Gies Online Mba Ranking

Last Updated on December 28, 2022 is dedicated to providing you with a breakdown of the top ranked online MBAs. We have compiled our rankings using verified sources including journalist , finance bloggers and relevant news stories. We are not affiliated with any business schools or ranking companies, we are simply student who is passionate about education and wants to help others find their perfect school.

It is not a secret that in today’s society, a college degree has become more of a necessity rather than a luxury. It has been proven time and time again that workers with college degrees make more money over their lives than those who do not. This fact has led many millions of people to seek higher education throughout the years. Of course, there are many different types of online MBA programs, which makes it hard for prospective students to find the best online business degree. We have compiled a list that shows you the best accredited online MBA programs for you to choose from.

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Gies College of Business world ranking

Gies College of Business, home to the world’s most disruptive and innovative online MBA, has decided to publish a comprehensive collection of its own data and metrics of success, rather than participating in traditional online MBA rankings that are designed for different kinds of programs. 

The iMBA, now in its fifth year of existence, has seen record demand and record growth – all while maintaining a 98% student satisfaction rate. You can view all of the Gies iMBA data at

iMBA data“Our mission, curriculum, and student body are fundamentally different from those of other MBA programs, and together they provide a one-of-a-kind experience for our students.” said Dean Jeffrey R. Brown. “We respect all the hard work rankings publications put into developing their methodologies, but we want to be measured against our own goals, values and purpose, not what others are trying to do.”

That experience has proven to be exactly what today’s business students crave. The Gies Business iMBA received more than 2,500 applications for Fall 2020, a growth of more than 35% since Fall 2019. The program, which offers a career-focused curriculum, custom designed for online delivery; highly engaging online classes and group projects; and unmatched flexibility and affordability, has grown to more than 2,800 students from nearly 100 countries. Almost all of those students are working professionals with an average of 11 years of career experience, far higher than most programs.

That growth has been driven by program quality, strong career outcomes, and the value of the unparalleled network of Gies students and alumni around the world. Ninety-four percent of alumni say they would highly recommend the iMBA to a friend, and 53% of alumni received a promotion, job offer, or accepted a new position during the program – evidence of a real-time ROI that is not accounted for in traditional rankings methodologies.

Since the beginning, Gies has continuously conducted surveys and analysis of internal metrics to develop a constant feedback loop, ensuring the College is achieving its goals and students are achieving theirs. Recently, Gies made its admissions, student satisfaction, and career outcomes data public, so students and the world can draw their own conclusions about what Gies offers.

“We’re seeing record demand and record enrollment. Our intense focus on what our students really need, rather than what outside rankings dictate, enables us to rapidly innovate and drive successful outcomes,” said Associate Dean Brooke Elliott, who oversees the strategy for Gies’ online programs. “It makes us more agile and able to adapt quickly to changing trends and needs.”

The iMBA boasts a history of innovating and disrupting the industry of business education. At a breakthrough cost of approximately $22,000, the iMBA is the world’s best combination of quality, flexibility, and affordability. Gies’ outstanding scholars and teachers work hand-in-hand with a large team of pedagogical experts and online specialists to create a unique curriculum and experience, designed to help students engage deeply and learn how to operate and succeed in today’s business environment.

The program’s unique stackable structure also allows students to tailor their studies to their own goals and ongoing commitments. They can “test drive” courses through a free MOOC (massive online open course), a non-credit course, or a series of courses; if they decide later to pursue an MBA, students can apply credits and prerequisites from those courses toward their degree.

“Our university was founded on the mission of providing the highest quality education to the people of Illinois and the world, no matter their background or socioeconomic level,” said Brown. “Gies Business embodies this mission to provide access to world-class business content and skills by breaking down traditional barriers of affordability and accessibility.”

Gies ranking

online mba programs in illinois

Bolster and hone your business skills by earning an online MBA or quickly obtaining an advanced certificate. These additions to your professional portfolio can open doors to new job opportunities, advance your career growth, and expand your earning potential. Whether your goal is to increase your skills for a more substantial impact within your organization, cultivate a mastery of effective leadership, or learn the ins and outs of the business realm to start your own company, the pursuit of advanced education can get you there. In this Best Illinois Online MBA ranking, we’ve compiled a list of the top #15 schools to help you get started on the path of reaching your highest career aspirations.

Each program in this list allows students to complete certificate coursework or degree programs entirely online. Some schools offer accelerated paths to a degree in as little as 12-months, while others will let you take up to five years, stopping and starting as needed. The commonality of every program is the flexibility that enables you to arrange your career-enhancing goals into your already busy schedule. These are programs designed specifically with the working professional in mind, balancing their personal and professional lives. In addition to offering 100% online programs, most schools also provide formats including traditional face-to-face classes, blended or hybrid configurations, and satellite campus locations. No matter how you decide to engage these outstanding programs, the course content, program requirements, and faculty instruction are the same comprehensive and challenging curriculum. A typical program is around 36-credit hours, and many certificates can be completed in nine – 12 credit hours. Dual degree options can be incredibly advantageous, saving time and expense.

All schools in this top #15 Best Illinois Online MBA list are impressive choices. There are private, not-for-profit schools and public universities; institutions with 1,000 students to just under 50,000. Regardless of school size, you can participate in stimulating discussion and collaboration with fellow students from all across the globe that will increase your professional network, including alumni access. Some schools present rolling admission permitting you to start at any point, while others have specific registration deadlines. Deciding on the school right for you involves many factors, including affordability. In this listing, almost 50% come in as average in affordability, compared to other online MBA programs from around the country. The overall expense of an online MBA tends to be less than traditional counterparts, due to fewer extraneous costs associated, such as transportation and parking. Tremendous support is available to help you meet your goals through academic advisors and financial aid, including veteran grant and assistance programs. We hope this guide can get you on your way today.


The prospect of graduate school can be met with enthusiasm as well as intimidation. To help you navigate, MBA Central has assigned a ranking for each online MBA program in the state of Illinois. Ranks are appraised based on scores derived at 33% each of Affordability, Support Services, and Quality of Classes.

Tuition is just one parameter to assess when evaluating what advanced institution is right for you. Every school in this Best Illinois Online MBA ranking includes an Affordability Score, spanning from Very Affordable to Very Expensive. This criterion is located at the bottom of each rank.

Very Affordable: below $15,000
Affordable: $15,000 – $19,999
Average: $20,000 – $29,999
Above Average: $30,000 – $49,999
Expensive: $50,000 – $99,999
Very Expensive: $100,000+

#1 McKendree University School of Business – Lebanon, Illinois

The School of Business at McKendree University offers 100% online MBA programs. The course curriculum is completed within eight-week sessions, in either the General or Human Resource Management MBA track, or students can acquire a dual degree with a Master of Science in Nursing.

McKendree University, located in Lebanon, Illinois, offers two distinct tracks of the top Illinois online MBA’s through the School of Business. The General track provides a comprehensive overview of the business realm, including finance and research. Twelve courses, not including up to four additional foundation courses, make up the 36 total credit hours for degree completion. The Human Resource Management MBA track can be completed in a traditional classroom setting or entirely online. A dual MSN/MBA degree requires 60 credit hours and can be completed online. Students participating in eight-week sessions, performing coursework at their own pace within fixed deadlines, can finish their degree in about three years. Students opting for a blended format by attending some classes in Lebanon or the Kentucky location can complete their degree in a shorter timeframe. Under the rigorous and individual instruction of professors with industry expertise as CEO’s, entrepreneurs, managers, and business owners, students will learn and apply inspiring leadership, effective communication, and strategic decision-making tools.

For interested students, there are no application fees, nor GMAT/GRE requirements. Admission is granted on an individual basis. Students need to complete an online application as well as submit official transcripts showing a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA. Other documentation requirements are a current resume, three professional references, and an essay detailing individual and career-oriented goals. Upon acceptance, each student will be evaluated to see if they need to complete additional coursework in any or all of the four foundational courses. These courses are online and offered once a year. If foundational courses are required, they must be completed prior to the student taking their third class within their chosen MBA track. In addition to various financial aid options, tuition discounts are available at $250 per credit hour with a waived technology fee, or 10%, for active-duty military and veterans respectively. Founded by Methodist pioneers in 1828, McKendree is the oldest college in Illinois. With enrollment right around 2,500 students, MU is known for its mission to provide academic excellence in order to prepare the leaders of tomorrow. By touting “Business Degrees for Busy Adults,” MU emphasizes their commitment to flexibility. A diverse, supportive environment geared towards personal growth and industry leadership makes McKendree University a terrific choice.

Accreditation: IACBE, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Affordable

#2 University of St. Francis College of Business and Health Administration – Joliet, Illinois

Students at the University of St. Francis’ College of Business and Health Administration can pursue an entirely online MBA program that aligns with their career and educational goals. Choose to obtain a stand-alone certificate from eight different options, an MBA in as little as a year, or a dual degree.

Joliet, Illinois is home to the College of Business and Health Administration at the University of St. Francis. With fall, spring, and summer semesters, students can obtain an online MBA in as little as 12 – 18 months. MBA’s are offered in Accounting, Finance, Health Administration, Human Resource Management, Supply Chain Management, Management, and Training and Development. Boost professional skills with certificates in one or more of the following: Accounting, Data Analytics, Finance, Online Resources Management, Logistics, Training and Development, and Training Specialist. Courses for certificates can be later applied towards an MBA. Starting an undergraduate degree online with the University of St. Francis can allow students to tap into what is known as the “3 to Degree” program. Up to nine graduate credit hours can count towards both a BBA/B.S. and an MBA or M.S. degree. This allows both degrees to be obtained within five years, saving around $7,500 in tuition costs. Offering online coursework since 1997, USF is a national leader in distance learning. Canvas software provides students the flexibility to complete coursework in a time and place convenient for them. For the standard MBA curriculum, 36 total credit hours are required, comprised of 12 hours of core courses, 12 hours of competency areas, and 12 hours of concentration courses. For those wishing to pursue a dual degree, up to 12 credit hours can be applied towards both degrees. A requisite for graduation is participation in a capstone “business simulation” model course. Business students will go up against the cream of the crop from other schools such as Notre Dame, Indiana University, DePaul, Vanderbilt, Duke, Michigan State, and several others, including international schools.

The application process is straightforward. Apply online with an application fee. Submit an essay, including official transcripts showing a minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, as well as two letters of recommendation. Demonstrate two years of full-time employment while in a management position or appropriate GMAT/GRE test scores. Students interested in a second graduate degree must submit a separate application; additional requirements may apply. This coming year, USF will celebrate its centennial. For almost 100 years, Franciscan values have inspired students in knowledge, respect, compassion, service, and leadership. Through coursework focused on theoretical and practical knowledge, top-notch faculty with expertise in their fields, as well as tremendous schedule flexibility and support, the University of St. Francis would be an excellent choice for any business professional looking to advance their skills and career.

Accreditation: ACBSP, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Average

#3 Southern Illinois University Carbondale College of Business – Carbondale, Illinois

The College of Business at the Southern Illinois University of Carbondale enables students to complete their online MBA degree in less than two years. Students may customize their degree with a concentration in Agribusiness Economics or Analytics for Mangers.

Located in Carbondale Illinois, the School of Business run out of the Southern Illinois University of Carbondale offers a 100% online MBA program that can be completed in 23-months. Tailored for the working professional, the MBA track administers AACSB accredited, dynamic curriculum that cultivates critical thinking, expands communication skills, and increases decision-making strategies. Sixteen online courses, eight-weeks in length, are structured as modular cohorts to encourage collaboration through asynchronous participation, permitting students to complete coursework on their schedule. Students take one class at a time as they complete the 48-credit hour requirements. For those wishing to customize their MBA, students have two options. SIU offers Analytics for managers or Agribusiness Economics. Southern Illinois University is one of only 10 public universities in the entire country to offer the latter as part of their MBA concentrations. Committed to preparing and enriching the leaders of tomorrow, instruction at SIU is provided by highly distinguished faculty with exceptional expertise. 

Applicants interested must submit their applications, along with a $65 non-refundable fee, via email to [email protected] A two-part application process first involves acceptance to the College of Business and then acceptance into the graduate program. A one-page, single-spaced essay answering five questions will factor into the evaluation for acceptance to the College of Business. Prospective students should submit a professional resume. Work experience is not a requirement; however, two years of full-time employment increases the chances of acceptance. A more detailed work history of all paid employment opportunities along with another essay with five more questions must be submitted for acceptance into the graduate program. Lastly, official transcripts of completed degrees or coursework from regionally accredited institutions must be provided. If the applicant has completed a masters program elsewhere or five years of work experience, they may qualify for a waiver from GMAT/GRE requirements. Interested students do not need to have previous undergraduate or advanced education in business or related disciplines. With a student body of just under 13,000, financial aid options are available for this competitive and esteemed program that comes in as above average in affordability per our methodology. AACSB International accreditation is the most prestigious level for graduate business programs. Schools with this accreditation are among the top 5% worldwide. The US News and World Report ranks Southern Illinois University as #58 in terms of prestige and quality of classes offered, making this a remarkable choice.

Accreditation: AACSB, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Above Average

#4 Olivet Nazarene University School of Graduate and Continuing Studies – Bourbonnais, Illinois

Earn a top Illinois online MBA degree in 18 – 24 months at the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Olivet Nazarene University. Join and connect with over 40,000 ONU alumni in an extensive, worldwide network of industry professionals and robust leaders.

Founded in 1907, Olivet Nazarene University is a four-year, private, not-for-profit institution located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, only 50 miles from Chicago. Receive an entirely online MBA from the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies by fulfilling the 36-credit hour requirements through either the 18-month or 24-month track. Students may also choose a blended format, taking some coursework in a traditional classroom setting. Certificates can be obtained as stand-alone or as a way to customize an MBA. Certificates are offered in Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Corporate Communications, and Healthcare Leadership. At ONU, they understand busy lives. Students are not only students, but they are also business professionals, parents, dreamers, neighbors, and doers with full lives following their passions. Flexible coursework led by cultivated and highly experienced business professionals will equip students with comprehensive core business skills needed to get to the next level. Core competencies will focus on emotional and cultural intelligence, finance, data analysis, personal transformation, global immersion, marketing and brand management, problem-solving, decision making, as well as professional communication, especially in a digital world. With 99% of the enrolled student body of just over 4,500 students receiving financial aid, ONU is a top choice for students seeking advanced education.

Applying is simple. Prospective students can fill out the online application in 10 minutes or less, including submission of a professional resume, official transcripts, and a minimum GPA of 2.5 or better. Once an application is received, an admissions counselor will be in touch to walk each applicant through the process and answer any questions. A transcription request service is provided at no charge. ONU will accept up to six transfer credits to help save time and money. Students who choose will have the opportunity to go on an optional Global Experience trip during the duration of their program.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Average

#5 Concordia University Chicago College of Business – River Forest, Illinois

A highly flexible online MBA is available at Concordia University Chicago’s College of Business. A total of 36-credit hours, not including up to four possible leveling courses, are required for a General online MBA degree.

River Forest, Illinois is home to the College of Business at Concordia University Chicago. CUC invites prospective students to “create their own story” with many different program combinations of online MBA specializations, certificates, and flexible schedule offerings. The general online MBA program requires 36-credit hours of turn-key, cohort-based core courses. Customize core courses based on career objectives to obtain a Specialized or Dual Specialization MBA degree. Specializations can be obtained in Accounting, Chief School Business Official, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Care Management, Leader and Change Management, Not-for-Profit Management, School Business Management, and Sports Management. Accounting requires additional credit hours to prepare for the CPA. Graduate certificates are offered in Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Health Care Management, Leadership and Change Management, Not-for-Profit Management, and Sports Management. Assessment tests are administered to MBA students, at no additional cost, in areas of economics, statistics, finance, and accounting. Based on the evaluations, students may need up to four additional classes known as “leveling courses” to complete their MBA. Coursework for specialization classes can be taken at any time as an online, open enrollment format. Graduate certificates require 12-credit hours and do not qualify for financial aid.

There are no application fees, nor GMAT/GRE requirements for those wishing to apply. An objective statement, official transcripts demonstrating a 2.5 or better GPA, two letters of recommendation, and a professional resume must be submitted with the online application. Program admission is permitted in one of four ways based upon GPA, prerequisites, and all required documentation: full, provisional, probationary, and pending. The pending status will allow students to register for their initial semester of classes while waiting for acceptance into the program. Established over 150 years ago, CUC provides degrees and certificates that are highly reputable. Students will complete a Signature Project as part of a business portfolio to share with current or future employers. CUC is an outstanding choice for graduate pursuits. Courses are offered with high level, individualized attention from passionate and experienced faculty, a cohort system that cultivates influential mentor and peer relationships, and tremendous schedule flexibility. Concordia-Chicago is committed to providing students with an aggressive edge for career growth. Integrating the fundamental principles known as the Four Pillars of Knowledge into their comprehensive curriculum, CUC seeks to develop the robust leadership of tomorrow in their students today.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Average

#6 Western Illinois University College of Business and Technology – Macomb, Illinois

An online MBA degree from the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University receives a methodology ranking of Very Affordable. Automatic admission is granted for applicants with a minimum 3.0 GPA and GMAT test scores of 500; however, students may apply for a GMAT waiver for case-by-case review.

The 100% online MBA program from the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University takes two years to complete. Located in Macomb, Illinois, there are no curriculum face-to-face requirements. Concentration options available online are Management and Supply Chain Management. Students opting for a hybrid format, a blend of online coursework plus face-to-face meetings every two weeks at the Quad Cities campus, have access to concentrations in Accounting, Management, Supply Chain Management, and Information Systems. Degrees require between 33 and 54 credit hours, depending on coursework already completed. Class sessions are eight-weeks long. Undergraduates from other disciplines, such as liberal arts, engineering, mathematics, and science, are encouraged to apply. WIU is a four-year, public institution with a student body right at 8,500 enrollees, and is AACSB International accredited. The curriculum is identical for classes online, on-campus, or in a hybrid configuration, allowing students to participate in different formats during the program according to their preference.

Interested applicants can apply online and submit a request for official transcripts. If prospective students meet conditions for automatic admission, they are not required to provide further documentation of work experience, qualifications, or certifications. For students not meeting automatic admission criteria, a current resume and an essay outlining educational goals, work experience, and any details to explain past performance are required. Students can apply for a GMAT requirement waiver if they can demonstrate a minimum of five years of professional experience or a graduate degree. GRE scores of at least 150 in verbal and quantitative sections will be accepted in place of GMAT test scores. Professional certifications of CPA, CFA, and Series 7 licenses will automatically qualify applicants for GMAT/GRE waivers. Utilizing MBA advisors throughout the entire program is highly encouraged, and consultation is mandatory before enrolling in classes. After completing 21 credit hours, students must review their degree program with an advisor before proceeding with more coursework. Graduation applications are required to be submitted by the student, by specified spring or fall deadlines. WIU is dedicated to “assisting those who served or are currently serving.” The Veterans Resource Center is available to guide interested students through the process of finding out about training credits, grants, and other financial aid options. Student support, schedule options, and academically-rigorous standards make Western Illinois University a Very Affordable and fantastic choice for those ready to take their careers to the next level.

Accreditation: AACSB, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Very Affordable

#7 Governors State University College of Business – University Park, Illinois

Receive an online MBA in as little as 18 months from the College of Business at Governors State University. The 36-credit hour program offers concentrations in General Management and Supply Chain Management.

Gain global knowledge of business by enrolling part-time or full-time to earn a top Illinois online MBA through Governors State University’s College of Business. University Park, Illinois is home to this 36-credit hour program with specializations available in Business Analytics, Finance, and Leadership. Students beginning undergraduate studies at GSU can take advantage of the ‘5-year MBA’ track. Choose from either a General Management or Supply Chain Management MBA concentration. Required core courses make up 24-credit hours. A master’s final project known as the capstone course titled Strategic Marketing in a Global Context counts for three credits. Specializations make up the remaining nine credit hours. Students have two options for specializations: choose from the three offered or pick from any courses within the College of Business numbered 7000 or higher for customization. All graduate programs follow a set of requirements for graduation. An optional thesis is available to outstanding students who shall complete a comprehensive analysis of a problem they choose to explore. Students opting to do a thesis need the recommendations by a minimum of two faculty members. The capstone course is mandatory, allowing students, through an in-depth case study, to demonstrate skills and understanding of the operations in a business. As part of the capstone course, students are required to take an assessment test. Up to nine credits of foundational courses in accounting, economics, and managerial statistics may be additionally required or waived, determined as a “course-by-course” basis depending upon previous academic studies. A zero-hour professional development seminar is a two-semester requirement. This course is aimed to enhance a student’s marketability and performance on the job. Candidacy must be applied for between nine and 15-credit hours completed and requires a Graduate Study Plan developed with an academic advisor.

This AACSB accredited online MBA program is geared to instruct and cultivate students for positions in leadership and significant responsibilities. The rigorous curriculum taught by highly experienced faculty will challenge and equip students seeking to expand and advance their careers. Applicants interested should fill out an online application and pay a $50 non-refundable fee. Students must hold a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and GMAT/GRE scores. Some students may qualify for test score waivers if certain conditions are met. A two-page, double-spaced essay should discuss short- and long-term career goals along with reasons for pursuing advanced education and why this particular program will help attain those aspirations. Applications are reviewed only once all supporting documentation has been submitted. Stringent standards, student support, and considerable flexibility make Governors State University a superb choice.

Accreditation: AACSB, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Very Affordable

#8 Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Business – Edwardsville, Illinois

Tuition for this entirely online MBA program is the same for in-state and out-of-state students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Students may enroll in any term and can choose an accelerated format with classes offered in seven-week, online sessions through the School of Business.

AACSB accredited since 1975 and hailing from Edwardsville, Illinois, the School of Business run out of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville offers two tracks for students seeking online MBA’s. The flexible track allows classes to be taken online or as a hybrid configuration. Hybrid courses are traditional courses meeting one evening a week with online assignments. The accelerated track is entirely online and can be completed in 12-months. Both MBA tracks require 36-credit hours comprised of 24-core courses and 12-hours of electives. Students can earn a general MBA or opt for specializations in high-demand with Management Information Systems, Management, Business Analytics, Project Management, or customize their own. SIUE faculty is deeply invested in the personal and professional growth of each student. Guided by their mission of “communicating, expanding, and integrating knowledge,” they seek to develop and enrich the students shaping the world. Through academic excellence and real-world experience, and the most up-to-date coursework, the student-centric faculty strives to deliver the best theoretical and applicable insights. The core of the MBA program covers important topics, such as Decision Making in Organizations, Accounting for MBAs, Information Systems and Technology, Managerial Economics, Corporate Finance, Quantitate Analysis, Marking Analysis and Applications for Managerial Decision Making, and Strategic Management. Students completing the program are able to find careers in middle- and upper-level professions, managerial positions, and roles within nonprofits.

A Very Affordable ranking per our methodology, accomplished faculty, and an accelerated, flexible schedule assure motivated students they are making a highly valuable decision pursuing advanced education with SIUE. Applying for graduate school requires an application and a $40 fee. Submission of postsecondary transcripts, personal history, demonstration of a 2.5 GPA, and GMAT/GRE test scores are required. Applicants who possess a Ph.D., MD, LLM, DDS, DNP, EdD or equivalent, from an accredited institution do not need to submit GMAT/GRE test scores. Other criteria may qualify students for test score waivers. Two years of work experienced is recommended for prospective students. All documentation may be mailed in or submitted online. Once students are accepted, they must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Accreditation: AACSB, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Very Affordable

#9 American InterContinental University School of Business – Schaumburg, Illinois

Open career doors by earning a top Illinois online MBA degree from the School of Business at American InterContinental University. Fashioned for 24/7 access and schedule convenience, choose from nine different specializations and complete an MBA degree in as little as 12-months.

Located in Schaumburg, Illinois, the School of Business at the American InterContinental University offer online MBA degrees that can be completed in 12-months and require 48-credit hours. Twenty-four business core classes and 24 specialization courses make up the degree program. Tailor an MBA with Accounting, Finance, Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management, Management, Marketing, Operations Management, Project Management, and Technology Management. Students can balance their busy lives by following the coursework pacing they prefer with short sessions, flexible schedules, and around-the-clock online access. Students are able to attend viral classes, utilize e-textbooks and online libraries, and receive real-time tutoring whenever needed. Many other options are available for students to make the most of their online experience. Sync classes with a mobile app, join in discussion boards, come back to recorded Live Chats for any course content missed, track progress, and connect with instructors. With around 9,000 students, AIU is ranked by US News and World Report at #215 out of all online MBA programs in the nation for quality of classes. American InterContinental University is ACBSP accredited, which stands for Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. This accreditation demonstrates a commitment to excellence in academic standards and comprehensive coursework. 

There are no fees nor GMAT/GRE test score requirements for this quick and easy online application. Students should possess a minimum GPA of 2.0 and mail official transcripts. An interview will be conducted with an AIU Admissions Advisor to help with application steps. Advisors will ask for basic personal information, the previous institution attended, and what degree program prospective students wish to pursue. Twelve credit hours from a previous accredited institution may be transferred, helping to save time and expense. Established in 1970, AIU began offering online community access in 2001 and has developed an online program that caters to the needs of its busy students. Tremendous student support is available for every step of the process, from admission to graduation and beyond, with access to advisors and a website with a wealth of information. Personalized career coaching, resume support, and a series of free career planning classes are available to all students. Alumni resources can help keep prior students connected and tap into a vast professional network of industry experts.

Accreditation: ACBSP, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Average

#10 Eastern Illinois University School of Business – Charleston, Illinois

The 100% online MBA program from the School of Business at Eastern Illinois University is cohort-based and taught by highly qualified, doctoral instructors. Eleven courses total comprised of seven business core and four concentrations makes up the 33-credit hour requirement.

Eastern Illinois University of Charleston, Illinois offers a top Illinois online MBA program from the School of Business that is entirely online. Choose an MBA with concentrations in Applied Management, Research, and Geographic Information Sciences. The four courses of another concentration, Accountancy, are only offered at the Charleston main campus. Students can obtain a dual degree with an MS in Cybersecurity along with an Applied Management MBA, earning two degrees in less time. This dual degree can be completed almost entirely online. For four of the courses, there is a two-day residential laboratory requirement. All business core classes of all MBA and dual degrees can be taken online. Those include Quantitative Modeling, Marketing Management, Financial Management, Operations Management, Management of Information Technology, and Organizational Behavior and Group Dynamics. The last core course, Management Simulation, is the capstone requirement where students will demonstrate their knowledge and skills of business operation and problem-solving. Other courses needed, such as possible prerequisites or modules, will be determined at the time of admission.

Applicants interested can apply online or with a paper application. A $30 non-refundable fee is required. EIU employees, veterans, McNair Scholars, and GN4U participants may have a fee waiver applied. Official transcripts need to be mailed in. As part of the application process, a Graduate Coordinator will facilitate an assessment that will determine, if any, Phase I coursework to be completed. Phase I courses can be taken as a full-semester course on-campus in Charleston or Champaign, by taking an equivalent at a local college or university, or by completing entirely online modules. The modules cost $350 each and are non-credit courses that deliver course material with a competency exam that must be passed with 80% or higher after three attempts. Students have 90 days from the time of purchase to complete a module. Any prerequisite course or module can be completed before admission, at the beginning of the program, or anytime during the program. Per our methodology, EIU receives an Affordable rating. Eastern Illinois University has over 7,500 enrollees and touts a student to faculty ratio of 14:1. Online students can start their programs at various entry points throughout the year, as class space and offerings are available.

Accreditation: AACSB, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Affordable

#11 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business – Champaign, Illinois

Through courses structured to curate business mastery, students can take their career to the next level with an online MBA (iMBA) from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cohort-based specialization courses bring students together from over 46 states and 90 countries, tapping into a leading-edge perspective at the forefront of global business.

Become part of a vast and global alumni network, over 58,000 from the Gies College of Business, by obtaining an entirely online MBA degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, located in Champaign, Illinois. Known as the iMBA, this online graduate program requires 18 courses totaling 72-credit hours which incorporate six chosen specializations that come together in a final capstone project. Courses are taken on-demand through the online platform, Coursera, enabling students tremendous flexibility to conduct work at their own pace. Each course has two components: the online coursework as well as an enhanced aspect allowing students to participate in additional case studies, in-depth discussion, and interface with faculty. Students must choose six of the eight offered specializations to fulfill iMBA requirements. The specializations include Strategic Leadership and Management, Managerial Economics and Business Analysis, Value Chain Management, Financial Management, Global Challenges in Business, Innovation: From Creativity to Entrepreneurship, Digital Marketing, and Business Analytics.

For students ready for this rigorous and competitive program, apply online and pay a non-refundable fee. Students must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or foreign equivalent. Students are to have a 3.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale. Three or more years of work experience, especially in a managerial or operational capacity, are expected. It is not a requirement to submit GMAT/GRE test scores; however, including them can boost an application. Students are to turn in an essay, with the topic provided on the application. Additionally, three letters of recommendation are required, one coming from a current or previous supervisor and two coming from professionals who can attest to leadership qualities and skills. Four options exist for students to get a head start and dive into advanced education to develop and hone their business skills. A student can apply straight away for the iMBA program, opt to register for a for-credit course or enroll in one of two non-credit choices. All paths are designed to give students every advantage by way of a head-start, advancing their skills, gaining certificates, or preparing for the demanding program of the iMBA. An online MBA degree from the University of Illinois is highly reputable and entails the same meticulous curriculum content and faculty instruction as its traditional counterpart. UOI ensures students are receiving a first-rate education from a prestigious institution and makes reaching for their highest career aspirations a reality.

Accreditation: AACSB, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Average

#12 Judson University – Elgin, Illinois

Complete an online MBA degree from Judson University in as little as 18-months. Designed for busy, working professionals, this 36-credit hour program is customizable with a concentration in Organizational Leadership or Not for Profit Administration.

Building upon the working knowledge of incoming students, Judson University offers an online MBA program created to develop needed leadership and communication skills for the world of business. Students can customize their MBA degree with a concentration in either Organizational Leadership or Not for Profit Administration. Located in Elgin, Illinois, about 45 miles from Chicago, and with another campus in Rockford, students can opt for traditional face-to-face classroom instruction one night a week or complete the program entirely online. Students should expect to dedicate around 15-hours a week to coursework beyond classroom time. In as little as 18-months, students can be on their way to applying their comprehensive, robust knowledge and refined skills. Twelve courses made up of 36-core hours are required. Each student will complete three credit hours in each of the following: Managerial Accounting, Financial Management, Managerial Economics, Business Analytics, Operations and Project Management, Marketing, International Business, MBA Capstone, Ethical Leadership, Leading High-Performance Teams, Organizational Culture and Politics, and Strategic Communication. Students will become part of a group of about 15 other students as they engage in discussion, practice skills, and add to their network of career contacts. Graduate students successful in the program are highly motivated and can demonstrate autonomy as well as collaboration.

Applying is easy. Applications are typically processed within 10 days of receiving all required materials. Students need to provide transcripts from an institution that holds a regional, national, professional, or specialized accreditation, and demonstrate a 3.0 GPA or higher. Applicants should submit a professional resume detailing at least two years of work experience. Two letters of recommendation are required as well as a one-page, personal essay describing the answer to, “What do you want to earn a graduate degree in Business Administration?” Judson University is a private, not-for-profit institution with right around 1,250 enrollees hailing from 30 states and 20 countries. An evangelical Christian institution, JU seeks to equip students to be responsible in their work, citizenship, and personal and professional relationships. Judson University’s online MBA program is a great choice for any prospective student, as seen in their student support and faculty that bring high-level expertise to equip students through innovation and preparation.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Average

#13 Quincy University School of Business – Quincy, Illinois

Complete an online MBA in as little as one year through the School of Business at Quincy University. Choose a General MBA degree or customize from one of three concentrations.

Located in Quincy, Illinois, the School of Business run out of Quincy University offers 100% online MBA degrees in as little as one year. Students are allotted up to five years for program completion. Students may choose a General MBA degree or customize with Health Care Administration, Organizational Leaders, or Operations Management. Each concentration can be obtained as stand-alone certificates comprised of four courses. The MBA program is a 10-course, 30-credit hour requirement with sessions lasting 10-weeks. Five core courses consisting of Corporate Investment and Financing Decisions, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, Competitive Advantage and Strategic Choice in a Global Economy, Accounting for Decision Making and Strategy Implementation, and lastly Production Strategies, Customer Relationship Management, and Outbound Logistics. The remaining courses are made up of electives and concentrations. Classes can be taken part- or full-time and are offered throughout four semesters: spring, summer, fall, and winter. The MBA program can be finished entirely online. For students opting for a traditional path, classes meet once a week, on-campus for three and a half hours. An MBA can prepare students for mid- and upper-level managerial professions within a wide range of organizations. For undergraduate students who do not possess a business degree, QU offers an “MBA Pathway” that allows students to take any prerequisites courses in conjunction with their program. With an accelerated online MBA program, schedule flexibility, and industry expert faculty, Quincy University is an advantageous choice for advanced educational pursuits.

The $25 application fee is waived if interested students apply online. Official transcripts can be mailed in or submitted online through programs such as Naviance, Parchment, and Common App. Applicants should submit two letters of recommendation, a professional resume, and a 300-500 word autobiographical essay detailing work history and professional goals. Once all materials are received, applicants should expect a decision within one to two weeks. A $200 enrollment fee can reserve a student’s space in the upcoming session. Financial aid options are available, and students are encouraged to make an appointment with an academic advisor for guidance on course registration and as well as other questions. Founded in 1860 and offering MBA’s since 1984, Quincy University is a private, not-for-profit, Catholic Franciscan University with just around 1000 students.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Affordable

#14 Greenville University Briner School of Business – Greenville, Illinois

Obtain an online MBA from the Briner School of Business at Greenville University in less than two years. Students can operate at their own pace to complete the 40-credit hours in program requirements.

Greenville University offers an entirely online MBA degree from the Briner School of Business. Twelve courses at three credit hours each and one capstone class at four credit hours make up the 40 total credit hours required for degree completion. The capstone course is 16-weeks while all other courses are eight-weeks in length. The capstone course will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and aptitude in management theory along with a chosen emphasis and should include faith integration. The courses for the MBA program include topics in Human Resource Strategies, Organization Theory and Practice, Values Based Leadership, Legal and Ethical Environments, Project Management, International Business and Global Strategies, Economic Thinking for Managers, and Strategic Marketing Management. Greenville University is a Christian institution committed to developing students who will cultivate and utilize their expertise and faith in their professional pursuits. Briner School of Business is ardent in providing a state-of-the-art education while focusing on personal and professional development. Any student pursuing an online MBA would highly benefit from the advanced education they received at GU.  

Students interested are required to submit a program application. Applicants must demonstrate a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale in the final 60-hours of undergraduate studies. Applicants should also be employed or in a volunteer position with substantial responsibility for successful completion of the capstone project. A current resume and an essay can be mailed in along with official transcripts or emailed separately to [email protected] The prospective student’s essay shall be 1,000-1,500 words that detail the answers to the following three parts: “Describe a difficult situation you have faced and how you used your strengths and expertise to succeed in spite of the challenge. What did you learn from the experience? How has what you learned shaped your current thinking, behavior, and goals?” GU approaches advanced education through a holistic lens and takes into account multiple criteria for each applicant. The Briner School of Business (BAB) MBA Admissions Committee makes the final determination of acceptance for all applicants. Additionally, the BAB Committee may take into account if students have previously earned a master’s degree, possesses sufficient GMAT/GRE test scores, acquired a “B” grade or better in Accounting, Finance, Statistics, and/or Economics, can demonstrate quantitative and qualitative strengths, or show a minimum of two years of considerable leadership experience.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Affordable

#15 Lewis University College of Business – Romeoville, Illinois

Students have the option of 11 different concentrations when they earn an online MBA from the College of Business at Lewis University. Depending on the program, between 36 – 54 credit hours may be required.

Lewis University is located in Romeoville, Illinois, and is home to the College of Business where students can earn an entirely online MBA degree. Program courses are eight-weeks in length and are offered five times each year throughout spring, summer, and fall sessions and are tailored for the busy professional balancing many commitments. In addition to online, students may opt for a blended format and take traditional courses on-campus or at the Oak Brook and Tinley Park satellite locations. Students should anticipate two to three hours of homework for each hour of class time. Full-time status is given when students are taking nine-credit hours at a time. Students working full-time are recommended to only take one course for each eight-week session for a total of six-credit hours each semester. There are four Phases to complete for the graduation coursework requirements. Phase I involves taking foundation courses. Students might be able to obtain waivers for up to seven foundational classes if they completed them during their undergraduate studies. Students that did not take foundational courses previously, but possess strong backgrounds, can attempt a proficiency exam. Those students passing with 75% or better will receive a waiver. Phase II is comprised of taking the core business courses totaling 24-credit hours. Phase III is when students focus on their concentrations, which require nine-credit hours for each. Phase IV covers elective coursework. The elective requirement is three-credit hours and can come from any concentration course or three separate one-credit hour graduate seminars. There are two dual degree options allowing students to complete two graduate degrees in less time. Option one is an MBA in addition to a Master of Science in Information Security (MSIS). Option two is an MBA, along with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

In order to apply, students must fill out an online application, including a non-refundable fee. Admission is rolling, and students may apply and start at any time throughout the year. Official transcripts of a previously earned bachelor’s degree showing a minimum 3.0 GPA and GMAT of 550 or higher is required. Students should also submit a current resume and two letters of recommendation that can come from past professors or professional associations. A Statement of Purpose, double-spaced and two to three pages in length should detail personal and professional goals and the reasons for choosing a Lewis University graduate program. Students are accepted as Degree-Seeking, Provisional, or Visiting. The provisional acceptance is for students who do not meet the minimum 3.0 GPA. They must achieve a 3.33 GPA after the first three courses to remain in the program.

Accreditation: ACBSP, Higher Learning Commission
Affordability Score: Average

Living In Illinois

The soft rolling landscape of the Prairie State is home to just under 13 million people with a notable 9.5 million living in the Chicago metropolises, also known as Chicagoland. Within the last ten years, there has been a population growth of 0.9%. Another moniker, the Land of Lincoln, honors the state where the esteemed sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, began his career. The eighteenth President Ulysses S. Grant and the forty-fourth President Barack Hussein Obama II also started their political careers in the state. Only the fortieth president, Ronald Reagan, was born within Illinois in the city of Tampico. Chicago is home to the famed Wrigley Field Stadium, the stunning architecture of the Magnificent Mile, and the captivating Museum of Science and Industry. 

Illinois touts the fifth largest GDP in the US with the booming Chicagoland metropolitan area contributing $680 to the $822.54 billion annually. Illinois also boasts a venture capital investment of $21.90 per $1,000 of GDP, contrasted with the $6.77 national average. The US News and World Report ranks Illinois as #17 in terms of affordability. While the convenience of online education is significant with respect to tremendous schedule and location flexibility, living in Illinois can be advantageous. Utilizing satellite locations, or engaging in blended or hybrid formats, as well as less expensive in-state tuition are attractive benefits. The average income and median household income are both higher than the national averages. Those in management have salaries almost $6,000 greater, and those in business, as well as financial positions, are $5,000 more. The average cost of a home is $180,300, with appreciation up 4.6% in the last 12-months. Illinois has experienced a job market increase by 0.6% over the previous decade, and future job growth is predicted to be 26.5 % over the next ten years. Public school expenditure is $14,281 per student, almost $2,000 more than the national average, and enjoys a teacher to student ratio of 14:1. Illinoisans experience lower costs of groceries, healthcare, and utilities than the national averages. The US News and World Report ranks Illinois as an appealing #15 out of all the states for the overall business environment. The criterion for this category takes into account venture capital investment, tax burden, and the ability for innovators, entrepreneurs, and inventors to thrive and contribute to the state’s overall economy. A remarkable 400 corporate headquarters of major businesses call Chicagoland home. 

Employment In Illinois

Illinois, behind only California, Texas, and Ohio is the fourth most productive manufacturing state and has the nineteenth largest economy in the world. The employment-population contributing to the array of industry services housed within the state is around 6.5 million people. The largest companies in Illinois are McDonald’s, headquartered in Oak Brook, employing 375,000 and Walgreens, located in Deerfield, with 253,400 employees. The major industries in Illinois are advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, financial services, life sciences, and alternative energies. 

Low energy costs and deregulation, along with a nationally centralized with major freight and passenger transportation, contribute to the flourishing manufacturing industry. Over 10% of the state’s workforce, included by giants such as Boeing, Caterpillar, Tenneco, and John Deere, are employed in advanced manufacturing positions. Illinois is also home to the fourth-largest automotive employment region within the US. The food processing and agribusiness sector are the top producers of dairy and poultry products, soybeans, corn, and livestock. Seventy-six percent of Illinois’ 57,914 square miles are covered by 72,000 farms. Unparalleled knowledge keeps Illinois at #1 in rank with over $180 billion in processed food sales. With Chicago housing the second largest sector of processing companies in the entire nation, employers such as Conagra Brands, ADM, MondelAz International, and TreeHouse currently employ over 162,000 combined.

The financial services market is world-renowned. Alongside top global international exchanges and rapidly growing start-ups, Illinois is at the forefront of financial services. Over $1.7 billion in venture capital with 143 different companies receiving funding have gone towards web and mobile innovation. Allstate, Discover, State Farm, and Northern Trust are just some of the financial service companies serving the entire state and the rest of the world. Illinois is home to more than 100 of the top biopharmaceutical corporations. Research giants Argonne National Laboratory and FermiLab are leading the market in biotechnology, medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals, along with other life science companies such as AbbVie, Abbot, Baxter International, and Medline Industries. A 24-acre compound dedicated to research and partnership is leading the way as one of the largest medical metropolitan districts in the entire US. The clean energy industry is at the leading edge of the American sector. Wind, solar, organic waste biomass, landfill gas, biodiesel, hydropower, and anaerobic digestion are only some of the renewal resources being researched, invested in, and offered as electrical, cost-saving alternatives. Other recognizable companies from across all industries are United Airlines, Hyatt, Grainger, Aldi, and Koch Foods. 

Business School in Illinois

Advanced education through an online MBA or professional certificates can enable those motivated to start new companies, change the trajectories of their careers, and reach for their highest ambitions. MBA degreed professionals go on to hold positions as business managers, chief executive officers, executive recruiters, financial managers, human resource directors, product managers, and management consultants. The asset and enormous convenience of an online education can open doors and take your career to the next level. Degrees and certificates from the schools listed in this top #15 Best Illinois Online MBA ranking all come from outstanding and highly reputable institutions. Each holds prestigious regional and business school accreditation with one or more of the following: IACBE and ACBSP, as well as the coveted AACSB-International. These accreditations ensure that rigorous, challenging academic standards are met, which will equip students with the skills and expertise they need to succeed and achieve their dreams.

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