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UW MBA Consortium among top online programs in the nation

| Judith Berthiaume and Kevin Meinholz

For the third time overall and second time in the last two years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium program among the top 10 programs in the nation in its Best Online MBA Programs rankings.

The UW MBA Consortium placed 10th in the 2020 rankings, tying for the second highest the program ever has been ranked by the prestigious publication.

“We work hard to create and deliver an exceptional program, so it’s satisfying to see that others also are recognizing the quality and value of this MBA program,” says Dr. Robert Erffmeyer, a UW-Eau Claire professor of management and marketing who serves as director of the UW MBA Consortium. “With multiple universities involved in this online program, our format is different from many online programs, but clearly what we are doing is working.”

Building on its past successes, the UW MBA Consortium will launch an updated curriculum in fall 2020 to provide a more streamlined experience for students. Students have always valued the opportunities for flexibility and personalization that the curriculum offers. Students can focus their elective offerings in areas such as health care management and project management.

The UW MBA Consortium — which will celebrate its 600th graduate in May — includes UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse and UW Oshkosh. The program is managed by UW-Eau Claire.

The UW MBA Consortium is the only program in the Upper Midwest included in the top 10 in the 2020 rankings, Erffmeyer says, noting that U.S. News evaluated 335 distance education MBA programs to create its 2020 rankings list.

“We are in incredibly good company,” Erffmeyer says of the other highly respected and often nationally known institutions that are at the top of the rankings list.

In the 2020 rankings, the UW MBA Consortium also was recognized by U.S. News as one of the top online MBA programs in the country for military veterans, ranking sixth in the Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans list. Nearly 25 military veterans are currently enrolled in the UW MBA Consortium program.

“It’s an honor to know that our work is helping veterans accomplish their academic goals, which positions them for even greater success in their careers,” Erffmeyer says.

The UW MBA Consortium has been ranked in the top 5 percent of all online MBA programs in the country since U.S. News began ranking online MBA programs in 2015. Since 2015, the number of online MBA programs appearing in the rankings has grown from 223 to 335, an increase of 50 percent. The UW MBA Consortium also was recognized in U.S. News & World Report's Best Online Graduate Business Programs listings in 2013 and 2014.

Rankings are determined by factors such as admissions selectivity, reputation for excellence among peer institutions, and academic and career support services offered to students.

More than 20 years ago, business faculty at the partner campuses recognized the need for an online MBA program, but none of the institutions had the resources to meet that need on their own, Erffmeyer says.

Instead, they worked together to establish the UW MBA Consortium, which involved College of Business faculty from the institutions teaching MBA students via interactive television. Each campus also began offering a full complement of pre-MBA courses.

Two-plus decades later, the demand for the program continues to grow, Erffmeyer says.

In 2009, the program graduated a total of nine students. This year, it will graduate more than 70 students.

About 31 percent of the students enrolled in the program are from Wisconsin, 22 percent are from Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan, with the remaining 47 percent hailing from 32 other states and three other countries, Erffmeyer says.

While three campuses make up the UW MBA Consortium, since the program’s beginning, UW-Eau Claire has served as the managing partner, handling nearly all administrative aspects of the program, including admitting, registering, transcribing and graduating the students.

For more information about the UW MBA Consortium or the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings, contact Dr. Robert Erffmeyer at

Photo caption: U.S. News & World Report again named the UW MBA Consortium one of the best online MBA programs in the nation.