With 300 miles of scenic coastline, North Carolina is a popular travel destination, but the Tar Heel State is also a prime place to start a life. Raleigh-Durham was recently named by U.S. News & World Report as the 13th best place to live in the United States. Charlotte was ranked 22nd, ahead of Boston, MA.

North Carolina is home to one of the nation’s oldest public universities. The state also boasts 36 regionally-accredited private, liberal arts, research colleges and universities. North Carolina includes 14 Fortune 500 and 26 Fortune 1000 companies that have a headquarter in the state. These companies provide many job opportunities for online MBA graduates.

North Carolina’s public university system is comprised of 16 university campuses and one high school for gifted students. The state is also home to private, research institutions like Duke University and Davidson College.

When deciding on a business school, several factors must be considered: curriculum, location, overall cost, GMAT requirements, and accreditation. Some schools may waive the GMAT for students who meet certain requirements. NC State encourages candidates to apply for a waiver if their CGPA is 3.6 or higher, they already hold a graduate degree, or have military experience.

North Carolina online MBA programs, which typically take two to six years to complete, prepare graduates for leadership roles. It’s common for in-state students to receive a discounted tuition. Out-of-state students pay, on average, four times more than NC residents at state colleges.

Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education
Percentage of students enrolled at Title IV institutions in North Carolina, by distance education enrollment status, Fall 2012

MBA Concentrations for North Carolina Students

In addition to choosing between the best online MBA programs in North Carolina, business students need to decide on a degree focus. MBA candidates should pay attention to market trends and industry shifts when choosing a concentration. North Carolina’s strongest sectors for the past three years have been professional and business services, like trade, transportation, and utilities. Concentrations that focus on manufacturing supply chain, financial services, and retail trade would be most beneficial to North Carolina MBA students.

 

  • Supply Chain Management: Manage and reconfigure supply chains to help improve productivity and boost the efficiency of operations. Graduates are prepared for careers as purchasing managers, logistics managers, and consultants, with potential for executive roles.
  • Marketing: Graduates use market research to support and positively brand an organization. Students gain the skills and knowledge for careers as brand managers, product managers, and marketing directors.

Accreditation in North Carolina

Students looking at online MBA programs in North Carolina should make sure that the colleges they apply to have obtained regional accreditation. This ensures that learners earn a degree that companies will recognize.

Regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious than national accreditation; it is reserved for academic, nonprofit institutions, while national accreditation is granted to for-profit schools. There are six regional accrediting bodies in the U.S., which the Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize. MBA candidates weighing the pros and cons of online MBA programs in North Carolina should also check for AACSB accreditation.

According to the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management, the state’s economy is approaching pre-recession employment levels. The strongest sector, professional and business services, had a payroll employment increase of 26.1% from December 2015 to December 2016.

Companies with headquarters in the state include Bank of America, Lowe’s, Duke Energy, and Hanes. MBA graduates are prepared for management roles within these companies. Profitable North Carolina companies are found in the metropolitan areas of Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro. Graduates have similar earnings in these areas given the state’s low cost of living.

Top Employers in North Carolina

Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
Lowe’s Retail Mooresville 290,000+
Bank of America Financial Services Charlotte 208,000

Graduates of North Carolina online MBA programs should begin their job search in metro areas, where the highest concentration of MBA-related positions are. Companies are looking for talent that can help them continue to grow, and MBA graduates have the skills, ideas, and drive to manifest that success.

According to findings from the College Board’s Education Pays triennial report, obtaining a college degree can help graduates obtain higher salaries. Jennifer Ma, senior policy research scientist at College Board, explains that by age 34, the average bachelor’s degree holder will have recovered from the costs of going to college.

Comparing the average salary of workers with associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees shows that earning potential increases as educational level increases, according to Payscale. While a master’s degree holder makes about $25,000 more than someone with a two-year degree, a person with an MBA in finance makes, on average, about double what an AAS degree-holder earns.

Average Salary by Degree
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Careers for MBAs in North Carolina

Marketing Manager

With retail being a major sector in North Carolina, there is a need for campaign planning and effective marketing of products and services. An online MBA in North Carolina program prepares graduates to help local companies in their advertising efforts. The BLS projects that marketing manager positions will increase by 9% in the next 10 years.

Purchasing Director

MBA graduates with the skills and knowledge of logistics and trade are in high demand as companies look to increase efficiency in their supply chain. Paths to becoming a purchasing director often start in supply chain management.

Financial Manager

Financial managers advise organizations on ways to improve financial health and create workable budgets. The BLS projects a job growth rate of 19% for financial manager positions and notes that most have at least five years of experience as an accountant, securities agent, or budget analyst.

Construction Manager

Demand for new homes in North Carolina’s metro areas is expected to sustain the state’s construction industry, according to NC OSBM. The BLS projects management positions to increase by 11% between 2016 and 2026.

As North Carolina’s economy grows, so too will the need for enterprising, business-savvy thinkers who can effectively lead an organization. The following list represents popular North Carolina online MBA programs.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Appalachian State University

Location Boone, NC Tuition Tuition $15,912 % Receiving Financial Aid 47% Student Population 18,295 School Type Public

Appalachian State offers an online MBA degree through its full-time program in Boone and part-time programs in two locations. Students may concentrate in business analytics, economics, human resources, interdisciplinary business, international business, supply chain management, or sustainable business. Full-time learners can complete the program in as few as 12 months, and part-time learners finish in two years. Not all courses are available online; students should check with an admissions adviser when creating their degree plan.

To apply, prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and submit their GRE or GMAT scores. Candidates also must present evidence of knowledge in accounting, corporate finance, economics, marketing, organizational behavior, and statistics. All students have access to academic advising and help securing internships through the Walker College of Business.

This 36-credit North Carolina online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


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Campbell University

Location Buies Creek, NC Tuition Tuition $27,380 % Receiving Financial Aid 75% Student Population 6,484 School Type Private

Campbell University's online MBA program features courses that last eight weeks, with accelerated options available for those who want to finish within one year. Students who wish to attend part-time must complete coursework within 60 months. Core courses in the MBA program include advanced negotiation, project management, human resource management, and marketing research. The school offers concentrations in financial services and healthcare management. All students complete a 200-hour work experience through an internship or professional employment.

Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a minimum 2.8 undergraduate GPA. They also must score at least 450 on the GMAT or 298 on the GRE General Test. Additionally, the program requires incoming students to possess at least two years of professional experience.

Campbell's Lundy-Fetterman School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.


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East Carolina University

Location Greenville, NC Tuition Tuition $12,342 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 28,289 School Type Public

Located in Greenville, East Carolina University delivers an online MBA program that features a hands-on format, with students taking part in projects in order to develop a firm understanding of how concepts learned in class apply to the business world. Of the program's 33-54 credits, seven foundational courses and eight "common body of knowledge courses" prepare the next generation of business leaders. Students also take three elective classes customized to their interests and career goals.

This North Carolina online MBA requires all incoming students to have a minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA and a score of at least 450 on the GMAT. Those who fall short of these requirements may still secure admission, but they will need to meet strict GPA requirements as they progress through the program.

ECU's online MBA is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.


Concentrations
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Fayetteville State University

Location Fayetteville, NC Tuition Tuition $7,813 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 6,104 School Type Public

Fayetteville State University students interested in pursuing an MBA may take classes through UNC Online, a statewide network of online courses. For this degree, students may concentrate in entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare management, international business, management, marketing, or project management.

Once enrolled in this North Carolina online MBA, students take nine core courses and three to four electives focused on their interests and career goals. Learners also also complete a capstone project, where they implement concepts learned throughout the program. Most students graduate in one to two years.

Eligible applicants to FSU's online MBA program must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA. They also must score at least 400 on the GMAT. Those who don't meet these requirements may take up to four classes to demonstrate their ability to succeed in an MBA program. Applicants also must provide two letters of recommendation.


Concentrations
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Gardner-Webb University

Location Boiling Springs, NC Tuition Tuition $19,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 40% Student Population 4,329 School Type Private

Located in Boiling Springs, Gardner-Webb offers an online MBA program that emphasizes leadership, preparing students for a variety of careers in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. The program includes 30 credits of core courses in accounting, finance, logistics, marketing, and administration, along with six credits of electives. Students also must complete a capstone course focused on strategic management.

Once enrolled, students may select from concentrations in 12 areas, including forensic accounting, healthcare management, human resource management, international business, information systems management, and sports management. While students may take classes online, the program offers some in-person and hybrid courses.

The North Carolina online MBA program requires all incoming students to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution with a minimum 2.25 undergraduate GPA. Applicants also provide their GRE or GMAT scores, a professional resume, and two recommendation letters.


Concentrations
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Montreat College

Location Montreat, NC Tuition Tuition $21,930 % Receiving Financial Aid 78% Student Population 1,008 School Type Private

Through its School of Adult & Graduate Studies, Montreat College offers an online MBA that prepares students with the skills and knowledge they need to serve as effective business leaders. The 30-credit program enables students to concentrate their studies in innovation and entrepreneurship or cybersecurity management. The curriculum also builds communication and critical thinking skills.

Montreat's admission process requires two letters of recommendation; official GMAT scores; a current resume; and the completion of a graduate course in accounting, economics, finance, or statistics. Applicants also must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75.

Enrolled students engage in a variety of academic experiences, including courses in quality operations, leadership and communication, financial management, marketing strategy, and applied economics. In addition to distance learning, the MBA program offers in-person courses at the school’s Asheville and Charlotte campuses.


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North Carolina State University

Location Raleigh, NC Tuition Tuition $44,920 % Receiving Financial Aid 42% Student Population 34,015 School Type Public

North Carolina State's Jenkins professional online MBA program allows students to access all learning content through its WolfWare platform. The platform gives learners opportunities to interact with instructors and their peers in ways similar to a traditional classroom. The program offers both accelerated and flexible options, enabling students to complete their requirements in as few as 21 months or as many as six years.

While most classes take place online, the 40-credit North Carolina online MBA requires students to attend two, three-day residencies at the school's main campus in Raleigh. Distance learners have access to various resources, including a career management center, technical support, and a digital library.

Prerequisites for admission to NC State's online MBA include a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, two years of professional experience, and a C grade or higher in a qualifying statistics course. Applicants also must provide their GRE or GMAT scores, a resume, and evidence of leadership and teamwork skills.


Concentrations
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Pfeiffer University

Location Misenheimer, NC Tuition Tuition $23,580 % Receiving Financial Aid 75% Student Population 1,624 School Type Private

Pfeiffer University's 36-credit online MBA allows full-time students to complete their degree in less than two years. The program's core courses focus on economics, organizational communication, managerial accounting, and strategic management. Students may concentrate in human resources management, international studies, leadership, or financial fraud investigations. In addition to the distance learning format, the program offers study abroad opportunities in Canada and Europe.

Eligible applicants to Pfeiffer's online MBA must possess a bachelor's degree from a four-year postsecondary institution and satisfactory GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores. Candidates also must submit three letters of recommendation. Prerequisites include coursework or demonstrated knowledge in accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics, math, and statistics. Pfeiffer's MBA students may also seek a joint master's degree in strategic leadership or health administration.

This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.


Concentrations
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Queens University of Charlotte

Location Charlotte, NC Tuition Tuition $39,780 % Receiving Financial Aid 65% Student Population 2,286 School Type Private

Queens University of Charlotte's 45-credit, 100% online MBA program allows students to concentrate in executive coaching, finance, healthcare management, or leadership and change. Most learners can graduate within two years, although students learn at their own pace based on their needs and schedule.

Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, this online MBA features core courses in leadership development, managerial accounting, marketing management, and strategic planning. Students may opt for an independent study experience during which they tackle a real-world challenge and develop a solution through a self-guided project.

To apply to this program at Queens University of Charlotte, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Those who do not meet this GPA requirement may still qualify for admission, but must submit their GRE or GMAT scores. Applicants also provide two reference letters, two personal essays, and a resume.


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University of Mount Olive

Location Mount Olive, NC Tuition Tuition $20,520 % Receiving Financial Aid 74% Student Population 3,371 School Type Private

The University of Mount Olive offers a 100% online MBA that features three start dates each year. The accelerated format uses seven-week course terms. An asynchronous schedule means students do not need to log into the online platform at specific times, an ideal format for working professionals. Once enrolled, students take courses in logistics, business planning, business law, managerial decision-making, and leadership and organizational behavior.

Admission requirements for this MBA program include a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Those who fall below this level may still apply by submitting a 500-word personal essay and a resume reflecting at least five years of relevant experience.

The UMO online MBA program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.


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University of North Carolina

Location Chapel Hill, NC Tuition Tuition $114,078 % Receiving Financial Aid 32% Student Population 29,084 School Type Public

The University of North Carolina's online MBA program features concentrations in data analytics and decision-making, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and strategy and consulting. Students may start the program at four points during the year. Through Global Immersions, MBA students may travel to cities worldwide to engage in weekend-long educational experiences, learning directly from diverse business managers and leaders while experiencing new cultures. Many students can complete the program in 18 months or less.

To apply to this MBA program, prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. They also must provide two letters of recommendation, three personal essays, and their official GRE or GMAT scores. After an initial round of reviewing applications, program staff conduct webcam interviews with those under consideration.

Kenan-Flagler Business School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Concentrations
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University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Location Pembroke, NC Tuition Tuition $8,306 % Receiving Financial Aid 67% Student Population 6,441 School Type Public

University of North Carolina at Pembroke offers an accelerated online MBA program that allows students to graduate in as little as a year. The school offers a general MBA and concentrations in supply chain management, financial services, and business analytics. One of the program's most valuable electives gives students an in-depth look at tax laws and regulations, as well as how they affect business leaders and entrepreneurs when they plan and implement strategies. MBA students at UNC Pembroke may attend part- or full-time.

UNC Pembroke's prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. Those with undergraduate GPAs above 3.0 do not need to submit GRE scores.

All UNC Pembroke business programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Concentrations
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There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in North Carolina. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school’s business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school’s website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.