Where to Get Your MBA in Oklahoma
March 10, 2021
The Sooner State might seem like an unlikely destination for MBA seekers, but there are many smart reasons to pursue an MBA in Oklahoma—including extremely affordable top-notch programs.
Oklahoma is known for producing an oversized share of the United States' domestic natural gas. It generates similar proportions of wheat and cattle for the nation's food supply.
Less well-known is the fact that Oklahoma also produces scholars. The state's many major research universities, midsize colleges, and small liberal arts schools offer programs focused on everything from aerospace engineering to world languages.
Business administration might not be the Sooner State's highest-profile sector—that honor belongs to the energy industry—but the state's top employers all rely on talented managers to stay up and running. Schools across Oklahoma offer high-quality undergraduate and graduate business programs to fill that need.
If your career aspirations involve working in energy, information technology, finance, logistics, biosciences, aeronautics, or defense, internship opportunities abound. The relatively low cost of an MBA in OK also makes it easier to graduate without student loan debt. Job growth in the state tends to be reliably steady. You'll almost certainly be working soon after graduation. For all these reasons, getting an MBA in Oklahoma is a smart idea.
In this article about earning an MBA in Oklahoma, we cover:
- 7 reasons to get an MBA in Oklahoma
- How much does it cost to pursue a Master of Business Administration in Oklahoma?
- The universities in Oklahoma with the top MBA programs
- Where graduates of MBA programs in Oklahoma intern and work
- The typical ROI of Oklahoma Master of Business Administration programs
7 reasons to get an MBA in Oklahoma
- Getting an MBA in Oklahoma is affordable. Tuition across programs tends to be lower at OK colleges and universities, and tuition at business schools in the Sooner State is no exception (more on this below).
- Oklahoma City, or OKC, is home to a thriving Innovation District. Many top colleges in OK are located just miles away from leading global firms in healthcare, finance, tech, and other big industries.
- People assume Texas is the place to get an Energy MBA, but Oklahoma is a major player in the race to develop domestic oil reserves. About 25 percent of Oklahomans are employed by companies in the energy industry.
- There are Fortune 500 energy companies headquartered in Oklahoma City, and large energy companies in other areas of the state. All of these firms have business needs, which means career opportunities for MBA grads abound in the energy sector.
- _Earning a Supply Chain Management MBA can set you up for life in OK_, where more than 18 percent of the economy is devoted to transportation and distribution.
- Oklahoma has become a go-to destination for digital communications companies. Google, IBM, and Verizon maintain large office complexes in the state, meaning you don't have to leave OK to work on the business side of tech.
- The cost of living in OK is low. Starting salaries for most Oklahoma MBA grads may not hit six figures, but that's okay considering that food prices, housing costs, and other expenses are among the lowest in the US. Graduates of the University of Tulsa's Collins College of Business are the exception. They earn about $104,000 in a state where the median household income is just over $50,000.
How much does it cost to pursue a Master of Business Administration in Oklahoma?
It's tough to nail down the average cost of an MBA because tuition varies wildly from school to school. MBAs from top-tier business schools cost more than $200,000. Then there are accredited programs that cost just over $10,000 total. The average cost of an MBA in the United States falls somewhere between $40,000 and $100,000. Most students in MBA programs graduate with about $90,000 of student loan debt.
The good news is that earning in MBA in Oklahoma is a lot more affordable than earning an MBA in Washington, DC or New York City—especially if you're eligible for in-state tuition rates. OK residents pay just $230 per credit hour at Oklahoma State University (Main Campus). Total tuition for both University of Central Oklahoma's part-time MBA program and Southeastern Oklahoma State University's online MBA program is just under $12,000.
At close to $50,000 per year, the MBA program at the University of Tulsa ranks among the state's more expensive. However, nearly all students enrolled in the Collins College of Business receive scholarships, graduate assistantships, and/or company tuition-reimbursement thanks to the school's savvy team of financial advisors.
The universities in Oklahoma with the top MBA programs
_Oklahoma City University_
Oklahoma City, OK
The Meinders School of Business MBA program is hyper-focused on leadership. All students complete the CDR 3-Dimensional Assessment as part of a required 16-week leadership MBA course that includes personalized coaching and professional development. Class sizes are small in the 36-credit hour one-year full-time MBA program and the two-year part-time MBA program—both of which can be completed either on-campus or online. The curriculum centers on active learning experiences involving business plan creation, ethics competitions, partnerships with local business leaders, and internships. Students can also earn a Bloomberg Certification in the school's Bloomberg Finance Lab, participate in research in the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, and work with a mentor through the Meinders Graduate Investment Club.
Oklahoma State University
The Watson Graduate School of Management in the Spears School of Business at OSU offers a one-year full-time MBA program, a one-year online MBA program, an 18-month professional MBA program, and a 36-month part-time MBA program. This school stands out for the flexibility it offers students (who can attend classes in Stillwater, Tulsa, or online) and for its lengthy list of MBA concentrations. Specialization options include:
- Accounting (Stillwater only)
- Business Sustainability (Online, Stillwater, Tulsa)
- Data Science (Online, Stillwater, Tulsa)
- Economics (Stillwater only)
- Energy Business (Online, Stillwater)
- Entrepreneurship (Online, Stillwater, Tulsa)
- Global Marketing (Online, Stillwater, Tulsa)
- Human Resource Management (Online, Stillwater, Tulsa)
- Information Assurance (Online, Stillwater)
- Marketing Analytics (Online, Stillwater)
- Nonprofit Management (Online, Stillwater, Tulsa)
- Risk Management (Stillwater only)
The school offers two dual degree pathways: an MBA plus a doctorate of osteopathic medicine, and an MBA plus a Master of Science in Telecommunications Management.
This is already one of the most affordable MBA programs in Oklahoma, but the school also offers a number of scholarships. Additionally, there are graduate teaching assistantships open to MBA candidates with high GMAT scores. High-performing students can participlate in the Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Scholars Program, which awards a $5,000 grant.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Southeastern Oklahoma State University's John Massey School of Business is the only institution on this list to offer its degree programs exclusively online. That's not the only feature that sets it apart, however. It's also extremely affordable. Total tuition for the program is just $11,880. Applying to this 36-credit hour one-year MBA program is simple because the school has a fast application-to-start calendar. Finally, the MBA program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University has a sizeable list of MBA concentrations:
- Aerospace Logistics
- Data Analytics
- Healthcare Information Systems
- Human Resources
- Native American Leadership
- Project Management
- Strategic Communication
- Women in Leadership
University of Central Oklahoma
The UCO College of Business offers a 16-month full-time MBA program with classes two nights per week, a 26-month part-time MBA program with classes once per week, and a 100 percent online Professional Master of Business Administration. Students choose between a general MBA track and an MBA in Healthcare track that includes coursework in healthcare finance, healthcare administration, innovation in healthcare management, and legal issues in healthcare.
Creative problem-solving is emphasized in the UCO MBA degree program. Students frequently complete hands-on integrative projects with local businesses and industry leaders. A total program cost of just under $22,000 includes the cost of an International Immersion Experience. Tuition waivers are available for recently admitted and current students having trouble financing their education.
_University of Oklahoma_
Oklahoma City, OK
Students enrolled in the Michael F. Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma can earn an MBA in 16 months of full-time study or 24 months of part-time study in the professional MBA program, available on-campus or online. There are also two Executive MBA options: a 12-month hybrid Executive MBA in Aerospace and Defense and a 15-month EMBA in Energy that can be earned almost entirely online (three week-long on-campus residencies are built into the program). The school ranks among US News & World Report's top 100 MBA programs in the US.
Dual degree options abound at Price. Students can pair a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering, a bachelor's degree in industrial systems engineering, or a bachelor's degree in meteorology with an MBA in a five-year accelerated program. Graduate students can pair an MBA with a Juris Doctor, Master of Science in Finance, Master of Science in Management Information Technology, PharmD, or the degree of their choosing, provided it is approved by the school. All MBA candidates benefit from Price's Distinguished Speaker Series and networking events, and from the Center for Graduate Student Success, which helps MBA candidates implement their career plans.
_University of Tulsa_
UT's Collins College of Business has developed an interdisciplinary MBA curriculum that includes courses focused on international business, information technology, and ethics. The program also offers opportunities to solve real issues for local businesses or nonprofits. Students receive ample attention from faculty because of small class sizes and an active mentorship program.
Opportunities to connect with top-level employers in Oklahoma are built into the full-time and part-time on-campus and online MBA programs, and UT has a strong alumni network populated by industry leaders in energy management and healthcare. The school imposes no work experience requirement for applicants.
The University of Tulsa has a dedicated Business Career Center, making this program a good option for students who want to transition into business careers. Collins College of Business MBA grads have a 100 percent post-graduation employment rate—the highest of any business school in the state.
Where graduates of MBA programs in Oklahoma intern and work
Program concentration and student interest often determine where MBA students complete required internships and where they eventually work. Only some MBA programs in Oklahoma publish information about where graduates end up. According to the University of Tulsa, top employers of the school's MBA graduates include:
- JPMorgan Chase
University of Oklahoma grads go on to work at companies like:
- EY LLP
Oklahoma State University sends its MBA graduates on to positions at:
- Excel Energy Technologies
- Chesapeake Energy Corporation
- CitiFinancial Group
The typical ROI of Oklahoma MBA programs
MBA programs tend to be more expensive than other master's degree programs, so calculating potential return on investment (ROI) is essential. Some colleges and universities make determining ROI simple by publishing average salaries or average salary increase post-graduation, but many don't. You can also look at how long it takes MBA grads to pay back their loans to help you determine the ROI of a given program.
A 2018 QS Quacquarelli Symonds report found that most MBA graduates pay off their loans in about 55 months. The University of Tulsa has the shortest payback of any MBA program in the US. Students who graduate from the Collins College of Business with a Master of Business Administration are typically able to pay for their degrees in just 30 months. Don't forget to factor in any time you take off from work to earn an MBA; lost wages should figure into your calculations.
At the end of the day, determining whether any on-campus or online MBA is worth it (in Oklahoma or elsewhere) should involve looking at your career aspirations and the investment you're willing to make in your education. You can learn best practices in business from a book. Still, a great MBA program will help you build up a robust professional network, make connections in the industries that interest you, hone your skills in real-world settings, and, in the process, make a name for yourself with local companies. The above programs can do all that and more—especially if you're dreaming of working in one of OK's top industries—but you still need to be dedicated enough to put in the work.
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