Best Wisconsin MBA Schools and Programs

Your Guide to an Wisconsin MBA Career, Curriculum and Education

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What Can You Do With an MBA in Wisconsin


When they hear ,Wisconsin, many Americans think of cheese, but residents know there is much more to their home state than the dairy industry. While farming plays an integral part in Wisconsin economics, it is also home to one of the largest college systems in the country, as well as leading industries in both computer software and healthcare.

That means, when you search for a master level program in your Wisconsin community, it’s a good idea to think outside the box. Look for future job projections for professionals in your area of interest, investigate the specializations offered, and explore both your campus and more flexible options before you apply for admission to a program of study.

Since many general MBA candidates are already employed full-time, it’s important not to overload your calendar. Finding a good balance between work, family, and school will be vital to your success, so don’t worry if you need an extra year or two to reach your goals. In the big picture of life, you’ll still be where you want to go regardless of how long it takes.

Why Consider an Online MBA?


As mentioned above, dairy is big business in Wisconsin, as are other aspects of agriculture. Wisconsin ranks first or second in production of cheese, milk, butter, silage corn, ginseng, and cranberries, and all these crops must be processed and transported once they leave the farms. This means that it’s is also a hub for manufacturing as well as transport and industrial equipment. Oscar Meyer, Kraft, and Miller Brewing are major manufacturers in Wisconsin, as are paper mills such as SC Johnson, and all of these businesses keep their eyes open for real professional talent with the academic skills and info they need and the ability to be leaders.

Wisconsin also has growing sectors in healthcare software and devices, and tourism is the third largest industry. All of these businesses require leadership in order to run smoothly, and an MBA is your key to a leadership role anywhere in the U.S.

The University of Wisconsin is the country’s third largest college network and many other schools offer MBA programs that focus on concentrations that are central to the state’s economy. Because so many MBA students are going to school while employed, there are part-time and online programs as well as hybrid programs that combine on-campus with online coursework. Choosing a program that is designed to mesh with your lifestyle is a vital key to your MBA success.

Percentage of Students Enrolled By Distance Education


Typical MBA Concentrations


Concentrations are a lot like choosing a major for an undergraduate program. While you will still take the main courses you would expect to find in an MBA program, you will also take courses with content that focuses your knowledge of a niche professional role or a core industry. For instance, some specializations available throughout the country include business analytics, public policy, and international business. Of course, these are not necessary, but it would be unwise to skip over considering a concentration if you know where you want to be in the industry in 10 years. It might be just the thing to get you there.

  • Finance
    This program will focus on corporate investments, portfolio management, business regulations and laws, operations, and other aspects of a business’s cash flow. As an alumi from an MBA in Finance program you can also advise individuals on their assets and cash investments.
  • Healthcare Management
    With this specialty, you’ll oversee the overall operations in a healthcare setting such as a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or assisted living facility; you may be in charge of the entire operation or a certain department within a large corporation.
  • Hospitality Management
    With this focus, you’ll direct business aspects of a company within the tourism industry such as hotels, theme parks, casinos, and outdoor adventure resorts. You’ll learn about customer service, problem solving, and other aspects vital to the smooth operation of a fluctuating business.
  • Human Resource Management
    In this specialty, you’ll manage recruitment, hiring, and maintaining personnel within a large company. An HR manager is also required to uphold the company’s ethical and legal standards for things such as taxation and compensation.
  • Management Information Systems
    With this MBA, you’ll oversee the entire computer system within a corporation including maintenance, purchasing, and security. May also specialize in a specific industry such as healthcare.
  • Supply Chain Management
    With this concntration, you’ll manage the logistics of keeping a supply chain running smoothly with a focus on marketing, technology, data analysis, and finance within the manufacturing sector.

Accreditation in Wisconsin


One of the first things to consider when researching MBA programs is accreditation. An accredited school has met national and regional standards and is a requirement for scholarships and grants. This credentialing process verifies the quality of the faculty, curriculum, and more. It also allows you to transfer credits if you decide to switch from one program to another.

In Wisconsin, regional accreditation is awarded by the Higher Learning Commission. There are also three organizations that specifically accredit business programs, and earning a degree with one of these three programmatic accreditations can give you an edge when you’re applying for positions:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

Career and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates


Although average pay rates for MBA grads in Wisconsin are slightly lower than the national average, and there is also a lower cost of living, so your wages in fact will go further than in most other states. Although you’re most likely already employed, an MBA gives you many options for a career or employment change.

Take a look at the industry and location of the biggest employers in the state, keeping in mind there are usually clusters of supporting businesses tied into major employers. For example, many clinics and nursing homes will be in close proximity to a major hospital.

You’ll find many openings in these areas:

Top Employers in the State by Number of Employees


Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
University of Wisconsin (group) Education Madison 34,464
16,000+14,464 (two facilities) Menard Inc. Retail Eau Claire 10,000
Epic Computer Software Verona 9,700
UW University Hospital Healthcare Madison 7,447
Theda Care Inc. Healthcare Management Appleton 6,000
Kohl's Corporation Retail Menomonee Falls 5,500

Average Degree Salary Ranges Potential


  • Earnings with Associates - $62,060
  • Earnings with Bachelors - $76,270
  • Earnings with MBA - $115,100

Careers for Wisconsin MBA Grads


  • Sales Managers
    coordinate the movement or distribution of a service or product line; supervise the sales and distribution chain. Analyze sales trends and demographics to project future needs and goals of the sales department of a business or retail operation.
  • Chief Executives
    provide overall policies and direction of a company, private business, or public organization by planning and directing the operation of the business. The chief executive reports to the board of directors of a corporation.
  • Financial Managers
    oversee the financial actions of a business or plan investments and growth of a company's assets.
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers
    in charge of the communication system within a business or corporation including hiring and supervision of employees as well as the purchase, maintenance, and security of the computer systems.
  • Marketing Managers
    oversee the programs and policies of the marketing division within a company; develop pricing in relation to profits in order to maximize market share of products. May also oversee product development and project future needs.
  • Human Resources Managers
    oversee all aspects of the employment division within a company including interviewing, hiring, and training of employees as well as ensuring the legal paperwork and other requirements are met.

Best MBA Programs in Wisconsin


Cardinal Stritch University Location
Milwaukee, WI
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$10,927
Retention %
60%
Graduation %
50%
Avg. Grad Salary
$72,685
University of Wisconsin-Madison Location
Madison, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Strategic Management
Tuition
$12,352
Retention %
95%
Graduation %
88%
Avg. Grad Salary
$73,051
Marquette University Location
Milwaukee, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Business Literacy
  • Strategy
  • Leadership
Tuition
$21,805
Retention %
90%
Graduation %
82%
Avg. Grad Salary
$74,484
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Location
Whitewater, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Human Resources
  • Data Analytics
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • IT Management
Tuition
$9,282
Retention %
80%
Graduation %
62%
Avg. Grad Salary
$63,431
Concordia University-Wisconsin Location
Mequon, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Communications & Public Relations
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Healthcare Practitioners
  • Human Resources
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Nonprofit Management & Leadership
  • Public Administration
  • Risk Assessment & Management
  • Sport & Entertainment Business
  • Strategic Marketing
  • Sustainability & Management Analytics
Tuition
$11,506
Retention %
81%
Graduation %
64%
Avg. Grad Salary
$64,703
Lakeland University Location
Plymouth, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Project Management
  • Supply Chain Management
Tuition
$11,620
Retention %
61%
Graduation %
48%
Avg. Grad Salary
$63,509
University of Wisconsin-Stout Location
Menomonie, WI
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$8,703
Retention %
72%
Graduation %
60%
Avg. Grad Salary
$64,198
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Location
Milwaukee, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Business Analytics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Health Care Management
  • Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management
Tuition
$12,218
Retention %
76%
Graduation %
44%
Avg. Grad Salary
$67,204
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Location
Eau Claire, WI
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$9,887
Retention %
82%
Graduation %
67%
Avg. Grad Salary
$65,370
Edgewood College Location
Madison, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Health Systems Leadership
Tuition
$18,394
Retention %
79%
Graduation %
64%
Avg. Grad Salary
$61,009
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Location
Oshkosh, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Health Care Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Management Information Systems
Tuition
$9,219
Retention %
74%
Graduation %
61%
Avg. Grad Salary
$62,659
University of Wisconsin-Parkside Location
Kenosha, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Finance
  • Data Analytics
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Marketing
  • Global Management
  • General Management
Tuition
$8,028
Retention %
73%
Graduation %
44%
Avg. Grad Salary
$62,871
University of Wisconsin-River Falls Location
River Falls, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Business Analytics
Tuition
$7,640
Retention %
74%
Graduation %
58%
Avg. Grad Salary
$60,925
Saint Norbert College Location
De Pere, WI
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$11,100
Retention %
82%
Graduation %
73%
Avg. Grad Salary
$61,750
Viterbo University Location
La Crosse, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Healthcare Leadership
Tuition
$8,864
Retention %
83%
Graduation %
54%
Avg. Grad Salary
$67,404
Milwaukee School of Engineering Location
Milwaukee, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Construction Management
  • STEM Leadership
Tuition
$22,680
Retention %
85%
Graduation %
65%
Avg. Grad Salary
$78,402
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Location
La Crosse, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Communication
  • E-Commerce
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Ethics
  • Finance
  • Health Care Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • International Business
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Non-Profit
  • Project Management
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainability
Tuition
$8,651
Retention %
84%
Graduation %
69%
Avg. Grad Salary
$62,021
Alverno College Location
Milwaukee, WI
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$9,971
Retention %
71%
Graduation %
49%
Avg. Grad Salary
$62,397
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Location
Stevens Point, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Leadership and Decision-Making
Tuition
$8,066
Retention %
75%
Graduation %
60%
Avg. Grad Salary
$59,063
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Location
Green Bay, WI
MBA Concentrations
No
Tuition
$7,996
Retention %
72%
Graduation %
53%
Avg. Grad Salary
$61,919
Carroll University Location
Waukesha, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Accounting
  • Business Economics
  • Finance
  • Health Care Administration
  • Management and Leadership
  • Marketing
Tuition
$11,608
Retention %
83%
Graduation %
67%
Avg. Grad Salary
$63,362
Mount Mary University Location
Milwaukee, WI
MBA Concentrations
  • Health Systems Leadership
  • General Management
Tuition
$14,952
Retention %
65%
Graduation %
65%
Avg. Grad Salary
$57,786
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How to Choose & FAQ's


Now that you have a solid idea of what it will take to earn your graduate degree, you’ll need a plan to get started on your enrollment. While it may be tempting to enroll in the first school that appears to meet your needs it’s a better idea to do some research and avoid a costly and time-consuming mistake.

Your first step is to get organized: you can set up a simple file and folder system on your laptop and make a habit of saving a copy of everything school related in that location. Do the same with your bookmark toolbar: make a folder for “Schools” and bookmark every relevant website you go to. That way you won’t get overwhelmed when trying to compare relevant information.

  • Specifications

    Narrow your schools of choice methodically. First of all, think about choosing a school that is within driving distance. Although you’ll be taking your classes online, you may wish to use the school library or labs at some point, and there may be informational seminars, workshops, and other events that can only be accessed in person.

    Look for schools that offer the concentration you’ve chosen, but if you really like a school that doesn’t offer it see if you can take the same courses that will give you the knowledge-base you want. Just because one school has a titled concentration, and another lacks it, doesn’t mean you can’t get the same education. Make sure the school has the courses you want. For a good comparison, look at schools outside your area and compare the curriculum so you know what’s available at other schools.

    See if the MBA program includes an internship or global program that may be difficult for you to complete. If so, don’t eliminate the school immediately; check with your employer, family, and the school to see if there are options available.

  • Personal Needs

    Make sure the program you’re considering has enough support in place to meet your personal needs. There should be several open lines of communication between your professors, aides, and student counselors so if an issue arises you can immediately address it with a person in charge.

    Ask your employer if there is flex time available in case you get overwhelmed by your classes. For example, take a close look at each class syllabus and see if you’ll be writing multiple in-depth research papers at the same time.

    Check with the school for a detailed estimate of the hours needed to successfully complete each class. They should be able to tell you if you’ll spend about three hours reading and two hours doing homework per week for each class. This will allow you to roughly plan your time according to your class schedule.

    Although you won’t answer in person to a professor, you’ll have to have the time and discipline to complete your work in a timely manner. Not everyone can do this, so be honest with yourself before you enroll.

  • Financial Considerations

    The tuition amount you see on a school’s website doesn’t tell the whole story. Look on the admissions page for a complete breakdown of costs for your program of choice. You’ll see additional costs such as books, lab fees, student fees, and similar add-ons. Remember to calculate the costs for each semester you’ll be enrolled; often those who work full-time can only take one or two courses at a time and may take three to five years to complete their MBA.

    On the other hand, don’t eliminate a school just because the tuition is twice the cost of another college. Check with the financial aid office and fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form; even if your income is too high to qualify for federal aid you will use the same form for most scholarships and grant applications. You’ll need to give your personal and financial information on the FAFSA form; it is a secure federal website, so your information should be safe.

    Check with your employer to see if the company offers tuition reimbursement to employees. Often a company will pay for schooling in exchange for a number of years of employment post-degree, so you can have a free, or less expensive, education while gaining on-the-job experience.

  • Career Options

    Before you commit to a school program, do some research for careers within your MBA concentration. Look for employment openings in your area to gauge how much need there is for your dream occupation and think outside the box. For example, a position in charge of an assisted living facility often requires any type of MBA and is not specific to a healthcare concentration. Likewise, although Menards is one of the biggest employers in the state, you don’t have to become a store manager to take advantage of the company. If your concentration is supply chain management, look at support companies that supply corporations like Menards.

    Visit the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to get a good idea on job growth projections in the next few years. You can get an excellent picture of what the job market will look like when you graduate and also find alternate titles for your preferred position.

  • Time Considerations

    Consider your home life and how it will be affected by your school enrollment. If you have children you may need a babysitter in order to have enough time to complete your studies and homework, and if you have kids in sports you may need to arrange a carpool to practices and games.

    Likewise, you’re not going to impress your boss if you’re sleeping while at work because you were up late studying. You’ll need to be able to find a good life-school balance if you’re going to graduate successfully. If you think your schoolwork is going to be strenuous, ask your employer if they will consider allowing you to work flex time while you’re taking classes.

    The most important thing to remember is to take that first step. Whether you earn your MBA in one year or five, the sooner you enroll the sooner you’ll graduate.

MBA Degrees, Career Paths & Resources


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