2021 Guide to the Best Online MBA in International Business Programs

An MBA in international business develops the skillset necessary for leadership in the global marketplace. This guide provides the information needed to choose the best school and understand the criteria and commitment required for success.

We live in an increasingly global and interconnected world, one that requires specialized skills and expertise to succeed. Businesses of all sizes are venturing into the global market and therefore need professionals who can successfully navigate these waters. An online MBA in international business program teaches critical thinking skills graduates need for in-demand careers in the global marketplace and provides a pathway to lucrative jobs in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

If you have a passion for business and want to develop your knowledge of global markets while earning your MBA remotely, this program could be the perfect choice. Before deciding, however, you probably have many questions about cost, program content, and admissions criteria. This guide provides this information, including highlighting some of the best international online MBA programs available to help you choose the right program for you.

B-School Spotlights: Best Online International Business MBA Programs in 2021

The schools profiled below have some of the best international online MBAs in terms of affordability, flexibility, and accreditation, along with teaching the unique skills you need to advance your career in international business. These profiles are only a preview of our full ranking arriving later in 2021, so be sure to check back.

Texas A&M International University

An online MBA in International Business from Texas A&M International considers various facets of global business environments, international logistics, and international management. It develops leadership skills that apply to a range of domestic and international roles.

Knowledge developed in this international MBA online program includes sociocultural and demographic diversity, global business ethics, legal and regulatory issues, national environmental matters, and organizational structures. The program also focuses on foreign freight forwarding, international transportation, warehousing, and distribution.

The program costs only $10,074 for in-state tuition, and its 30 credit hours can be completed in as few as 15 months. The curriculum includes core business courses on economics, management, finance, and international business concentration courses. Texas A&M’s online MBA in International Business is completely online and ideal for working professionals. There are six start dates yearly, and the program is AACSB accredited.

Liberty University

Liberty University’s MBA in International Business teaches students how to provide an international competitive strategy to any multinational company. It builds on a foundational knowledge of business to equip you with international best practices. The program involves interaction with various developing and global financial markets and teaches about global competition.

Liberty’s international MBA online is unique because it provides a quality education based on biblical principles. Students learn to combine modern business practices and theories with a Christian worldview, and the program integrates knowledge of the global environment with skills for managing and organizing a business.

This fully online MBA program consists of 45 credit hours and takes two years on average to complete. It also prepares you for Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) certification, appreciated by many companies because it confirms knowledge of international trade and demonstrates your ability to navigate a variety of business-related challenges professionally.

Washington State University

Washing State University’s online MBA in International Business gives an immersive look at the international business landscape and the principles governing the global marketplace. It prepares students to adjust North American advertising strategies to fit foreign markets.

Besides the core business courses found with most MBAs, Washington State’s MBA with an international business concentration also offers courses in international business management, international finance, and international marketing management. This international MBA online program prepares students for employment as international sales directors, operations directors, and management analysts.

Tuition costs between $30,024 and $43,368 for 36 to 52 credit hours. The range accounts for potential foundational coursework. Application deadlines are rolling, and applicants are assessed on a holistic view rather than on any specific admission requirement. A GMAT/GRE score is required but may be waived if certain criteria are met. Washington States MBA programs are accredited by the AACSB.

What to Expect from An Online MBA in International Business Program

While all international online MBA programs provide comprehensive business education, programs take on a unique flair within their concentration courses. For example, Washington State University focuses on adjusting North American advertising strategies to fit foreign markets, while Liberty University combines modern business practices and theories with a Christian worldview. Even with significantly different approaches within their international business courses, the best international online MBA programs all explore areas like finances and development of global markets, promote awareness of current issues and strategies, address leadership and ethics, and consider theoretical management perspectives and organizational behavior.

The best international online MBA programs use innovative learning management systems to deliver all aspects of the learning experience, including coursework and communication with peers and professors. Courses are usually asynchronous, with time-specific or location-specific requirements for accessing learning being unusual. Most programs, including all the ones in this guide, offer self-paced options, allowing students to balance work, school, and other commitments as best suit them.

The courses below indicate the general topics covered in an online MBA in international business concentration courses. Researching individual schools’ concentration courses is important because course specifics vary considerably among schools, and content overlaps among them as well. In general, though, expect to cover the course content highlighted below and much more.

Common Online International Business MBA Courses

  • International Business Management

    Emphasizing decision-making, international business management studies the issues, concepts, and activities associated with managing international organizations. It considers the social, political, cultural, and economic issues affecting decision-making and gives the skills needed to compete in the global economy. Topics include organizational structure, strategic control, comparative management, and international ethics.

  • Global Environment

    Global environment courses overview international financial markets and how they operate and interrelate. Topics include international competitive strategy, assessment of global markets, modes of entry, workforce planning and development, global operations, and supply chain management. Of course, this type may also consider domestic and foreign strategies forming the context for business in a diverse and interdependent world.

  • International Finance

    International finance courses cover basic techniques of measuring and managing international financial risk. They look at making corporate financing and investment decisions in an international environment. Foundations of international financial management, world financial markets and institutions, global macroeconomic theory, modern theories of international trade, and current international finance issues are also covered.

  • International Marketing

    International marketing courses teach the application of marketing principles and concepts in international environments by examining variables like competition, politics, law, and consumer behavior. They cover the development of international marketing plans and the effect of a foreign country’s economic situation on marketing strategy. Analytical and decision-making, communication, and market research skills in a global marketing context are also covered.

  • International/Multicultural Business Environment

    Courses on international/multicultural business environments look at perspectives related to international trade, foreign direct investment, and international monetary systems. Cultural knowledge and communication skills and managing a diverse workforce may also be covered in addition to strategies for adapting to another country’s business practices and cultural environment.

What You Can Do with an MBA in International Business

An MBA in international business provides career-changing opportunities and increases the chance of promotion into the global arena. Positions in upper-management roles with lucrative pay are both in demand and vast. Organizations interested in those with an MBA in international business include banks, management consultants, and technology companies. Any company doing business internationally holds the potential for those with the expertise an MBA in international business provides. Moving from bachelor’s to master’s status not only opens higher-level positions but the pay that accompanies them as well. Below, five potential careers for graduates of this MBA program are detailed to provide a picture of the possibilities range.

International Sales Manager

International sales managers direct global teams. They negotiate contracts, address customer issues, and arrange for supply and delivery. They may also research market trends, create sales strategies, and collaborate with marketing. An MBA in international business sets you apart from other sales managers through deep business knowledge and specialized knowledge of the international business.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$48,000 $79,000 $131,000

Source: PayScale, 2021

International Trade Compliance Officer

International trade compliance officers manage trade projects and staff. They ensure alignment with international trade laws and regulations. Leadership and decision-making are essential skills for directing global teams and international marketing efforts. An MBA in international business teaches these skills and those needed for working with trade agreements and international regulations and laws.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$66,000 $88,000 $129,000

Source: PayScale, 2019

Management Analyst

Also known as management consultants, management analysts improve profit margins, worker efficiency, and organizational structure. An MBA in international business allows management analysts to advise overseas companies. Both big and small companies hire management analysts to improve infrastructure, and many require an MBA.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$49,700 $85,260 $154,310

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Administrative Services Manager

Administrative services managers oversee centralized operations in multiple areas, including mailing, scheduling, data processing, and distribution. They also help improve company strategy. An MBA in international business allows administrative service managers to oversee global operations and gives them the ability to understand a company’s needs abroad and their cultural, political, and operational challenges.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$55,210 $96,940 $166,330

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Chief Executive Officer

Top executives in large corporations often have an MBA in addition to significant business experience. They also command significant wages. CEOs work in every sector, including manufacturing, construction, and retail trade. An MBA in international business gives CEOs the knowledge to work, manage, and do business with overseas companies.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$62,290 $184,460 $208,000

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Costs and Financial Aid for Online MBAs in International Business

Paying for grad school can be challenging. You need to understand the total financial commitment of earning an MBA degree in international business and have a plan to pay for it before enrolling. This could include lining up finances through corporate partnerships, employee reimbursement, private loans, and federal student loans. Scholarship and grant opportunities are also available for graduate students. Some schools, like Benedictine University and Liberty University, provide detailed information on possible scholarships. Our financial aid page also gives essential information. Use the table below as a starting point for understanding how much your online MBA in international business might cost.

How Much Your Online MBA in International Busines Might Cost

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Total Tuition Cost

Benedictine University

64 (estimated)

$625

$40,000

University of Delaware

44 (single concentration)

$950

$41,800

Washington State University

36-52 (based on foundation coursework needed)

$834

$30,024-$43,368

FAQs About Online International Business MBA Programs

What are the typical admissions requirements for an online MBA in International Business?

Most online MBA in international business programs look at the whole of a student’s background rather than on a rigid set of admittance criteria. Typical admissions requirements are unique to each school but generally revolve around the following:

  • Official transcripts from any undergraduate or graduate studies
  • Minimum GPA
  • At least two years of work experience
  • A resume or CV
  • A list of professional references
  • Acceptable TOEFL/IELTS score for international applicants
  • GRE/GMAT scores
  • Personal statements

For many schools, some requirements are waived for those with relevant professional and educational backgrounds. In contrast, applicants without a business background or education, while still often admitted, usually must complete prep modules before taking any MBA courses.

Are there quality online international business MBA programs that don’t require the GMAT?

Not all online international business MBA programs require the GMAT. Often, any GMAT requirement comes accompanied by a waiver. For example, Texas A&M International University applicants not satisfying the criteria for automatic admissions must submit a GRE or GMAT score. At the University of Delaware, an exam waiver is based on GPA, work, and math education history. On the other hand, Liberty University does not require a GMAT or GRE test score for admissions.

How long will it take to finish my MBA in international business online?

The time it takes to earn your MBA in international business online depends on individual pacing. Texas A&M’s program, for example, takes as little as 15 months, and the University of Delaware’s at least 16 with an accelerated approach. Liberty University MBA students average two years for degree completion, but an accelerated option sees students finishing in a year. Benedictine University indicates 1-2 years depending on individualized pacing. Most programs indicate significant flexibility with timelines for program completion.

Can I earn my MBA in International Business 100% online, or do I need to go to campus?

Many MBA in international business programs is offered 100% online, including all of those featured in this guide. The best international online MBA programs deliver everything an on-campus MBA offers with online learning’s added flexibility. The same course content is delivered by the same faculty, whether online or in-person. Programs are typically asynchronous and accessible 24/7 with no on-campus requirements, not even for workshops, exams, or discussions.

What’s the difference between an MBA in international business and a master’s in international Business?

A master’s degree in international business provides a specialized education focused entirely on international business. An MBA in international business develops a general business skillset more easily transferrable to other areas of business. Coursework for a master’s degree in international business looks at business topics and concepts within an international framework and makes up most of the degree’s content. Courses within an MBA in an international business program, on the other hand, cover business topics in a broader and more general sense. Core business classes makeup at least half, and often more, of an international MBA’s coursework and are supplemented by concentration courses in international business.