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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
DSU's online MBA program provides full- and part-time options to accommodate students' schedules. Flexible instructional approaches include real-time discussion and asynchronous course formats.
This South Dakota university online MBA program requires students to complete 36 credits, including two elective courses, a capstone course, and a culminating exam. Students can pursue an emphasis in healthcare informatics, analytics, or management. DSU accepts up to nine qualifying transfer credits toward degree requirements. Learners must complete all requirements within five years and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate.
DSU offers multiple pathways for admission. Students who hold an accredited undergraduate degree in business with a minimum 3.0 GPA do not need professional experience or graduate exam scores; they can supplement these requirements with two years of professional experience and a qualifying GMAT or GRE score. Students without an undergraduate degree or background in business can take 12 credits of foundational courses before starting the MBA program.
The online MBA program from DWU primarily serves local students and small to medium businesses in the region. Taking a full-time load (i.e., two classes per eight-week term), students can complete this 36-credit-hour online MBA program in one year; students may also enroll part time. The curriculum covers the practical and ethical sides of business management, with classes like corporate and leadership accountability, financial analysis, and ethics and public policy. A three-credit capstone course allows students to provide a strategic business plan for an actual company. Students finish the program by passing a comprehensive exam and completing a portfolio of projects.
Notably, DWU welcomes students without an undergraduate degree in business. Students new to business can take 3-5 self-paced modules online to cover business basics before starting graduate-level courses. DWU offers three application windows and start dates during the year.
National American University-Harold D. Buckingham Graduate School
Students enrolled in NAU's online MBA can choose from 10 concentrations, including aviation management, and operations and configuration management. Students may also work toward a general concentration in business.
NAU's MBA curriculum consists of 45 credit hours, with an optional thesis. All concentrations share the same core business courses, including leadership, policy, and financial management.
NAU allows students to transfer up to 50% of program credits from another accredited graduate program. The university also works with students to assess any prior learning credits, based on three or more years of experience in the business field or additional professional certifications. This online MBA in South Dakota holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Core MBA courses cover management and strategic topics, such as managerial communications and financial planning and control. Major courses consider human resources, project management, and commercial law. Students can transfer up to nine semester hours from another accredited school toward this online MBA in South Dakota. USF offers a full-time program, which learners may finish in one year, and a part-time program lasting 21 months.
MBA students without an undergraduate degree in business must complete fundamental courses, including statistics and microeconomics, prior to starting graduate work. Students must complete all program requirements within seven years. Admission requirements do not include GMAT or GRE scores.
The University of South Dakota online MBA offers five concentrations: business administration, marketing, health services administration, operations and supply chain management, and business analytics.
USD's MBA program prepares students to work in various business environments, such as government and private industry. Depending on their part- or full-time enrollment status, students can complete the program requirements in 2-4 years. The program also offers students a five-day, on-campus residency so they may build relationships with faculty and peers. USD offers three start dates throughout the year.
Online students at USD receive the same tuition rates as in-state students. Special program benefits, including discounted tuition rates and scholarship opportunities, are available to active military and veterans. The school's online MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.