Percentage of students enrolled in online programs in South Dakota

MBA Concentrations for Students

When you study for a South Dakota online MBA, you’ll likely need to choose a concentration for your studies. This concentration is similar to your college major and the progression of your coursework will be similar, too. You’ll work through the core curriculum first. These courses will sharpen your existing skills, or perhaps will introduce you to new areas you hadn’t previously considered. Once you’ve completed the core curriculum, you’ll move on to your specialization. This will be a series of courses with content designed to center on one specific area of business. Some options include business analytics, strategic planning, organizational development, project management, human resources, operations management, public policy, and more. Adding a complex concentration can increase your time spent in school to three years if you take classes part-time rather than full-time. Here is an overview of a few popular MBA concentrations featured in South Dakota schools.


A concentration in finance will enable you to work with your firm’s equity and debt to maximize the bottom line. As a finance expert, you might manage the firm’s equity portfolio as your primary function. Alternately, you might specialize in debt or in seeking credit for your firm’s future investments or expansions. Still other financial experts work with individuals, helping them in making decisions to manage their personal wealth and financial growth.

Another popular route for a finance concentration is investment banking. Your expertise will be highly valued in the world of mergers, acquisitions, and private equity among other specialty areas in the field.


If you’re a dynamic, creative person who’s constantly thinking outside of the box, you might consider this concentration. During your core curriculum, you can explore all the nuts and bolts of business, but this concentration will help you discover how to make your dreams a reality.

For instance, you might learn how to recognize the best opportunities, seek private equity, and perform your market research so that you know your idea will flourish. Other courses might focus on team-building and leadership. Once you’ve completed your online MBA, you’ll be prepared for the dynamic South Dakota business environment.


Every firm needs someone who knows how to bring products to market. As you study, you’ll learn how to analyze market data with a more keen discernment than you thought possible. You’ll learn more about advertising and how to apply what you’ve learned by studying demographics and market trends. Once you’re on the job, your firm will never need to worry about attracting customers for new products and services.

Data Science / Analytics

The field of big data has emerged from an environment of data mining and an increased focus on statistics and quantifiable analysis. This concentration might appeal to those who were mathematics or computer science majors in undergrad.

The demand for data scientists is going through the roof, so if this is an appealing concentration, you should seriously consider pursuing it. When you graduate, you might be immediately snapped up by a data science startup, a consultancy, or a Fortune 100 company who is eager to maintain their position in the market.


Business is a series of relationships that are maintained not only by financial ties but through interpersonal bonds. Those relationships are held together through effective communication. So, while finance, supply chain management, and data science all factor in to how well your organization operates, it all hinges on the quality of communication between individual players in any given scenario.

Your communication concentration will help you craft messages to smooth over various crises or to broadcast success. Your ability to hone internal memos, conduct interviews, and create the company newsletter will bolster morale and raise the bottom line. After all, a company’s quantifiable features are important, but they are also built and supported by less tangible elements, such as clear communication.

Accreditation in South Dakota

When you start seeking an online MBA in South Dakota, you’ll first want to find those programs that are nationally or regionally accredited. If your company offers tuition reimbursement, this might be all the more important. Some companies have specific requirements for the specific accreditations they will accept. They may even offer a specific list of MBA programs, so consult with your HR department if this applies to you.

Accreditation is also important to make sure you don’t cost yourself a lot of time and money. If a school isn’t accredited, you won’t be able to transfer credit hours to another school, or be able to access federal financial aid. Here are three major accreditations to seek out:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business– The AACSB is one of the oldest national accrediting agencies for business schools, including master’s programs. Founded in 1916 to establish a set of standards for business excellence, this accreditation is now considered the gold standard for MBA accreditations. Their standards are high but focus on strictly academic metrics. That is, they seek out schools with a strong research backing, whose faculty regularly publish papers or whose books are game-changers in their field. If you attend an AACSB-accredited program, you are sure to work with some of the top business academics in the field.
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs– The ACBSP was formed in the 1980’s in response to the expansion of MBA programs nationwide. They seem to have responded to the fact that more and more students were mid-career professionals, intent on returning to work after their schoolwork was done. Thus, they decided to focus on pedagogy and student experiences/outcomes rather than whether or not faculty were publishing papers. This student focused approach fuels this program accreditation and might be exactly what you are looking for.
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)– This regional accrediting body is likely to provide regional recognition of your degree. That is, your credits should be recognized by schools throughout the NCA’s territory, which includes Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan, among nineteen total states. Regional employers will also look for students from schools with regional accreditation.

Top MBA Careers in South Dakota

Once you graduate with your MBA, you’ll be hirable by the top firms in South Dakota. Whether you join an existing company and help take them to new heights, or if you create the next disrupting startup, South Dakota will support your ambition. Though your possibilities will be nearly endless upon graduation, here is a brief list of MBA careers to consider:

Whether you make healthcare administration your concentration or not, the skills you hone in your MBA courses will come in handy in the booming healthcare industry. Health systems have a perpetual, and growing, need for financial experts, managerial leaders, effective communicators, and marketing geniuses.

Wherever business thrives, there is a need for a finance professional. With your South Dakota MBA, you could soon be managing corporate or personal portfolios. You might also help companies grow through a series of smart, well-structured mergers and acquisitions. Whether you specialize in debt or equity, your Finance MBA will help you fashion a brilliant career.

Every organization needs a communications professional to help hone its message or to manage internal relations. Business communications professionals know how to keep everyone on message and even how to handle various PR crises. Some communications professionals work along with the marketing departments to manage the messages their advertising sends and even to craft publications that strengthen the organization's brand in the public eye.

This field goes far beyond hiring and firing employees. Your work in HR will help resolve inter-company disputes, manage benefits packages, and even structure corporate compensation. Many HR experts begin in a company but then move on to join a consultancy, either to recruit new talent for clients or to help young companies handle other administrative features associated with employing top talent.

If your concentration is supply-chain management, you might already be headed into a position in logistics. Given our increasingly global business community, you could consider doing some coursework in international supply-chain management. Even companies in the Black Hills of South Dakota rely on raw materials from overseas, and some outsource their manufacturing to businesses abroad in order to bring affordable products to the market.

Many future Certified Public Accountants complete their academic credentials in graduate school. When you make accounting your MBA focus, employers will see you as a double or triple threat. That is, you'll have the all-important CPA exam under your belt, but you'll also have the MBA core to add depth and breadth to your resume. As you grow inside your company, your ability to converse with the marketing department, IT professionals, and others will make you an even more highly desired asset to the team.