Best Online MBA Programs in South Dakota 
Updated June 3, 2022 | OnlineMBA.com Staff
Are you ready to discover your MBA program?
South Dakota, home to just 25 degree-granting higher education institutions, reports an above-average percentage of students pursuing online degrees. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, only 6% of South Dakota residents hold master's degrees, so a South Dakota online MBA can provide a competitive advantage in hiring.
The page below introduces some South Dakota MBA programs, offers insight into accreditation, highlights South Dakota's top industries, and outlines some promising MBA-related careers. By comparing available MBA programs and understanding the South Dakota job market, you can choose an MBA program aligned with a lucrative and promising career path.
Careers and Salaries for MBA Graduates in South Dakota
South Dakota's economy has grown steadily over the past 15 years. The state's largest industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, bioscience, and healthcare, continue to grow and create jobs. Although much of South Dakota comprises rural areas, the majority of business positions are in larger cities, such as Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Pierre.
Business professionals in South Dakota can consider a variety of job prospects in many industries. The chart below lists some of the largest employers in the state. Although CareerOneStop reports that these companies hire the most employees, these companies do not necessarily represent the state's largest industries. For example, agriculture is one of the largest industries in South Dakota, but independent farms may not employ a large staff.
|Company||Location||Main Industry||Number of Employees|
|Sanford USD Medical Center||Sioux Falls||Healthcare||4,958|
|Avera McKennan Hospital||Sioux Falls||Healthcare||3,574|
|Citibank South Dakota||Sioux Falls||Financial Transaction Processing||3,200|
Source: Career One Stop
Obtaining an MBA can lead to higher earning potential immediately after graduation and throughout your career. To improve the chances of securing a high-paying position, students can concentrate in an area of business relevant to South Dakota's top industries.
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Careers for MBA Grads in South Dakota
Chief Executive Officer
Presidents, executive directors, and other chief executive officers (CEOs) make major decisions and plans regarding organizational operations, finances, and policies. Reporting to the board of directors at the CEO's company, government, or nonprofit organization, these top executives also hire and supervise other executives.
CEOs usually have both relevant leadership experience and an advanced degree in a related field. An MBA in organizational leadership, public relations, or operations management offers a good academic foundation for this role. CEOs in South Dakota earned a hefty annual mean salary of $251,950 as of May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Health Services Manager
Health services managers bear responsibility for the oversight of health facilities or departments. Their duties include supervising staff, setting goals, maximizing operational efficiency, and ensuring legal compliance. Although general MBA core courses in operations management and financial management prove relevant to health services managers, an MBA in healthcare management or administration provides more industry-specific knowledge.
Operations Research Analyst
Through data gathering, advanced mathematics, and data analytics, operations research analysts identify and address organizational problems. Employed in a variety of fields and industries, operations research analysts may consult with workers at all levels of the organization and create data-driven reports that help guide executive decision-making. Aspiring operations research analysts should consider the tailored curriculum offered by an MBA in operations management.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects an 18% increase in South Dakota operations research analyst positions between 2016 and 2026. The BLS does not provide state salary data for this position, but as of May 2018, operations research analysts nationwide earned a median annual salary of $83,390.
Market Research Analyst
Most often employed by for-profit companies, market research analysts collect and study market data to determine consumer demographics, preferences, and pricing for the company's services or goods. These professionals may use a wide variety of data collection methods and analysis tools, presenting their findings and conclusions to company decision-makers.
Market research analysts usually need a background in data analysis, and an MBA focused on business intelligence or marketing enhances relevant knowledge and skills. The U.S. Department of Labor projects a 22% growth in market research analyst positions in South Dakota between 2016 and 2026. Professionals in this position earned a mean annual wage of $55,430 as of May 2018, according to the BLS.
Agriculture Operations Specialist
Agriculture operations specialists may conduct research, perform technical services, or direct operations at agriculture-related organizations. Duties vary widely based on employer and title, but they may include financial management, staffing, sales, and purchasing. These professionals may also conduct agricultural and/or market research to identify best practices and relevant economic trends. Agricultural operations specialists need business acumen and considerable familiarity with the industry.
MBA coursework in operations management, marketing, supply chain management, or environmental management typically proves relevant to agricultural operations specialists. Some of South Dakota's top employers are meat producers; these companies frequently employ agricultural operations specialists. The BLS does not provide state salary data for this position; however, the nation's farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers earned a $67,950 annual median salary as of May 2018.
MBA Concentrations for South Dakota Students
Students with clear career goals can save time by earning an MBA with a concentration in a specific industry and/or career field of interest. Although most upper-level positions require relevant work experience, a concentrated MBA's tailored curriculum ensures a thorough academic background that serves MBA graduates well as they compete in the state's job market.
Available concentrations for MBA students include industry-specific areas such as healthcare management or finance. These concentrations may prepare you well for careers with some of South Dakota's top healthcare and banking industry employers. Other MBA options include internet marketing, consulting, and organizational leadership -- career areas prevalent in most industries. Taking the time to learn about MBA concentrations can help inform your choice among the available online MBA programs in South Dakota.
South Dakota's Online MBA Programs
As you review the following list of schools offering online MBA programs in South Dakota, consider your concentration options and how they align with your career interests and aspirations.
Pay attention to practical concerns such as price, time-to-degree, attendance options, and MBA accreditation standards, which affect credit transfer options and federal financial aid eligibility. Degrees from regionally accredited schools typically command more respect than nationally accredited degrees. Good South Dakota MBA programs boast regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and programmatic accreditation from business education experts.
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