Some readers may not be familiar with the Master of Science in Management (MSM/MiM) degree, and that’s okay – not many in the US are. It’s a common degree in Europe, but colleges have only recently begun offering the MSM as an option in order to overcome a pretty significant shortcoming in the traditional MBA: almost all MBA programs require students to have at least a couple of years of professional work experience, but that can be hard to come by these days in a contracted job market. Plus, with more and more working adults returning to school to improve their education, prospective students with one or two years of experience are often competing against candidates with 5, 10, or more; just look at some programs’ stats on average work experience, and you’ll see how competitive it can be.
Recommended Online Master’s in Management Degree Programs
The MSM/MiM is designed as an alternative business program for students who have little or no work experience, but who still feel strongly enough about their career path that they want to go straight into a business graduate program from undergrad, or for students who want a high level business degree but don’t have a business bachelor’s (and thus aren’t eligible for most MBAs). While these degrees can often be completed online, there are still significant benefits to choosing a more traditional residential program, the main ones being the connections with classmates, networking with the college’s business partners, and the mentorship of a face-to-face program. If those things sound helpful to you, an on-campus program is probably to your advantage. Be sure to read our article on choosing between online or on-campus Master’s in Management programs if you are still undecided.
With a degree that’s still coming into its own, it’s important to know that you’re getting it from a recognized, reputable source, because the last thing you want is employers throwing your resume out because it has a shady-sounding name in the “Education” category. The universities on the Value Colleges Best Value MSM list are all regionally accredited; most of the business schools are accredited by the IACBE or AACSB, the standards for business accreditation. These are the universities that have found the right balance between reputation, quality, and cost to give students a high return on investment and a proven advantage on the job market.
Besides those basic requirements (to get into the running in the first place), we consider three factors in ranking:
- Payscale’s 2015 College Salary Report
- Tuition (as reported directly from the institution)
- National Ranking score (U.S. News)
With these factors taken into account, we formulate the final list, an authoritative ranking of the programs that will give you the best Master of Science in Management for your money, making these 50 colleges and universities the best value in their category. For further help in deciding which program is right for you, check out our new article – Set Your Priorities: The Essential Guide to Choosing the Right Management Program.
Note that, the MSM being a relatively new degree, colleges have a variety of names for it, but all fit the same broad characteristics.
University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce
Our top Best Value Masters in Management degree comes from a college that defines both quality and value. Founded by Thomas Jefferson himself, the University of Virginia is one of the nation’s oldest public universities, a standard-setter in higher education for two centuries. As the original Public Ivy (a public university with the reputation of the Ivy League), UVA can be intimidating, but that shouldn’t keep anyone from applying; it also has a powerfully collegial atmosphere, with ample student support. Simply put, UVA wants to see its students succeed. The McIntire School of Commerce is one of the nation’s best-regarded business schools, and their MS in Commerce is actually as master’s in management, despite the name, and is planned around McIntire’s Integrated Core Experience, a course design in which students work in a seminar format with a faculty member to develop and present solutions to real business problems. This plan is more similar to a real business setting than the traditional classroom and immerses students in business thinking. Three concentrations are available: Business Analytics, Finance, or Marketing & Management. UVA’s tuition ($717 per credit hour), at first glance, is high for a public university – it’s an elite institution, after all. But that shouldn’t dissuade applicants, since UVA also has a commitment to finding students the financial aid they need, making UVA a definitive value.
Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
Bloomberg’s top business school in the US, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, is also one of the best values in the nation, thanks to prodigious financial aid and a spectacularly high return on investment. Duke graduates emerge to a job market where a name like Duke carries a supreme pull, so while the tuition is high at $1,127 per credit, the reputation a Duke degree carries, and the doors it opens, are higher. Fuqua offers a one-year Master of Management Studies degree that can be completed quickly in five 6-week terms for students who have no prior business experience. The Foundations of Business program prepares students for the corporate world with basic business skills conveyed in an intensive format by a faculty regarded as among the best in the world. Students also have the option of a Global Academic Travel Experience (GATE) to China, where they will learn about international business. A separate program, the Duke Kunshan University experience, sends students in China for the last three terms for a full international business experience. With either, students learn business skills and gain a valuable advantage on the job market, making Duke one of the best possible college investments.
Indiana Wesleyan University, DeVoe School of Business
As the largest institution in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and the largest private university in Indiana, Indiana Wesleyan University clearly knows something about business. This private, evangelical liberal-arts university, is known for its impressive Marion, IN campus and for its proud conservative activity. The DeVoe School of Business emphasizes character and leadership in its education, guiding emerging businessmen and women into positions where they can spread IWU’s Christian values throughout the business world. The DeVoe School’s 36-credit Master of Science in Management degree requires students to have only an accredited bachelor’s degree, and this graduate degree prepares students for success in business with current skills and biblical principles. At only $500 per credit hour, Indiana Wesleyan is an especially affordable choice for Christian students who want to develop their business skills in a suitable environment.
Recommended Online Master’s in Management Degree Programs
Texas A&M University, Mays Business School
The Mays Business School, at Texas A&M University, has a solid reputation for excellence according to Bloomberg Businessweek, and an excellent record for graduate employment: more than 80% of students have an offer before even graduating, a statistic that owes much to Texas A&M’s reputation, marketing skill, and network of connections. Beginning in 2016, the Mays Business School will be offering an all-new, cutting-edge Master of Science in Business program specially designed to prepare non-business majors in basic business principles. While it has not yet been completed, this new program has the reputation of Texas A&M behind it, meaning that from the first graduates this MSB will be marketable. The Mays School provides ample student support, with small classes, engaged instructors, and significant leadership development though courses designed for experiential learning in a realistic business environment. Get ahead of the curve with a new degree program, and you may find that Texas A&M’s MSB is a top investment in your career future.
University of Florida, Hough Graduate School of Business
The University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business, part of the U.S. News & World Report-recognized Warrington College of Business Administration (one of the best public business schools in the nation), offers a Master of Science in Management degree from several possible routes: the traditional (for non-business majors with a bachelor’s degree), the Combined Bachelor/Master (for current undergraduates to earn credits for both degrees simultaneously) and the Graduate Dual degree (for current graduate students who want to earn two graduate degrees at the same time). With all of these options, students learn basic business knowledge that build on transferable skills from their previous bachelor’s degree, while preparing them to use those skills in their professional life. Solid business knowledge can be a help to graduates even in non-business professions, making the MSM a smart choice; and at UF’s low $528 per credit hour, it’s also an obvious value.
MIT, Sloan School of Management
MIT, in Cambridge, MA, is legendary for their STEM education, quite possibly the first name in engineering in the world, but their business program is not the first thing that comes to mind when we hear “MIT.” However, it should: founded in 1861 as an answer to the new polytechnic education emerging in Europe, MIT has been at the forefront of scientific research and development, but the business of tech is the flip side of R&D. Possibly no other school can provide the grounding in the business of science that MIT can, through the Sloan School of Management. MIT Sloan is one of the world’s foremost business schools, highly competitive and rather expensive at around $1730 per credit hour. So what makes it a value? Reputation and access, plain and simple. A degree from MIT is an entry into the upper echelon of business. MIT’s Master of Science in Management Studies is an unusual program in that, rather than being designed for non-business majors, it is designed for US and international MBA students who want a more specialized degree in management, with careers destined for upper levels of leadership. It is an elite degree from an elite university, but when considered alongside the rewards, the challenges and costs evaporate into a pure value.
Rochester Institute of Technology, Saunders College of Business
The Rochester Institute of Technology, like other polytechnic institutions, makes best value lists for one reason: polytechnic degrees are highly marketable, usually carrying high ROI and salaries for graduates. They are usually expensive, and their cost goes hand-in-hand with their value. As a largely STEM school, RIT’s Saunders College of Business emphasizes entrepreneurship, experiment, calculated risk, and creativity, the same values that drive success in scientific research. Their commitment to business ethics is also a priority, as their Institute for Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility attests. The RIT Master of Science in Management degree program is designed for students looking to make career changes, or enhance their current careers, and students can specialize in Global Management and Supply Chain Management, Product and Service Development, or Leadership. This 30 credit program also includes a capstone project or comprehensive exam. With a program that makes the most of your previous bachelor’s degree, and helps students apply business skills to their fields, RIT provides a strong investment.
University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business
The University of Notre Dame, in South Bend, IN, has one of the most respected MSM program in the nation according to the Financial Engineer, a model for short, intensive graduate business programs for non-business majors. Obviously Notre Dame’s reputation is an asset in making the MSM a value; the Mendoza College of Business calls itself “legendary” for good reason, claiming the largest alumni network in the world and a highly-ranked name recognition that is hard to match. Much of the Master of Science in Management program, like Mendoza’s general mission, is guiding students to develop their own personal brand for distinguishing themselves on the job market, and no one knows branding like Notre Dame. A strong grounding in business ethics further sets Notre Dame apart. Non-business majors complete a master’s degree in only a year, with fall, spring, and summer courses, as well as an optional China trip, and head out onto the job market with a highly desirable name to impress prospective employers, making Notre Dame’s $1205 per credit tuition a surprising value.
University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business
Another top-ranked business school, USC’s Marshall School of Business is noted for its quality by U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg, the Princeton Review, and the Economist, among others. As a private university, USC’s tuition is higher than a public at $1644, but – a familiar chorus – that expense evens out when reputation and the average salary of graduates is taken into account. Graduates from USC can expect a healthy pay rate and success on the job market, thanks to USC’s reputation for excellence. The Marshall School of Business emphasizes not only entrepreneurship and creativity, but collaboration and ethics, preparing students for the modern world of global, networked business. The Marshall School’s Master of Management Studies is a more unusual program designed for students who have completed some MBA coursework but want to specialize in Management rather than business administration. Available in both full-time and part-time schedules, the MMS is a unique specialization that is flexible for working adults and can launch graduates into the upper levels of management.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
As a public university, the University of Illinois keeps their tuition costs reasonable, at only $567 per credit for the master’s degree, which goes a long way to making Illinois a best value. Add in a sterling reputation – one of the best public business schools in the US, the UIUC College of Business – and you’ve got the other main ingredient. Illinois graduates can expect a palpable advantage on the job market, thanks to an enormous alumni network and strong professional development support. Residential students benefit not only from a state-of-the-art campus and simulation labs, but from access to the Chicago business community, one of the strongest corporate centers in the world. Illinois’s College of Business offers a Master of Science in Business Administration in International Management, a long name that signifies the degree’s focus on leadership in the global economy. Students may also want to consider the Master of Science in Technology Management, a business degree specialized in the technological side of business. Both programs are designed for students with little to no work experience, including recent undergraduates, and use students’ previous learning to help them step into corporate, government, and educational leadership roles. It’s a perfect match in cost and reputation that completes our top 10 Best Values.
Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management
The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a private research institution in Evanston, IL, has not only a history of excellence and a reputation for quality (as attested by U.S. News & World Report, the Princeton Review, and Bloomberg Businessweek), but also tremendous ambition. The Kellogg School’s goal of transforming their program in the next seven years demonstrates boldness and commitment, qualities that set a great business school apart. With an education built on interdisciplinary study and innovative thought, the Master of Science in Management Studies uses students’ prior learning (from a liberal arts or science bachelor’s degree) to prepare them for entry into the business world with marketable skill. As a private school, Northwestern is pricy (around $1333 per credit), but, as with other high-ticket schools on the list, reputation and the potential for income make it a value.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, School of Business & Technology
As a Catholic University, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s School of Business & Technology emphasizes ethics and service in addition to the skills necessary for the modern business world. Saint Mary’s educational model is based on the principles of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, and it appears to be working, since Saint Mary’s is widely recognized as a top university. Saint Mary’s Twin Cities and Rochester campuses offer an unusual Master of Arts (rather than Sciences) in Management, a degree that reflects Saint Mary’s grounding in the liberal arts, as well as a more conventional MS in Project Management. Along with an excellent education, though, Saint Mary’s also offers a surprisingly low tuition cost for a private university: only $438 per credit for the graduate degree. It’s a winning combination that makes Saint Mary’s a top 20 value.
New York University, Polytechnic School of Engineering
See MIT (#6) and RIT (#7) above for a rundown on what makes a polytechnic institute a smart investment (high costs + excellent job prospects): the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering (formerly the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, also known as NYU Poly) meets the criteria. NYU Poly is renowned for engineering, video game design, finance, and other programs, but what concerns us here is the Master of Science in Management. Not as common, however, this MSM is offered by the engineering school rather than a business school, and its curriculum focuses on management in engineering and tech concerns rather than general business; students choose from a wide range of concentrations such as Construction Management, Design Innovation, and Technology Management. Someone has to manage engineering and technology projects, and with a degree from NYU Poly, it could be you.
University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has a lot of acclaim from U.S. News & World Report, with a world-renowned faculty and many top programs. With a diverse community and a wide, highly-placed alumni network, Ross provides the qualities that make a business school a great investment, and the career boost that makes it a value. The Master of Management is designed for non-business majors of all kinds to complete a business degree in as little as 10 months, with an intensive, action-based education that includes a Leadership Crisis Challenge, an entrepreneurship symposium, and real investment experience. While a little higher in tuition than some other public universities, Michigan makes up for its price in reputation. Plus, Ann Arbor is listed as one of the best cities in the US for singles, if that’s you – not that that’s easy to put a value on!
Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics has Bloomberg Businessweek’s stamp of approval, a significant sign of quality. A private research university in Bethlehem, PA, Lehigh has cleverly been called a “Hidden Ivy” for its excellence and selectivity despite its low profile. As a private university, Lehigh’s tuition is high ($1500 per credit) and so is their average starting salary for graduates, a formula that works out to a superb return on investment. The College of Business and Economics’ Master of Science in Management – the M2 – is a new program, but it builds on Lehigh’s reputation and history. Designed for students with a liberal arts or science bachelor’s degree, the M2 can be completed in 10 months and provides not only business skills, but job search training and career development, to help graduates get to those high average starting salaries that make Lehigh, the Hidden Ivy, a hidden value.
San Diego State University, College of Business Administration
San Diego State University’s College of Business Administration is considered one of the best business schools in California by U.S. News & World Report, and that’s some competitive, elite company. It’s also a best value and a best program for veterans, two important distinctions in today’s education market. As a public university, accessibility is one of SDSU’s duties, and a low tuition cost of $534 per credit is part of that mission. Students from non-business backgrounds may find the Master of Science in Business Administration degree a great entry into a career in business; further specializations in Management and Entrepreneurship are also available. Besides a top-flight education, students benefit from the San Diego location, a thriving business market with a wonderfully mild year-round climate, for a value not easily put into numbers.
Columbia University is world-renowned and a model for other universities; there is no doubt whatsoever about its quality. And Columbia, fitting its reputation as a pace-setter, offers a cutting edge MSM-style degree. The Master of Science in Management Science & Engineering is an innovative collaborative degree presented by the Columbia Business School and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. There is, simply put, no other degree like it: designed for engineering and science majors, the MSMSE degree develops skills in managing complex engineering projects with skills drawn from business, science, and mathematics, including computer modeling and statistics. The tuition is high, no doubt, but the return is like no other, considering there is virtually no competition. For engineers who want to manage projects, this is more than a leg up – it’s a rocket.
Northeastern University, D’Amore-McKim School of Business
Highly ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report, among others, Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business places entrepreneurship and global cooperation at the top of their priorities, with a co-op format that maximizes experiential and applied learning. Northeastern offers a number of specialized MS business degrees designed as one-year master’s for non-business majors, including the MS in Innovation, the MS in International Management, and the MS in Business Analytics. These programs are designed to build on the specialized knowledge that students developed in the bachelor’s programs and apply those skills to the business world. With a strong support system, Northeastern graduates have a record of success on the job market that makes Northeastern a serious value.
A small, private liberal arts college in Newton, MA, Lasell College tends to go under the radar, but it’s a solid value that deserves some recognition. Unlike most liberal arts colleges, which market themselves toward traditionally college-aged students, Lasell has pitched its tent with non-traditional adult learners, developing flexible, convenient programs in online and blended on-campus/online formats to make education accessible to working adults. Lasell offers an MS in Management with a number of specializations, including Elder Care Management, Hospitality Management, Non-Profit Management, and others, built around a hybrid class format that allows students to continue working their jobs while earning a degree that will provide them the means to improve their status. With small classes, close personal attention, and low tuition costs, Lasell College hits the sweet spot that defines a best value.
Stevens Institute of Technology
A private research university in Hoboken, NJ, Stevens Institute of Technology calls itself The Innovation University, and its reputation bears it out. Stevens has one of the best ROIs in the nation, as well as extraordinary job placement, according to the Princeton Review. As a STEM-focused institution, Stevens’ Master of Science in Management degree program is best suited to bachelor degree holders from the sciences, as their program applies quantitative analysis, technology, and social science concepts to business. In addition to general management, Stevens offers more specialized MS programs in Telecommunications Management and in Technology Management. These programs prepare STEM majors for managerial positions in the tech industry and other corporate or business settings, a new avenue for career success and a smart investment in the future.
University of Rochester, Simon Business School
The University of Rochester’s Simon Business School offers a unique part-time Master of Science in Management designed for working professionals to extend their skills and increase their credentials. This 13-month program is held on-campus in New York City, with two week-long immersive residencies on the Rochester, NY campus; all expenses, including travel and housing, are covered by the tuition. This is, quite simply, a spectacular investment from an elite, highly-ranked business school (#3 for ROI according to Bloomberg Businessweek), one that provides a significant advantage on the job market in a convenient format. There isn’t really another program like it, making it a highly specialized value.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lally School of Management
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was the first institute of technology founded in the United States, based on the French polytechnic university concept, and is thus the oldest model for polytechnics beyond the European continent. Those other polys – MIT, RIT, Stevens, and so on – all owe something to Rensselaer. Rensselaer includes a model business school, the Lally School of Management, which has pioneered research and education in the business of technology and applied science. In other words, the reputation that comes with the Rensselaer name is tremendous. Rensselaer offers a 30-credit, one-year MS in Management program, with specializations in Technological Entrepreneurship, Business Analytics, Management Information Systems, and more. In quality, it’s one of the best of the best, an investment that will return in big ways for a college value that will last.
Mount Ida College, School of Business
A small, highly-regarded private college in Newton, MA providing career-focused programs built upon a strong foundation in the social sciences, humanities and the arts, all developed and implemented to prepare students for success. Mount Ida College has always been known as a practical, career-oriented school for high-quality professional education in a close-knit and supportive structure. That comes through in Mount Ida’s School of Business, and in their Master of Science in Management program that also offers concentrations in Interior Architecture, Healthcare Management and Leadership in Sport. With their small class sizes and mentoring faculty, Mount Ida emphasizes the relationship skills crucial to effective management, such as delegation and employee motivation. Their experiential learning style gets students as close as possible to real business, and their location just miles from Boston, MA, one of the economic centers of the US, means networking and employment opportunities galore – just one factor in a multitude that makes Mount Ida a top value.
New Jersey Institute of Technology, School of Management
Remember what we told you about polytechnic institutions: they’re always a great investment. Continuing to prove that rule of thumb, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a public research university built on the institute of technology model, is known for its engineering, medicine, and STEM education, as well as for its status as one of the most diverse universities in the US, with an exceptionally high proportion of international students (almost 20%). NJIT’s top-flight School of Management is one of the Princeton Review’s best, with a business education that prepares students for managerial and executive roles in science and technology. The 15-credit MS in Management degree can be finished in one year full-time, or two part-time, and includes more than ten concentrations in areas employers are keen on, including Bioscience and Business, Global Project Management, and Web Systems and Media.
University of Buffalo (SUNY), School of Management
The University of Buffalo, often known as SUNY Buffalo, is part of the State University of New York system, quite possibly the most renowned public university system in the nation (though California may have an argument to be made). Highly regarded by all the main business rankings, including Bloomberg, Forbes, Princeton, and U.S. News & World Report, the UB School of Management is not only competitive and challenging, but rather affordable for such an elite program. Considering the current and future trajectory of global business, the Master of Science in Information Systems Management looks like an attractive degree program; with an emphasis on the computerized and digital aspects of business, it may be most attractive to technically-inclined students who are interested in management or e-commerce. The SUNY Buffalo name carries a lot of weight on the job market, giving graduates a strong advantage and good prospects for making a substantial return on their college investment.
George Mason University
George Mason University is a large public research university, known for its business school, which is recognized as one of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Though it began as a part of the University of Virginia and only became independent in 1972, GMU has become the largest university in Virginia thanks to the demand created by its excellent reputation. GMU’s School of Business offers an MS in Management designed to allow liberal arts and science majors to benefit from the opportunity a business degree provides. This 11-month full-time curriculum gives students a broad education in general business with practical, transferrable skills for a variety of business situations. As an elite public university, tuition is a little higher than other publics, but still affordable considering the opportunity for return that a George Mason degree provides.
One of the best regional colleges in the midwest, according to U.S. News & World Report, Aquinas College is a small, Catholic liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Aquinas College offers a Master of Management degree that can be completed full time in 18 months, or in 24 months part-time, though students may set their own pace in order to work around their work and family obligations. As a Catholic institution based on the educational values of the Dominican order, Aquinas’s business program emphasizes responsible leadership, ethics, and service toward a higher good; in fact, Aquinas’s motto is “Makes all the difference in the world.” For students whose concern is not only value (and at $548 per credit, Aquinas is a value), but their impact on others’ lives, Aquinas may be a perfect fit.
Boston University, Questrom School of Business
One of the many elite universities and colleges in the Boston area – a national center of education and business – Boston University is an elite private research university with a legendarily accomplished faculty and very high research classification. The Questrom School of Business offers a Master of Science in Management Studies for non-business bachelor’s graduates. Best suited to STEM and technology students, the BU MSMS is an intensive 9-month degree program that prepares students for contemporary global business administration, using a unique 9-5 workday format that has students learn experientially, developing solutions for real business problems collaboratively. And like Mount Ida College above, the setting in Boston, MA puts students in the center of a lucrative job market, making it a promising investment.
University of San Francisco
The University of San Francisco is a highly-respected private, Catholic research university built on Jesuit values of educational innovation and accessibility. USF is known for its service to the community and the world, as a university with a diverse student body, high proportion of first-generation college students, and commitment to doing good. If that sounds out of step with modern business, the School of Management will prove that assumption wrong with a rigorous education emphasizing responsible leadership and ethics. The 32-credit Master of Science in Organization Development prepares students for managerial and administrative roles that require humanistic, relational, diverse skills. Of course, the opportunity to network and make connections in San Francisco, a hub of the digital tech industry, means access to a job market that will make a USF degree a valuable investment.
Tulane University, Freeman School of Business
A private research university in New Orleans, LA, Tulane University has respectable rankings from U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review, as well as an ambition, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, to not only rising in stature, but revitalizing New Orleans with intensive public service, growth, and research. Tulane’s Master of Management degree, from the Freeman School of Business, is designed for non-business college graduates with little or no work experiences to develop their business skills in a way that complements their field of interest. Students with a STEM background may be interested in the MM in Energy, which focuses on the energy industry. These intensive 10-month programs give students the management and entrepreneurial skills to turn whatever knowledge they developed in their bachelor degrees into practical business success, making Tulane a solid choice for a future in executive.
Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business
The Cox School of Business, at Southern Methodist University, is recognized as a top-tier business school by U.S. News & World Report, the Princeton Review, and more. As the name suggests, Southern Methodist is a private research university affiliated with the United Methodist Church, located in the economic powerhouse that is Dallas, TX. That location in itself make SMU a great investment, as it provides employment opportunities in a massive job market, and SMU’s Cox School gives graduates a competitive advantage in that market through numerous corporate partnerships and the Executive Mentoring Program. The full-time, one year Master of Science in Management degree is made for both recent non-business college graduates who have no work experience, and for business bachelor degree-holders who want a more intensive focus on management. It’s a top value with a significant potential.
Bellevue University, in Bellevue, Nebraska, is a private university with a history of serving non-traditional adult learners, and their excellence in that regard is attested by U.S. News & World Report. Their exceptionally affordable Master of Science in Management degree (only $525 per credit) is low in price, but high in quality, with a number of concentrations including Executive Coaching, Human Resource Management, and more. Because their focus is working adults, Bellevue’s curriculum is flexible and directed toward real-world learning outcomes, so students will never feel their time is being wasted on vague theory they will never use. That makes Bellevue a supremely useful, and highly valuable, investment.
DePaul University, Driehaus College of Business, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business
DePaul University, the largest private Catholic university in the US, has made its reputation by committing to the values of the Vincentian order, bringing education to first-generation, underprivileged students. With their emphasis on experiential, innovative pedagogy, DePaul offers students a high-caliber education that has been acclaimed by U.S. News & World Report, the Princeton Review, and more. DePaul’s service-learning values inform the 48-credit Master of Science in Management, a degree program designed for liberal arts and science majors to pursue careers in business. Tuition is midrange – not as low as most public universities, but lower than many privates – but DePaul’s location in Chicago opens up a multitude of employment options for graduates, increasing DePaul’s value exponentially.
Florida State University, College of Business
Florida State University’s College of Business has accolades from U.S. News & World Report as a top business school, with many individual programs in the top 10 of their classification. Founded in just 1950, the College of Business has made the most of its time to build an impressive business school that combines public-university pricing with the quality that got FSU named a “Budget Ivy.” The College of Business offers several MS degrees, including the MS in Management Information Systems, which combines business skills with technical proficiency and may be especially appealing to students from a computing or IT background who want to a chance at leadership positions in business. With reputation and affordability, FSU shows how we define value.
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University’s reputation hardly needs talking up; an elite private university in Winston-Salem, NC, Wake Forest has long been considered one of the south’s premiere institutions. The Wake Forest University School of Business is part of that reputation, with high average starting salaries for graduates, an impressive 95% job placement rate, and a demonstrated commitment to diversity. Wake Forest University School of Business offers the unusual Master of Arts in Management, giving non-business majors an opportunity to build on their liberal arts education background with a 10-month business master’s. With a supportive community and low faculty to student ratio providing guidance and mentorship, WFU is an investment that will keep returning in job offers and salary growth.
Brigham Young University, Marriott School
image source by Jaren Wilkey
Brigham Young University’s Marriott School is nationally known and consistently ranked as a best business school by the major ranking agencies. As a Church of Latter-Day Saints institution, BYU’s business school emphasizes character, ethics, and public service, like many of the religious universities and colleges we have seen, but BYU is also the largest and one of the best-funded religious universities in the nation, meaning opportunities for students that other similar institutions can’t provide. The BYU Master of Information Systems Management is available as an extra year for BYU undergraduates, or for students with a bachelor degree from another university. This degree prepares students for managerial roles in technical communications fields, and is an exceptional value for LDS members at only $704 per credit ($1408 for non-LDS members).
Notre Dame de Namur University
Not as well-known as the other Notre Dame (#8 above), Notre Dame de Namur University is a distinguished institution in its own right. This private Catholic university is one of California’s few private Hispanic-Serving Institutions, with a majority of its students qualifying as first-generation college students. Proudly small, with an 11:1 student to faculty ratio and close, mentoring class structures, NDNU provides students with the care and support you would expect from a small university. But NDNU’s best asset is probably its location: Belmont, CA, just south of San Francisco in the heart of Silicon Valley. That’s why NDNU’s Master of Science in Systems Management is such a great investment; while in the mid-range of tuition rates, there may be no more exciting and lucrative job market than the one at NDNU’s backdoor.
University of Miami, School of Business Administration
A top-50 national university according to U.S. News & World Report, the University of Miami is a private research university in suburban Coral Gables, FL, in Miami-Dade County. The School of Business Administration is one of the best, according to Bloomberg Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal, among others, and the Financial Times cites their faculty at the top. For working adults in management positions who want better credentials, but don’t want the broad education of the MBA, Miami offers a specialized Master of Science in Leadership focusing on relationship-building, managerial skills, and motivation. The tuition rate is at the top end, but the expense may pay off, considering the location; the University is one of the biggest employers in Miami-Dade County, with a wide range of corporate connections and networking opportunities for a fast track on the job market.
Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration
Walsh College, a small, private business school in Troy, MI, has a long history of business education and a strong reputation. Business is all Walsh does, and with that singular focus, it does it extremely well, with a faculty made up almost entirely of real-world, practicing businesspeople and a well-connected alumni network. Students can come to Walsh for a Master of Science in Management, a 36-credit program focused on human resources, international business, and strategy. Because the MSM shares 8 courses with the MBA program, a dual MBA/MSM program is also convenient for students who want both. Though Walsh is private, it charges public-level prices, solidifying its place as a value college.
The Catholic University of America
The Catholic University of America is, as its name suggests, a significant private, Catholic university located in the Catholic-heavy Washington, DC Brookland neighborhood. It is one of the few pontifical universities in the US, founded with direct approval of the Vatican, and as a Catholic university has made its reputation as a force for educational excellence, community service, and value. The Metropolitan School of Professional Studies offers a Master of Science in Management degree that includes specialized tracks in 8 different areas, including Federal Acquisition and Contract Management, Federal Program Management, and others. The unusual federal management tracks are, of course, due to CUA’s location, which is a major selling point in itself, as the federal government, corporate offices, and service industry make DC one of the most management-heavy job markets in the nation.
University of Denver, Daniels College of Business
The University of Denver is a private university located, believe it or not, in Denver, CO, a major metropolitan city that is the center of business for the Rocky Mountain region. As a midpoint of the US, Denver is a major hub for trade, government, communications, mining, and, strangely enough, fast food headquarters. That location gives students in the Daniels College of Business a large, but often overlooked, corporate job market to network and grow their personal value. To that end, the Daniels College of Business offers a Master of Science in Management degree that can be completed in only 12 months and specialized in whatever area a student wants to pursue. Dual degree options for combining the MSM with an MBA or another business MS gives further opportunity to shine in your career.
The highly-ranked (by USN&WR and others) Fisher College of Business, at the Ohio State University, offers a unique Master of Business Operational Excellence degree backed by Fisher’s sterling reputation and world-class faculty. Designed according to the research insights of Fisher’s Center for Operational Excellence, the MBOE trains future managers for action-oriented leadership, focusing on maximizing organizational efficiency and motivating employees for bold innovation. It’s an education like no other, and if OSU’s tuition is higher than the average public university, a degree like the MBOE doesn’t appear just anywhere.
University of Texas at Dallas
No place says business quite like Dallas, TX, a metropolis the rivals New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago for economic prominence. That location is the single biggest selling point for the University of Texas at Dallas’s Jindal School of Management, though by no means the only one. As a top-tier national university and a recognized value, UT Dallas can certainly stand on its own, but for business students looking forward to a robust job market and the skills to take it head-on, it all comes back to Dallas itself. The Jindal School of Management offers a Master of Science in Management and Administrative Sciences, a flexible 36-credit program with more than 15 concentrations, including some rarities such as Energy Management, Electronic Commerce, and others. Highly marketable specializations, a spectacular job market, and a reasonable price make UT Dallas a supreme value.
Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business
by Ross Garlick
Fordham University, in New York City, was originally founded as a Catholic university, but today is an independent, private university that draws from the Jesuit tradition of humanistic, ethical values. The Gabelli School of Business offers numerous Master of Science business degrees, but the most relevant for our purposes is the MS in Business Enterprise, a 10-month master’s program designed for recent graduates with a liberal arts bachelor degree to learn the basic business skills to provide them entry into a business career. Thanks to a significant network of alumni, supportive job-placement assistance, and a location in the business center of the US, Fordham MSBE graduates can count on a great return on their investment.
You may not have heard of Keuka College, but if you’re looking for a business degree, you should. A private liberal arts college in Keuka Park, NY (in the lovely finger lakes region), Keuka College specializes in career-preparation with an experiential curriculum. The Accelerated Studies for Adults Program offers a Master of Science in Management degree that prepares non-business bachelor degree holders for managerial careers. Unlike the MBA, which heavily emphasizes economics and mathematics, the MSM uses a liberal arts foundation to strengthen students’ interpersonal managerial skills. Keuka’s graduate programs are priced low for a private college at only $640 per credit, raising its potential ROI and overall value.
Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management
The Pepperdine brand is well-known, and this private research university in Malibu, CA, has an international reputation for excellence. That’s the reputation graduates are counting on to give them a jump start on the job market, and Pepperdine delivers, named one of the best colleges for ROI by U.S. News & World Report. The Graziadio School of Business and Management offers a Master of Science in Management and Leadership that can be completed in 16 months studying part-time. As a Churches of Christ-affiliated university, Pepperdine emphasizes team building, teamwork, and values-centered leadership, best fitted to those who want to manage a business in an ethical, mutually-beneficial style. It’s a value that knows values.
St. Vincent College
St. Vincent College, in Latrobe, PA, joins many other private, Catholic universities on this list; clearly, the Catholic schools have learned something about maximizing value for their business graduates. An education in the Benedictine tradition, St. Vincent emphasizes liberal education with spiritual and community responsibility in its programs. St. Vincent offers a Master of Science in Management degree specializing in Operational Excellence, which, like OSU (#44 above), focuses on organizational efficiency, waste reduction, and employee motivation. For a private college, St. Vincent’s $622 per credit is a bargain that graduates will likely see repaid many times over.
Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business
Arizona State’s Carey School of Business is one of the most consistently-ranked business schools around, well-known as a model for value and quality, to close out the Best Value Master in Management ranking. The 9-month Master of Science in Management degree gives students an intensive but deep education in business practices, preparing recent non-business graduates for careers despite a lack of work experience. With scholarships available for high-performing students, and the reputation and job placement support of ASU, while it may be #50 on the list, Arizona State University is a top-tier choice for an MiM investment.
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
The Lubar School of Business, at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, has high marks from U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek for the quality of their education, strong evidence of a good investment. But more than that, Lubar puts their ambition front and center, to develop a business school that can stand among the best not only in the midwest, but in the world. That kind of aspiration means a value that will increase over time as the UW Milwaukee name comes to mean excellence. The Lubar School offers a Master of Science in Management with many concentrations, including Accounting, Marketing, and Taxation, or a specialized program for recent non-business graduates. Students learn an in-depth understanding of management techniques and theory for careers in leading employees. UW Milwaukee graduates can expect to find the Lubar School a top value that will continue to pay off in their future careers.
Barry University, Andreas School of Business
Barry University, a private, Catholic university, is located in Miami Shores, a suburb of Miami, FL, which some readers may consider reason enough in itself to attend. But besides sunny beaches, the Miami location gives students another kind of value – as a major urban, commercial center, Miami offers an ample job market for business graduates to begin their careers. Barry’s Andreas School of Business offers a Master of Science in Management for students with a bachelor in any field, not just business (though non-business majors may need some extra courses). Designed in a lockstep format, students work through the program with a consistent cohort to develop collaborative relationships as one would do in a real business environment. A high quality education, and high potential for employment, make Barry University a sound investment.
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