As businesses continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing global landscape, the demand for effective management professionals has never been greater. Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking to advance your career or a recent graduate seeking a competitive edge, pursuing an online Master’s in Management program can provide the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in today’s dynamic business environment.
In this article, we embark on a comprehensive exploration of the best online Master’s in Management programs available. We will delve into the key factors that make these programs stand out, including their curriculum, flexibility, and reputation. By examining these crucial elements, we aim to guide you toward selecting the program that aligns with your goals and aspirations.
Throughout our investigation, we will showcase the leading institutions offering online Master’s in Management programs, highlighting their rigorous academic standards and commitment to delivering high-quality education. We will also shed light on each program’s unique features and advantages, enabling you to make an informed decision about your educational journey.
From courses that cover essential management principles to specialization tracks, these programs empower students with the skills needed to navigate the complexities of modern business leadership. By combining theoretical knowledge with real-world applications, online Master’s in Management programs ensure that graduates are prepared to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by today’s global marketplace.
What is Management?
At its simplest level, business management comprises a collection of skills encompassing every aspect of running a business, including human resources, finance, operations, and marketing. Someone skilled in business management can plan, organize, and implement programs in these areas. They need to be skilled in leadership and be able to communicate with everyone in the business and with people involved with other companies. The business manager also must be a savvy problem solver.
These skills are necessary to create a stable yet vibrant workplace where people want to work. Having such a workplace will make the business more successful because happy people are productive people. Being a business manager isn’t about ordering people around or “laying down the law.” Rather, it’s all about being inspirational.
When Shostakovich composed his “Festive Overture,” it was full of wry commentary on the Soviet system. The enthusiasm within the music mocks the idea of a ruthless tyrant grabbing someone by the throat and saying, “You’d better start rejoicing!” A successful business manager doesn’t have to grab throats or be a ruthless tyrant shouting, “You’d better start performing!” In fact, those qualities will not lead to success.
Instead, making people feel useful, respected, and heard will be the inspirational keystone in the arch of the business’s success. As stated, people will produce when they are happy. A skilled, knowledgeable, and empathetic leader will create an environment for employees to thrive.
What Is an Online Master’s in Management?
The online Master’s in Management is a degree for people already established in the business world. They might have an undergraduate business degree or have started life as a “learn-on-the-job” manager. In either case, the online Master’s in Management will be a feather in their cap regarding promotion in their current job or moving to a different position in another business. The degree combines both practical and theoretical concepts.
In some cases, the students will take their courses entirely online. In other cases, depending on their situations, the students will use a hybrid schedule where they’ll learn both in the regular classroom and online. The online component is helpful for people who have already started their lives after college and need to balance their jobs, families, and other activities.
Many times, the business schools that offer online Master’s in Management programs also provide access to a series of certifications. Common topics for such certificates include human resources, data analytics, and information systems security. These are separate from the “meat-and-potatoes” courses of the degree itself, but many students find the extra qualifications beneficial when securing their next position.
What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Management?
With a Master’s in Management, one can work in any business sector, including nonprofit organizations and local, state, and federal governments. There are quite a few jobs that one can seek after earning an MiM. For example, someone could become a director of operations. As such, the person would manage general activities that involved “making the company go.” The person would lead others to complete the requisite tasks and achieve the desired results. Operations managers are skilled at analysis as well as developing procedures.
Another popular job for graduates with this degree is the training manager. It’s their job to ensure all company employees have the right tools and education to do their jobs effectively. The training manager wouldn’t just create the curriculum for the company’s training courses but also ensure that further training down the road would remain relevant and necessary for employee development.
Before either of those two managers would come into the picture, though, there would be the human resources manager. That person would be responsible for finding, evaluating, and hiring new personnel. And, when the time came, terminating employees. The HR manager would work with the other high-level managers in the company to determine where there needs to be new hires. The HR manager also handles and oversees everything concerning interpersonal relations within the company.
Career and Salary Information
The United States Bureau of Labor reports that Training managers make roughly $120,000 annually, which equates to $57.61 per hour. These managers have the equivalent of five or more years of experience. Over the next eight years, the expected annual job growth will be 7%, which is considered average in the industry. Operations managers make roughly $122,000 annually, which is $59.07 per hour. That job’s growth is also approximately 7%. HR managers make about $126,000 annually. That’s $60.69 per hour, and the growth is much like that of the others in this category, or 7% each year.
So, the job category is estimated to grow until 2031, offering graduates with an MiM job opportunities in many industries. It can be inferred from the similarity of these three chief classes of such managers that the growth in other segments of the economy will be similar. Also, the salaries for other managerial jobs will likely be within a standard deviation or two from these three jobs.
Top 15 Management Jobs
|Chief Executive Officer (CEO)||$162,117|
|Director of Human Resources (HR)||$99,242|
|Director of Operations||$98,577|
|Human Resources (HR) Director||$93,003|
|Training & Development Manager||$81,592|
|Project Manager, (Unspecified Type / General)||$78,591|
|Human Resources (HR) Manager||$72,402|
|Human Resources (HR) Generalist||$58,843|
|Program Manager, Non-Profit Organization||$57,849|
What Will I Learn in an Online Master’s in Management?
Some of the courses students will take while earning an online Master’s in Management are similar to those of an MBA. They include:
- Financial Fundamentals.
- Investment Applications.
- Financial Markets and Responsibility.
- Being a Discerning Leader.
- Leading an Organization in the 21st Century.
Of course, this list is neither comprehensive nor applicable to all universities that offer such a program. The title of classes at other institutions will likely be similar, but the thrust of the courses will be nearly the same.
Financial fundamentals involves teaching students the basics of interpreting reported financial data and how to delve into relevant topics about the health of the economy. Investment Applications covers the principles behind investing in both United States markets and those around the world. The course involves a lot of the theory behind financial markets, the valuation of assets, and how and why securities behave the way they do. Financial Markets and Responsibility covers both ethics and regulatory structures around the world. The course covers various topics, including derivative markets, equity, debt, and the most recent happenings in the United States and foreign countries.
Being a Discerning Leader covers human nature and the dynamics of relationships between workers and workers, workers and management, and management and management. Part of the course involves weighing the consequences of decisions that managers must make in the application of their duties. Leading an Organization in the 21st Century ties directly to the previously mentioned course. The course should cover the realities of working in a global marketplace and the social realities of a world that is becoming more and more inclusive every day.
Admissions Requirements for an Online Master’s in Management
Although previous business experience is optional for admission into such a program, it’s a good idea to have some so that one has the requisite experience to apply for the jobs for which one will be qualified upon graduation. Some schools require one or more of the graduate-level assessment tests:
- Graduate Record Examinations,
- Graduate Management Admissions Test, or
- Miller Analogies Test.
These tests assess a candidate’s abilities in various subjects. The Miller Analogies Test tests a candidate’s reasoning regarding word relationships, but it’s useful for testing someone’s analytical talents. The GMAT is exclusively for business admissions, while the GRE is for multiple disciplines. All of these tests are challenging.
People who are strong in analysis and quantitative thinking will have success on the GMAT. People who take the GRE will face a more straightforward mathematical assessment than their GMAT counterparts, and they’ll be able to use a calculator, whereas GMAT test takers won’t.
Aside from the tests, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college, university, or business school. In many cases, there are also requirements regarding a student’s grade point average. Generally, the student will need letters of recommendation from multiple sources, and the person will likely also have to write an essay. Not every college or university will require everything, so to find out, the applicant should contact the admissions office of the relevant institution.
There are six regional accrediting bodies that are considered the “gold standard” when it comes to the evaluation of business schools and other institutions of higher learning.
Accreditation from one of these six means that the college has met a series of rigorous and thorough qualifications. Once earned, the accreditation doesn’t last forever. Usually, the period is 10 years. After that, the college or university will have to undergo the accrediting process again.
Online programs are sometimes accredited separately from their parent schools. Regarding such online programs, some of them strive to achieve national accreditation rather than regional. This is mostly true regarding institutions that are technical in nature rather than philosophical. The quality standards of national accreditation are lower than those of regional accreditation. That does not, however, mean that the school in question doesn’t have any merit. As usual, prospective applicants to online programs should check out the schools to which they want to apply to earn their online master’s degrees.
There are, unfortunately, unscrupulous “accreditation mills” with fancy names. Applicants should be sure of the accreditation of the business school that they plan to attend. Some mills have registered names that are very close to existing legitimate bodies of accreditation.
Accreditation plays a crucial role in ensuring quality education and future career prospects when considering a business school or program. The accrediting bodies relevant to business education are the following:
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB),
- The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and
- The International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).
These organizations set rigorous standards and evaluate business programs based on factors like faculty qualifications, curriculum, student outcomes, and resources. Employers, other educational institutions, and industry professionals often value degrees from accredited business schools more highly. These accreditations ensure that a business school or program meets specific quality standards. They also ensure that the business school or program remains current and relevant in an ever-changing business landscape.
Remember, accreditation is not the sole determinant of quality education, but it provides an important benchmark for evaluating the credibility and standards of a business school or program. Conduct thorough research, review the accreditation status of institutions, and consider how it aligns with your academic and career goals.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
When it comes to financial aid for earning online master’s degrees at a college or university, there are three chief types: grants, scholarships, and loans. There are two kinds of loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized loans don’t charge interest when someone is still enrolled, whereas unsubsidized loans not only accrue interest from day one but also the accumulated interest. Grants and scholarships don’t have to be repaid in the same way as loans.
When someone plans to get financial aid, that person must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Most states require that it be filled out and submitted before applying for such aid. Some states let a person file the FAFSA and simultaneously apply for grants and scholarships. Students should contact their state education departments to determine the rules in their states.
Aside from these government sources of financial aid, there are numerous private sources. People can also take out bank loans or credit union loans. Part of the FAFSA application process includes providing sources of income, which includes the income of an applicant’s parents if the person is still considered a dependent. Any private funding a person receives counts as income and might affect the amount of government aid received. In rare cases, certain fellowships might be available to let someone study for free with a stipend, although this is more common for doctoral programs than master’s programs.
How Much Does an Online Master’s in Management Cost?
An online Master’s in Management can run from just under $10,000 to over $70,000 in tuition costs. Students can expect an average of around $25,000. Graduate schools usually charge either by the credit hour plus fees or a flat rate for the whole program plus fees. The main criteria that will affect the tuition costs are whether a school is private or public and if the student is a resident of the state the college is in.
It’s crucial to check out the tuition and fees of the college or university students wish to attend so that students don’t “bite off more than they can chew” monetarily. It’s highly advisable to contact the financial aid office, bursar’s office, and admissions office of any school to which one wants to apply.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree?
The duration of an online Master’s in Management program can vary depending on several factors, including the specific program structure, the student’s pace of study, and any prior academic credits or work experience. It also depends on a student’s work-life balance. Some students can complete the required coursework in 18-24 months, while others might need 36 months or more if they have many more obligations on their calendars.
Many programs are designed to be completed on a part-time basis, allowing students to balance their studies with other personal or professional commitments. In such cases, finishing the program may take closer to the two-year mark. However, some accelerated or intensive programs offer more condensed schedules, enabling students to complete their degrees in one year or less.
Some schools offer combined programs where students can earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree simultaneously. These generally add from one to three additional semesters to the traditional eight semesters of an undergraduate degree.
Is Getting an Online Master’s in Management Worth It?
As seen by the aforementioned 7% annual growth in the three chief subject areas of management, along with the six-figure salaries accompanying such jobs, it’s safe to say that having such a degree is worth it. Of course, there are other factors to consider. If someone were to live in an affluent neighborhood where the rent was $4,000-$5,000 per month, then even the six-figure salary of the various managers so far described wouldn’t meet the “three-times-the-rent” monthly salary requirement.
Even in that case, however, getting the degree might have been worth it because motivated leaders who succeed would likely be in line for raises to reach the $180,000 annually that would be required to be considered in a neighborhood with $5,000-a-month properties. Still, for people who live in more modest neighborhoods, the salaries mentioned above will be more than enough to cover someone’s living expenses.
Aside from the salaries, the job can also be worth it to people who enjoy making a difference in the world no matter the money earned. When someone is a manager of this type, the duties are heavily centered on people. If that person is inspirational and a good leader, that person can contribute to the happiness and mental well-being of the company’s employees. That kind of satisfaction at having made a difference is certainly worth it.
The Top 20 of the Best Schools Offering Online Master’s in Management Degrees
Here are 20 of the best Online Master’s in Management programs offered from top business schools listed in alphabetical order.
Abilene Christian University offers a Master’s of Science in Management through their College of Business Administration. Graduate students pursuing this degree at ACU can usually complete the 30-credit hour program in 20 months. This business school offers a program whereby students can earn both their degree and a certificate in business analytics at the same time.
At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, students can pursue a Master’s of Science in Management through their College of Business. This graduate degree has two options: certification at the same time or just the degree. Students may choose from a list of nine different certifications. If the student chooses not to earn a certificate, then the person must take 12 additional credits worth of electives.
Faulkner University’s Harris College of Business & Executive Education offers an accredited Master of Science in Management. The coursework involves 30 credit hours, which include 10 three-credit classes. Each class lasts five weeks. The undergraduate GPA requirements for the program vary, but each student’s undergraduate degree must be from a regionally accredited college or university.
Fordham University’s AACSB-accredited Gabelli School of Business offers an online Master’s in Management degree. It can be completed fully online, fully on campus, or in a hybrid fashion. Like most of the programs on this list, it comprises 30 credit hours. The curriculum for this program is brand new for the fall of 2023.
Indiana Wesleyan University offers six different online master’s programs in management. They have two associate to master’s programs and four specializations for their Online MSM: Data Analytics, Healthcare Administration, Information Technology, and Policy/Organizational Change. U.S. News and World Report ranks the DeVoe School of Business in the top 10 among innovative schools in the Midwest. This means that each of the six programs offers something new and exciting.
The Graduate School of Management at Marquette University places a 21-month timeframe limit on completing its online Master in Management. The program provides a rotating emphasis on different disciplines as students progress from class to class. This comprehensive approach seeks to develop well-rounded graduates who are qualified for a variety of different positions in the business world.
The online Master of Arts in Management and Leadership at Maryville University is offered through the John E. Simon School Of Business. It focuses heavily on leadership development. The designers of the curriculum rightly placed such a high emphasis on the ability to lead. Without it, a manager could be downright destructive to healthy workplace culture. This business school does not require either the GRE or the GMAT for admission, and it doesn’t charge an admission fee.
Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business offers a Master’s in Management, Strategy, and Leadership. Strategy is leadership’s “partner” in the mind of a competent manager. Students will learn how to plan for both the short term and long term when it comes to the future of whichever company hires them.
Students can pursue an online Master of Science in Management through Ohio University’s College of Business. The University gives students 24 months to complete the required 36 credit hours for their online master’s degrees. Students can customize their degrees by choosing two different certifications to study, along with their degree work and leadership certification.
Pepperdine University offers a highly-regarded Master of Science in Management and Leadership through the prestigious Graziadio Business School. In contrast to the colleges and universities that offer online graduate programs that last for 20 or more months, Pepperdine lets students finish their online Master’s in Management in just 12 months. The school doesn’t require either the GRE or the GMAT. The capstone course at the University involves students going into the community to work at nonprofit organizations as budding leaders.
Southern New Hampshire University offers a Master of Science in Management through its School of Business. They allow students to transfer up to 12 credits from a previously regionally accredited school the students attended when they sign up for this degree. The School’s online master’s degree requires students to complete 36 credit hours. And students have the choice to finish up in just 15 months or to complete their degrees at their own pace.
The online Master’s of Science in Management program at Tarleton State University’s College of Business has been highly ranked among like programs nationwide. Students may choose from a dozen different management concentrations at Tarleton, including a customizable track called “self-design.” Within reason, students then choose their curricula from the other 11 program foci.
A Master’s of Science in Management program is offered through the College of Business at Texas A&M University-Commerce. It is unusual because it requires students to complete all 30 credit hours in a single year. This business school is highly accessible. It requires neither the GRE nor the GMAT for admission nor a thesis for students to graduate. One of the offered program tracks is entrepreneurship to prepare students to form their own businesses after completing their degrees.
At the University of Colorado Denver, students can pursue an online Master’s in Management through the AACSB-accredited Business School. Students must take at least 24 months to complete the required 30 credit hours. The courses at UC Denver last eight weeks instead of the usual 10 weeks. Part-time students may take as long as they wish to complete their online programs.
Unlike many of the business schools on this list, the online program at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business isn’t designed for people who studied business during their undergraduate years. Rather, it’s for anyone. The University requires that it be completed in 12 months, and the course load is 32 credit hours, 10 of which are for electives.
The C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston breaks down its online MS in Management and Leadership into two sections. The first is 18 core credit hours, and the second is 12 elective credit hours. Students may elect to take a class called “Practical Experiences in Management” twice, getting a slightly different flavor the second time.
At the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the online Master’s in Management costs less than comparable online programs. The University is quite flexible in the timeframe allowed to complete the degree. Students may take up to five years to finish every class. Part of the reason for this is that the University allows students to earn this degree at the same time as they aim for a Master of Business Administration.
The Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland is another school that focuses on leadership as part of its online Master of Science in Management Studies. The secondary thrust is toward marketing knowledge and growth. The School wants to develop versatile leaders who can keep up with the ever-changing business world of the 21st century.
On this list, Webster University’s online program is unique in that it is a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership and not a Master of Science. Further, students can drill down to other specialties within the field, such as cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, and digital management. The University also offers students the option to combine their studies with seeking a Master of Business Administration simultaneously.
Students can pursue an online Master’s in Management and Leadership through Western Governor’s University College of Business. The gist of the online program at WGU is to develop leaders who will promote growth and innovation in the workplace. Most of the College’s students finish the program in 20 months or fewer. The program is tailored to students whose work-life balance is a primary concern.
Getting Your Online Master’s in Management
All the schools in this ranking guide are regionally accredited by one of the six accrediting bodies. They also hold business accreditation from one of the top three organizations accrediting business schools and degrees. Almost all these schools provide students the flexibility to balance their work, school, and home lives. Work-life balance is a significant contributing factor to both the happiness of workers and their families and also their health.
Further, the job growth shows no sign of slacking off, so the job prospects for workers looking to move up remain optimistic. It’s an excellent time for students to earn one of these online Master’s in Management degrees.