November 9, 2010 | | Leave a comment According to the News Observer, North Carolina-based universities are offering online MBA degree programs geared toward busy professionals. Duke University, East Carolina University (ECU) and North Carolina State University (NCSU) are among the schools that offer these courses of study through online and hybrid formats. Officials at Duke University told the news source that students in its executive MBA program do no more than half their coursework online. The cost of the program ranges between $120,100 and $140,900, depending on if the student is a resident of the state or not. However, the school does not offer an undergraduate business program. "We have a commitment to a different educational model," John Gallagher, associate dean at Duke, told the news source. "These are highly conversational and dialogic educational experiences." ECU was the first in this state to offer an MBA program exclusively online in 2002. Officials at the school say that about two-thirds of ECU's 800 MBA students are in the online cirriculum. Meanwhile, NCSU will introduce its web-based MBA courses starting next fall. According to a recent Babson-Sloan report, most higher education institutions believe that increasing online classes is crucial for their long-term success.