efforts have been made to increases racial, gender, and sexual diversity in business schools and MBA programs.

According to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business' 2021 report, the percentage of Hispanic and Black MBA students nearly doubled between 2011 and 2021. Additionally, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that women earned 48% of graduate business degrees between 2018 and 2019.

This roundup of online MBA programs with the highest rates of faculty and student diversity and inclusion can be a great starting point when researching business schools.

Why Diversity Matters in the Classroom

Diversity can refer to more than race, gender, and ethnicity. The term also includes various cultural backgrounds, income levels, sexual identities and orientations, and first-generation status, among other factors.

Diversity is important in the classroom because it helps students learn from different perspectives, fostering creativity, problem-solving skills, and a more tolerant worldview. It can bring about a change in thinking and elevates the learning experience when students can understand and appreciate others from diverse backgrounds.

Harvard Business School did not admit women to their MBA program until 1962. While progress has been made to promote greater inclusion in colleges and universities, a gap still exists between white and underrepresented students.

According to Census Bureau data, over 40% of college-enrolled white students completed at least a bachelor’s degree in 2019. Until 1976, 83% of college students were white, but by 2016, it had dropped to 57% as a result of cultural and racial diversification in higher education.

How Diversity Benefits Businesses

Diversity in business is critical for performance and success. Increased diversity benefits businesses by increasing awareness of employees and consumers' needs, creating a stronger workplace culture that promotes harmony and positivity, and building a foundation for innovation and creativity.

A diverse MBA program can lead to greater diversity in businesses when new graduates join the workforce. Diverse teams help promote business growth and support varying perspectives and ideas, leading to a more supportive and welcoming work environment. Inclusion and diversity benefit businesses in the following ways:

  • Innovation: Diversity in the workplace helps fuel out-of-the-box thinking, which leads to unique ideas and more opportunities for innovation. According to a 2018 report by Harvard Business Review, companies with a diverse team and culture have 19% more innovation revenue.
  • Improves Team Performance: Inclusive leadership promotes the success of the entire team by improving performance. According to this 2018 Deloitte review, diversity in the workplace boosts team performance by 17% and collaboration by 20%.
  • Greater Productivity: Diverse leaders boost morale and encourage a strong, hardworking culture through the company. This sparks employee productivity and improves organization success rate. That same Deloitte review notes that organizations with inclusive cultures are eight times more likely to have better business outcomes.
  • Increased Profitability: According to this 2018 McKinsey report, ethnically and culturally diverse companies are 33% more likely to be profitable. Additionally, organizations with greater gender representation are 21% more likely to be profitable. Workplace diversity is also good for the company's overall performance and image.
  • Lower Turnover: Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can lead to greater employee satisfaction and higher retention. This can lower the rate of turnover and reduce the costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

Choosing the Right Diverse Online MBA Program

Enrolling in an MBA program is an important decision that requires careful consideration. When looking for the most diverse online MBA program, you may want to take into account the racial, gender, and cultural diversity of students and faculty and how well the school supports underrepresented groups.

Aside from diversity and inclusion, there are other significant factors that make some MBA programs stand out. Whether the school is accredited is important since it determines the quality of education. Cost and financial aid and admissions requirements are other important factors. Students should also consider program format and length especially if they will be working while going to school.

Start with a list of programs and scrutinize each for requirements, fees, duration, and admissions process. After shortlisting a few programs, start looking for the ones that feature diverse students and faculty.

Factors to Consider When Researching Diversity in MBA Programs

Finding the right MBA program that values diversity requires careful research. In this guide, we look at reported racial and gender diversity among faculty and sexual orientation among students.

Disabilities were excluded from this guide because there is no recent graduate school-level data on the topic. However, it is a legal requirement that post-secondary programs accommodate students and faculty with disabilities.

Some of the diversity data below may represent first-generation students, who may not have had previous representation in higher education or business.

Factor 1: Gender

When ranking gender-diverse MBA programs, we considered the faculty instead of students because in online graduate programs students typically do not meet on campus.

For this ranking, we start with our top 50 online MBA programs and then use IPEDS metrics to determine the rankings with a 58-74% woman-led faculty. Note that the current metrics provide data on only binary genders.

Other factors when choosing an MBA program include whether or not a program has support groups or clubs for various gender identities. This is not only indicative of an inclusive learning environment but could also have a big hand in the overall success rate of students.

The Most Gender Diverse Faculty in Online MBA Programs

Some of our data sources conflate gender terms and sex terms. These sources only provide data pertaining to men and women as well, excluding nonbinary gender identities.

1

Western Governors University

An online university founded by 19 state governors, Western Governors University (WGU) is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The private institution aims to make higher education more accessible. WGU boasts one of the most gender-diverse faculties for online MBA programs, with 74% female faculty members.

WGU College of Business

Distance learners can earn a leadership-focused, fully online MBA from WGU's ACBSP-accredited College of Business. Designed for working business professionals, the asynchronous program lets students set their own schedules. Degree-seekers can graduate within 12 months.

The 34-credit curriculum covers leadership strategies, managerial functions, and approaches to self-awareness. Required classes cover topics like human capital management, data-driven decision-making, and operations management. The program culminates with an MBA capstone.

During regular telephone meetings, faculty mentors support students, help set goals, and answer questions. Learners can also connect with faculty members and classmates through one-on-one discussions, live cohort meetings, and webinars.

WGU's MBA Specializations

General Business | Information Technology Management | Healthcare Management

Applying to WGU

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The program does not require the GRE or GMAT. MBA hopefuls must submit college transcripts and complete an intake interview.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: NWCCU; ACBSP
  • Tuition: $4,530/term
  • Required Credits: 34
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
2

Thomas University

Thomas University (TU) in Thomasville, Georgia, offers online and on-campus undergraduate and graduate degrees. The school fields 12 varsity and junior varsity athletic teams. The Primitive Baptist Church chartered the institution as Birdwood Junior College in 1950. Female instructors comprise 63% of TU's faculty.

Thomas University Business Division

TU's Business Division offers a 12-month, in-person or fully online master of business administration. The 30-credit applied MBA features asynchronous, eight-week courses. Topics include marketing management, research and statistics, and financial management.

Students can complete a three-credit, 120-clock-hour business internship with one of the university's industry partners. TU's Business Leadership Advisory Board includes Fortune 500 company leaders. Board members give input on the curriculum and provide job and internship opportunities.

TU MBA candidates can join Sigma Beta Delta, an international honor society for business, management, and administration. TU's Sigma Beta Delta chapter offers the first executive mentoring program in the United States.

Applying to TU

The MBA program accepts students from all undergraduate backgrounds. Admission requires a GPA of 3.0 or above. Applicants need not take the GRE or GMAT but must submit college transcripts, a resume, and a statement of purpose.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Tuition: $725/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
3

Lincoln Memorial University

Located 55 miles north of Knoxville in Harrogate, Tennessee, Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) offers more than 30 majors. Over 5,000 students attend the school. LMU's small classes feature a 14-to-1 learner-to-teacher ratio. The university's faculty is 58% female.

LMU School of Business

LMU's School of Business offers a flexible, fully online MBA that lets students choose how many classes to complete each semester. The ACBSP-accredited, student-centered program includes professional experiences, group work, and case studies. The curriculum helps prepare graduates for global business leadership positions.

Learners choose from nine MBA specializations to customize their degree. Coursework varies by specialization. Potential course topics include economics for decision-making, business strategy, statistical methods for business analytics, and project management. Incoming learners can take academic leveling courses in business fundamentals.

LMU's MBA Specializations

Business Analytics | Digital Marketing | Healthcare Administration | General Business | Operations Management | Sport Management | Strategic Management | Technology Management | Dual Degree

Applying to LMU

MBA admission requirements include an online application, a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA, and a 500-word essay. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a resume.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC; ACBSP
  • Tuition: $530/semester hour
  • Required Credits: 30 (general MBA) or 36 (MBA with a concentration)
  • Delivery Format: 100% online

Factor 2: Race

Since this ranking is for online MBA programs where students do not attend classes in person, we only look at racial diversity of faculty. According to NCES data from 2018, white men and women constituted the largest number of faculty at colleges and universities, but some institutions have greater racial diversity among faculty than others.

For this ranking, we took our top 50 online MBA programs and used IPEDS metrics to grade schools with a 42-55% racially diverse faculty.

It is important to consider the diverse backgrounds of not only the full-time, tenured faculty but also that of adjunct and associate teachers. These numbers matter because they highlight faculty retention by the institution.

The Most Racially Diverse Faculty in Online MBA Programs

1

The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Edinburg, Texas, offers accelerated online degrees. One of the largest Hispanic-serving institutions in the United States, the university enrolled its first class in 2015. Of UTRGV's faculty, 55% do not identify as white.

Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship

UTRGV's fully online MBA degree, offered through the school's Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship, develops project management and leadership skills. Required courses include accounting and financial analysis, information systems for managers, social media in business, and business research.

Students develop key skills in accounting, finance, and statistical methods. Each accelerated class in the 12-month program lasts seven weeks.

The 36-credit program lets learners customize their degree with one of nine specializations. MBA faculty members hold substantial industry experience. Students benefit from diverse curricula and new teaching strategies and technologies. Online MBA candidates can apply for UTRGV scholarships.

UTRGV's MBA Specializations

Accounting | Business Analytics | Entrepreneurship | Financial Planning | Healthcare Administration | Human Resource Management | International Trade | Marketing

Applying to UTRGV

Admission requirements include a completed online application, transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program requires GRE or GMAT scores (waiver available).

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC; AACSB
  • Tuition: $472/credit
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or hybrid
2

Texas A&M International University

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) in Laredo, Texas, offers globally-focused undergraduate and graduate degrees. A multicultural and multilingual hub for the Texas-Mexico border community, the school enrolls over 8,000 students. Fifty-four percent of TAMIU faculty members do not identify as white.

A.R. Sanchez Jr. School of Business

TAMIU's A.R. Sanchez Jr. School of Business offers an AACSB-accredited, in-person or online MBA. The program takes 15 months to complete. Students develop financial and strategic planning skills. They learn to create successful marketing plans.

The program prepares graduates to pursue business careers at government agencies, financial institutions, corporations, and insurance companies.

The 30-credit curriculum requires core classes in business research methods, managerial economics, financial management, and strategic management. The program offers seven specializations for online learners. Students without a bachelor's degree in business may need to complete business foundation courses before starting the MBA curriculum.

TAMIU's MBA Specializations

Criminal Justice | Healthcare Administration | International Business (English) | International Business (Spanish) | International Banking and Finance | International Trade and Logistics | Management

Applying to TAMIU

Admission requirements include a 3.0 GPA or above, a resume with at least three references, and two letters of recommendation. Applicants must submit a personal statement and official GRE or GMAT scores.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC; AACSB
  • Tuition: $10,991/program (in state); $30,900/program (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 30
  • Program Length: 15 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus
3

Florida International University

A public research institution in Miami, Florida International University (FIU) offers online and on-campus bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The school serves nearly 54,000 students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States. Forty-two percent of FIU's faculty do not identify as white.

Chapman Graduate School of Business

FIU's professional online MBA offers performance-based scholarships of up to $15,000. The Chapman Graduate School of Business program helps prepare graduates for competitive, diverse business settings. Students gain communication, leadership, team-building, and time management skills.

Degree-seekers choose from three pacing tracks and can complete the program in 18, 21, or 33 months. Online learners can access professional development seminars, business career management, industry nights, and support staff.

Students choose from ten specializations. Core classes include accounting for managers, business analysis for decision-making, and organizational behavior. Learners complete three professional development seminars.

FIU's MBA Specializations

Business Data Analytics | Business Law | Entrepreneurship and Innovation | Finance | International Business | Leadership | Marketing Channel Strategy | Real Estate | Sports Management | Strategic Negotiations

Applying to FIU

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Successful applicants usually hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program requires a professional resume and statement of purpose. GRE or GMAT scores are optional.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC; AACSB
  • Tuition: $1,000/credit
  • Required Credits: 42
  • Program Length: 18, 21, or 33 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online

Factor 3: Sexual Orientation

For sexual orientation, our rankings are focused on resources and support services for LGBQT+ students. Declaring your sexual orientation is not an admission criterion.

For our ranking, we took our top programs and measured them on the basis of resources and organizations for LGBTQ+ students. The top three schools on this ranking were found to have the most resources.

When researching diverse online MBA programs, one of the factors to look into is the presence of support organizations and resources on campus for LGBTQ+ students, which can be an indicator of the inclusion offered by the institution to LGBTQ+ people.

The Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Online MBA Programs

1

Tufts University

Established in 1852 in Medford, Massachusetts, Tufts emphasizes its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The school's LGBT Center promotes visibility on campus and supports LGBTQ+ students, alumni, and staff.

The Fletcher School

Tufts's Fletcher School offers an online master of global business administration. Learners can choose between a 16-month full-time option and a 24-month part-time track. The program focuses on the intersection of business and international relations.

Designed for professionals, the global business administration degree combines management and business coursework with international affairs classes. The multidisciplinary curriculum covers economics, international business, law, and policy. Students complete two hands-on, in-person immersions, one on campus and one abroad.

Applicants do not need to submit GMAT/GRE scores. The program offers three start dates each year. MBA faculty members include Fortune 500 advisors and chief economists.

Tufts's MBA Specializations

N/A

Applying to Tufts

The program requires a bachelor's degree. Tufts strongly recommends prerequisite courses in macroeconomics and microeconomics. Applicants with professional and international experience may receive preference.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: NECHE
  • Tuition: $2,242/credit
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Program Length: 16-24 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online with two in-person immersions
2

University of Houston

UH serves more than 47,000 students and offers 255 undergraduate majors and minors and 111 master's degrees. The university's LGBTQ Resource Center creates community, fosters safe spaces on campus, and provides student support services.

C.T. Bauer College of Business

UH's C.T. Bauer College of Business offers a fully online, AACSB-accredited MBA. The program features 10 specialization options. Learners can focus on areas like accountancy, finance, sales leadership, and supply chain management.

The 48-credit degree takes an average of 24 months to complete and combines synchronous and asynchronous education. Course topics include financial accounting, quantitative analysis for business decisions, and business communication.

MBA candidates enjoy several experiential learning opportunities. Students can invest with the Cougar Investment Fund and work with the Cougar Venture Fund. They can also take part in the Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship program.

UH's MBA Specializations

Accountancy | Business Analytics | Entrepreneurship | Finance | Global Energy Leadership | Management Information Systems | Management & Leadership | Marketing | Sales Leadership | Supply Chain Management

Applying to UH

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students must submit GRE/GMAT scores (waivers available). Applicants with post-bachelor's professional work experience receive preference.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC; AACSB
  • Tuition: $866/credit
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Program Length: 24 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous and asynchronous) or on campus
3

University of Utah

Founded in 1850 in Salt Lake City, the U boasts the lowest tuition among its PAC12 and BIG10 public peers. The university's LGBT Resource Center supports LGBTQ+ students and hosts cultural and educational events.

David Eccles School of Business

The AACSB-accredited online MBA program from the U's David Eccles School of Business offers three start dates each year. Designed for working professionals, the asynchronous online curriculum is accessible 24/7. Students complete one three-day residency on campus in the August of their first year in the program.

The 48-credit degree takes two years to complete. Required classes include managing and leading, business ethics, competitive strategy, and data analysis. The David Eccles School of Business reports a 96% job placement rate and a 42,000-person worldwide alumni network. The MBA program includes one-on-one career coaching and on-campus professional support.

The U's MBA Specializations

Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics | Graduate Certificate in Information Systems | Graduate Certificate in Operations and Supply Chain Management

Applying to The U

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university. Applicants must submit transcripts, an essay, a resume, and one letter of recommendation. The program requires GMAT/GRE scores and an interview with the MBA online administrator.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: NWCCU; AACSB
  • Tuition: $1,225/credit
  • Required Credits: 48
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) with one on-campus residency

Common Questions About Diverse Online MBA Programs

Do employers care where you get your MBA?

There may be benefits in earning MBAs from some schools as opposed to others. For example, some employers may be partial towards degrees from prestigious business schools. However, the most important consideration when choosing an MBA program is accreditation, which ensures the quality of education.

How does diversity help in MBA programs?

Diverse MBA programs welcome and support students and faculty with varied backgrounds and different perspectives. Diversity helps promote innovation and creativity, boosts team performance, and fosters an atmosphere for learning that applies to the real world.

What are the impacts of diversity on business?

The benefits of greater diversity in business are increased innovation, collaboration, profitability, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Moreover, it is right and legal that individuals from all gender-identifications, races, and sexual orientations can work in any field they choose.

Why is diversity important in business schools?

Diversity in business schools leads to future leaders who are more inclusive and welcoming towards different perspectives. It helps foster a society that is equitable and fair towards all groups.

Reviewed by:

Portrait of Laila Abdalla, Ph.D.

Laila Abdalla, Ph.D.

Laila Abdalla obtained her Ph.D. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She taught undergraduate and graduate courses in English and successful writing at Central Washington University for over 21 years.

Currently, Abdalla serves as a Washington state career coach and advocate for individuals on temporary state assistance. Abdalla has devoted her career, teaching, and leadership to matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Above all, she is committed to her clients' and students' complete experience, raising awareness of BIPOC issues in employment, language, community, and culture.

Abdalla leads with equity in management and nonprofit volunteering, and continues to develop her own understandings of these complex issues — both professionally and in her lived experiences.

Laila Abdalla is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.


Featured Image: 10'000 Hours / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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