Local MBA Options Grow in Diversity and Reputation

Local colleges and universities continue to answer the call for Lakelanders looking for an MBA program to expand their education and distinguish themselves in the workforce.

The demand for professionals who have MBAs continues to rise. In 2021, the Corporate Recruiters Survey found that 91% of job recruiters were looking for employees with an MBA, including 96% of recruiters from the technology sector.

Multiple MBA programs within the Lakeland area continue to create opportunities for students to improve their resume and learn the skills they need to take the next steps in their career. These programs pride themselves on the many concentrations they provide for students. Here are introductions to each program and what they practice for their pedagogy, in no particular order.



111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr, Lakeland, FL 33801

Florida Southern College’s MBA program has grown rapidly, with enrollment doubling in the last five years. FSC’s business department is the only program in Lakeland to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Only the top 5% of business schools are accredited—with a slew of notable publications marking its merit as a program, including U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review. There’s a lot of flexibility for students enrolled in the program with online or hybrid Saturday courses available every semester. Many courses can be completed in seven weeks, enabling students to take more classes and graduate from the program in less than a year—a promise of FSC’s 4+1 program. Undergraduate students at FSC can enroll in the 4+1 program, where students can earn their MBA in one year by taking graduate-level courses during their junior year.

Students at Florida Polytechnic University can also pursue the 4+1 program thanks to a mutually beneficial partnership the schools agreed upon in 2021.

Dr. J. Michael Weber, the Dean of the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise, says the program continues to grow due to its unique approach.

“You can always start with a little bit of business theory, but we gotta get to the nuts and bolts of what it means in the day-to-day practice of business and various disciplines of business to make a real impact,” Weber says.

Students are paired for one-on-one sessions with successful executives in the mentorship program. These mentors are role models for students to get expert advice from. Faculty members are also available to be paired with depending on which concentration the student is pursuing. According to Weber, mentors and faculty notice how students change their way of thinking while in the program. They start to receive more high-end projects and pay raises due to changes in their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.



1000 Longfellow Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33801

Southeastern University prides itself in being a Christian institution with a unique concentration in its MBA program. The business department at SEU is very intentional about putting a practical application into its MBA program versus relying just on theory. Students have the unique opportunity to take courses through partners such as Disney Business Institute, with the credits going toward earning their MBA. Their one-of-a-kind MBA concentration is their Missional Leadership Concentration—designed for students interested in working as administrators in churches or faith-based organizations. It is not strictly a religious concentration. The program teaches business administration with practical ministry and leadership skills. SEU has an extension site in Uganda with online courses that aid Ugandan students enrolled in the program with accommodations to their culture and background.

Dr. Leroy VanWhy, Director of Masters in Business Administration and Masters of Arts and Administration, has plans to expand SEU’s MBA program. For the fall 2023 semester, the MBA has been revamped to be more cost-effective, where students can get an essential MBA—the core curriculum of an MBA—through a 30-credit hour program. If students want to pursue a concentration, they will take six more hours of credit courses with online and traditional in-class options.

“We’re always trying to update and revamp our program to keep it relevant with what’s going on in the world today…coming into the fall semester, we’ve revised and rewritten about a half dozen of our courses to keep them updated and relevant,” VanWhy says.



2400 Interstate Dr, Lakeland, FL 33805

Lakelanders looking to earn an MBA from the comforts of home or while studying abroad should consider Keiser University. KU is a global institution with campuses around the world, including in Shanghai, China, and San Marcos, Nicaragua.

With this global reach, KU is able to provide students with an in-person or online course load. Keiser is well-versed in providing students with a virtual education—the school has been doing so since the 1990s— and online students in Lakeland receive the same support services from the Lakeland campus as in-person students.

Courses are taught in Mandarin, Spanish, and English. Recently, there has been an increase in online enrollments from students in Latin America and China that have strong backgrounds in leadership and organizational operations.

KU relies on experienced practitioners and scholars to contribute to KU’s career-oriented curriculum.

Dr. Robert Keiser, the Vice-Chancellor of the Graduate School, says KU has carved out a solid niche in the market for getting an MBA due to the amount of reach the institution has globally.

“As a private institution, we’re more nimble. We can readily react to workforce demand and change,” Keiser says. “Additionally, because of our nimbleness, we’re able to create programs that are catered to specific demographics.”