Business Schools in North Carolina
When you think about the fast-paced, fast-growing technology industry, Silicon Valley in California probably comes to mind first. But one of the hottest growth areas in the tech world is actually on the opposite coast, in North Carolina, and the state’s burgeoning tech scene is leading to development and growth in all areas of business. This makes North Carolina a “sleeper” when it comes to places to consider for business degrees: it offers great diversity, with incredibly affordable options, top-ranked schools, and everything in between.
The number of public and non-profit schools that grant undergraduate and graduate business degrees in North Carolina is relatively small, at 52, according to National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) statistics. However, a good percentage of these offer accredited business programs at the undergraduate (33) and graduate (22) levels. Accreditation is an essential factor in choosing a school, as it assures you that your program has clear goals and the school has proven that it produces quality outcomes and adheres to national and international standards. Accredited schools also usually provide options for gaining real-world experience through interaction with actual businesses.
All the schools in our list have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and/or International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). They are all public or non-profit and regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
This article contains key information to help you choose the school that best suits your unique needs, based on a variety of essential factors: tuition, financial aid, entrance exam scores, acceptance rates, and more. The three sections that follow describe undergraduate programs, graduate schools, and the job prospects for business school graduates in North Carolina.
Undergraduate Business Schools in North Carolina
As mentioned above, North Carolina has among the most diverse offerings for undergraduate business education, ranging from elite to very budget-friendly. The overall average tuition cost is $18,600, with an average financial aid of almost $13,000, which puts NC on the budget side overall, though there are less expensive states. Well-respected Duke University has the highest undergraduate tuition at a little over $51,000, but offers generous financial aid that tops out over $41,000; Wake Forest University is a close second at $49,000 and $34,000 respectively. Just over half of the 33 accredited schools have tuition under $10,000, with the cheapest, Craven Community College, coming in at a very inexpensive $2,053.
We have acceptance rate data for all but 2 of our undergraduate schools, and they have a moderate range of 27% to 83%, with one exception: Duke University, which accepts just 11% of applicants, typical for a high-end business school. Over two-thirds of the schools (22 of 31) have acceptance rates over 50%.
Graduation rates for the 31 accredited undergraduate programs for business degrees in North Carolina for which we have data fall in a wide range: 23% to 95%. As is often the case, the highest figures are for the schools with the toughest admittance: 95% at Duke and 91% at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (which has an excellent reputation, and the second lowest acceptance rate at 27%). Of the 31 schools, 19 have graduation rates of 50% or higher. The University of North Carolina Wilmington has the best combination of acceptance rate (72%) and graduation rate (72%) in the state.
In the table below, you’ll find all the important data you need about undergraduate business schools in the Tar Heel State, including annual in-state tuition costs, average aid per student, acceptance rates, median SAT and ACT scores of accepted students, and graduation rates. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.
|School||City||Tuition||Aid||Median SAT||Median ACT||Accept. Rate||Grad. Rate|
|Appalachian State University||Boone||$7,136||$7,605||1030-1240||23-27||68.0%||0.7%|
|Campbell University||Buies Creek||$30,050||$17,462||920-1130||19-25||81.0%||0.6%|
|Craven Community College||New Bern||$2,053||$3,518|
|East Carolina University||Greenville||$6,997||$7,641||970-1130||20-24||70.0%||0.6%|
|Elizabeth City State University||Elizabeth City||$4,889||$8,883||790-950||17-21||57.0%||0.4%|
|Fayetteville State University||Fayetteville||$5,085||$6,278||790-950||17-21||59.0%||0.3%|
|Gardner-Webb University||Boiling Springs||$29,810||$15,691||860-1110||18-24||52.0%||0.4%|
|North Carolina A&T State University||Greensboro||$6,372||$8,081||850-1010||18-22||54.0%||0.4%|
|North Carolina Central University||Durham||$6,132||$8,583||810-940||17-19||67.0%||0.4%|
|North Carolina State University||Raleigh||$8,880||$9,857||1170-1350||26-31||48.0%||0.8%|
|Queens University of Charlotte||Charlotte||$32,560||$17,079||940-1140||21-26||83.0%||0.5%|
|University of Mount Olive||Mount Olive||$19,000||$7,793||1020-1150||17-22||48.0%||0.5%|
|University of North Carolina||Greensboro||$6,971||$7,915||950-1130||21-25||74.0%||0.5%|
|University of North Carolina at Asheville||Asheville||$6,977||$6,802||1040-1250||23-28||76.0%||0.6%|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill||$8,834||$15,730||1210-1420||28-33||27.0%||0.9%|
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte||Charlotte||$6,763||$6,850||1030-1200||22-26||62.0%||0.6%|
|University of North Carolina at Pembroke||Pembroke||$5,816||$6,600||840-1010||18-21||74.0%||0.4%|
|University of North Carolina Wilmington||Wilmington||$6,951||$5,442||1130-1260||22-26||72.0%||0.7%|
|Wake Forest University-Schools of Business||Winston-Salem||$49,308||$34,038||30.0%||0.9%|
|Western Carolina University||Cullowhee||$6,737||$6,098||910-1120||20-25||41.0%||0.6%|
|Winston-Salem State University||Winston-Salem||$5,804||$8,024||800-940||17-19||63.0%||0.5%|
Graduate Business Schools in North Carolina
There are 22 accredited options for obtaining an MBA or equivalent in North Carolina, which include several highly ranked schools and a number of options that are less well-known but still worthy of consideration. Following a pattern seen in many states, the overall average tuition cost for graduate study ($32,000) is a bit deceptive, because it is skewed upward by three very expensive schools: Duke University (which, at a little over $120,000, is one of the most expensive in the country), Wake Forest University ($83,000) and the Kenan-Flagler School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ($80,000). The other 19 schools are all below $40,000, with an average just north of $22,000 and the lowest just $10,485 at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
We have average admission GMAT scores for 14 of the 22 schools, which are clustered pretty tightly, ranging from 443 at Western Carolina University to 652 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Thirteen schools have a percentage of full-time faculty with doctorate degrees ranging from 66.7% to 93.8%; Duke University’s figure is 99%.
If you have one of those cool high-tech jobs and want to hang onto it while adding some education to enhance your career, there are several online MBA programs in North Carolina available. One of these is East Carolina University, which has had an online MBA program since 2004, and has very reasonable acceptance requirements. On the higher end, the Kenan-Flagler School of Business has a well-regarded online MBA, with several available concentrations for study, quarterly program start times and impressive success rates for students: on average, their salaries increase 33% upon degree completion. Most online programs offer the same basic curriculum and courses as their offline equivalents.
The table that follows shows graduate business school tuition costs, average accepted applicant GMAT scores, the percentage of faculty with a doctorate degree, average undergraduate GPA figures of accepted students, and student-to-faculty ratios. Click any column header to sort the table based on its contents.
|Dominican University||River Forest||$51,300||525||81%||2.64|
|Eastern Illinois University||Charleston||$13,263||478||78%||1.19|
|Governors State University||University Park||$12,207||86%||1.82|
|Illinois State University||Normal||$25,527||554||84%||3.27|
|Lindenwood University – Belleville||Belleville||$24,000|
|Loyola University Chicago||Chicago||$81,392||540||81%||5.47|
|Northeastern Illinois University||Chicago||$16,087||2.2|
|Northern Illinois University||DeKalb||$26,809||538||75%||4.28|
|Southern Illinois University Carbondale||Carbondale||$22,333||583||97%||5.26|
|Southern Illinois University Edwardsville||Edwardsville||$20,146||536||74%|
|St. Xavier University||Chicago||$39,960||400||89%|
|University of Chicago||Chicago||$69,200||726|
|University of Illinois at Chicago||Chicago||$47,544||568||84%||5.74|
|University of Illinois at Springfield||Springfield||$34,772||478||97%||11.46|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Champaign||$53,656||656||85%||5.27|
|University of Illinois Institute of Technology||Chicago||$86,645||567||92%||6.84|
Job Outlook for Business Graduates in North Carolina
Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data predicts 2016 to 2026 total growth of at least 5% in 32 out of 37 business and management occupations across the US. The most growth will be seen for market analysts and marketing specialists, at 22.8% over ten years, with financial managers coming in second at 18.7%.
North Carolina’s overall unemployment rate has followed the downward trend seen in most states; it currently sits at about 4.5%, having dropped fairly steadily from a peak of over 11% during the Great Recession. Slightly more than 300,000 people were employed in the business and management sector in North Carolina in 2016. General and operations managers were the largest subgroup by a hefty margin, with just over 52,000 employed; business operations specialists and accountants and auditors were nearly tied for second place at 31,740 and 31,470 respectively. All the other categories were below 20,000.
BLS data shows an overall average annual wage in 2016 across all occupations in North Carolina of $43,916, which places the state 40th out of 51 in the US, including the District of Columbia. Business and management occupations had a weighted average annual salary of around $99,000 in that year, yielding one of the largest differentials of any state between overall average wages and those in the business sector. Chief executives were the highest-paid subgroup at $225,000, well ahead of several management categories in the $140,000 to $145,000 range. Tax preparers were the lowest-paid group at $44,680.
|Accountants and Auditors||13-2011||31,470||$36||$75,660||10.0%|
|Administrative Services Managers||11-3011||4,610||$51||$105,370||10.1%|
|Advertising and Promotions Managers||11-2011||330||$59||$122,650||5.8%|
|Agents and Managers of Performers and Athletes||13-1011||350||$35||$73,280||4.9%|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||11-9041||3,670||$68||$141,820||5.5%|
|Business Operations Specialists||13-1199||31,740||$36||$74,390||8.8%|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||11-3111||550||$65||$134,480||5.0%|
|Compensation and Job Analysis Specialists||13-1141||2,420||$32||$66,660||8.5%|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||11-3021||12,360||$68||$140,900||11.9%|
|General and Operations Managers||11-1021||52,650||$64||$133,390||9.1%|
|Human Resources Managers||11-3121||3,670||$60||$124,160||8.9%|
|Human Resources Specialists||13-1071||16,370||$31||$64,180||7.1%|
|Labor Relations Specialists||13-1075||840||$24||$50,330||-7.8%|
|Market Research Specialists||13-1161||16,680||$34||$70,890||22.8%|
|Convention and Event Planners||13-1121||2,790||$22||$45,910||10.2%|
|PR and Fundraising Managers||11-2031||1,130||$60||$125,650||10.4%|
|Tax Examiners and Revenue Agents||13-2081||1,230||$27||$55,810||-0.6%|
|Training and Development Managers||11-3131||730||$62||$128,180||10.3%|
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/
2. AACSB, Best Business Schools: http://bestbizschools.aacsb.edu/
3. ACBSP, Business Schools: https://www.acbsp.org/
4. IACBE, Business Schools: http://iacbe.org/
5. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: http://www.sacs.org/
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, North Carolina: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nc.htm
7. US News & World Report: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools