5 Best Online MBAs in North Carolina 2021

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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 5% between 2019 and 2029.

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.

Online MBA Programs for You

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

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 $105,660 across management positions as of 2019. 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.

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.

Explore MBA Admissions

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:


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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.

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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.

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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:

Learn More About Financial Aid Options

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 6% national growth for human resources managers between 2019 and 2029; 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 (2019-29): +15%
    • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $129,890
    • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $150,140

  • 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 (2019-29): +6%
    • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $136,900
    • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $144,750

  • 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 (2019-29): +11%
    • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $85,260
    • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $98,020

  • 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 (2019-29): +10%
    • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $146,360
    • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $141,910

  • 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 (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual U.S. Salary: $100,690
    • Average Annual Salary in North Carolina: $128,390

North Carolina’s Top MBA Employers

U.S. News & World Report ranks North Carolina’s economy 14th in the nation. With overall job growth at 1.7%, compared to the national average of 1.2%, 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.

The Best Online MBA Programs in North Carolina

  1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Location

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Tuition

    $11649

    Established in 1789, UNC-Chapel Hill became the nation's first public university. Today, the Tar Heels host over 30,000 students annually across 74 bachelor's programs, 104 master's programs, and 65 doctoral programs.

    UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

    UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School offers the nation's top-ranked online MBA in 2021, according to U.S. News & World Report. Four annual start dates (January, April, July, October) with priority and final application deadlines offer flexibility for working professionals. Applicants with more than five years of professional, full-time work experience can apply for GMAT/GRE exemption during the application process.

    Online MBA concentrations include finance, data analytics and decision-making, entrepreneurship, strategy and consulting, and marketing. Thirty-four of the required 62 credits cover core curriculum, while students can choose from 25 available electives to fill the remaining 28 credits. Students must complete two summits, held both internationally and on campus, during the program.

    UNC-Chapel Hill's MBA Specializations

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

    Applying to UNC-Chapel Hill

    Prospective students must complete an online application and include a resume of any relevant work experience, all official transcripts of previously attended institutions, two letters of recommendation, and two required essays, plus attend a virtual interview. Applicants with fewer than five years of professional experience must submit GRE/GMAT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
    Tuition: $125,590/program
    Required Credits: 62 credits
    Program Length: 18-36 months
    Delivery Format: Hybrid

  2. University of North Carolina Wilmington
    Location

    Wilmington, NC

    Tuition

    $17771

    Founded in 1947 as Wilmington College, UNCW joined North Carolina's university system in 1969. By 1985, UNCW became recognized as a Comprehensive Level I University.

    UNCW Cameron School of Business

    Students can choose one of the seven online MBA programs offered by UNCW Cameron School of Business, including a general program and six concentrations. Thirty of the 36 required credits for graduation consist of MBA-specific instruction. Two courses of electives, each consisting of three credits, complete the degree.

    A minimum score of 500 on the GMAT examination or GRE equivalent is required for admission. Prospective students with a minimum of five years of relevant work experience, an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher, or an advanced degree qualify for standardized testing exemption.

    UNCW's MBA Specializations

    Business Analytics | Finance | Healthcare Management | International Business | Marketing | Supply Chain Management

    Applying to UNCW

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally or nationally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a minimum of two years of work experience. They must also submit a resume and cover letter with two letters of recommendation.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
    Tuition: Under $415/credit (in state); under $1,100/credit (out of state)
    Required Credits: 36 credits
    Program Length: 12 months minimum
    Delivery Format: 100% online

  3. Gardner-Webb University
    Location

    Boiling Springs, NC

    Tuition

    Unconfirmed

    Founded in 1942 as Gardner-Webb College, the private, Christian institution currently hosts more than 3,500 students annually in small class sizes, backed by a 13-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

    Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies

    The 30-credit MBA offered through the Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies at Gardner-Webb prepares students for career advancement in various business and management sectors including accounting, finance, logistics, marketing, and senior administration. Although an undergraduate business degree is not required for admission, students must complete core business foundation courses prior to application.

    Completion requirements include 30 credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, satisfactory completion of the syllabus within six calendar years, and a capstone course in strategic management. Gardner-Webb offers an accelerated 10-month MBA designed for active professionals.

    Gardner-Webb's MBA Specializations

    International Business Administration

    Applying to Gardner-Webb

    Prospective students must complete prerequisite courses including accounting principles I and II, principles of finance, microeconomics and macroeconomics, principles of marketing, information systems, business statistics, and management science before submitting an application with official transcripts and references.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACBSP
    Tuition: $615/credit; $665/credit (accelerated)
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: 24 months (standard); 10 months (accelerated)
    Delivery Format: 100% online

  4. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    Location

    Greensboro, NC

    Tuition

    $10396

    Founded in 1891, UNCG currently supports almost 20,000 students annually across nine schools and colleges. Offerings include more than 125 undergraduate programs and certifications, over 80 graduate programs, and 180 advanced degrees.

    Joseph M. Bryan School of Business and Economics

    The 45-credit MBA through the Joseph M. Bryan School of Business and Economics at UNCG requires no prerequisite courses and has a typical completion period of 18-24 months. Students can complete courses completely online with no set class times and enjoy a dedicated personal career coach.

    Students must complete the required course curriculum in addition to a capstone consulting project led by experienced executive mentors in order to graduate. Coursework caters to students with three to five years of professional experience and offers flexibility around busy professional schedules.

    UNCG's MBA Specializations

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

    Applying to UNCG

    Students may apply to UNCG's Bryan School of Business with no prerequisite course requirements. Simply fill out an online application including full academic history, standardized test scores, and recommendations. The school reviews applications only after all supporting documentation has been received.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
    Tuition: $500/credit (in state); $756/credit (out of state)
    Required Credits: 45 credits
    Program Length: 18-24 months
    Delivery Format: 100% online

  5. East Carolina University
    Location

    Greenville, NC

    Tuition

    $13746

    ECU currently serves almost 29,000 students and offers 125 completely online degrees and programs. Students can select degree programs at the undergraduate, master's, specialist, and doctoral levels from one of the 20 associated schools and colleges.

    ECU's College of Business

    Students can complete their MBA through ECU's College of Business in as few as 11 courses by qualifying for foundation course waivers. They can speak to an advisor to determine waiver eligibility. Standard coursework includes 18 classes, consisting of foundation courses and electives. Many students choose to pursue add-on certificates or specializations, as part of these electives.

    The completely self-contained degree means that students do not need previous business experience or coursework. Customizable course plans and a flexible schedule create a program built to fit into busy professional lives.

    ECU's MBA Specializations

    Finance | Development and Environmental Planning | Healthcare Management | International Management | Security Studies | Sport Management

    Applying to ECU

    Prospective students must complete an online application including a resume, official transcripts, and standardized test scores. Once complete, applicants can expect a response within 24 hours of application submission through ECU's streamlined application process.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
    Tuition: $364/credit (in state); $1,1019/credit (out of state)
    Required Credits: 54 semester hours
    Program Length: 18-24 months
    Delivery Format: 100% online

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