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What Can You Do With an MBA in Hawaii

An MBA in Hawaii can lead to success through solving problems on a social level as well as those that are strictly business. The island state is flush with lower-paid jobs that power tourism, agriculture, and other sectors. However, many of these workers are finding it difficult to maintain a reasonable standard of living and are likely to leave for the mainland unless things change. Thus, an MBA student might work on solving this problem so that the state maintains this vital workforce while continuing its upward growth trend.

With the increasing globalization of the economy, Hawaii needs the intellectual capital necessary to meet these new challenges. One key area is shipping and receiving. Hawaii is an important hub in the Pacific Ocean and thus needs supply chain experts and logisticians who can manage all the incoming and outgoing products. Furthermore, Hawaii's geographical location requires MBAs who are schooled in international business, whether they plan to work in government or private business.

Meanwhile, Hawaii also needs top experts in hospitality management, healthcare, finance, and marketing. The state government needs MBA brainpower to help manage budgets, attract new business, and see to the day-to-day operations of each governmental agency. Though Hawaii might be small and seemingly limited by its island nature, its economy is still bustling and growing.

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Best MBA Programs in Hawaii


University of Hawaii at Manoa

Score: 91.53

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $15,600
    • Out-of-State: $33,648
  • Net Price: $13,639
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Total Enrollment: 19,074
  • Undergrad Students: 14,198
  • Graduate Students: 4,876
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 14:1
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Score: 77.87

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $26,040
    • Out-of-State: $26,040
  • Net Price: $27,315
  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Retention Rate: 71%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,369
  • Undergrad Students: 1,583
  • Graduate Students: 786
  • Grads Salary: $73,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 11:1
  • Chaminade University of Honolulu

Hawaii Pacific University

Score: 66.01

  • Graduate Tuition
    • In-State: $21,183
    • Out-of-State: $21,183
  • Net Price: $30,501
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Retention Rate: 59%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,876
  • Undergrad Students: 4,151
  • Graduate Students: 725
  • Grads Salary: $81,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 16:1
  • Hawaii Pacific University

Why Consider Obtaining an MBA Degree?

As online education matures, MBA programs are evolving to meet all student needs. You can find accredited programs with high rankings that are online-only. You’ll never need to visit the campus or meet any of your fellow students or even faculty, not for admission and not for any of your main or elective classes. Other programs are now offering residency periods, where you visit campus for instruction and social networking opportunities. Some programs offer residencies as an option, but others make them a required part of the curriculum.

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Residencies can be a valuable addition to these often impersonal MBA programs. One hallmark of traditional on-campus programs is that they provide students an integrated opportunity to build a network of like-minded and equally-trained workers to call on. Such a network might help you raise funds for your next disrupting tech company or provide referrals for job openings. You’ll also have a sounding board for business ideas. MBAs are community builders, so these programs are now adding a more personal touch to help you build the same sorts of community once unavailable to online students.

Residencies also ease the class experience. When you can put a name, face, and voice to a discussion-board critique from a peer, it’s easier to put into context. That is, you might know that some people have certain pet issues they tend to pick out or that their feedback can seem brusque or rude, but that they are genuinely fun people. When you have a context for online interaction, it can smooth over the misunderstandings that seem intrinsic to these types of communications.

Concurrent Degrees

The requirements and content of concurrent degrees are an academically intense, but very potent way to advance your career. The most well-known type of concurrent degree is the JD/MBA, though those are rare in the online environment. However, there are more and more concurrent degree programs popping up all the time all over the United States.

Nowadays, you can find business school programs that offer engineering degrees alongside the MBA. You might also find legal studies degrees packaged alongside your MBA. Legal studies might not carry the punch of the JD, but such a degree will give you knowledge and skills that you will actually use in your work.

Percentage of Students Enrolled By Distance Education

Typical MBA Concentrations

When you receive an MBA, you want to know that your degree is applicable to the industry or career path that means the most to you. After all, graduates have spent months and years going through the process of passing every course before they complete the full degree. Generalization is for undergraduate degrees, and that is wonderful. A bachelor’s in business provides a foundation that allows for specific training. You can then build on that foundation by choosing a concentration when you begin an MBA.

Some MBA specialty areas include, but are not limited to:

  • MBA in International/Global Business Management
    Many MBA programs offer this as a specialization. In fact, many are designed to include an optional trip to foreign countries. Even if you intend to stay and study in the Hawaiian Islands, this might be a great choice. After all, Hawaii necessarily imports and exports many items to maintain a contemporary standard for its citizens.
  • MBA in Supply Chain Management
    Again, since Hawaii imports and exports so much, you’ll likely be highly-sought when you have master level knowledge of cutting-edge supply chain software and theories of logistics. With this degree, you can work in warehousing or in an office setting; alumni from these programs are real leaders in their field.
  • MBA in HR Management
    Hiring a great team begins with HR professionals who know how to find and lure talent. While it may seem easy to lure people to Hawaii’s tropical life, many will want to remain elsewhere where they have easier access to the other contiguous 48 states. Further, firms need HR people who know how to structure compensation packages in ways that please employees while remaining within budgetary cost constraints.
  • MBA in Accounting
    Accounting is a popular concentration for MBA candidates who also want to add CPA credentials to their resume. If this is the route for you, make sure you consult Hawaii’s current standards for CPA candidates before you apply. There are very specific academic standards that you must meet to qualify to even take the CPA licensing exam.

Accreditation in Hawaii

Accreditation is an important issue when it comes to picking the right online MBA program in Hawaii. It will impact your academic and even professional future. Thus, if you plan to attend an MBA program with the idea of moving on to the PhD level, you might contact a few desired PhD programs to see if they will accept credits from MBA programs you are considering. If you plan to stay in the working world, you might consider calling a few employers you find desirable, discuss the program’s accreditation with the Human Resources department and find out what they think. Since accreditation is subject to change, discuss individual programs in the context of their current accreditation status.

There are generally three accrediting agencies to look for when choosing a program. Those are:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business:
    The AACSB is the premier agency for MBA accreditation. Founded in 1916, they certify the best MBA programs, both on-campus and online. There are many factors to consider when you’re applying to online master’s degree programs, so if an AACSB program appeals to you, it’s worth applying to. Keep in mind that their certifications are based more on research and traditional academic criteria.
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs:
    This accrediting agency prioritizes quality instruction more than the research prowess of a particular department. If you want professors who are focused on students and educational outcomes more than kudos from academia, an ACBSP-accredited program might be for you.
  • Regional Accreditation:
    This level of accreditation indicates that a program is well thought of among similar programs in its particular region. If you are applying to a Hawaiian online MBA program, look for accreditation from the Western Association of Colleges and Schools.

Career and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

It may come as no surprise that Hawaii's economy is dominated by the travel and tourism industry. The island state also offers plenty of opportunities in education, healthcare, and industrial labor. Thus, MBA graduates might look for concentrations in healthcare administration, organizational management, and human resources. There are also bound to be opportunities for those with expertise in shipping and receiving, finance, and information technology. The following companies and government agencies are the top employers in the state. Keep in mind that there are also worthy employers in many other economic sectors.

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Top Employers in the State by Number of Employees

Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
Hawaii State Department of Education Education Honolulu 13,000
Altres Industrial Consultants Honolulu 10,000+
Hawaii Health Systems Corp Health Honolulu 4,000+
Queen’s Medical Center Health Honolulu 3,600
Kapiolani Medical Ctr Health Honolulu 1,500+

Careers and Salaries for MBA Graduates in Hawaii

As each professional's educational level rises, so do their responsibilities, salaries, and even job satisfaction levels. Businesspeople who start their careers with an associate degree can find great entry level jobs in Hawaii's bustling economy. However, their prospects rise even more when they complete an undergraduate business degree and then they find the best success upon completing their MBA degree program. This may seem intuitive, but studies and statistics bear this out, as you can see here.

Careers for Hawaii MBA Grads

  • Supply Chain Manager
    Hawaii is at the center of global shipping. Thus, there is a strong need for supply chain professionals to help ferry the islands' imports and exports.
  • Marketing Manager
    An MBA that features a marketing concentration will launch a career into upper management. This profession requires that professionals not only have an analytical mastery of marketing statistics but also a firm grasp on the creative side of marketing.
  • Financial Consultant
    Every business and wealthy individual in Hawaii needs help with their finances. Retirees to the state's islands need wealth management and businesses need help to structure their debt, assets, and investments.
  • Chief Information Officer
    High tech workers who desire a move into upper management should consider an MBA degree that features a concentration in information technology, or some equivalent. For those who are in a cyber security career, a concentration in information security might help them become a chief security officer for one of Hawaii's top firms.
  • Hospitality Executive
    Though Hawaii is more than high quality resorts and hotels, there will always be a strong demand for tourism in the state. Thus, an MBA student who concentrates on hospitality may be able to go far in Hawaii.
  • Healthcare Administration
    Not unlike the rest of the nation, Hawaii's economy is dominated by the healthcare industry. With an MBA that features a concentration in healthcare administration, professionals can work toward the top of health systems statewide.
  • Human Resources Manager
    Given that one of Hawaii's top employers is a workforce provider to the states industrial sector, there is ongoing demand for HR experts.
  • Project Management
    Hawaii is still a major hub for the U.S. Navy. Between the military’s presence and all the other industry ongoing in the state, there is a demand for outside consultants who need oversight and support from project managers.

How to Choose & FAQ's

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, a graduate degree, specifically an online MBA could be just the thing. When you earn an MBA online you’ll still have time to take care of your current work and family obligations. Plus, MBA students will receive top-notch instruction and be able to attend on their terms, including part-time, full-time, throughout the year, in evening courses, on campus, or through distance learning from all over the U.S.

To make a decision between the available MBA programs Hawaii has to offer, you’ll first need to assess your specific needs. Students usually turn to an advanced degree after a search for a way to advance their earnings and careers. However, you’ll need to decide exactly what direction you want to pursue. That is, you need to select what specific area of business you’d like to learn about and work in, whether that’s data, government, strategic management, business analytics, or if you’re interested in small startup companies or being in charge of a whole team of managers. You can also consider whether you’d like a concurrent degree or if you’re willing to do some minimal travel for residencies.

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  • What accrediting agencies are the most important?
    While regional accreditation is often sufficient, prospective MBA students should pay special attention to programs certified by AACSB, ACBSP, or IACBE.
  • Will an online MBA help my career?
    Yes. Online MBA programs are achieving the same accreditations and yielding the same outcomes as traditional MBA programs. This is a particularly great option for MBA students in Hawaii who may seek options from the mainland.
  • How do I choose the right MBA concentration for me?
    This is a very important decision. You may first want to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. It is also helpful to review your undergraduate courses and pursue the topics that you excelled in and which hold an interest for you.

University of Hawaii at Manoa Shidler School of Business

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Shidler School of Business offers an online Executive MBA. In fact, the Shidler School is only one of two available AACSB certified programs. Shidler offers an MBA with a wide spectrum of elective classes that will build on your work in the main curriculum.

You might take any one of the following, though this list is subject to change:

  • Investment Analysis
  • Negotiations
  • Multicultural Management
  • Marketing Communication and Management
  • International Business

The Shidler School also offers a Health Care Management track that will position you for brilliant success in one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation.

In the past, the Shidler School has offered healthcare-focused courses such as:

  • Healthcare Financial Management
  • Health Policy, Systems, and the Legal Environment
  • Management of Health Information Technology and Population Health
  • Human Resources in Healthcare Organizations
  • Patient Centered Communication Management

Hawaii Pacific University

HPU is an AACSB-certified MBA program that allows you the flexibility for online learning. HPU offers an MBA, but you can also choose from a list of seven concentrations:

  • Organizational Change and Development
    this concentration looks at areas such as innovation, organizational structures, and leadership to create a concentration that will form the foundation for your work as a consultant or an outside-the-box manager in your current firm.
  • Marketing
    you’ll expand your knowledge of market research, advertising management, and international marketing, among other areas. This concentration includes the option for paid and unpaid internships.
  • Management
    with a focus on international business management, you’ll be poised to lead. This focus area is especially worthwhile if you wish to expand on your business dealings in Japan.
  • International Business
    Hawaii is geographically poised to be a huge center for global business. This focus area provides a redux of every major MBA topic through the lens of international commerce.
  • Information Systems
    from project management to systems architecture and everything in between, this specialization will make you a vital part of any firm’s growth and development.
  • Human Resource Management
    sustainable human systems, compensation, and OSHA concerns are just the tip of the iceberg in this specialty. After all, every firm relies on its people to make a profit, so your expertise will be invaluable.
  • Finance
    international finance, derivatives trading, and estate planning comprise a wide spectrum. With this specialty you could end up managing your firm’s investment portfolio or creating on your own as a financial planner for Hawaii’s savvy investors. If your firm is considering broadening its scope with mergers or acquisitions, this is an important specialization for you. Be careful, though: your bonus check might be too large!

Though Hawaii has a limited landmass, it has two top-notch online programs to choose between. Make sure you do thorough research and arrange a visit to the campuses, if possible. Since both are in Honolulu, you can possibly visit both on the same day. Nonetheless, with an MBA, you’ll be poised to lead Hawaii through the 21st century. Aloha!

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