Arizona State University Review

The Arizona State University online MBA program is offered in a lockstep format where you complete one course at a time in a cohort setting. While tuition is relatively high, the program is highly ranked and the quality of education makes it worth considering.

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The Good

Lockstep, cohort program model

When you enter Arizona State University’s (ASU) 23-month lockstep program, you are assigned a cohort of peers with whom you begin and end the program. The cohort atmosphere is particularly beneficial in an MBA program because the regular interaction enables you to form close bonds with your classmates. It is not uncommon for future job possibilities and business opportunities to develop from the close connections formed within your cohort.

Focus on one course at a time in a pre-designated sequence

At ASU, you take a total of 13 six-week courses. The first five weeks are spent completing a weekly module and the final week is reserved for a final examination or project. There is a one-week break between each online course to prevent burnout and reboot. Another major benefit of the lockstep program model is you will never encounter an unavailable course since the subsequent required course is mandatory for the entire cohort.

Four optional areas of emphasis

You can choose from a concentration in finance, international business, marketing, and supply chain management. The elective online courses required to fulfill the concentrations are available to you during your second year of the program, and you must officially declare your emphasis by the end of your fourth course taken. While specializing isn’t mandatory, it can make your degree qualifications seem especially attractive to potential employers in specific fields.

Concurrent degrees save you time and money

ASU’s online program offers two dual-degree opportunities for working professionals who have a minimum of one year’s work experience. The MBA/MSE electrical engineering degree is for those who hold a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and the MBA/MS in industrial engineering degree requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, science, or mathematics. Both dual degrees require 56 credits fully completed online over three years. Keep in mind the dual-degree programs only offer a July start date. However, you can earn two degrees in a shorter time period at a major cost savings than if you attempted both degrees separately.

No business coursework prerequisites

While a bachelor’s in a business-related discipline is an entry requirement for some MBA programs, ASU will consider your application if you have any four-year bachelor’s degree. You don’t even need to have previous coursework in math or statistics to gain entry to the program. Many of ASU’s core courses cover all of the fundamental concepts necessary to succeed as both a student and professional.

The Bad

Relatively high tuition

The estimated total cost of ASU’s two-year online program is $54,600, based on the 2013-2014 academic year tuition and fees. The top-ranked Washington State University online MBA program, which is comparable to ASU’s program, costs anywhere from $29,250 to $39,750 at most. The high cost of ASU’s program is uncharacteristic for a public state university, but the program is one of the highest regarded in the nation.

Transfer credits are not accepted

Since ASU’s online MBA program is on a lockstep schedule, the course schedule is predetermined and cannot accommodate transfer credits. Some online MBA programs accept a limited number of transfer credits; however, the credits typically have to be earned at an accredited MBA program and often require a specified minimum grade. If you’re currently enrolled in an MBA program and are looking to transfer to ASU, understand that any credits you’ve earned won’t apply to your ASU MBA.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 2004-2005
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Application Fee: $70 - $90
  • Location: AZ
  • Region: Southwest
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (per Credit)

  • In-State: $1,130
  • Out-of-State: $1,130
  • Program Cost: $54,600


  • Finance
  • General Management
  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Supply Chain Management/Logistics
  • Technology

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Average GMAT Score: 575
  • Average Student Age: 32
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.30
  • Average Work Experience: 7 Years
  • Gender Ratio: 23% female, 77% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 65
  • Total Enrollment: 588


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 5 Years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 34
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 4

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): 98%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 96%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 98%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 95%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 93%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 91%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 16
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 83/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 99
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 78/100
  • Peer Reputation Mean Score (1-5): 3.7
  • Student Engagement Rank: 9
  • Student Engagement Score: 93/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 25
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 55/100

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