Best Arkansas MBA Schools and Programs

Your Guide to an Arkansas MBA Career, Curriculum and Education

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What Can You Do With an MBA in Arkansas


Choosing to complete a degree more advanced than an undergraduate, such as an MBA, available from business schools and colleges across the country, can make a huge difference in your career and earnings prospects, whether your focus is on international business, designed consumer experience, technology, business data and analytics, or human resources. For the busy professional juggling their office work and possibly a family or other life obligations, the hours in their day are precious. Pursuing an online MBA allows you to study at your own pace and on your own schedule without sacrificing the quality of your class community or classes and education as a whole.

Why Consider an Online MBA?


Universities offering online programs in Arkansas tailor their academic focus not only for the average student earning a master level degree, but also offer concentrations in demand for businesses located in the state. Much of the state is rural, and that means that being required to commute to night school for graduate school courses is not practical for many people. With an online MBA program, you don’t need to commute any further than your home computer or laptop to study and engage in your academics.

Percentage of Students Enrolled By Distance Education


Typical MBA Concentrations


Many MBA students pursue an MBA with a specific focus rather than a general advanced business degree. In Arkansas, many current online programs offer focused degrees each year in supply chain management, finance, innovation and entrepreneurship, and agriculture. All of these are prominent areas in the state’s corporate landscape.

Accreditation in Arkansas


Look foran online MBA program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is considered one of the highest standards in the business education field. You should also seek schools accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of the regional accrediting organizations for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). By narrowing your search to find and apply to a college that is accredited, you can be sure that your program will meet the highest standards and requirements for professional development and you will have the support you need, whether or not you choose to engage in or skip campus life and the traditional school experience. This type of program offers you the opportunities you need to gain training and credit toward your degree while you connect with others and learn about the industry, and they are the most likely to produce leaders.

Career and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates


Arkansas’ top industries are agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and the service industry. The latter is based primarily in the state’s largest cities, including Little Rock, Hot Springs, Fayetteville, Pine Bluff, and Fort Smith. Northwest Arkansas alone boasts representation by over 300 of the top Fortune 500 companies in its growing business network. Other top industries include transportation, communications, finance, and healthcare.

As per the Arkansas Economist, Arkansas' growth rate for the quarter was 6.9%, slightly higher than the nationwide average of 6.4%. The 10-year growth rate for Fayetteville is 38%, a considerable achievement considering this decade included the Great Recession. Fayetteville and Jonesboro led the state’s metropolitan areas in overall employment growth, with Little Rock not far behind. Sectors with the overall highest growth are manufacturing, retail, finance, healthcare, and real estate. Growth is projected as steady over the next several years.

Top Employers in the State by Number of Employees


Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
Arkansas' State Government Government Arkansas 60,000+
Walmart Inc Retail Bentonville 32,000+
Tyson Foods Retail Springdale 21,000+
Baptist Hospital System Healthcare Arkansas 6,000+
Sam’s Club Retail Bentonville 5,000+

Average Degree Salary Ranges Potential


The 2021 Arkansas Labor Market and Economic Report projects a high demand for various occupations requiring an advanced business degree. These include general and operations managers, whose average salary as of 2020 was $91,530; management analysts, with an average salary of $65,640; financial managers, with an average salary of $112,190; and medical and health services managers, with an average salary of $89,700. The cost of living in Arkansas is significantly lower than in many other states, so when what you are offered fits the average, earning potential is actually greater when compared to similar salaries in more expensive locales. However, if an MBA graduate relocates to a different city center, they will find their degree equally valuable in their new locale.

Careers for Arkansas MBA Grads


Arkansas is home to many major companies such as Walmart, Tyson Foods, Lion Oil, Murphy Oil, USA Drug, J.B. Hunt Transportation, Windstream Communications, Alltell, Stephens, Inc., to name but a few. These businesses, along with their vast supply chains, require experienced professional management to compete successfully in the modern economy. An MBA also provides an advantage to anyone considering starting their own business. Those with MBAs may end up with careers in the executive suite, determining the direction of their company strategy or policy, or working in management in various aspects of a business.

Best MBA Programs in Arkansas


Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree prior to applying to an online program. Each school will have its own criteria, but many require submission of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores.

The following schools offer online MBAs in Arkansas:

University of Arkansas Location
Fort Smith, AR
MBA Concentrations
  • Business Analytics
  • Executive MBA, Executive MBA Retail
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Supply Chain Management
Tuition In-State
$7,752
Tuition Out-of-State
$21,032
Retention %
84%
Graduation %
68%
Average Salary
$77,600
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
18:1
University of Central Arkansas Location
Conway, AR
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Finance and information management
  • Health administration
Tuition In-State
$5,018
Tuition Out-of-State
$10,037
Retention %
75%
Graduation %
46%
Average Salary
$82,600
Hybrid
Yes
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
16:1
Arkansas State University Location
Jonesboro, AR
MBA Concentrations
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Administration
  • International Business
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management
Tuition In-State
$4,986
Tuition Out-of-State
$9,972
Retention %
75%
Graduation %
53%
Average Salary
$69,400
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
18:1
University of Arkansas at Little Rock Location
Little Rock, AR
MBA Concentrations
  • Business Analytics
  • Concurrent
  • Financial Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Organizational Communications
Tuition In-State
$5,760
Tuition Out-of-State
$13,050
Retention %
66%
Graduation %
42%
Average Salary
$76,000
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
13:1
Harding University Location
Searcy, AR
MBA Concentrations
  • Healthcare Management
  • International Business
  • Leadership & Organizational Management
Tuition In-State
$11,388
Tuition Out-of-State
$11,388
Retention %
85%
Graduation %
72%
Average Salary
$62,260
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
15:1
Southern Arkansas University Location
Magnolia, AR
MBA Concentrations
  • Agriculture Business
  • Supply Chain Management
Tuition In-State
$5,112
Tuition Out-of-State
$8,028
Retention %
67%
Graduation %
43%
Average Salary
$63,211
Hybrid
Yes
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
16:1
Arkansas Tech University Location
Russellville, AR
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition In-State
$5,256
Tuition Out-of-State
$10,512
Retention %
70%
Graduation %
44%
Average Salary
$59,196
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
18:1
John Brown University Location
Siloam Springs, AR
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition In-State
$13,920
Tuition Out-of-State
$13,920
Retention %
82%
Graduation %
64%
Average Salary
$59,580
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
14:1
Henderson State University Location
Arkadelphia, AR
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Information Systems
Tuition In-State
$5,580
Tuition Out-of-State
$7,452
Retention %
62%
Graduation %
34%
Average Salary
$56,345
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
14:1
Strayer University-Arkansas Location
Little Rock, AR
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Acquisition
  • Business Data
  • Digital Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Global Management
  • Health Services Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • IT Security Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Professional Studies
  • Project Management
  • Public Administration
  • Sales
Tuition In-State
$14,940
Tuition Out-of-State
$14,940
Retention %
27%
Graduation %
18%
Average Salary
$59,000
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
67:1

How to Choose & FAQ's


Choosing the right online MBA for your purposes depends on various factors. If you are interested in a particular area of concentration, that narrows your choice. While all of these schools offer some type of financial aid, the amount you may receive also affects your decision. If your employer is paying your tuition, the company may have its own criteria concerning an online MBA. Should the online MBA program require some in-person attendance, the distance to the campus is another consideration.

You should also investigate a school’s graduation rate and how students rate a particular program. Check out the faculty and how accessible they are for online students. Check out social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, which may give you insights into the strengths and weaknesses of a school’s online MBA program. You are investing in yourself, so make sure to do your due diligence.

MBA Degrees, Career Paths & Resources