Online MBA Programs for International Students

For international students, pursuing an MBA has become quite a popular choice. In today’s modern world, education has been revolutionized by technology and online master of business administration programs have recently emerged as convenient and flexible options for prospective business professionals looking to balance their education with professional and personal commitments.

For international students interested in business education, the United States offers a host of educational opportunities. It hosts over one million international students every year and over 5 percent of all students enrolled in the higher education programs in the United States are from other countries. Moreover, in 2021, the US News & World Report reported that the U.S. Department of Education lists nearly 4,000 degree-granting academic institutions. So, the opportunities are endless.

Notably, some of the top institutions of the world are in the United States. It houses more than 29 percent of the world’s top 500 universities. Working international students with families, careers, and many such responsibilities specifically aim for online MBA degree programs. Distance learners enrolled in an online MBA can complete coursework according to their schedule and balance their professional and personal obligations.

This guide explores the best online MBA programs that foster cultural diversity, offer an immersive learning experience, and equip graduates with the knowledge and skills required for excelling in the international business landscape.

Key Reasons Why International Students Should Consider Earning an Online MBA

Online MBA programs are ideal for working individuals with families, careers, and other responsibilities. There are several reasons why distance learners must choose an online MBA program. Some of them include:

  • Flexibility: International students are provided with the much-needed flexibility in online MBA programs compared to full-time on-campus, traditional programs. Flexibility in online programs allows students to choose schools without geographical limitations. Students can work in the morning or at night or finish their coursework on weekends.
  • Networking: As online MBA programs have students from various locations and backgrounds, students enrolled in such programs have access to a broad network of professionals. Interaction with other active professionals from around the world can enhance networking opportunities.
  • Customized Course Load: Distance learners should be able to decide how many classes they wish to take each term and move through the program at their own pace.

Admission Requirements for International Students Pursuing an Online MBA

Applicants to online MBA programs must be bachelor’s degree holders with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. The minimum GPA requirements vary from school to school. Moreover, international applicants should ensure their bachelor’s degrees are equivalent to a U.S. undergraduate degree.

Notably, international candidates whose native language is not English should provide proof of English language proficiency through test scores such as TOEFL or IELTS. Some programs may require scores above the general requirement.

International students must also submit their official college transcripts and pay the required application fees.

Visa Requirements for International Students

For students enrolled in full-time online MBA programs, student visas do not apply. However, some programs may require a short-term residency requirement as part of the curriculum. When this on-campus attendance is required, student visas do apply. Currently, there are two nonimmigrant visa categories for individuals wishing to study in the United States, commonly known as the F and M visas.

The F1 category allows candidates to enter the United States as full-time students. Candidates must be enrolled in a course of study or a program that culminates in a diploma, certificate, or degree and their school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.

The M-1 visa category includes applicants in vocational or other nonacademic programs other than language training.

After graduating from hybrid MBA programs, international applicants are eligible for OTP (optional practical training), which is a twelve-month period in which they can stay on and work in the US. During their OPT, candidates can apply for an H-1B visa, a nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. Applying for an H-1B visa requires candidates to have an employer sponsor.

Featured Online MBA Programs for International Students

Lamar University

Lamar University’s College of Business offers an AACSB-accredited online master of business administration program. In addition to the general online MBA, this program has several concentration options in accounting, business analytics, construction project management, criminal justice management, enterprise resource planning, financial management, healthcare administration, leadership, management, management information systems, and marketing.

Providing students with a comprehensive business education, the general online MBA program that includes core accounting and managerial finance knowledge, as well as strategic management, marketing, international management, and economics courses. Electives include employment law; concepts and applications for new ventures; personal leadership; human resources management; business intelligence; and digital marketing. The program comprises 30 credits.

Applicants to the program must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a minimum 2.5 GPA. A GPA of 2.5 or higher waives the GMAT/GRE requirement. Those with non-business undergraduate degrees may be required to take two leveling courses in financial accounting and foundations of finance.

All international applicants will be required to take the business communication course as well as an English proficiency exam prior to admission. Applicants who score 7.0 or higher on the IELTS, or the equivalent score on the TOEFL, will be waived from the business communication course.

  • Location: Beaumont, TX
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $438 per credit

Purdue Global

Purdue Global’s online MBA is designed to provide working professionals with the real-world tools needed for pursuing management and leadership positions in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Graduates can manage relationships across cultures, grow businesses in emerging world markets, and understand global issues. This online curriculum has been developed by a select panel of global business professionals, featuring international business case studies and unique examples.

Made up of 60 credits, the program includes courses such as business perspectives; business analytics; financial accounting principles and analysis; measurement and decision making; strategic human resource management; marketing management; economics for global decision makers; designing, improving, and implementing processes; managing the value chain; and ethics in business and society.

In addition to the core requirements, students can add an optional concentration to their degree plan. This will increase the program to 76 credits. Concentrations are available in global business; finance; human resources; healthcare management; marketing; project management; or information technology.

Applicants to the program must hold a bachelor’s degree and provide an official transcript showing their bachelor’s degree completion from an accredited institution. International applicants who have not completed high school in English will be required to submit proof of English language proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS test scores. Notably, international students outside the United States are eligible for a 25 percent tuition reduction.

  • Location: West Lafayette, IN
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Please click the school name above to view tuition details

Walden University

Walden University’s online MBA program prepares students to be socially minded, high-impact change agents in business settings. Preparing students to become capable, socially conscious, and confident business leaders, this online program goes beyond practical knowledge to help students master the intangible soft skills essential to their growth. In addition to the general MBA program, students can choose specialization options in healthcare management, human resource management, or a self-designed specialization.

The program has two track options: a standard track that delivers one course at a time in eight-week terms and allows students to take two courses per academic semester as well as a one-year fast-track option that allows students to double up on courses and complete their online MBA in just one year.

The 30-credit program includes courses such as business essentials; managing people and promoting collaboration; improving business performance; accounting for management decision making; marketing for competitiveness; managerial finance; healthcare financial management and economics; individual and organizational performance management; and law, ethics, and policy in healthcare administration.

Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree and submit a completed online application and transcripts from colleges and universities attended. International applicants must provide proof of English language proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS test scores. International applicants must also have their transcript evaluated to determine the academic equivalency to U.S. educational standards.

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 20 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Please click the school name above to view tuition details

Butler University

Butler University’s online MBA program equips students with the business expertise to advance into leadership roles. Merging practice and theory in a student-focused learning environment, the program’s curriculum helps students expand their professional network through live classes while also allowing them to work full-time as they learn.

This 38-credit program includes courses such as legal and ethical operation of business; managerial accounting; managerial economics; financial management; marketing management and research methods; introduction to operations and supply chain; entrepreneurial finance; and global business experience.

Notably, the program also includes an 8-credit entrepreneurship and innovation concentration that includes courses such as perspectives on leadership; entrepreneurial finance; global business experience; and new product development.

Applicants to the program must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution or the international equivalent before enrollment at the graduate level. Application requirements include a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and a current resume. GMAT or GRE scores are not required for admission.

International applicants must additionally provide proof of English proficiency through TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB test scores and a clear copy of their passport.

  • Location: Indianapolis, IN
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $950 per credit

Calvin University

Calvin University offers an online MBA program that prepares graduates to impact their industry as leaders as they integrate their faith and think deeply about business decisions. Founded on Christian values, the program’s curriculum delivers practical skills for real-world business issues. The program also offers two optional concentration options: nonprofit management and business analytics. These concentrations are designed to elevate students’ professional expertise and give them a competitive edge as they advance their careers.

Comprising 36 credits, the program includes courses such as statistical analysis; marketing concepts; accounting; corporate finance; leadership: service, influence and transformation; leading groups and teams; leading organizations: structure, culture, and change; responsible leadership; strategic management; predictive analytics; and designing an effective nonprofit organization.

Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, official transcripts from each institution attended, GMAT or GRE scores (not required if transcript demonstrates a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0), and a personal statement. International students must additionally submit TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo scores.

  • Location: Grand Rapids, MI
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $660 per credit

Capella University

Capella University offers an online master of business administration program with concentration options. Each specialization combines expert guidance and in-depth coursework, helping students develop critical knowledge and skills in their chosen business area. Specialization options include a self-designed MBA concentration, as well as a healthcare management, human resource management, and project management concentration.

The curriculum includes coursework in: MBA leadership; applied business analytics; leading global and diverse cultures; digital marketing; new ventures and entrepreneurship; decision-making in the health care system; strategic human resource management; and project management, planning, execution, and control.

Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, or from an internationally recognized institution. They must also submit official transcripts, with a minimum grade point average of 2.3 or higher and a valid, government-issued form of photo identification. GRE and GMAT are not required for admission.

International students must submit a minimum score on an acceptable test for proof of English proficiency and a transcript evaluation.

Notably, Capella University online MBA can also be completed in a FlexPath format. This self-paced learning format allows students to be in control and take courses at their own speed, moving on to the next course whenever they’re ready.

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Carlow University

Carlow University’s flexible online MBA program provides students with five in-demand specialization options in project management; healthcare; fraud and forensics; human resources management; and leadership and management. This IACBE-accredited program provides graduates with the comprehensive knowledge and skills necessary for success in various business areas.

This 36-credit online MBA program consists of 12 eight-week courses that offer the ultimate flexibility. The curriculum includes courses such as advances in IT management; strategic analysis; decision making; management organization & change; marketing management; business analytics; financial analysis and planning; fraud prevention and ethics; healthcare ethics and policy; strategic human resources management; and leadership styles.

Admission requirements to the program include a completed online application, a bachelor’s degree, a GPA of 3.0, official copies of all undergraduate and graduate college transcripts, a personal essay, a current resume, and two recommendation letters.

In addition to the above requirements, international applicants must submit SAT, ACT, TOEFL, or IELTS scores to verify English proficiency, an official transcript evaluation, a copy of their passport, and a notarized affidavit of support form.

  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE); International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $675 per credit

Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers an online MBA program that helps students in developing their effectiveness, knowledge, and leadership abilities. Centered on experience-powered learning, the program’ advanced design focuses on both the growing business social responsibility and the pressing competitive challenges in a changing world.

The program’s 50-credit curriculum is divided into two segments: 21 credits of core courses and 29 credits of electives. Optional focus area options are available in business analytics; innovation and entrepreneurship; and finance.

The curriculum includes courses such as analyzing accounting data for strategic decision making; experiential business decision making; financial management; managing the organization; innovation driven strategy; customer value and the enterprise; managing operations and the supply chain; strategic planning for the future; and experiential business decision making.

Admission requirements include a completed online application form, two years of work experience after earning an undergraduate degree, transcripts showcasing all completed coursework, grades, and GPA, a statement of purpose, two letters of professional recommendation, and a current resume.

In addition to these, international applicants who did not earn their undergraduate degrees at an English-speaking institution, or who have not worked in an English-speaking environment for several years must demonstrate written and verbal English proficiency through test scores in TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. The transcripts provided by international applicants must be in English.

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $900 per credit

University of Arizona Global Campus

The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management offers an online MBA program providing students with the required skills needed for solving real-world problems and effectively communicating their solutions to a diverse group of stakeholders. The program has concentration options available in marketing; finance; management; entrepreneurship; privacy & security; and healthcare.

Students in this program will be required to complete 45 credits of coursework to earn their MBA and can complete the program in 14 months to four years. The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to financial accounting; introduction to managerial accounting; communications management; economics for managers; business strategy; managing ethics in organizations; operations management; and strategic management of information systems.

Applicants must have at least three years of professional work experience and a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 for admission. GRE or GMAT scores are optional and application requirements include completing the GradApp application, uploading a current resume, transcripts from all universities and colleges attended, three professional recommendations, and a statement of purpose for admission consideration. International applicants must submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 14 to 30 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,250 per credit

Washington State University

Washington State University’s Carson College of Business offers an online MBA program that helps students improve their capacity for problem-solving, confident decision-making, and critical thinking. Under world-class educators’ guidance, graduates can build actionable business intelligence and benefit from personalized support. With recorded or live sessions available, courses are seven weeks long and can be completed in 22 to 29 months. Moreover, students in this program can take their online coursework abroad during the optional international business trip.

In addition to the general track, the program has four concentration options: finance; international business; hospitality and tourism; and marketing. Each concentration is also available as a standalone, nine-credit MBA certificate program. The curriculum comprises 36 credits and includes courses such as accounting, performance measurement and controls; financial management; business analytics: transforming data into decisions; strategy formulation and organizational design; managerial leadership and productivity; marketing strategy; and information systems management.

Admission requirements to the program include an official application, Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts; a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a current resume, one letter of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GMAT or GRE scores (waivers available).

International students must send all international transcripts to World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) for evaluation. Additionally, they must submit TOEFL or PTE test scores showcasing proof of English language proficiency.

  • Location: Pullman, WA
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 22 to 29 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $898 per credit
Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani

Farheen Gani is an expert in online MBA programs, having covered MBA programs in computer science, economics, healthcare management, and fraud and forensics, among others, since 2018. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).

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