Arkansas is a popular setting for best value MBA degrees. The MBA fell out of favor for a time, particularly as new degree holders with six-figure student debt realized just how long it would take to break even on their educational investment. Many schools have been striving to hold costs down while keeping quality high. The Best Value MBA Schools were selected for this list because they are accredited schools with affordable tuition. An MBA that comes with a $95,000 price tag may no longer be useful for anyone. One that an individual can earn in a year for as little as $7,000 can be quite valuable. Arkansas has many attractive affordable MBA options.
Arkansas Baptist College
Arkansas Baptist College is a Christian college and historically black school located in Little Rock. Founded in 1884, it remains the only historically black four year school west of the Mississippi. U.S. News and World Report ranks Arkansas Baptist College as a Tier 2 school in its ranking of colleges and universities. The school is in the process of recovering from some wrenching issues concerning financial matters. Arkansas Baptist College accepts nearly 91 percent of all applicants and strives to keep tuition and expenses affordable for the students it wants to serve. The school is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
Arkansas Baptist College currently does not offer a master’s degree in business. It does offer several foundational business administration degrees, however, including its Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Its other two business degrees are at the associate’s level. The purpose of the business administration programs at Arkansas Baptist College is to prepare students for several paths beyond the BA. One of those is that which leads to management and leadership without further study. The other is to prepare students for advanced study such as that found in various master’s programs. Arkansas Baptist College is committed to allowing students to customize their business degrees to suit their individual needs and their plans for the future. Each program offers specialized courses as well as a wide variety of electives that students can choose to meet their own personal educational goals.
1621 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Little Rock, AR 72202
Arkansas State University
College of Business, Department of Management and Marketing
In addition to being regionally accredited academically, Arkansas State University’s College of Business also is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). Accreditation by the AACSB demonstrates the high quality of Arkansas State’s College of Business in that fewer than 20 percent of the world’s business schools can meet the qualifications for AACSB accreditation. The quality required to achieve and maintain AACSB accreditation is reflected in the 2013 U.S. News and World Report ranking of the online program as 11th among all online graduate business degree programs.
Master of Business Administration
Arkansas State University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is a highly rated one that enjoys a strong international reputation. Arkansas State offers its on-ground MBA program to all students. In keeping with federal laws regarding homeland security, its online MBA program is available only to U.S. citizens. Arkansas State University offers five concentrations on campus. Those are finance, healthcare administration, international business, management information systems and supply chain management. The online MBA offers concentration only in supply chain management though both online and on campus students can opt to gain a general MBA degree with no specific concentration. Most on campus classes meet in late afternoon or evening and have online components so they are more available to working professionals as well as more traditional students. Both on-campus and online MBA programs at Arkansas State University prepare students for management positions in organizations in many types of industries. Both focus on developing analytical, decision making and problem solving competencies for organizations of all types.
P.O. Box 970
State University, AR 72404
Tuition: Out of State: $13,120 In State: $7,510
Accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), Harding University’s Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration routinely is ranked by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review as one of the best universities in the South. Operating from a Christian perspective with a strong emphasis on ethics, Harding University has students from all 50 states and from 50 countries. The school provides growth opportunities for students that go well beyond the team concept. It offers business clubs, leadership seminars, ethics seminars and even international trips for students, all within a framework of biblical ethics.
Master of Business Administration in Management and Business Ethics
Depending on the needs of the individual student, Harding University’s MBA program can be fully on campus at several locations, fully online or a hybrid combination of the two. It is possible to complete the entire MBA program in twelve months though most working students choose to take lighter class schedules and complete the program in 18 to 24 months. Harding University urges students who are working more than only part time to choose the concentration track. It does not require that students in the acceleration track consider themselves to be full time students but encourages it for greater academic success. Students can choose to concentrate in one of four specializations: healthcare management, international business, information technology management or leadership and organizational management. The online MBA program uses same textbooks and course syllabi as the on-ground program. A distinguishing feature of Harding University’s MBA program is that its capstone deliverable is a portfolio that the student builds throughout the program. Common in other disciplines, the portfolio concept is uncommon among business schools. The portfolio is Harding’s exit requirement and also is useful for demonstrating the student’s work to prospective employers upon completion.
915 E. Market Ave.
Searcy, Arkansas 72149
Tuition: Out of State: $16,170
Henderson State University
Henderson State University’s School of Business enjoys an excellent reputation it has held for some time. Currently and in the past, U.S. News and World Report has named Henderson State University’s School of Business to several of its “best” lists. U.S. News and World Report named the school to its top tier of best universities for master degrees in the South. Currently, the publication places Henderson State University overall at the 95th spot on its list of best Regional Universities in the South. Henderson State University’s School of Business also is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Master of Business Administration
Henderson State’s MBA students are under the tutelage of only two types of instructors. Some are fully qualified professors who hold doctoral degrees. Others have extensive business experience in lieu of the PhD. All classes are small so the school can maintain a low student-teacher ratio and all students can have individual attention. The program requires only 30 hours and Henderson State offers classes at late afternoon and evening times to accommodate students’ work schedules. Students also may start the program at one of three times each year – fall, spring or summer – for completion in one year. Henderson State also offers its MBA program at a community college in Hot Springs. Students there can complete the MBA in two years. HSU’s program focuses on the real world needs of business and strives to provide each student with the skills and knowledge that are valuable to employers. The “Business Beyond the Classroom” program includes such opportunities as business mentoring or participation in an investment fund managed by students.
1100 Henderson Street
Arkadelphia, AR 71999
Mrs. Tara Thornton, director of the MBA program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuition: Out of State: $13,700 In State: $7,580
John Brown University
John Brown University is a private Christian university founded in 1919. Located in northwest Arkansas in Siloam Springs, JBU also offers classes in Little Rock, Fort Smith and Rogers. Many universities’ schools of business collaborate with the business community but few take that collaboration to the lengths found at John Brown University. With its main campus located near Walmart’s world headquarters, JBU offers one MBA program that is open only to Walmart employees who have completed rigorous internal company training. The JBU MBA in international business requires that all students take at least one international trip during their program.
Master of Business Administration
John Brown University’s School of Business offers three MBA programs. JBU’s structure varies enough that the three programs are separate entities rather than one MBA program that offers three areas of concentration. The three programs share common features but their points of difference are very different indeed. The MBA in Global Continuous Improvement not only is open only to Walmart employees but also only to those who have completed internal Six Sigma Black Belt training at Walmart through the company’s Office of Global Continuous Improvement. It also is the only one of JBU’s three MBA programs offered in Bentonville where Walmart is headquartered. The MBA in international business focuses on management and leadership skills necessary for international operations. Students choosing the international business focus have opportunity to apply what they’ve learned during the international trip that the program requires. JBU’s MBA concentrating on leadership and ethics is the program open to everyone.
2000 West University Street
Siloam Springs, AR 72761
Lyon College does not have its own business department and does not itself offer an MBA. Instead, Lyon College offers a bachelor degree in business and maintains a partnership agreement with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to offer a distance learning program that can result in achieving an MBA from Lyon College. One of the notable features of Lyon College is that while it maintains its place in the top tier of best national liberal arts colleges according to U.S. News and World Report, it also is distinguished on anotherU.S. News and World Report list, that of best value. Lyon is included in the list of the 25 leading national colleges whose students graduate with the least student debt.
Masters of Business Administration
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock also is a “best value” school and is listed below in more detail. The MBA program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is that for the students of Lyon College. Classes “meet” at prescribed times through email, telephone and interactive video. Lyon College students can complete the MBA program in two years by taking two courses during each semester and one in the summer.
2300 Highland Road
Batesville, AR 72503
(870) 307-7000; (501)682-6672
Ouachita Baptist University
Ouachita Baptist College was founded in 1886 and has been in continuous operation since. Its Hickingbotham School of Business was established in 1993 and has been accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) since 2002. Ouachita Baptist University is a private Christian school that maintains traditional residential instruction and interaction among and with students. Values and high ethical standards are hallmarks of both the university and the Hickingbotham School of Business.
Ouachita Baptist College does not have its own graduate school. The College assists its students in reviewing and selecting a graduate school that is right for them and is in keeping with its own value systems, both spiritually and financially. Ouachita Baptist College advisors help students to evaluate various graduate school programs.
410 Ouachita Street
Arkadelphia, AR 71998
Southern Arkansas University
Southern Arkansas University College of Business has a strong reputation for quality as well as value. OnlineU.org recently ranked Southern Arkansas University’s MBA program as the third most affordable high quality MBA program in the country. Southern Arkansas University’s MBA program was the only one of the three to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) that assures consistent quality.
Master of Business Administration
Southern Arkansas University’s MBA can be completed with 30 hours so that many students are able to complete the degree program in one calendar year. It is open to any student, but applicants with a bachelor degree in any field except business will have to take a 24 hour prerequisite program. Alternatively, students with 31 qualifying hours in business topics may not be required to add the prerequisite program. The Southern Arkansas University focuses on general business to give students a broad base from which to operate in the future. All course content can be completed either at night or completely online. Students also can create a hybrid delivery system that combines the two. All MBA students are required to take the MFAT exam before they complete the MBA program.
100 East University Street
Magnolia, AR 71753
Tuition: Out of State: $10,616 In State: $7,466
University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas’ school of business has existed since 1926 but was renamed as the Sam M. Walton College of Business after the Walmart founder’s family made a $50 million donation to the business school. Not only is the Sam M. Walton College of Business one of the best MBA values financially, it also is competitive nationally and ranks in employment results with universities such as Duke and Emory.
The Walton MBA
The basic MBA degree offered by the school is a 16 month program that begins in January. Students complete 48 hours of course work and can customize the MBA to retail marketing, supply chain management, entrepreneurship and financial management. The school also offers the Walton Executive MBA that alters the schedule of the Walton MBA to better suit the needs of working professionals. Students enrolled in the Walton Executive MBA attend Saturday classes once a month and do the rest of their course work online as they achieve the degree in two years.
Graduate School of Business and Executive Education
191 Harmon Ave. Ste. 310
Fayetteville, AR 72701-1201
Tuition: Out of State: $19,074 In State: $7,818
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) recently redesigned its entire graduate business program, beginning with the MBA program. UALR has not completely abandoned the case study and management approach used for decades and still used by most. It did redesign with input from current business leaders to incorporate the skills and abilities that MBA-prepared professionals need in today’s business environment.
Master in Business Administration
UALR’s MBA program is face to face rather than online for the purpose of developing the interaction skills that effective managers need. The program still allows scheduling flexibility, however. Students can achieve the MBA degree in as little as one year as working adults stretch out that time to accommodate work and family schedules. Students can work for the MBA alone or combine it with a law degree, pharmacy degree or medical degree. The school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB)
2801 S. University Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72204
Tuition: Out of State: $16,871 In State: $7,094
University of Central Arkansas
The College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas also is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). It enjoys a close working relationship with businesses and business leaders, not only in the city where it is located but also throughout the state. The dean is proud that increasing numbers of businesses recruit first among graduates of the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas.
The MBA Program at the University of Central Arkansas is a 30 hour program consisting of ten courses. All classes are on-ground but scheduling is flexible to accommodate working students. Class times are available for day or evening classes, and students can begin the MBA Program at the beginning of any semester or in the summer. University of Central Arkansas currently offers no areas of specialization within the MBA program. It is developing several, however, and expects to offer specialization options of finance, accounting and management information systems within the year.
201 Donaghey Ave. COB 102H
Conway, AR 72035
Tuition: Out of State: $13,340 In State: $7,595
Arkansas has several highly ranked MBA programs in the state, and many of those also qualify as high value degrees on the basis of tuition cost alone. Adding the fact that many of the best value schools also are Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) accredited enhances that value and truly defines the many Best Value MBA Degrees in Arkansas.
For more information on earning a MBA degree, please see The 20 Most Affordable Top-Ranked Business Schools and MBA Programs.