The U.S. Department of Labor projects job-market growth in Arkansas management positions from 2016-2026, and an Arkansas online MBA can help graduates land well-paying manager positions in diverse specializations such as marketing, human resources, and administrative services.
Many of Arkansas’ 55 degree-granting higher education institutions feature MBA distance education options, allowing working students to qualify for career and salary advancement in their after-work hours. The information below introduces several online MBA programs in Arkansas and explains how these programs can qualify graduates for careers in the state’s thriving industries.
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Careers and Salaries for MBA Graduates in Arkansas
Arkansas’ rural areas have seen a sharp population decline in recent years, but the state’s northwest region is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas. The region, which includes Springdale and Fayetteville, grows by more than 1,000 people per month, thanks to low unemployment rates and continued economic growth. As a result, many companies have opened branches in the area.
The fastest-growing positions in Arkansas include those for marketing specialists and medical services managers. Students earn online MBAs in Arkansas to fill these roles. MBA graduates also qualify to fill some of the highest-paid, fastest-growing positions in the state, including those for accountants, administrative service managers, business operations specialists, and financial managers.
Experts expect the economy in Arkansas, and particularly in the northwest region, to continue growing as long as the national economy remains stable. The area boasts a low 2.8% unemployment rate, and employees across the state earn a mean annual salary of $41,540 (or $90,640 for those in management positions), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Arkansas is home to one of the world’s biggest companies, Walmart, whose divisions claim several spots on the state’s list of top employers.
ARKANSAS’ TOP 3 LARGEST EMPLOYERS
Number of Employees
Office of Research Administration
University of Arkansas – Division of Finance and Administration
An online MBA in Arkansas with a concentration in medical services management qualifies candidates to work at the University of Arkansas Medical Science’s Office of Research Administration. As such a large company, Walmart hires many MBA-educated managers to run divisions within the organization. Other large employers in Arkansas include the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Micheal Carraway, Tyson Foods, Verizon Wireless Call Center, and Cooper Tire and Rubber Company.
Careers for MBA Grads in Arkansas
Marketing managers supervise marketing staff, interface with clients, and team up with advertisers and financial staff to generate plans for attractive marketing campaigns. Aspiring marketing managers can pursue an Arkansas MBA in marketing or a general MBA with coursework in marketing, strategy, leadership, and other relevant topics. Marketing managers work in many key Arkansas industries, such as technology, transportation equipment, aerospace, and food.
BLS data suggests that marketing managers make a mean annual salary of $155,020 in Arkansas.
Serving as intermediaries between employees and executive management, HR managers direct the staff who conduct employee recruitment, hiring, and training. In addition to supervising staff and addressing workplace issues, these managers may contribute to strategic planning. An MBA in HR management or general MBA coursework in management and communications typically proves useful to aspiring HR managers.
Tasked with managing companies’ computer and information systems goals and plans, these managers assess needs, advise upgrades, safeguard information security, and supervise IT staff. Sometimes titled as chief information officers (CIOs), chief technology officers (CTOs), IT directors, or IT security managers, these professionals benefit from MBA concentrations or coursework in technology, information systems, information technology, and information security.
Usually employed by large transportation, storage, or manufacturing organizations, these managers supervise other staff, solve transportation and supply problems, and find ways to reduce costs. These managers require considerable industry experience and a bachelor’s degree, though an Arkansas online MBA in supply chain management, operations management, or environmental management may also prove relevant.
Transportation managers often work for Arkansas’ major distributions or logistics companies, or in other booming state industries such as paper and timber, metals, and food and beverage. According to the BLS, transportation, storage, and distribution managers made a mean annual salary of $110,300 in Arkansas last year.
Also known as office managers, administrative services managers supervise staff and oversee organizational support services such as mail distribution, office operations, recordkeeping, inventory, and equipment maintenance. Administrative services managers also help their organizations comply with various health, security, and legal regulations. These managers usually need a bachelor’s degree and some leadership experience.
General MBA coursework in leadership, management, and communications provides a solid foundation for this career. Most large companies need multiple administrative services managers, so these professionals work for many of Arkansas’ leading employers. According to the BLS, administrative services managers make a mean annual salary of $93,180 in Arkansas, and the U.S. Department of Labor projects a 14% increase in administrative services manager positions from 2016-2026.
Many schools feature several online MBA concentration options, providing specialized knowledge and skills. Specialized MBAs prepare graduates for specific roles and/or industries, potentially reducing commensurate industry experience requirements for certain positions.
Students planning to work in Arkansas may strategically opt for MBA concentrations compatible with Arkansas’ key industries and fastest-growing careers. For example, Arkansas online MBA programs concentrated on IT, healthcare administration, operations management, or supply chain management may prepare students for work in the state’s technology, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation sectors.
Arkansas’ Online MBA Programs
The following list of schools provides a sampling of online MBA programs in Arkansas, helping prospective students to choose the program that best aligns with their career goals, fits into their schedule, and meets high academic standards. The best Arkansas MBA programs usually hold programmatic or business school accreditation from the industry’s three major business education experts.
Prospective students can find the best Arkansas online MBA programs at schools holding regional accreditation from agencies approved by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation. Arkansas MBAs from regionally accredited schools typically garner the most respect from future employers and schools.
Arkansas State University offers a convenient and highly respected online master of business administration program designed to meet the needs of busy professionals who want to upgrade their educational credentials without giving up their current jobs. Students have the option of earning a concentration in finance or supply chain management in addition to completing the required 27 credits of core coursework. Core courses cover essential topics that help students build professional management, leadership, and decision-making skills. Candidates also take six credits of specialized classes, and in exceptional cases, the program's structure allows students to design their own individual study programs and substitute them in place of preconfigured electives.
The Arkansas State University online MBA program is one of only a few in the state with Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation. Less than 5% of the world's business schools hold this coveted, internationally recognized endorsement.
Students looking for an informatics-oriented approach to commerce education should consider the online master of business administration program at Arkansas Tech University. Consisting of 10 core courses delivered in three-hour, digitally accessed formats, this online Arkansas MBA program emphasizes managerial decision-making skills informed by the systematic and logical analysis of empirical data. Arkansas Tech displays a high level of investment in student success, as every candidate in the online program benefits from the hands-on assistance and guidance of an academic adviser.
Incoming students must exhibit existing proficiencies in topics like accounting, economics, business finance, and statistics to qualify for enrollment. Arkansas Tech accepts coursework completed at accredited institutions, certified professional experience, or a combination of the two. The school is also a recognized regional leader in educational affordability, delivering excellent rates of return on student investment.
Arkansas-based Harding University features a recently updated, fully online MBA program that integrates relevant business education with Christian principles. Students in this flexible program can complete their degrees in as little as 15 months while also enjoying the ability to extend the program duration up to seven years. Committed Christians lead all courses, giving students the opportunity to build and strengthen their faith while advancing their academic and professional interests.
Recognized as one of the best online MBAs in Arkansas, the Harding University program allows students to join cohorts, or learn on individualized timelines. This convenience extends to course launch times, which fall in January, May, and August. Harding University grants students access to master planning tools that deliver detailed scheduling overviews of all degree requirements, allowing learners to optimize their schedules around outside commitments. All students receive one-on-one access to dedicated academic advisers.
John Brown University features one of the most innovative online MBA programs in Arkansas. In addition to taking an internationally centered approach to business education, JBU's MBA program also encourages students to use their newfound management and leadership skills for the common good of society. With corporate citizenship becoming an increasingly important aspect of commerce in the age of social media, JBU graduates emerge ready to make a positive impact in the business world.
Experienced faculty members with high-level management experience at major companies, like Procter & Gamble, Saatchi, and Walmart, teach JBU's online MBA courses. Coursework emphasizes the importance of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to knowledge application. Students can earn a concentration in one of three areas: international business; market research and consumer insight; and design thinking and innovation. These specializations complement the development of core competencies in essential areas including accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, and strategic positioning.
The Southern Arkansas University online master of business administration is one of only a few online MBAs in Arkansas accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The program now offers an emphasis in social entrepreneurship, which prepares graduates to lead business ventures designed to make positive social impacts. This concentration joins existing agricultural commerce, supply chain management, and generalist MBA concentrations.
Incoming students do not need an existing bachelor's degree in business administration. Those with undergraduate credentials in other fields can complete a 24-credit program on foundational prerequisites.Through the MBA program, the SAU faculty emphasizes the ethical, environmental, and social impacts of business and commerce. Professors deliver course material with a global focus and help graduates become responsible members of the international business community. Applicants local to SAU's Magnolia, Arkansas campus also have the option to pursue in-class delivery options or a hybrid of traditional and online learning.
Through its renowned Walton College of Business, the University of Arkansas provides an elite executive master of business administration program that focuses on five core study areas: supply chain management, finance, business analytics, retail, and entrepreneurship. Given the Walton College of Business's close alignment with major retailers, including Walmart, the University of Arkansas online MBA program places particular emphasis on practical aspects of the consumer goods industry. Students benefit from outstanding networking and career development opportunities. Each course in the program incorporates representatives of more than 30 well-known companies.
The program's learning model uses case studies and student projects with clear, direct, real-world application. While learners complete the majority of their coursework online, required face-to-face meetings take place one Saturday per month on UARK's Fayetteville campus. Most candidates complete their degree requirements in about 24 months. This executive online MBA also offers affordability, compared to programs at similar schools.