2021 Guide to the Best MBA in Strategy Online Programs

Learn vital leadership and strategy skills that will benefit any business or organization. The best online MBA strategy programs are within your reach. Learn how to find the right one for you.

To be a successful leader, you can’t just react. Instead, the best leaders plan, analyze, reflect, question, investigate, discuss, and challenge—and then they do it again, all with a goal of setting the best vision and strategy for their business.

But how does one learn to think strategically? An MBA in strategy online provides the theoretical knowledge and tactical skills to take a vision and bring it to reality. These programs teach students how to implement a strategy from start to finish, from setting goals to planning, implementing, and monitoring the strategy to determine if it’s working. Find out how a flexible online MBA in business strategy can build your skills , what you’ll learn, the career choices you’ll have, and how you can balance your studies with your work and personal commitments.

B-School Spotlights: 2021’s Best Online MBA Strategy Programs

Where can you find the best options for earning an MBA in strategy online? Look no further. We’ve provided details on three top programs, including courses, credits, application requirements, affordability, and more. But that’s not all. Visit later in 2021 for a full evaluation of dozens of best-in-class programs.

Liberty University

liberty-university-logo

Liberty University offers a two-year MBA in strategic management program that requires students to complete 45 credit hours of courses provided in eight-week sessions. This program, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs and can be completed entirely online, covers ethical leadership, executive leadership and management, international business, legal issues in business, and workforce planning and employment. To successfully complete this program, students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average.

To be admitted to Liberty University, students need a bachelor’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university and a 3.0 grade point average. When they apply, students should submit their college transcripts and proof of English proficiency.

Villanova University

Villanova University’s MBA with a strategic management specialization takes two years to complete and is made up of courses that include online videos, interactive case studies, and discussion boards. To be admitted, applicants provide a resume, two essays, GMAT or GRE scores, two academic or professional letters of recommendation, and official transcripts from the institution where they earned their bachelor’s degree. Students may be admitted into the program during the fall, spring, or summer semesters.

Once they enroll in the program, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, students take courses that address team leadership, strategic marketing management, corporate finance, and contemporary business issues. Students may also participate in capstone courses to demonstrate their knowledge of the curriculum.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers an online MBA specialization in strategy and consulting. This convenient online degree provides the specialized learning and leadership skills students need to be successful in consulting careers. Courses cover strategic management and leadership, problem solving, team collaboration, effective communication, and fact-based analysis. Students may also take courses in business strategy, consulting frameworks, corporate strategy, supply chain management, and business communication. In addition, they’ll have the opportunity to apply the concepts they learned in a real-world setting through experiential learning opportunities.

To apply , submit official transcripts from your undergraduate program, a resume, two letters of recommendation, two essays, and GMAT or GRE scores. In some cases, applicants may be asked to participate in an interview.

What to Expect from an Online MBA in Strategy Program

The best online MBA strategy programs are made up of a combination of core and concentration classes that give you a well-rounded look at the advanced business concepts you’ll use in high-level positions or in your own businesses. Core classes include managerial accounting, finance, organizational leadership, and human resource management. When you move on to classes in your concentration, you’ll study project management, organizational communication, and ethical leadership. In addition, you may have experiential learning opportunities or may be required to take a capstone course to complete your MBA in strategy online.

Depending on the school you choose for an MBA in strategy online, your classes will most likely last six to eight weeks. Some programs use asynchronous learning, meaning you can watch lectures at your convenience, while others require you to participate in live lectures conducted during evenings and weekends. Most courses have discussion boards where you share ideas with your peers and professors and collaborate on projects such as case studies. You may also discover networking opportunities, which will help you build relationships that can last long after you graduate with your online MBA in business strategy.

Common Courses

  • Ethical Leadership

    No matter what kind of organization they work in, leaders are presented with daily challenges that require tough decisions to maintain the well-being of their businesses. This course teaches students how to handle these challenges in an ethical way by presenting a variety of business scenarios, along with solutions based on ethical principles.

  • Organizational Effectiveness

    This course examines the qualities of an effective organization and what leadership can do to ensure the company is as effective as possible. Students look at how work processes, policies and procedures, organizational structure, and the employees themselves contribute to, or take away from, an organization’s effectiveness.

  • Corporate Restructuring

    Students in this class learn about how corporations are restructured during mergers and acquisitions. Specific topics may include the reasons a company’s leadership may decide to merge with or acquire another company, what is involved in friendly and unfriendly takeovers, strategies for evaluating a company, and performing cost-benefit analyses on potential mergers and acquisitions.

  • Managing People and Teams

    The biggest asset that an organization has is its people, so it’s imperative that those in managerial positions are effective in overseeing the employees that work for them, as well as the teams that these employees are a part of. To help students develop these skills, they may be required to read case studies of successful managers and participate in simulated exercises.

  • Leadership Theory

    There are several paths that leaders can take to become successful, and this course looks at the theories that guide successful managers. Students become familiar with the research on leadership and learn how theories are applied daily by successful leaders.

What You Can Do with an MBA in Strategy

The skills that students gain in an MBA in strategy program can be used in numerous business settings. Students may start their own businesses, become corporate executives, or pursue careers in management in areas including recruitment, marketing, and training. Thanks to the best online MBA strategy programs, students graduate with skills such as written and verbal communication, analytical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. Continue reading to find out specific jobs that people who earn an MBA in strategy online may hold, as well as the earning potential for these positions.

Marketing Managers

Marketing managers use their leadership skills to plan and oversee the marketing programs and policies that their organization uses to sell products and services and raise awareness about the company’s brand. This work includes identifying target markets, creating a pricing strategy that maximizes profit, conducting market research to determine what similar products are being sold, and evaluating the effectiveness of a marketing campaign and changing strategies as necessary.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$44,000 $66,000 $100,000

Source: PayScale, 2021

Business Strategy Managers

Business strategy managers are charged with helping organizations reach their goals. To do this, they delegate work to their employees, oversee the activities of these employees to ensure the work gets done, and provide feedback and instruction as necessary. In addition, these professionals are involved in the process of recruiting, hiring, and training.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$64,000 $90,000 $141,000

Source: PayScale, 2019

Business Intelligence Analysts

Business intelligence analysts support the goals of their organization by using their data analysis expertise. To do this, they compile and analyze data based on a company’s business and financial records for review by stakeholders, such as the organization’s leadership and clients. In addition, these professionals are in charge of the databases that store the information.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$51,000 $69,000 $96,000

Source: PayScale, 2019

Training and Development Managers

Organizations rely on training and development managers to nurture their most important asset—their workers. This position entails planning and coordinating the training programs that an organization uses to develop the skills of its talent. Specific job duties include performing assessments to determine what training employees need to enhance their skills, developing training programs to provide these skills, and providing direction to help instructors effectively teach training courses.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$64,720 $113,350 $196,070

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Business Consultants

When businesses want guidance on how to improve their operations and become more effective and efficient, they enlist the help of a business consultant. Specifically, consultants use their business acumen to help organizations identify their problems, create plans to address these problems, and monitor how well the plans are doing after implementation. In addition, these professionals help their clients develop strategies to bring in new business and to hire and train employees.

10th Percentile Median Annual Pay 90th Percentile
$50,000 $75,000 $114,000

Source: PayScale.com, 2021

Costs and Financial Aid for Your Online MBA in Strategy

Just as it’s important to understand what each school has to offer in terms of curriculum and student support, it’s also important to understand how much the schools you’re interested in will cost. Earning an online MBA in strategy can be a substantial financial commitment. To help you get an idea of how much you may spend on the program, we’ve compiled a list of schools below and their cost. Also, our financial aid page gives you an idea of what financial aid options you may qualify for and which ones are best for your situation—whether that be loans, grants, scholarships, or assistantships.

How Much Your Online MBA in Strategy Might Cost

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

Southern Utah University

33

$485/Credit

$16,005

Messiah University

36

$710/Credit

$25,560

Liberty University

45

$565/Credit

$25,425

Frequently Asked Questions About Earning Your MBA in Strategy Online

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

An online MBA in business strategy can be rigorous, so schools that offer these degrees have high standards for the students they admit. As you’re looking at schools, you’ll see that they have different expectations. In general, these are the admissions requirements you may find:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college
  • Minimum 3.0 grade point average
  • Prerequisite business courses in areas such as finance and accounting with at least a B grade
  • Work experience
  • GMAT or GRE scores

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

Although MBA programs have been known for including GMAT scores as part of their evaluation criteria, more schools are relying less on this standardized test when they look at prospective students. Instead, many schools that offer quality MBA programs look at more practical markers for student success, such as the student’s experience in management, research they’ve been involved in, and performance in their undergraduate programs. With this in mind, don’t assume that you have to take the GMAT to be admitted into a quality program; check the admissions requirements for schools you’re interested in.

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

An online MBA in strategy can take two years for a full-time student to finish. If you enroll on a part-time basis, your degree will take three to four years.

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

Whether or not you can complete your MBA in strategy 100% online depends on the program you choose. Some programs are hybrids, which means they do require that you take some of your coursework on campus and the rest of it online. In other cases, you may be able to complete all of your coursework online. In addition, some schools may require you to participate in a capstone course on campus after you have finished the majority of your online classwork.

What’s the difference between an MBA in strategy and a master’s in strategy?

Although both degrees are designed to give students an advanced understanding of business strategy, an MBA in strategy is geared toward people who want functional business skills that will help them move up in their careers. As a result, these degrees cover a wide array of business areas, such as marketing, operations management, finance, and human resources. On the other hand, those who earn a master’s degree in strategy are generally already in managerial positions and want to build on their business experience by adding the strategy skills they need to be effective. These degrees have a curriculum that focuses solely on management, so students take classes in organizational learning, human behavior, organizational change, and management theory and practices.