2018 Top Online MBA Concentrations
Online Master of Business Administration programs exist in a highly competitive environment today! With over 489 direct competitors (as of February 2018), they differentiate their programs through adding job-relevant or specialized business discipline concentrations. Our database is the only source where all online MBA concentrations are captured. We are pleased to present the 2018 top online MBA concentrations in this blog today.
- 31% (151) of online MBAs offer a concentration in Healthcare Administration
- There are 82 online Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) programs in the U.S. Online MHA programs not only face significant competition from other MHA programs, but they also face competition from a large group of online MBA programs as well
- 29% (143) of online MBAs offer Marketing / Marketing Management concentrations
- Only 12 online Master of Marketing programs are available in the market today. Is the market more interested in earning the MBA first and adding specialized marketing skills second? Additionally, there are 14 online MBAs that offer a concentration in the more specialized subject of Social / Digital Media Marketing.
- 29% (140) of online MBAs offer Finance as a concentration
- There are 39 online Master of Finance programs in the market today. These programs also face significant competition from online MBA programs that offer a Finance concentration.
Other Top Online MBA Concentrations
Additional top concentrations, Accounting, Human Resources / HR Management, and Management, occur in slightly lower proportions.
- The Accounting concentration is usually designed to offer the courses necessary for undergrad Accounting majors to complete their CPA exams. Most websites clearly articulate this benefit to prospective students.
- Human Resources as noted in this top concentration list captures only the general HR concentration advertised on program websites. Additional HR-related concentrations we see in our data include Organizational Behavior and Leadership.
- The Management concentration is offered frequently. Some online MBA programs are differentiating their management concentrations by industry. For example, they offer Sport Management, Hospitality Management, or Information Technology Management concentrations to expand their audiences.
- It’s very interesting to note that 27% of online MBA programs currently do not offer ANY concentrations to prospective students.
In addition to top concentrations, some emerging concentrations (fewer than 10 online MBA programs offer these) include: Energy Leadership / Management, Information Assurance, Innovation Management, Consulting Management, Forensic Accounting, Change Management, and Risk Management.
- The Energy Leadership concentrations are offered at institutions in states with strong energy industry presence, such as in Texas and Oklahoma.
- Innovation Management, Consulting Management, and Change Management concentrations speak to prospective students who are interested in process management / systems thinking. The assumption is they are looking to become specialized experts in consulting practices. Just how big the market is for these concentrations is difficult to assess with available data.
Top Concentrations at AACSB-Accredited Online MBA Programs
The most common concentrations among Online MBAs at AACSB-Accredited schools are Finance, Marketing, and Healthcare Administration. Just over one-third of these programs do not offer any concentrations with their online MBA programs. What does this say about the market? Online MBA programs, especially those without a prestigious brand asset like AACSB-Accreditation, are using concentrations more aggressively to differentiate their programs. Every relevant program characteristic in an online MBA program, including concentrations, should be leveraged as much as possible, given the highly competitive market for online MBAs.
What’s in a Name?
Finally, for online MBA programs, the name of the concentration game is ensuring that concentrations will add incremental enrollments to the program. This requires a careful balancing act between finding emerging markets of specialized skills and naming the concentration in a way that ensures it can be found searching online. And as we see here with the top online MBA concentrations, especially Healthcare Administration and Finance, programs add these concentrations to open up the competitive space for a program. This allows the online MBA to directly compete for students with other high-demand master’s degrees (the MHA and Master of Finance) for prospective students.
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