Best Online Strategic Management MBAs

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Top Online MBA Programs in Strategic Management Badge

Through an online MBA in strategic management, students build leadership skills in negotiation, financial decision-making, and human resources. Aspiring business professionals who hope to advance to high-level executive positions or guide corporations as management consultants can pursue online strategic management MBAs.

According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), management analyst employment will increase by 11% from 2019-2029, outpacing the national average for all occupations. Graduates can qualify for jobs with lucrative salaries, executive titles, and organization-wide influence.

On this page, readers can explore the top 10 online MBA programs in strategic management, offering a strong starting point for prospective students to guide their research. This guide also includes typical education requirements, common tuition costs, and available career paths.


Top 10 Online MBA Programs in Strategy

Rank School Location
1 Villanova University Villanova, PA
2 Rice University Houston, TX
3 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
4 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
5 Bethel University Saint Paul, MN
6 University of Delaware Newark, DE
7 University of Dallas Irving, TX
8 Rutgers University-Camden Camden, NJ
9 Florida International University Miami, FL
10 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA
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Online MBA Programs for You

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Why Get a Strategic Management MBA?

Graduates with MBAs in strategic management qualify for leadership roles across industries. By focusing on strategy, business professionals can boost their advancement opportunities to roles in executive leadership and consulting. Effective leadership helps companies maintain financial health, make changes when markets shift, and ensure positive work environments for employees.

The top employers for general and operations managers include retail, wholesale trade, and construction. Chief executives enjoy similarly diverse work environments, such as professional, scientific, and technical services, manufacturing, and healthcare. Other potential benefits of pursuing an online MBA in strategy include:

A Diverse Knowledge Base
A typical MBA prepares students for success by providing a core business curriculum in finance, accounting, and organizational structures. Enrollees delve deep into focus areas, like strategic management, to cement their niche expertise.
Earning Potential
According to BLS data, management jobs make up the highest earning occupational category at a median annual wage of $105,660 as of 2019. With a strategic management MBA, graduates can pursue lucrative positions as chief executives.
Flexibility
With an MBA in strategic management, graduates can forge new paths by running their own businesses. Whether self-employed or working for a large firm, they may also pursue careers in management consulting.

What Is an Online MBA in Strategy?

Top Online MBA in Strategic Management Program Rankings

  1. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located just outside of Philadelphia, Villanova University is the oldest Catholic college in Pennsylvania and enrolls around 11,000 students annually. The Villanova School of Business hosts several of the country's top business programs.

    Villanova School of Business | MBA with a Strategic Management Specialization

    Villanova's MBA in strategy trains students to work across disciplines, emphasizing innovation strategies and practical experience. The 48-credit degree features five main sections: MBA fundamentals, the functional core, business pillars, electives, and capstone experiences. Students can complete a specialization in strategic management, which requires at least 7.5 credits in specialized management electives. Candidates can also complete additional specializations such as finance and analytics.

    Villanova's Online Experience

    Villanova's MBA uses a primarily online format, but students must complete a required residency as part of the capstone section. During the global practicum, learners synthesize overall program learning to explore solutions to global business issues or conduct research into a business problem. Students can complete the practicum either domestically or abroad.

  2. Rice University
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Rice University is a private research university located on a 300-acre campus in Houston, Texas. The Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice places an emphasis on attentive, responsive, and kind teaching practices.

    Jones Graduate School of Business | MBA Corporate Strategy

    The online MBA in corporate strategy at Rice explores both traditional and cutting-edge principles of business. The curriculum includes courses in competitive strategy, organizational behavior, and strategic business communication. During the three-credit capstone project, students analyze real-world business challenges and hone their leadership skills. Candidates typically earn this 54-credit degree in two years.

    Rice's Online Experience

    Rice's online MBA offers courses in accelerated five- and 10-week terms and allows students to take classes on a part-time or full-time basis. Online learners can access a WeWork global membership, a LinkedIn Premium Career membership, and alumni and career support.

  3. Carnegie Mellon University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University is a private research institution located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon offers future-focused programs committed to change and innovation.

    Tepper School of Business | MBA Strategy Concentration

    Carnegie Mellon's MBA in strategy instills the fundamentals necessary for corporate and entrepreneurial ventures to sustain a competitive advantage. Students learn how to use analytical tools and integrate multiple functions of a business. Within the strategy concentration, online learners focus on topics such as corporate strategy, operations strategy, strategic corporate management, and technology strategy. Students can complete the program in 32 months.

    CMU Online Experience

    CMU offers the online MBA strategy program in two formats: part-time hybrid or part-time flex. The hybrid option includes synchronous online courses in the evening and six in-person weekends throughout the year at various locations. The flex option is a mix of online and on-campus courses, plus six weekends each year on campus in Pittsburgh.

  4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of North Carolina is a top-tier public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC offers students a values-driven culture with a commitment to real-world learning experiences.

    UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School | MBA Strategy and Consulting

    UNC's 62-credit MBA in strategy and consulting gives students the opportunity to develop specialized skills in team collaboration, problem-solving, action-oriented communication, and fact-based analysis. Notable classes include business strategy, business communication, corporate strategy, global supply chain management, and innovation management. Through the MBA STAR program, students can accrue real-world consulting experience. Candidates can earn their degree in an accelerated 21-month timeline, a standard 24-month track, or an extended 27-month format.

    UNC's Online Experience

    UNC's MBA courses are offered entirely online, but distance learners may opt to complement their online coursework with in-person classes. MBA candidates participate in two in-person summits at various locations throughout the world. Online learners have access to personalized career and leadership services.

  5. Bethel University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded as a seminary in 1871, Bethel University is a private Christian university located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Courses at Bethel are taught from a Christian perspective and focus on real-world skills.

    Bethel University | MBA: Strategy and Execution

    Bethel's MBA in strategy and execution explores advanced business strategies with a focus on the process of bringing new products and services to market. Notable classes include strategy execution, innovation and entrepreneurship, and advanced competitive advantage. The program consists of 42 credits, including an integrative team capstone project, and students can complete the degree in 18-24 months.

    Bethel's Online Experience

    Bethel offers its MBA coursework fully online. However, students can also choose to participate in a blended format, which consists of both online courses and face-to-face sessions in St. Paul. Online learners have access to academic and support services and a student advisory council.

  6. University of Delaware
    Location

    Newark, DE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The largest college in Delaware, the University of Delaware enrolls more than 24,000 students annually. The school ranks among the top public colleges in the Northeast.

    Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics | MBA with an Emphasis in Strategic Leadership

    UD's MBA in strategy offers a strong foundation in business concepts and practices along with a specialized focus on strategic leadership. Students gain the skills to manage change in organizations, set strategic direction, build and support teams, and navigate the interpersonal dynamics of leadership and management. The 44-credit program uses intensive seven-week courses, enabling candidates to complete their degree in as few as 16 months of full-time study.

    UD's Online Experience

    UD's strategy MBA offers a convenient, fully online format. Students can also enroll in a hybrid format that mixes online and on-campus courses. UD provides extensive resources for online learners, including career counseling, networking opportunities, and tutoring.

  7. University of Dallas
    Location

    Irving, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private Christian college located in Irving, the University of Dallas ranks among the top Christian schools in the western United States. The college enrolls around 2,500 students annually.

    Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business | MBA with a Concentration in Strategic Leadership

    UD's MBA in strategy requires candidates to complete a total of 42 credits, including a core MBA curriculum and a strategic leadership concentration sequence. The program explores the psychology of successful leadership, preparing students to lead in a global business environment. Concentration courses cover topics in the craft of leadership, critical and strategic thinking, and the ethical and spiritual dimensions of leadership. Candidates typically complete the degree in about 2-3 years.

    UD Online Experience

    UD offers both fully online and hybrid course options, with classes held year-round. Online students can access recorded lectures and other online course content at any time of day, and UD also offers full text transcripts of archived class sessions. The school provides 24/7 tech support for all online learners.

  8. Rutgers University-Camden
    Location

    Camden, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Rutgers University-Camden is the smallest of Rutgers' regional campuses, enrolling around 7,000 students annually.

    Rutgers School of Business | MBA with a Specialization in Strategic Leadership

    Rutgers-Camden's MBA in strategy emphasizes the role of leadership in both personal and organizational success. Students gain the skills to lead team members while also encouraging productivity, creativity, and efficiency.

    The program stresses the systematic implementation of leadership strategies, preparing students to lead and develop organizational change efficiently. Common courses include leading and managing human capital, negotiating and resolving conflicts, leading change and organizational development, and leading innovation and creativity.

    Rutgers-Camden's Online Experience

    Rutgers-Camden offers its MBA coursework 100% online. However, MBA candidates can also complete an in-person international business practicum in which they work with business executives to solve real-life problems. Past practicum experiences have occurred in countries such as Brazil, South Korea, Panama, and Taiwan.

  9. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A major public college based in Miami, Florida International University's business school holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), an elite designation bestowed on just 5% of business schools worldwide.

    Florida International University College of Business | Professional MBA with a Specialization in Strategic Negotiations

    FIU's MBA in strategy offers five annual start dates and three pacing tracks, giving working students a high level of flexibility. The strategic management specialization gives students the skills to plan and oversee sales operations, emphasizing topics in both sales management and negotiations. Students build advanced skills through case studies, guest lectures, games, and realistic negotiation simulations. Candidates can complete the degree in 18, 21, or 33 months.

    FIU's Online Experience

    While all courses occur fully online, FIU strongly encourages MBA candidates to attend the program's two-day campus residency in Miami. This intensive in-person session features team-building workshops, guest speakers, case-method analysis, and networking events. Students also meet with faculty members and peers, building strong connections that can support them both during and after the program.

  10. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
    Location

    University Park, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A major provider of online education, Pennsylvania State University hosts some of the country's top business programs, offered through the AACSB-accredited Smeal College of Business.

    Smeal College of Business | MBA with a Concentration in Strategic Leadership

    The MBA in strategic management focuses on business strategies, strategic leadership, and collaborative teamwork, with many team-based projects completed online. Candidates also develop broad skills in problem-solving, business analytics, and critical thinking. The degree includes 48 credits total, divided between a 39-credit core and a nine-credit concentration. The concentration builds specialized knowledge through courses in strategic leadership, strategic identity, and strategy and organizational change.

    Penn State's Online Experience

    While all courses are available fully online, MBA candidates must attend a five-day residency session held on the Penn State campus in University Park at the start of the program. The residency offers opportunities for networking and socializing along with specialized workshops and a team performance class.

What to Expect From an Online MBA in Strategy

A strategic management MBA typically focuses on overarching methods for promoting organizational growth. The degree presents strategy within the context of U.S. and global economies, addressing policy development, negotiation, and change management.

Degree-seekers typically complete 35-60 credits, depending on their academic history. Some programs offer a more intensive business core, while others dive deeper into the specialization. Students generally complete online strategy MBAs in 16-36 months. Certain schools expect learners to proceed through the curriculum as a cohort, while others offer part-time and other flexible options.

Prospective distance learners can also expect to encounter different program structures. Many online MBA programs require in-person experiences, such as on-campus residencies or international experiences. Some schools make these events optional or online.

The MBA Admission Process

A prospective student applying to an MBA in strategic management should hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Some programs require prior coursework in business, while others accept all majors. Where specified, minimum GPA requirements fall in the 2.8-3.0 range. Depending on the program, students may also need two or more years of professional work experience, though many schools accept learners from all career stages.

Most schools require students to submit GMAT or GRE scores when applying for MBAs in strategy. Programs may recommend or require minimum scores in the neighborhood of 520-570 GMAT, or 153 verbal/154 quantitative on the GRE.

Degree-seekers should plan to prepare materials to accompany their online applications. Most schools require a resume, 2-3 letters of recommendation, and an essay outlining the candidate’s career plans. Programs may also request professional portfolios or an interview. Application fees for online strategy MBAs typically cost $75-$100.

Online MBA Admissions

Strategic Management Degree Options

Strategic management degree-seekers can pursue several options. Often aimed at those with five or more years of work experience, the MS in strategy generally requires about 30 credits. As with the MBA, students can find MS programs with flexible programs that run for 15-36 months.

However, an MS in strategy curriculum typically focuses on topics like business sustainability and negotiation. Students looking for a wider breadth of business knowledge might choose to pursue MBAs to underpin their strategy studies with skills in accounting, finance, and human resources.

Students may find the strategy concentration listed under different titles. Some schools use “strategy” and “strategic management” interchangeably, while others carry slightly different focuses. For example:

Strategic Leadership or Strategic Management


These specializations emphasize executive roles, focusing on best practices in management, global business, and leadership theory.

Strategy and Consulting


Still focused on corporate strategy, this option emphasizes analysis and problem-solving, preparing students to understand management structures.

Comparing an MBA to a Master's

Comparing Strategic Management and General MBAs

Prospective students may waver between choosing general MBA programs and MBAs in strategic management. Though the two options share many characteristics, including potential career paths, each MBA candidate should know the differences to make an informed decision.

Aspiring or experienced business professionals with a clear career direction in mind benefit from pursuing specializations. Individuals who aim to advance to high-ranking leadership positions or pursue consulting roles can develop their expertise through MBAs in strategic management.

For learners who may not know their ideal job yet, the general MBA can help provide a solid business background without limiting future career options.

MBA in Strategic Management General MBA
Credit Requirements 35-60 credits 55-60 credits
Timeline 15-36 months Two years
Courses Financial reporting, marketing management, managerial accounting, negotiation and conflict resolution, managing the global enterprise, strategy implementation Financial reporting, marketing management, managerial accounting, designing and executing strategies, business ethics, electives
Focus Strong business core with leadership-centric track or group of electives Strong business core that may include more foundational courses or allow for flexible elective choices
Admission Requirements Bachelor’s degree, resume, essay, interview, GMAT or GRE scores Bachelor’s degree, resume, essay, interview; scores from GMAT, GRE, LSAT, or executive assessment (EA)
Guide to the General MBA

Popular Strategic Management Courses

While curriculum varies depending on the school, prospective students can expect to encounter similarities among management MBA programs. The typical MBA requires a set of core business foundations, followed by electives or track-specific courses. Many MBA programs culminate with practical capstone projects, where learners demonstrate their skills by solving real-life business problems.

Common strategy MBA program courses include:

  • Financial Reporting and Analysis

    This staple MBA core class prepares managers to understand accounting presentations and make decisions based on their findings. The course provides a vocabulary for investments and other tools for discussing financial issues.

  • Business Economics

    Coursework covers microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, supply and demand, cost analysis, and competition, preparing students to analyze situations in which an economic shift can affect managerial decision-making.

  • Negotiation and Conflict Raesolution

    This strategy-specific course prepares organizational leaders to negotiate contracts and navigate disputes through a lens of psychological and emotional understanding. The course may involve practical applications through role play. Topics include negotiation strategy, communication, and methods for mediating conflicts that may arise during the course of business.

  • Management and Organizational Caonsulting

    This course may appear as a part of a leadership or a consulting-specific strategy concentration to bridge the gap between organizational theory and practical application. Students delve into various organizational structures, management techniques, and methods for guiding large-scale organizational change. Subjects also cover client relationships and specific case studies.

  • Field Project

    Many MBA programs require students to complete final capstone projects involving hands-on work with business partners. For a strategic management MBA, the capstone often involves analyzing a real-world business problem and presenting a strategy to help solve it. Students may work individually or in teams.


How Much Will an MBA in Strategic Management Cost?

Prospective students seeking online MBAs in strategy encounter a spectrum of tuition rates. Generally speaking, tuition ranges from about $35,000-$67,000, with some programs topping $100,000 or more. The total cost differs based on the number of credits in a program, the timeline, and other included fees relating to immersion events.

Online students can often take advantage of a wealth of cost-saving measures. Many schools offer flat-rate tuition for distance programs, where everyone pays the same rate, regardless of location. Other schools may still differentiate between in-state and out-of-state students, so degree-seekers should make sure to read the details carefully.

To help fund an MBA, prospective students can seek out scholarships from professional organizations and local associations. Degree-seekers can also qualify for government grants and low-interest loans. Follow the links below to find more information about financial aid.

Jobs for MBAs in Strategic Management

With an MBA in strategic management, business professionals can qualify for advanced positions with strong salaries. Because a strategy MBA emphasizes big-picture thinking, graduates can advance to management jobs within many different industries. As of 2019, top executives earned a median annual salary of $104,690, while architectural and engineering managers took home a $144,830 median salary.

Top employers include retail and wholesale trade, construction, manufacturing, and healthcare. According to BLS data, management analysts often work in professional, technical, and scientific services, government, and finance.

Other potential career paths for strategic management MBA holders include:

  • Management Analyst

    Also known as management consultants, management analysts usually work with client organizations to help streamline their processes and increase profit margins. Whether self-employed or working with a larger firm, a management analyst assesses a company’s financial situation, structure, and tools to strategize and recommend improvements.

    Required Education: MBA often preferred
    Job Outlook (2019-29): +11%
    Median Annual Salary: $85,260

  • Chief Executive

    Chief executives oversee organizational operations at the highest level, making business strategy a key component of their job. They develop and modify company policies, set goals, and supervise other managers as they implement strategies to meet those goals. They analyze financial records and often answer to a board of directors.

    Required Education: MBA often preferred
    Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    Median Annual Salary: $184,460

  • General or Operations Manager

    General and operations managers can take on many roles within their organizations, depending on their expertise. This top executive position typically includes policy development and staff supervision. General and operations managers run departmental or plant-specific budgets and allocate resources, making business strategy an important skill.

    Required Education: MBA often preferred
    Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    Median Annual Salary: $100,780

  • Sales Manager

    Tasked with overseeing a company’s sales operations, sales managers use their knowledge of business strategy to optimize their organization’s selling techniques. They research their customer base and determine the best ways to actively extend their reach through promotions or partnering with other firms. They also handle budgets, manage staff, and plan training sessions.

    Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    Median Annual Salary: $126,640

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What can I do with an MBA in strategy?

    An MBA in strategy focuses on high-level decisions and policy design. Graduates work as management consultants, chief executive officers, sales managers, and operations managers.

  • Is it cheaper to earn an MBA with a strategy concentration online?

    Online programs often feature lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. Schools commonly offer in-state rates to out-of-state students or charge a flat rate. Degree-seekers should check for in-person requirements and any associated travel fees.

  • Is an MBA in strategic management worth it?

    According to BLS data, professionals across management occupations earned a median annual wage of $105,660 in 2019. With an MBA in strategic management, graduates can qualify for even more lucrative positions, making the degree a solid option for those seeking advancement.

  • What kinds of strategic management degrees are there?

    An MBA in strategic management provides a business foundation and may emphasize organizational leadership or consulting, though most programs cover both areas. A degree-seeker with professional experience might also consider an MS in strategic management.


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