MBA in Organizational Leadership

An online master’s in business administration (MBA) can be a great asset to professionals interested in helping and inspiring employees and guiding companies toward success. Compassion, the desire to help others, and effective communication are all required for a leadership position in business, and an MBA in organizational leadership can help professionals obtain one.

An MBA with a focus on organizational leadership can position graduates for jobs as training and development managers, school principals, school and career counselors, instructional coordinators, post-secondary education administrators, human resources managers, administrative service managers, sales managers, management analysts, and even top executives. These positions often attract candidates due to their high-level responsibilities and high salaries. Training and development managers, for instance, can expect a median salary of $105,830 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Requiring a commitment of 18 months to two years, MBAs in organizational leadership are two-pronged. On the one hand, they take an analytical approach to management and focus on areas such as finance, accounting, marketing, and statistics. Designed for students who plan to move into executive or managerial positions, the primary objective is to provide a comprehensive understanding of business operations. On the other hand, they also can involve coursework focused on the human component of business, from communication techniques and leadership theory to multicultural workplace dynamics and team development. The goal of such a program is to emphasize personal and creative approaches to management that will help others reach their full potential.

MBAs in organizational leadership can be completed both through an on-campus or online experience—of a mixture of both, called hybrid or blended programs. This guide will specifically explore the advantages and features of a distance-based MBA program in organizational leadership, profile three outstanding faculty members from schools offering these programs, and outline the admissions requirements for this type of degree.

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Professors to Know from Schools with Online MBA Programs

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    Marlene A. Biseda, PhD Pepperdine University

    Dr. Marlene Biseda is an assistant professor of strategy and teaches courses on strategic management, organizational change, and the productivity of knowledge workers in new organizational forms at Pepperdine University. She has worked in many sectors, including aerospace, education, healthcare, professional services and telecommunications at Fortune 100 corporations, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations. Dr. Biseda worked for 25 years at IBM across sales and marketing, technical, and general management positions. She earned her undergraduate degree from Duquesne University; her master's from the University of California, Santa Barbara; her MBA from the University of Pittsburgh; and her doctorate from Claremont Graduate University.

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    Dr. Edward Creppy, PhD Benedictine University

    Dr. Edward Creppy is an adjunct professor at Benedictine University and teaches managerial economics in the MBA program. He has more than 18 years of experience teaching, as well as 18 years of experience outside of academia. He has worked for the Population Council, NAFTA, and the World Bank. Dr. Creppy prides himself on fostering a friendly and open atmosphere for his students, providing positive reinforcement throughout the learning process. Dr. Creppy obtained his bachelor's degree in accounting from the City University of New York; his master's in finance from St. John’s University; and his master's and doctorate in economics from American University. He is currently in the process of completing a master's in adult education and development.

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    Mark Harvey, PhD University of Saint Mary

    Dr. Mark Harvey is the director of graduate and undergraduate programs at the University of Saint Mary and teaches courses for the business department in international political economy, international business, legal and ethical issues, and leadership. He brings more than 20 years of experience in teaching and administration, working at campuses in the U.S. and the U.K. Every year, he works with the U.S. Army on foreign policy simulations at the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas. Dr. Harvey has a bachelor's degree from Washburn University; a master's from the University of Missouri, Kansas City; a master's from the University of Wales, Swansea; and a doctorate from the University of Kansas.

Featured Online MBA in Organizational Leadership Programs

1 Benedictine University View Full Profile

Benedictine University offers a dual MBA and master's of science (MS) degree in management and organizational behavior, which combines quantitative business skills with an in-depth understanding of human behavior and group interaction. The benefit of earning both degrees at once is that students can do so in a shorter amount of time than it would take them to complete the programs separately. Students will learn both hard and soft skills required by business leaders, from accounting and marketing to building effective teams and resolving conflict.

The majority of this 96-credit program is conducted online; however, one weekend course is required on campus. Courses include career and human resource planning, methods of organizational research, and strategy structure and decision-making. The GMAT and prior work experience are not necessary for admission; however, a GPA of 3.0 is required.

Location: Lisle, Illinois
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)
Format: Online with one on-campus weekend
Tuition: $600 per credit
Program length:Four years

The University of Saint Mary offers an MBA with a leadership and organizational health concentration with the purpose of equipping students with the skills needed to navigate the social and political issues within large organizations, manage multiple teams, and resolve business conflicts in the workforce. Students will take nine core courses and three electives that align with their concentration. For the track mentioned above, courses include leadership and organizational health, strategic leadership and team building, and strategic communication and human performance support systems. A GPA of 2.75 or greater is required to enter the program; however, GMAT scores and work experience are not. This 100 percent online 36-credit program has six start dates: January, March, April, May, July, and October.

Location: Leavenworth, Kansas
Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
Format: Online
Tuition: $615 per credit
Program length: One year

Norwich University's 36-credit online MBA program comprises six 11-week courses. Students can enroll in the general MBA track or concentrate in project management, construction management, energy management, finance, supply chain management and logistic, or organizational leadership. In the corporate leadership track, students will learn analytical and problem-solving skills and theories that will help them lead large organizations. The three specialized courses include leading change in organizations, strategic organizational behavior, and strategic corporate leadership and developing a learning organization. Additional courses in the program include strategic resources management, managerial finance, international business management, project management techniques, and supply chain management strategy.

A one-week residency is required to complete the program. To be accepted into the program, students must have two years of work experience and a GPA of 2.75 or higher. No GMAT is required.

Location: Northfield, Vermont
Accreditation: ACBSP
Time to complete: Online with one on-campus residency
Tuition: $792 per credit
Program length: 18 to 24 months

Ohio University’s online MBA program is broken down into core courses, and concentration courses as students can choose to concentrate in finance, healthcare, executive management, or business analytics. The three classes students will take in the executive management track are prescriptive analytics, leadership and change management, and ethics in the global environment. The U.S. News & World Report has recognized Ohio University with multiple accolades as one of the best business schools, best education schools, and best national universities.

The majority of this 35-credit program is conducted online; however, a one-weekend on-campus workshop is required. Two to five years of professional work experience is required for entry into the program. Students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher. No GMAT is required.

Location: Athens, Ohio
Accreditation: AACSB International
Format: Online
Tuition: $1,004 for Ohio residents and $1,023 per credit for non-Ohio residents
Program length: Two years

This 36-credit online MBA program is designed for mid-career professionals interested in moving up in the management ranks and requires that students have at least five years of professional work experience. Students can customize their program according to their goals; the school offers two concentrations in marketing or strategic leadership and provides students with the possibility to create their own customized concentration through electives. Students will take required core courses that focus on globalization, analytics, technology and communication, and those in the strategic leadership program will take three electives: advanced human resources management and labor relations, leadership dynamics, and international business culture.

Location: Rock Hill, South Carolina
Accreditation: AACSB International
Format: Online
Tuition: $1,193 per credit
Program length: Two years

Brandman University offers an MBA with an emphasis in organizational leadership for students wishing to create positive and sustainable change within an organization. Students enrolled in the program will take foundational classes in financial reporting and analysis, marketing management, and corporate responsibility among other, as well as four organizational leadership-specific courses in the foundations of organizational leadership, the democracy, ethics, and leadership, human resources, and self, systems, and leadership. Students take between 24 and 36 core credits depending on their interest and level of experience and 12 credits in electives or their chosen emphasis.

Location: Irvine, California
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Format: Online or as a hybrid
Tuition: $640 per credit
Program length: One to two years

Pepperdine University was named one of the best online MBA programs by the U.S. News & World Report, and the Graziadio School of Business Management has received recognition from the Princeton Review for its equal opportunity efforts and from Forbes for its entrepreneurial focus. This 52-credit MBA program can be customized according to students' career trajectories. They can pick from four concentrations: marketing, finance, general management, and leadership and organizational change. The latter track teaches students how to manage and lead diverse teams and facilitate positive change within a dynamic organization. Students will take five courses in this specialization including advanced principles of organizations and leadership, organizational dynamics and managing change, leadership theory and practice, creativity and innovation for leadership, and global business intensive.

In addition to the online portion, two weekend campus residencies are required, including an initial personal and leadership development workshop course. The program requires a minimum of two years’ work experience for entry, and a GMAT waiver is available for qualified applicants.

Location: Malibu, California
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Format: Online with two weekend campus residencies
Tuition: $1,715 per credit
Program length: Two years

Admission Requirements for Online MBA Programs in Organizational Leadership

Based on the programs outlined above, there are several recurring application requirements to earn admissions to an online MBA program in organizational leadership. Some of those requirements include:

  • The completion of specific prerequisite courses if a student does not have the proper professional or academic background
  • Professional work experience; usually two years but up to five
  • A competitive GPA from an accredited undergraduate program, generally in a field that focuses on business, management, and human resources
  • GMAT scores, which may be waived under certain conditions (such as extensive work experience)
  • GMAT/GRE scores (some programs may waive these, especially if a candidate has other graduate-level degrees or significant professional experience.)
  • A personal statement of goals and objectives
  • Essays
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation