About the Program
The Penn State Online MBA, delivered online through Penn State World Campus in partnership with the internationally ranked Smeal College of Business, is designed to provide students with the contemporary skills they need to manage high performance teams in today’s complex and competitive work environment.
This 48-credit online program can be customized to meet the unique career interests and personal strengths of its students, most of whom are busy working adults who seek to juggle personal and professional commitments while earning their degree part-time and online.
The Penn State Online MBA comes from an AACSB-accredited business school, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business schools worldwide. In addition, Penn State World Campus is consistently ranked among the top online MBA programs by U.S. News and World Report.
A Curriculum Focused on Integration, Collaboration, and Engagement. At the heart of Penn State Online MBA’s curriculum is a three-part teaching and learning approach called ICE. Incorporating principles of Integration, Collaboration, and Engagement, ICE serves as the defining spirit of the program and shapes everything from the overall design and implementation of classes to selection process when admitting new students.
- Integration – The curriculum integrates previously siloed business disciplines so that students can approach authentic problem solving from a more comprehensive perspective.
- Collaboration – The program’s strong emphasis on teamwork allows students to develop the critical interpersonal skills that hiring managers seek. Students will participate in group projects that encourages them to network and learn from peers from diverse backgrounds and specialties.
- Engagement – While courses are asynchronous, Penn State strives to create a highly interactive learning experience. The program emphasizes team work and creative engagement. For example, students can participate in optional live sessions virtually if their schedules allows. Some alumni also return to the program to help facilitate discussions on how they’ve applied specialized concepts in the real world. Students can gain practical, hands-on insight from those who have been through the program and currently work in industry.
With ICE leading the way, core courses expose students to the foundational workings of business: financial accounting and financial management, marketing, strategic management, leadership communications and more.
A Single Resident Experience. Every student starts with a boots-on-the-ground residency at Penn State’s famed main campus in University Park, Pennsylvania. During this highly engaging event, students will meet their instructors and peers, become immersed in a team performance project for class credit, and attend workshops covering student advising services, career management, stress management, alumni relations and networking, time management, and online technology. This residency is the only time a student is required to be on campus. The rest of the program can be completed 100% online.
What Students Can Expect to Learn. Students can learn how to:
- use statistical techniques, as well as accounting and financial data, to analyze and evaluate business decisions.
- prepare and deliver clear and compelling case studies about contemporary business problems.
- demonstrate effective verbal and written communication skills across multiple platforms.
- identify and prioritize business challenges, apply logical reasoning, and develop alternative solutions.
- develop leadership skills fundamental to managing a business.
- analyze and solve business problems from multiple functional perspectives.
More Concentrations Than Ever Before. Penn State’s comprehensive list of Online MBA concentrations was developed to address skill gaps in today’s competitive business environment. These concentrations allow students to customize their education while gaining highly marketable skills that are in demand right now.
Concentrations include accounting foundations, advanced accounting, business analytics, business architecture, business sustainability strategy, corporate innovation and entrepreneurship, finance, general management, human resource management, management consulting, marketing analytics, negotiation and influence, project management, strategic leadership, and supply chain management. New concentrations are added regularly in response to market demand.
Earn a Graduate Certificate Along the Way. Depending on the choice of concentration, students often meet the requirements to earn an additional graduate certificate, allowing you to earn two credentials instead of one. Students should contact the program office for questions. A separate application for the graduate certificate program is required.
What Students Have to Say.
“The thing that really stood out for me about this program was the flexibility. I travel a lot for work. At different times of the year, we have different workloads, and the ability to take on extra classes when I have space, or even taking the semester off if I know I’m going to be doing a lot of travel was important to me. The ability to not have to do a program in two years was a driving factor.” – Deb Ryan
“I decided to earn an MBA, and Penn State was my number one choice. I researched other schools, and what I found with Penn State is that during the admissions process they made me feel welcome” – John Johnson
“Through this program, I have been fortunate to meet and collaborate with other like-minded, driven individuals all across the continent and even a few on the other side of the world.” – Ariel Prochowski
“The job market was more difficult than I expected, trying to work overseas with only military experience. I was trying to figure out how to make myself more marketable, and an MBA seemed the like best way to do that. For me personally, I decided on Penn State because of the military benefits. I was able to use my full GI bill and just appreciate the military and veteran friendliness of the school.” – Kendra Coffee
“Anywhere you go, you can bring the Online MBA experience with you. I’ve studied at home, in airports, and in-between meetings. Through the online platform, I can be a student and still fulfill my role as a husband, dad, and employee while working toward my MBA” – Matt Franz
The Smeal Advantage. Online students will become part of a globally recognized business community and will receive many of the same benefits as students in the school’s on-campus and executive programs, including optional global immersion trips, leadership immersion experiences, plus individualized career services and advising. Students are even invited to Dean Whiteman’s annual tailgate, a family-friendly event held in advance of a Penn State football game each fall!
What It Takes to Get In. The school seeks resume, essay, transcripts, and two references, preferably from a manager or supervisor. GMAT or GRE is required, however waivers are available to highly qualified candidates who have not taken the test in the past five years. Although there is no minimum score that’s required, the school says the ideal candidate will have achieved a GMAT score somewhere between 575 and 600.
Like most schools, Penn State takes a holistic approach when reviewing candidates. They look for career progression and goals moving forward. The admissions committee wants to see that the student has leadership experience to share and has managed budgets and people, traveled, and done business globally.
Costs. The Penn State Online MBA is competitively priced amongst other top-ranked online programs from AACSB-accredited business schools. Tuition for 2019-20 is $1,236 per credit, which includes the student’s IT fee. Students pay by the course as they go through the program, and there is no out-of-state upcharge for non-Pennsylvania residents.
Apply Early for Scholarship Consideration. Small, but helpful, financial assistance is available to students when they apply by the school’s early bird deadline date. The merit-based assistance is awarded to those who have demonstrated extraordinary personal, professional, or academic achievements, or the ability to contribute a unique perspective to the program. Because students automatically qualify when they apply by the early deadline, there is no additional scholarship application necessary.