Business Administration

Michigan MBA Programs: How to Choose a B-School in The Wolverine State

Michigan MBA Programs: How to Choose a B-School in The Wolverine State
People associate Michigan with the global automotive industry, but the state is also home to prominent medical device companies, cyber security firms, healthcare networks, defense contractors, and life sciences firms. Image from Unsplash
Christa Terry profile
Christa Terry September 23, 2020

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business and Eli Broad Graduate School of Management are the big names in Michigan business education, but they're hardly its only quality offerings. Many lesser-known business schools in MI deliver a solid MBA education.

MBA/Business Programs You Should Consider

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Ross may be top of mind when people think about MBA programs in Michigan. However, the state also has plenty of lesser-known Master of Business Administration degrees worthy of your consideration. The state of Michigan offers several strong MBA programs designed to help students hone their skills and launch careers. These programs are functional, not flashy—call them “Upper Midwest sensible,” like a Ford Ecosport.

The state itself also has much to offer aspiring executives, including:

  • A business-friendly environment
  • Decades-long economic stability
  • Likely future job growth
  • An optimistic population

Even the COVID-10 pandemic couldn’t keep Michiganders down. While the virus definitely put a dent in the state’s economic growth figures, it also triggered a wave of entrepreneurship, with the rate of business application submissions increasing by 123 percent. This says a lot about how Michiganians approach business.

There are numerous great reasons to study business in Michigan. Pursuing an MBA in Michigan will give you access to a wide range of core industries and the state’s can-do spirit. Landing an internship in your area of interest should be no problem. If you’re not sure where your interests lie, you can discover them here. And if you want to stay in the state after graduation, it’s a safe bet. Even when the chips were down, Michigan’s unemployment numbers were lower than the national average.

In this article about MBA programs in Michigan, we cover:

  • Six reasons to get an MBA in Michigan
  • Master of Business Administration tuition rates in Michigan
  • The colleges and universities in Michigan with the best MBA programs
  • Michigan business schools that offer MBAs online
  • How graduating from one of the above MBA programs will affect your income

Six reasons to get an MBA in Michigan

  • Affordable educadtion: the average tuition for MBA programs in Michigan is just over $30,000.
  • Michigan’s diverse core industries: people associate the state with the global automotive industry, but Michigan is also home to prominent medical device companies, cyber security firms, healthcare networks, defense contractors, and life sciences firms.
  • A tech boom: the state’s SmartZones initiative has created growing technology clusters with business accelerators designed to promote collaboration among tech firms, business leaders, research labs, and entrepreneurs.
  • The University Research Corridor: this is one of the nation’s top academic research clusters and a hub of innovation. It attracts businesses looking for talent to the state.
  • Aerospace hotspot: PricewaterhouseCoopers recognized Michigan as a top destinations for aerospace companies, with more than 600 aerospace-related companies headquartered here.
  • Cost of living: The cost of living in Michigan is 10 percent lower than the national average.


University and Program Name Learn More

Master of Business Administration tuition rates in Michigan

You probably already know that the Ross MBA is a budget buster, but it’s an outlier. Michigan is an affordable place to earn an MBA. While the mean cost of an MBA in Michigan is $37,000, Ross’ six-digit tuition—nearly $150,000 for non-residents—skews the average. Take it away, and the average cost of an MBA in Michigan suddenly drops to about $32,000. That’s a lot less than you’ll pay at most of the colleges and universities on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the top business schools—even when you start looking at schools closer to the bottom of the list.

The colleges and universities in Michigan with the best MBA programs

Central Michigan University

College of Business Administration. Mount Pleasant, MI

The relative accessibility of the full-time and part-time MBA programs at this school makes it ideal for students who don’t have a professional business background but want to get to work quickly. Motivated students can earn an MBA in just one year. Total tuition for the CMU MBA is under $20,000, and there are no prerequisite courses for admission. Applicants are expected to know basic principles of accounting, finance, economics, and statistics. Students in the program can choose from among various MBA degree concentrations, including cyber security, healthcare management, and logistics management. The school does not require GMAT or GRE scores.

Eastern Michigan University

College of Business, Ypsilanti, MI

The MBA program at Eastern Michigan University was designed with working professionals in mind, so the academic schedule includes many evening and online courses. Most MBA students graduate in about two and a half years, though they have up to six years to complete this highly customizable 36-credit program. Students with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from an AACSB-accredited school can skip 18 credits worth of foundation courses. Ther school offers 14 areas of specialization, including human resource management, international business, and supply chain management. MBA candidates who opt not to choose a concentration can take 12 credit hours of open elective courses.

Grand Valley State University

Seidman College of Business, Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Valley State University has two MBA degree programs: a 36-credit hybrid Professional MBA program for those relatively new to business, and a 38-credit Executive MBA program for seasoned business professionals. Both can be completed in 22 months, and both emphasize leadership skills and professional development. The Professional MBA program is built around practical experiences, including group workshop-structured learning sessions, business consulting projects for local companies, and other forms of experiential learning.

Lawrence Technological University

College of Business and Information Technology, Southfield, MI

Named one of the best universities in the Midwest by the Princeton Review, Lawrence Tech stands out for the level of student support it offers. Each student has a faculty advisor who acts as a professional mentor and a student relationship advisor who guides them through the academic experience. MBA candidates also conduct their own research and often publish that research in business and scientific journals. The school offers five in-demand MBA concentrations: business analytics and cyber security, finance, information technology, marketing, and project management. It’s not uncommon for students in this program to land paid internships that lead to post-graduation employment.

Michigan State University

Eli Broad Graduate School of Management in East Lansing, MI

The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management is one of the best business schools in Michigan. It attracts a diverse student population that includes men and women, United States citizens and international students, and people of varied racial and ethnic backgrounds. What MBA candidates in the full-time and EMBA programs tend to have in common are solid GPAs, high GMAT scores, and about five years of work experience in strategic management. It’s a rigorous program, but the curriculum is flexible and highly customizable. In addition to MBA concentrations, the school offers skill-focused elective tracks. Class sizes are small in the school’s graduate programs, with teamwork emphasized so students feel supported by the faculty and their peers.

University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

Stephen M. Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, MI

According to U.S. News & World Report, this is the 12th best MBA program in the country and the number one MBA program in the state. The focus of the program is squarely on action-based learning. As much as possible, MBA candidates learn by tackling real-world business problems. Research institutes and centers at the school allow students to flex their management skills in entrepreneurship, sustainability, operations management, and emerging economies. While this program is relatively expensive, part of what students pay for is name recognition. Companies make a point of hiring Ross graduates, and many high-profile companies recruit on campus, so many students graduate with jobs already lined up.

Michigan business schools that offer MBAs online

It will come as no surprise that the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business offers the top full-time and part-time online MBA programs in Michigan, but it’s not the only school you should check out. Other online MBA programs in Michigan include:

Central Michigan University

Online MBA

CMU’s 36-credit online MBA program is similar to the school’s full-time, on-campus MBA program, but is flexible enough that students can continue working full-time. The curriculum is geared toward relatively inexperienced students, so core courses are focused on foundational competencies like data analysis for managers and information systems management.

Ferris State University

Online MBA

Students in this customizable 39-credit program can either take 30 credit hours worth of core classes plus three concentration courses or work with an advisor to create custom MBA specialization in nearly any field of study. With approval, MBA candidates who opt to develop their own concentrations can conduct independent research instead of taking existing graduate courses. Ferris State University accepts applications for the program year-round.

University of Michigan-Dearborn

Online MBA

UM Dearborn’s online MBA is unusual in the extent to which it mirrors the on-campus program. The same professors who teach MBA classes on-campus design and teach the online courses. Both consist of 36 to 48 credit hours of coursework that can be completed in about two years. And students choose from among the same concentration and elective tracks regardless of format. Graduate-level business students at UM-Dearborn can also pursue dual degrees, including an MBA/MS in Finance, MBA/MS-Information Systems, MBA/MSE in Industrial and Systems Engineering, MBA/MS-Supply Chain Management, and MBA/Master of Health Services Administration.

__ University of Michigan-Flint

Online MBA

This hybrid/online MBA program, which can be completed in 15 to 24 months, stands out for not requiring applicants to possess an undergraduate degree in business. There is a 100 percent online option, as well as a hybrid option delivered primarily online that requires students to commit to two weekend-long residencies per semester. The goal of the latter program, called the Net+ option, is to give students networking opportunities not found in most online programs.

Wayne State University

Online MBA

The online MBA program offered by WSU’s Mike Ilitch School of Business is unique in that it is essentially a rebroadcast of its traditional MBA. Distance learners simply stream the recorded on-campus lectures, which puts students in the online MBA program and students in the on-campus program on the same schedule. Online students can opt into the school’s global business study abroad programs in Brazil, China, Italy, and Central Europe.

How graduating from one of the above MBA programs will affect your income

It’s impossible to predict with 100 percent accuracy how getting an MBA will affect your earning potential. Some business schools are quite forthright when it comes to student outcomes. We know, for instance, that graduates of the on-campus and online MBA programs offered by Ross earn about $127,000, which represents an average salary increase of about 103 percent. Alumni of Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business may not earn as much at $106,000, but they actually get the bigger salary boost. They see a 243 percent increase in salary—the largest increase of all the MBA programs ranked by The Economist.

What we know of employment outcomes for the other programs profiled above suggests that students who graduate from those schools earn closer to the average MBA salary, which is about $88,000. Don’t let the numbers discourage you, however. Prestige does play a role in how valuable a Master of Business Administration is—particularly right after graduation—but an MBA is what you make of it. Post-graduation salary numbers don’t actually give you much information about lifetime earning potential. Earning an MBA is only the first step. Once you graduate from one of the MBA programs in Michigan, your drive, hustle, and aspirations will determine how far you can go.

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


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