Best Online Business Schools in North Carolina (MBA)

Updated November 11, 2022

Busy individuals looking to get an MBA can earn their degree online. Explore online MBA programs in North Carolina, along with career and salary information for MBA graduates.

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Hazy Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina Credit: Itai Minovitz / 500px Prime / Getty Images

MBA graduates in North Carolina qualify for many job prospects in a strong state economy: According to U.S. News & World Report, North Carolina's economy ranks fourth in the nation for fiscal stability. This state's positive economic outlook translates to plentiful career opportunities for business professionals.

An MBA provides students with a foundation in finance, leadership, and economics, applicable across many industries. Graduates find employment as business managers and executives in diverse fields like information technology (IT), accounting, and marketing. These jobs are in demand, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting business and finance jobs to grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030.

By comparing the best online MBA programs in North Carolina, degree-seekers can make informed decisions about which schools they should consider. On this page, readers can also learn more about MBA programs in North Carolina, including curriculum expectations and potential careers.

Why Get an Online MBA in North Carolina?

With an MBA, graduates enter the workforce with a background that qualifies them for a variety of job prospects. Participants in North Carolina online MBA programs gain valuable business knowledge and hands-on experience. Other benefits of completing an online MBA in North Carolina include:

  • Salary Potential: MBA-holders can benefit from lucrative salaries and advancement opportunities. The BLS reported a median salary of $109,760 across management positions as of 2020. These occupations include marketing managers, financial managers, and IT managers.
  • Expertise: By pairing business foundations with niche knowledge in areas like technology, healthcare, and finance, graduates enter the job market with the expertise required to land management positions.
  • Flexibility: MBA graduates can apply their skills to careers in management, entrepreneurship, and consulting. These opportunities abound across industries, with many positions in restaurants, wholesale merchandising, and technology.

North Carolina is home to 31 Fortune 500 companies, including banks, healthcare companies, and retail giants, all of which offer exciting job possibilities for MBA graduates. U.S. News & World Report also names Charlotte the country's second-largest banking hub.

By pursuing an online MBA in North Carolina, students study with professional faculty and gain access to alumni networks. Learners can also connect with employers from prominent corporations through hands-on capstone projects and internships. With such strong networking opportunities, online MBA programs in North Carolina help students secure excellent jobs after graduation.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

Best Online MBA Programs in North Carolina

We rank programs based on criteria such as academics, reputation, and affordability. Review this ranking of North Carolina's top online MBA programs for 2022.

#1 Best Online Business Schools in North Carolina (MBA)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one the nation's oldest public colleges. UNC enrolls almost 18,000 graduate and professional students. Graduate students choose from 104 master's degrees, including an online MBA.

Kenan-Flagler Business School

Kenan-Flagler's online MBA@UNC has helped develop business leaders for more than a decade. Students complete the degree with a cohort from around the world. The MBA's core curriculum covers functional areas such as finance, operations, and marketing.

Faculty devote half of the MBA's curriculum to elective credits. Students can choose one of five concentrations, such as entrepreneurship or data analytics and decision-making. Alternatively, enrollees can use electives to pursue training in a specific field or discipline. 

Elective options include derivatives, healthcare challenges, and taxes and business strategy. Students have access to more options when they take some classes on campus. Enrollees engage in experiential learning during intensive, weekend-long summits and visits to international business hubs.

Carolina's MBA Specializations

Entrepreneurship | Finance | Marketing | Strategy and Consulting | Data Analytics and Decision Making

Applying to Carolina

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, school transcripts, and GRE or GMAT scores for applicants with less than five years of professional experience.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Institutional: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; programmatic: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Tuition: $125,589 total 
  • Required Credits: 62
  • Program Length: 18-36 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online and hybrid 
Average Tuition
In-state
$7,019
Out-of-state
$34,198
Retention Rate
96%
Admission Rate
23%
Students Enrolled
29,877
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Business Schools in North Carolina (MBA)

University of North Carolina Wilmington

  • Wilmington, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of North Carolina Wilmington enrolls about 18,000 students. Graduate students choose from 37 master's programs, eight dual master's, and four doctoral programs. 

Cameron School of Business

The online MBA at UNCW provides a highly customizable curriculum designed for working professionals. Students can complete the program's 36 credits entirely online in just 12 months. The MBA emphasizes responsible leadership and critical thinking skills. 

The MBA core helps develop managers proficient in business enterprise. Enrollees learn business law, accounting, marketing, and strategic management. A course teaches the theories and techniques leaders use to effectively manage an organization's operations.

Students can pursue the general MBA or one of 10 specializations, including finance or business analytics. Participants can pursue a specialized MBA in healthcare management.

UNCW's MBA Specializations

Business Analytics | Cybersecurity | Entrepreneurship and Business Development | Finance | Healthcare Management | Human Resources | Information Systems | International Business | Marketing | Supply Chain Management 

Applying to UNCW

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college, a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA, and at least two years' professional work experience. Applicants must also submit GMAT or GRE scores, with waivers available for qualified applicants.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; programmatic: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Tuition: $503/credit (in state); $1,271/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 36
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,443
Out-of-state
$18,508
Retention Rate
86%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
17,499
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Business Schools in North Carolina (MBA)

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

East Carolina University operates a large virtual college. Almost one-third of the school's 28,000 students take courses exclusively online. ECU administers 69 master's degrees with business administration as the top graduate major.

Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business

ECU was first to offer an online MBA in North Carolina in 2005. The school continues that tradition with a fully online and hybrid online MBA. The degree's non-cohort model allows students to earn the MBA at their own pace. 

The MBA offers a customizable curriculum based on students' past academic and work experiences. Students with an undergraduate business or accounting degree can receive a waiver for the program's seven foundation courses.

While ECU does not offer specialized MBAs, students can customize their online MBA by adding one of 14 certificates. Students take three electives and an additional class to earn a certificate in various fields, including hospitality management, sustainable tourism, and security studies.

ECU's MBA Specializations

| Business Analytics | Finance | Hospitality Management | Leadership in Organizations |  Management Information Systems | Marketing | Project Management | Supply Chain Management | Sustainable Tourism | Development and Environmental Planning | Healthcare Management | International Management | Security Studies | Sports Management

Applying to ECU

Admission requires a bachelor's degree in any discipline, a minimum 2.7 GPA, and GMAT or GRE scores with waivers available for qualified applicants.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; programmatic: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Tuition: $1,242/credit (in state); $3,434/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 33-54 semester hours
  • Program Length: N/A
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) and Hybrid (online/on campus)
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,452
Out-of-state
$20,729
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
28,651
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Business Schools in North Carolina (MBA)

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Greensboro, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

About 19,000 students attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. UNCG's eight colleges and schools administer programs on a 250-acre campus and online. Graduate students choose from 80 programs offering about 180 advanced degrees.

Bryan School of Business and Economics

The MBA at UNCW enrolls students from a variety of backgrounds, including learners with no professional work experience. Students can complete the 45-credit degree asynchronously online in as little as 18 months. Early-career students begin the MBA with a three-day Basecamp orientation. They also participate in a mentorship program to prepare for a summer internship.

Students with more than five years of professional work experience can skip the Basecamp orientation and internship. All enrollees complete an MBA core that develops skills in functional areas such as financial management, marketing, and strategic management. 

The MBA's seven specializations include cybersecurity and supply chain management. Participants culminate the online MBA with a consulting project.

UNCW's MBA Specializations

Business Analytics | Cybersecurity | Finance | Information Technology | International Business | Marketing | Supply Chain Management

Applying to UNCW

Admission requires a bachelor's degree in any major from an accredited institution, school transcripts, and no GMAT or GRE scores.

Program at a Glance 

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; programmatic: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Tuition: $341/credit (in state); $641/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 45
  • Program Length: 18 months
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,422
Out-of-state
$19,581
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
20,196
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Best Online Business Schools in North Carolina (MBA)

North Carolina A & T State University

  • Greensboro, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

North Carolina A&T State University Is the nation's largest historically Black college (HBCU). The college specializes in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering programs. N.C. A&T is also home to the nation's top public HBCU business school.

Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics 

N.C. A&T's online MBA provides advanced business training for general management and specialized managerial roles. The program enrolls business and non-business students. Enrollees complete 36 credits entirely online. Participants supplement training in core business functions with one of three online specializations.

The supply chain management specialization develops skills in managing and integrating all aspects of the supply chain. Students pursuing the general management concentration study supply chain management, organizational communication, and business intelligence. General management students also complete a practicum or internship as part of their concentration.

The HR management concentration prepares enrollees for the society for human resource management certification. Non-business students may need to take up to 12 additional credits of foundation courses.

N.C. A&T's MBA Specializations

General Management | Supply Chain Management | HR Management 

Applying to N.C. A&T 

Admission requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and GMAT or GRE scores for applicants with less than a 3.30 GPA.

Program at a Glance 

  • School Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; programmatic: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Tuition: $399/credit (in state); $1,026/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 36-48
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Average Tuition
In-state
$3,540
Out-of-state
$17,050
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
12,556
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
34% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

What To Expect From MBA Programs in North Carolina

Depending on enrollment status, students pursuing online MBA programs in North Carolina can expect to complete the degree in 1-5 years. Many MBA programs offer flexible options for participants who work full time. Most programs require 35-50 credits for graduation. Specific curricular requirements depend on each student's concentration and academic background.

While fully online options are available, some North Carolina online MBA programs require on-campus meetings, making the degree a hybrid between online and in-person learning. These meetings may take the form of orientations, weekend immersions, or longer residencies. Online courses can run asynchronously, meaning faculty upload materials for students to use on their own time, while other classes meet in real time through web conferencing.

MBA-seekers in North Carolina can choose from a wealth of specialization options, such as accounting, financial services, and project management. Core business courses generally include managerial accounting, business analytics, and applied economics.

Admission Requirements for MBAs

To apply to an online MBA in North Carolina, prospective students must hold an accredited bachelor's degree. Many programs look for a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7.

Most schools also require applicants to take the GMAT. Minimum scores for the GMAT typically fall between 400 and 450. Some schools allow degree-seekers to substitute GMAT scores with GRE scores, in which case they look for 149 on both the verbal and quantitative sections. Students with lower scores can sometimes ask about alternative routes to acceptance.

In some instances, students with high undergraduate GPAs or who successfully completed courses at the same institution can apply for standardized test waivers.

North Carolina online MBA applicants typically submit essays/personal statements, recommendation letters, and resumes for programs that require previous work experience. Some schools accept students without a prior academic background in business. Others, particularly executive and accelerated MBA programs, require prerequisites in accounting, economics, and statistics.

Specialized MBAs

Online MBA programs in North Carolina offer many potential concentrations. By specializing their degree, students can pursue areas of business that prepare them for specific careers. Because employers often prize the depth of knowledge a concentration offers, a specialization can improve a graduate's career prospects or advancement opportunities. Popular MBA concentration options in North Carolina include:

cap

Healthcare Management

Students with a healthcare management specialization can capitalize on the plentiful pharmaceuticals job opportunities in North Carolina. Healthcare management courses focus on facility management, healthcare strategy, and marketing.
cap

Supply Chain Management

U.S. News & World Report names vehicle parts a staple of North Carolina's economy, and three Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state focus on industrial machinery. A concentration in supply chain management focuses on plant management and logistics, preparing graduates for work in these sectors.
cap

Finance

Online MBA programs in North Carolina often provide a concentration in finance. Students in this specialization study financial theory, financial reporting, and investments. These skills allow them to take advantage of the plentiful banking jobs in North Carolina.

Popular MBA Program Courses

Online MBA programs in North Carolina usually offer similar core business courses. Students then pursue their interests by adding a concentration or choosing electives, which vary by school. Degree-seekers typically pursue a capstone project or thesis as a culmination of their studies. Popular North Carolina online MBA courses include:

A staple of the MBA business core, managerial accounting teaches students about accounting problem-solving and decision-making. The course covers areas like budgeting, risk management, and ethics in accounting. Students may engage in the material through case studies, real-life problems, and group work.
Another foundational business course, business analytics prepares students to analyze the functions of their organizations with an eye toward improvement. The course familiarizes participants with common analysis software used to make decisions about business.
Often offered as an elective or as part of a leadership concentration, business law courses emphasize business regulations. Subjects may include regulating agencies, legal case studies, and an overview of the law-making process. This course also usually includes an ethics component.
Strategic management is usually a capstone course. The class may take place as a seminar, project, or independent study. Often, students work in groups, partnering with a local business to help solve a real-world challenge. The groups develop in-depth strategies and systems, presenting them to both the client and the class.

The MBA Capstone or Thesis

As a career-focused degree, an online MBA may require students to complete a hands-on capstone project before graduating. For these capstone courses, online MBA programs in North Carolina may pair students with an industry related to their concentration. Through in-depth work on capstone projects, students gain crucial experience and network with local business professionals. Students leave the MBA capstone with detailed business plans they can use in a portfolio, plus resume-worthy experience and valuable business connections.

Programs with a thesis option often require students to complete a longer written document where they research some aspect of business theory, do a case study of a specific business's practices, or propose a solution to a business-related problem. Thesis options provide students the opportunity to deeply immerse themselves in a subject that interests them, but these options do not offer the same hands-on experience as capstone courses.

How Much Do MBAs Cost in North Carolina?

The cost of tuition for the best online MBA programs in North Carolina depends on several factors: Public schools in North Carolina are generally more affordable for North Carolina residents, while out-of-state residents and students at private institutions tend to pay higher tuition. When planning a budget for graduate school, degree-seekers must add costs like materials, travel for on-campus residencies (if applicable), and textbooks.

Students who have completed prerequisite business courses may be able to lower the total cost of tuition. By transferring these courses, they lower the number of total credits they must take to finish the MBA.

To help fund their studies, degree-seekers can complete the FAFSA to qualify for federal grants and low-interest loans. Prospective students can also seek out scholarship opportunities. Applicants working full time should ask whether their employers would cover some or all of the program's tuition. The link below discusses financial aid options in more detail:

What Jobs Can MBAs Get You?

With an MBA, graduates can pursue a variety of careers. While business occupations often require workers to hold at least a bachelor's degree, many employers seek applicants with MBAs, which signify their advanced knowledge and experience. MBA degree-holders who are already employed can secure advancement opportunities and higher salaries.

In North Carolina, demand for many business occupations well exceeds the national projections for those jobs. For example, the BLS projects a 9% national growth for human resources managers between 2020 and 2030; in North Carolina, however, jobs for these professionals are projected to increase by 9.4% between 2018 and 2028, according to Projections Central. Similar growth is projected for other North Carolina management jobs, including financial managers and management consultants.

Below are a list of common jobs for MBA graduates:

Financial Manager

Highly employable in industries like insurance, technical services, and management of companies and enterprises, financial managers oversee their company's financial strategies. Working with other executives, they set goals, implement plans, and run regular reports on monetary transactions. According to Projections Central, demand for financial managers in North Carolina is projected to grow 21.5% between 2018 and 2028.

  • Required Education: Master's degree often preferred
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +17%
  • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $134,180
  • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $155,580

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers study customer habits and market trends to develop marketing strategies that target ideal customers for their company's products and services. In North Carolina, Projections Central projects 11.9% growth for marketing manager jobs between 2018 and 2028, exceeding the national outlook.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +10%
  • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $141,490
  • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $146,690

Management Consultant

Usually employed by a firm that takes on clients, management consultants assess a company's operations to recommend improvements. They analyze financial data, systems, and staffing to improve efficiency. According to Projections Central, total management consultant jobs are projected to grow 16.4% between 2018 and 2028 in North Carolina.

  • Required Education: Master's degree often preferred
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +14%
  • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $87,660
  • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $101,180

IT Manager

IT managers coordinate the technology-related aspects of a company's operations. They recommend, implement, and maintain computer systems, researching new technologies and staying abreast of developments in the field. Total IT manager positions in North Carolina are projected to grow 15.5% between 2018 and 2028, according to Projections Central.

  • Required Education: Master's degree often preferred
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +11%
  • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $151,150
  • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $146,690

General and Operations Managers

Often in charge of ensuring smooth day-to-day work, general and operations managers carry out plans, supervise staff, and oversee budgets. According to Projections Central, demand for general and operations managers in North Carolina is projected to grow 9% between 2018 and 2028.

  • Required Education: Master's degree often preferred
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +8%
  • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $107,680
  • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $129,400

North Carolina's Top MBA Employers

U.S. News & World Report ranks North Carolina's economy 17th in the nation. With overall job growth at 1.9%, compared to the national average of 1.4%, North Carolina offers plentiful opportunities for business workers.

One of the state's top industries, centered in Charlotte, is banking. Manufacturing companies in the state produce food, furniture, paper, and healthcare equipment. Prospective students hoping to work in North Carolina can find supply chain management and finance jobs in any of these fields.

The state's cost-of-living index is 94.9 — compared to the nationwide standard score of 100, this means that North Carolina is relatively more affordable than other states. In addition to low cost-of-living, earning potential for MBA graduates often exceeds national average salaries. For example, general and operations managers in the state out-earned the median annual salary by more than $25,000 in 2019.

Top MBA Employers in North Carolina

Bank of America

Headquartered in Charlotte, Bank of America is a Fortune 500 financial institution that provides personal and business banking services. Dedicated to professional development, they value education and offer mentorship programs for employees. Bank of America employs 15,000 people in Charlotte alone. Top jobs in the area include executives, risk managers, IT managers, and human resources professionals.

Lowe's

Lowe's began in North Carolina, and its headquarters remain in Mooresville. Known for its nationwide chain of home improvement stores, Lowe's offers internship opportunities for MBA-seekers. Students can learn hands-on about finance, supply chain management, sales, and technology.

IBM

MBA-holders in North Carolina with an interest in technology might consider jobs with IBM. The international company sells a suite of computer-related products and leads in areas like security, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. IBM employs 10,000 workers in its Research Triangle Park location in North Carolina, regularly partnering with academic programs in the state.

Selecting Your North Carolina MBA Program

Our list of school rankings is a great starting point for prospective students considering an online MBA in North Carolina. However, degree-seekers need to follow their own career goals to select the right program. Important factors to consider before committing to a program include:

  • Accreditation: Students should always seek out accredited programs. Regional and national accreditation agencies ensure schools meet standards of academic excellence. Regional accreditation is considered more rigorous. North Carolina institutions are regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Degree-seekers may also look for program-specific accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which evaluates how well the MBA's curriculum prepares learners for jobs in the field.
  • Prerequisite Admission Requirements: Programs designed for students with undergraduate degrees in business may require learners with bachelor's degrees in other fields to complete additional coursework for graduation. These prerequisite courses can extend the timeline and cost of an MBA.
  • University Resources: Particularly when pursuing an online degree, students should investigate the resources the college provides to distance learners. MBA applicants should prioritize career services and alumni networking. Other important resources can include library services and tech support.

Why You Should Consider Online Schools in North Carolina

Prospective students can choose from a remarkable variety of online MBA programs. Over the last decade, the prevalence of distance learning options has grown considerably. By looking for online schools in North Carolina, students can pursue career-relevant concentrations with renowned faculty all while studying from home.

Because distance learning is often asynchronous — not requiring students to attend live lectures — online degrees are often beneficial to MBA candidates who work full time. The flexible nature of coursework allows them to keep their jobs, thus reducing some of the financial burden of completing a degree.

When considering a North Carolina online MBA, prospective students need to factor their learning style into the decision-making process. Because distance programs require self-direction, online learners need to demonstrate excellent time management and motivation. Though group work can be a frequent requirement of online MBA programs, students also often study on their own.

Online MBA Programs In Nearby States

Frequently Asked Questions

Are online MBAs respected?

Yes. With rigorous, career-focused curriculum, online MBA programs merit the same respect as their in-person counterparts. Employers value the insights learned through an MBA program, regardless of the delivery method.

How much does an MBA cost in North Carolina?

Per-credit tuition costs in North Carolina MBA programs range from $700 to $1,200. Tuition rates can vary based on the student's home state and academic background in business.

Is an MBA worth it if you have a business degree?

Yes. With an MBA, graduates gain more in-depth knowledge about their particular area of the business world. MBA-holders of all academic backgrounds can qualify for lucrative advancement opportunities.

Does North Carolina have online degrees?

Yes. Degree-seekers can find an exciting variety of online MBA programs in North Carolina, with a wealth of concentration options that include healthcare, supply chain management, and entrepreneurship.

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