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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 interconnected world, one that requires specialized skills and expertise to succeed. Businesses of all sizes are venturing into the global marketplace and therefore need professionals who can successfully navigate these waters. An online MBA in international business program teaches critical business 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, an online MBA in International Business program could be the perfect choice. Before deciding, however, you probably have many questions about cost, program content, and admissions criteria. This guide provides the answers to your questions, as well as highlights some of the best international online MBA programs available to help you choose the right one for you.

B-School Spotlights: Best Online International Business MBA Programs in 2024

The schools profiled below offer some of the best international online MBAs available today in terms of affordability, flexibility, and accreditation. They’ll give you a good idea of what you should expect from the program you ultimately choose.

Texas A&M International University

The curriculum of the AACSB-accredited online MBA in International Business from Texas A&M International considers various facets of global business environments, international logistics, and international management. Students in the program develop leadership skills that apply to a range of domestic and international roles.

Topics covered in the program include socio-cultural and demographic diversity, global business ethics, legal and regulatory issues, national environmental matters, and organizational structures. The program also focuses on the practical aspects of international business, such as foreign freight forwarding, international transportation, warehousing, and distribution.

The current total program cost for in-state residents is $11,010. The 30-credit course of study can be completed in as few as 15 months. The curriculum includes core business courses in economics, management, finance, and, of course, international business. Texas A&M’s online MBA in International Business is delivered 100% online, making it an ideal choice for working professionals. There are six start dates annually.

Liberty University

Liberty University’s MBA in International Business teaches students how to employ competitive business strategies for multinational companies in all industries. The program builds on a foundational knowledge of business to equip you with a solid understanding of international business best practices. The program’s curriculum focuses on global competition and the interaction between developing and established global financial markets.

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

This fully online MBA program consists of 45 credit hours and is typically completed with two years of study. Graduates are eligible for the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) certification, a highly respected credential that confirms the holder’s knowledge of international trade and ability to navigate a variety of business-related professional challenges.

Washington State University

Washing State University’s online MBA in International Business program provides students with 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.

Along with the core business courses found in most MBA programs, Washington State’s MBA with an international business concentration offers courses covering all aspects of international business management, international finance, and international marketing management. Graduates are prepared for employment as international sales directors, operations directors, and management analysts.

The current per-credit tuition rate is $876. Earning the degree requires completion of 36 to 52 credit hours depending on the individual student’s need to complete foundational coursework. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Admissions are assessed using a holistic approach. A GMAT or GRE score is required but may be waived if certain criteria are met. All of Washington State’s 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 their students with comprehensive business education, each program offers its own take on international business. For example, Washington State University focuses on adjusting and applying 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 curriculums, the best international online MBA programs explore all areas of the international business field, including finances and the development of global markets, current issues and strategies related to international business, leadership and ethics, and theoretical management perspectives and organizational behavior.

The best international online MBA programs employ innovative learning management systems to deliver all aspects of the learning experience, including coursework (lectures, assignments, readings, etc.) and communications with peers and professors. Courses are typically delivered in an asynchronous format, allowing students to attend to their studies according to their own busy schedules. In addition, most programs, including all of those mentioned in this guide, offer self-paced study options that allow students to balance work, school, and other commitments.

Below are descriptions of several courses similar to the ones you’ll take in your online MBA in international business. Researching specific course offerings is important, however, because, as we said, every program offers its own academic perspective on international business education.

Common Online International Business MBA Courses

  • International Business Management

    Emphasizing decision-making, a course in international business examines the full range of social, political, cultural, and economic issues, concepts, and activities associated with managing international organizations. Topics include organizational structure, strategic control, comparative management, and international ethics.

  • Global Environment

    Global environment courses offer an overview of international financial markets – how they operate and interrelate. Topics include international competitive strategies, assessment of global markets, modes of entry, workforce planning and development, global operations, and supply chain management.

  • International Finance

    International finance courses cover the basic techniques used in measuring and managing international financial risk. Specific topics examined include the foundations of international financial management, world financial markets and institutions, global macroeconomic theory, modern theories of international trade, and current international finance issues.

  • International Marketing

    Students in international marketing courses learn how to apply marketing principles and concepts to international environments by examining all aspects of competition, politics, law, and consumer behavior. Coursework covers 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 explore the various issues related to international trade, foreign direct investment, and international monetary systems. Additional topics include international relations, communication skills, strategies for adapting to other cultures’ business practices, and the effective management of diverse workforces.

What You Can Do with an MBA in International Business

An MBA in international business provides students with career-changing opportunities and increases their chances of promotion into the global arena. Organizations interested in international MBA program graduates include banks, management consulting firms, and technology companies. However, any company doing business internationally is a potential employer of individuals with the advanced knowledge and skills gained in an MBA in international business program. Moving from bachelor’s to master’s status not only opens higher-level positions but also the opportunity for better pay. Below are descriptions of five occupations common to international MBA graduates.

International Sales Manager

International sales managers direct global teams. They negotiate contracts, address customer issues, and arrange for product supply and delivery. They also research market trends, create sales strategies, and collaborate with marketing teams.

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 that ensure that trade policies and activities align with both international and individual countries’ trade laws and regulations. Leadership and decision-making are essential skills for directing global teams and international marketing efforts, which makes earning an MBA in international business a great fit for a career in international trade compliance.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile

$66,000

$88,000

$129,000

Source: PayScale, 2019

Management Analyst

Management analysts (aka management consultants) improve profit margins, worker efficiency, and organizational structures. An MBA in international business allows management analysts to competently advise overseas companies of all sizes in their efforts to resolve issues concerning resource management and business infrastructure.

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 effectively address 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 often command significantly high wages. CEOs run companies of all sizes throughout all sectors of the international economy (manufacturing, construction, retail trade, etc.). An MBA in international business gives CEOs the knowledge to work, manage, and do business effectively both within and between 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 in place before enrolling. Students often require obtaining funding from multiple financial aid resources such as student loans, corporate partnerships, and employer tuition assistance. Scholarship and grant opportunities also are available for graduate students. Some schools, like Benedictine University and Liberty University, provide detailed information on scholarships that are offered exclusively to their students. For more valuable information and advice on funding your MBA program, visit OMD’s financial aid page.

How Much Your Online MBA in International Business Might Cost

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

36 (estimated)

$22,860

44 (single concentration)

$950

$41,800

36-52 (based on foundation coursework needed)

$876

$31,536-$45,552

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. Admissions requirements vary from program to program, but typically include 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

Programs often waive GRE/GMAT requirements for applicants with exceptional educational and/or professional backgrounds. In contrast, applicants without a business background or education, while still often admitted, will often be required to complete one or more prerequisite courses before starting their MBA courses.

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

As touched on above, not all online international business MBA programs require the GMAT or GRE. Some programs have done away with all GMAT/GRE score requirements entirely. Others require submittal of scores for applicants not meeting other admissions requirements. For example, Texas A&M International University applicants not satisfying the criteria for automatic admissions must submit a GRE or GMAT score. Schools with GMAT/GRE requirements often waive them for students meeting specific waiver qualifications. At the University of Delaware, for example, an exam waiver may be obtained by applicants with high undergraduate GPAs or substantial professional work experience.

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 few as 15 months to complete, while students in the University of Delaware’s accelerated-formatted program can complete all degree requirements in as few as 16 months. Liberty University MBA students average two years for degree completion, but an accelerated option allows students to graduate in one year. Benedictine University program lengths are from one to two years depending on the student’s chosen study pace.

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

Many MBA in international business programs are presented 100% online, including all of those featured in this guide. In most cases, students will not be required to ever come to campus. Program and course requirements are the same for online programs as for their on-campus counterparts assuring that online students receive the same quality education as campus-based students. Online program content is typically delivered asynchronously, meaning that students can access and complete all course requirements at any time.

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, on the other hand, includes a broader curriculum combining international business courses with foundational business coursework common to MBA programs generally. In fact, core business classes typically make up at least half of all required coursework in international business MBA curriculums.