Best Illinois MBA Schools and Programs

Your Guide to an Illinois MBA Career, Curriculum and Education

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What Can You Do With an MBA in Illinois


The location of the Sears Tower and some of sports’ most loyal fan bases, Illinois is home to almost 13 million people, ranking the state as the fifth most populous in the country. Despite the fact that Illinois contains Chicago (the third largest city in the nation) and Springfield, its capital, the state is filled with the cornfields and plains of the Midwest, and plenty of forests and lakes.

Illinois is also home to a slew of colleges and universities, many of whom offer full-time and part-time online learning to their students. Illinois houses 92 higher education institutions, which include nine public universities, 35 private colleges, and 48 community colleges. With those numbers, there’s sure to be a high quality graduate school program in Illinois that will help you to reach your future career goals, whether you're determined to earn a general, professional, human resources, risk management, organizational behavior, strategic management, law or legal studies, finance, information technology, policy management, or any other degree you can think of in whichever format you desire. The options offered are many and you'll find faculty and academic courses designed to give you the experience you need within a year to two years tops.

Why Consider an Online MBA?


Online learning offers many perks not available to students in an on-campus college program. Students often save money on tuitions, including living expenses and meal plans without skimping on content or school rankings. Students also may be eligible to enroll in programs that allow accelerated graduation, as well as some that don’t require GMAT scores.

The cost of living in an urban area might preclude many students from enrolling in programs that would otherwise be the best fit for them. Though some online programs do require occasional visits to the real campus, distance learning works to negate the issue of accessibility, and helps to provide a great education no matter where students study from.

Percentage of Students Enrolled By Distance Education


Typical MBA Concentrations


Identifying a career path that interests you prior to enrolling in an online MBA program can give you a leg up when breaking into your field after graduation. Many Illinois schools have MBA program concentrations that will allow students to master exactly what they’ll need to know going into their chosen field.

The following examples were chosen based on their relevance within the Illinois job market, which employs a large number of business professionals with advanced management skills.

  • International Business
    A degree focusing on international business can give students an understanding of global business principles. They’ll learn how to create value for clients and partners, how businesses operate in other countries, and why these topics are important when managing an internationally active business.
  • Business Data Analytics
    This specialization teaches students how to use data to develop markets and attract customers, increase supply chain efficiency, and make smart business decisions. This is an ideal focus for students who may want to pursue a future as a business consultant.

Accreditation in Illinois


There are different types of accreditation that are available to colleges and universities across the country. Students should look at schools that have been accredited by a regional or national bureau. Being nationally adccredited may sound more prestigious, but this is typically reserved for for-profit institutions and is often more focused on undergraduate degrees.

The state’s top business schools have been accredited by Illinois’s regional bureau, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) also offers this to online programs.

Career and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates


Manufacturing, agriculture, insurance, and healthcare are all pillars of Illinois’ economy. These industries provide ample opportunity for MBA graduates to put their skills to use. Particularly in Chicago, Illinois is full of potential jobs for newly minted MBAs to further their careers and meet the requirements to move their way up corporate ladders.

Top Employers in the State by Number of Employees


Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
State Farm Insurance Northbrook 13,000
Allstate Insurance Bloomington 13,000
Illinois Government Government Illinois 785,000+

With a degree from an accredited online MBA program, you’ll be on the right path to hit your business career goals. These businesses may be a good place to start when considering your next job opportunity in Illinois.

Careers and Salaries for MBA Graduates in Illinois


Students aiming for a graduate degree that will ensure them a hefty annual paycheck should consider an online MBA. Many MBA graduates go on to land jobs with a six-figure salary, and most are able to secure employment within just a three months of earning their degree.

The table below can give you an idea of what kind of salary an online MBA can set students up to earn.

Average Degree Salary Ranges Potential


  • Earnings with Associates - $56,086
  • Earnings with Bachelors - $60,802
  • Earnings with MBA - $100,601

Careers for Illinois MBA Grads


  • IT Operations Manager
    In this position, MBA graduates may oversee teams responsible for developing and implementing core IT processes to keep the company and running smoothly. This may involve understanding of workflow processes, customer/vendor communications, and cross-department interaction.
  • Director of Business Development
    This is a marketing position for MBA graduates to develop new customer building strategies through account management systems. They spend a great deal of time working to build referral modules, and may meet occasionally with administration to discuss issues that center on marketing.
  • Financial Analyst
    Financial analysts guide businesses and individuals to financial success through investment and analysis of current finances. Bachelor’s degree graduates are also often qualified to hold this position, but an online MBA can significantly boost earnings in this field and make it more likely you will be hired when you apply.
  • Sales Manager
    Sales managers lead their teams by providing support and supervision during the sales process. They’re responsible for creating and implementing business strategies to better help their sales team meet their target sales goals.
  • Account Executive
    Account executives can work in many different industries and support their teams by finding and following up on sales leads, handling client support, creating sales strategies, and relaying company value to target customers. Successful account executives are good at matching customer with their ideal products.

Best MBA Programs in Illinois


If you are interested in becoming an MBA graduate in Illinois, you have some great colleges you can choose from. Our rankings list of the best MBA programs in Illinois can help you narrow down your choice.

Northwestern University Location
Evanston, IL
MBA Concentrations
No
Retention %
98%
Graduation %
95%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$140,800
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
6:1
University of Chicago Location
Chicago, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Analytical Finance
  • Behavioral Science
  • Business Analytics
  • Econometrics and Statistics
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • General Management
  • International Business
  • Marketing Management
  • Operation Management
  • Strategic Management
Retention %
99%
Graduation %
96%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$135,400
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
5:1
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Location
Champaign, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Digital Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Financial Management
  • Global Challenges In Business
  • Management
  • Managerial Economics And Business Analysis
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Value Chain Management
Retention %
93%
Graduation %
86%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$105,800
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
20:1
Lake Forest Graduate School of Management Location
Lake Forest, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Finance
  • Global Business
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behavior
Retention %
88%
Graduation %
75%
Accreditation
HLC
Average Salary
$110,000
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
12:1
Bradley University Location
Peoria, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Executive
Retention %
85%
Graduation %
76%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$105,400
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
12:1
DePaul University Location
Chicago, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Business Analytics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management
Retention %
85%
Graduation %
71%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$99,300
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
16:1
Loyola University Chicago Location
Chicago, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Business Ethics
  • Derivative Markets
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Human Resources Management
  • Information Systems Management
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Risk Management
  • Supply Chain Management
Retention %
85%
Graduation %
76%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$94,800
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
14:1
Illinois Institute of Technology Location
Chicago, IL
MBA Concentrations
No
Retention %
88%
Graduation %
72%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$102,400
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
12:1
University of Illinois Chicago Location
Chicago, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Business Analytics
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Real Estate
Retention %
79%
Graduation %
63%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$95,200
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
18:1
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Location
Edwardsville, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Business Analytics
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Project Management
Retention %
79%
Graduation %
54%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$94,000
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
17:1
Northern Illinois University Location
DeKalb, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Executive MBA
Retention %
72%
Graduation %
48%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$95,400
Hybrid
Yes
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
15:1
University of Illinois Springfield Location
Springfield, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Applied Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • Operations & Supply Chain Management
Retention %
79%
Graduation %
55%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$85,000
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
12:1
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Location
Carbondale, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Agribusiness Economics
Retention %
75%
Graduation %
48%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$91,600
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
12:1
University of St. Francis Location
Joliet, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Data Analytics
  • Finance
  • Health Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Management
  • Supply Chain Management
Retention %
81%
Graduation %
60%
Accreditation
ACBSP
Average Salary
$77,392
Hybrid
Yes
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
13:1
Lewis University Location
Romeoville, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Informatics
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Information Technology Management
  • International Business
  • Marketing, Social Media Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Project Management
Retention %
84%
Graduation %
70%
Accreditation
ACBSP
Average Salary
$69,654
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
13:1
Illinois State University Location
Normal, IL
MBA Concentrations
No
Retention %
79%
Graduation %
68%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$64,634
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
19:1
Western Illinois University Location
Macomb, IL
MBA Concentrations
No
Retention %
67%
Graduation %
46%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$83,500
Hybrid
Yes
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
13:1
Dominican University Location
River Forest, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Management
Retention %
77%
Graduation %
63%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$74,900
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
10:1
Saint Xavier University Location
Chicago, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Financial Fraud Examination and Management
  • Forensic and Investigative Accounting
  • Healthcare Management
  • Management
Retention %
76%
Graduation %
56%
Accreditation
AACSB
Average Salary
$74,443
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
Yes
Student-to-faculty
16:1
Olivet Nazarene University Location
Bourbonnais, IL
MBA Concentrations
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Leadership
  • NonProfit Management
  • Public Relations
Retention %
77%
Graduation %
65%
Accreditation
No
Average Salary
$65,389
Hybrid
NA
Part-Time
NA
Student-to-faculty
14:1
Full Ranking Report

How to Choose & FAQ's


Students are advised to consider the pros and cons of several different online MBA programs before landing on their final decision. Here are some of the factors to consider when selecting the online program that’s right for you.

  • Compare Student Outcomes Data
    IYou may want to find out how a program’s graduating students stack up in comparison to those from competing schools. Factors like student debt, how long it takes to get a job after graduation, student retention rate, and the like can give insight into whether an online MBA program will be worth your while.
  • Consider Program Cost
    You don’t want to be in the middle of a semester and suddenly faced with charges you weren’t expecting. Get the scoop on exactly what will be expected of you financially throughout the length of the MBA program. Take into consideration cost of living expenses, technological fees, administrative fees, and anything else you can think of when assessing whether a program is within your budget.
  • Find Out If They Partner With Local Businesses
    A school with an established relationship with local businesses might have better resources to connect you with internships and jobs that will help your career. Make sure the program you’re considering will be able to meet these needs for you while considering any travel restrictions.
  • Make Sure Classes Will Fit Within Your Schedule
    Though some classes offer the fully flexible class scheduling that many students enjoy in distance learning, other programs may require some structure, even from afar. Find out whether your program will have mandated log-in times, or whether you’ll be able to complete coursework on your own time. Particularly if you’re a part time student, this may prove to be an important factor to consider.
  • Talk to Students and Recent Alumni
    Current students and recent graduates are a gold mine of information when you need to know how an online MBA program really runs. Ask your school for a list of contacts, or search for online forums or resources for prospective students to connect with current or recent ones.

MBA Degrees, Career Paths & Resources