Top 10 Online MBA Rankings 2020

Updated April 22, 2020 Updated April 22
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The online MBA program at Spain’s IE Business School has been ranked the best in the world in the QS Online MBA Ranking 2020.

Released today, the QS Online MBA Rankings assess the online MBA offerings of 47 business schools worldwide.

Read on to find out more about the top 10 programs setting the global standard for exceptional online MBA provision.

                                               QS Online MBA Rankings 2020: Global Top 10

Rank

Business School

Program name

Location

1

IE Business School

Global Online MBA

Spain

2

Imperial College Business School

Global Online MBA

United Kingdom

3

Warwick Business School

Warwick Online/DLMBA

United Kingdom

4

AGSM @ UNSW Business School

MBAX

Australia

5

MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business

iFlex/Flex EMBA

Italy

6

Kelley School of Business

 Kelley Direct Online

United States

7

Alliance Manchester Business School

Global MBA

United Kingdom

8

Marshall School of Business

USC Marshall Online MBA

United States

9

Chapman Graduate School of Business - FIU

Professional MBA Online

United States

10

University of Otago Business School

Otago Online MBA

New Zealand

10) University of Otago Business School

Otago’s Online MBA has jumped up three places this year to kick of the top 10. The program has the second highest score for class experience in the top 10.

Live classes are held in the evenings twice a week, and you would be expected to attend all classes. Classes are also recorded for revision purposes.

The three-year course is made up of two phases:

  • Phase 1: students take 12 core papers over about 2.5 years
  • Phase 2: Students undertake a business project or international exchange or a combination of these up to 60 points. 

Tuition for the 2020 program is (per 15-point paper) NZ$2,230 for NZ citizens or NZ$3,623 for international students. The cohort is made up of 40 percent female students, and participants have an average of 16 years work experience – the highest in the top 10.

9) Chapman Graduate School of Business – FIU

The Professional MBA (PMBA) Online is a new entry in this year’s top 10. The program scored the third-highest for class profile in the top 10.

Students must complete the twelve (12) core courses and two (2) specialization courses (total of 14 courses/42 credit hours) from the likes of Real Estate or Real Estate, along with three Professional Development Seminars.

There are five starts per year: August, October, January, March and May/June, and GMAT/GRE waivers for individuals with more than 4 years of professional experience.

The program costs US$42,000, and the cohort has surpassed gender parity with 53 percent female students – by far the highest percentage in the top 10 – with an average of 8 years’ work experience.

8) Marshall School of Business

The 21-month online MBA program at Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California achieved a high score for class experience.

Aside from one six-day residential intensive course, the rest of the program is delivered fully online through virtual team meetings and assessments, case studies, interactive games and moderated discussion boards. There are also live online class meetings two to three times per week.

Tuition is US$102,975, with total tuition costs coming to around US$108,975. In terms of class profile, the cohort is 32 percent female with an average 11 years’ work experience.

7) Alliance Manchester Business School

Alliance Manchester Business School achieved a high score for the class profile indicator.

The Manchester Global Part-time MBA degree combines core courses, electives and applied learning (including simulation projects and live business projects). The flexible program includes 30 days of teaching spread across six workshop residentials (including Dubai, Hong Kong, Manchester, São Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore).

The 24-month program (with start dates in July and January) has tuition fees of £30,000 (approx. US$37,293) or £27,500 for the accelerated Finance pathway (approx. US$34,177). The cohort is diverse, with 84 percent international students, 37 percent female students, and 12 years’ average work experience.

6) Indiana University (Kelley Direct Programs)

Offered by Kelley Direct Programs, Indiana University’s online MBA program – established in 1999 – was the first online MBA offering from a top school. The program achieved a perfect score for class experience and a high score for employability.

The program can be tailored to your professional goals, as 50 percent of the modules are electives plus you can choose from seven major specializations including Business Analytics, Marketing and Finance (amongst others), and a signature integrated core experience, teaching you the business fundamentals. There are weekly live classes and international immersive electives available.

Meet your classmates and professors at the Kelley Connect Weeks, two required one-week residencies in Bloomington, Indiana. The cohort has an average of 8.5 years’ work experience and 26 percent female students. The 24-month program has tuition fees of US$67,830.

5) MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business

MIP’s iFlex/iFlex EMBA online MBA offering lasts 24 months. The program earned the second-highest score for class experience in the top 10.

The program is made up primarily of digital learning, with two compulsory face-to-face weeks, additional optional face-to-face weeks and international study options. There are weekly two-and-a-half hour live sessions, plus asynchronous learning methods.

Fees for the program are €32,000 for individuals (approx. US$38,960) and €37,000 for those sponsored by their company (approx. US$41,579). The cohort is 40 percent international (jumping up from 28 percent last year), with an average of 13 years’ work experience.

4) AGSM

The only Australian entry in the top 10 moves up two places this year. Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales Business School’s MBAX scored highly for employability and class experience.

AGSM’s program features a compulsory starter course, followed by five core courses, five specialization courses, and a capstone course within the area of study you choose – Change, Social Impact, Technology or Finance. Similarly, you can undertake the international exchange opportunities at business schools including London Business SchoolYale School of Management and the NUS Business School.

The total estimated fees for the program (change/technology/finance track) are AUD$59,760 (approx. US$36,465), and AUD$56,340 (approx. US$34,381) for the social impact track. The cohort has an average of 13 years’ work experience and 37 percent female students.

Nick Wailes, Director AGSM and Deputy Dean UNSW Business School, said: "AGSM is delighted to be recognized as one of the top ranked Online MBAs in the world.

"We are very proud of the program, the outstanding students it attracts and the success of our alumni. The AGSM MBAX is designed to provide students with the same high quality education experience they get in our other MBA programs but with the added flexibility of studying online. Flexibility and multiple options are important as more and more people want to build modular learning experiences to meet their specific needs – and gain a credible qualification at the same time. Strong growth in enrolments and our performance in the rankings suggests that we are achieving both these aims.

"Students enrolling in AGSM MBAX have an average age of 35 and many are experienced, mature professionals with established industry networks. MBAX provides them with an opportunity to accelerate their existing career or to transition to new industries and sectors. Students can specialise in contemporary fields like Technology, Social Impact, and Change so they set themselves apart with a recognised business degree and accreditation in an in-demand field.

"We are continuing to ramp up our career support to students in our online programs, both through on-demand tools and resources and through online access to coaches and industry experts. MBAX students also have access to a wide range of industry initiatives run by AGSM Careers that connect students with alumni, employers and their experienced peers to maximise networking opportunities.

"We are always changing and evolving this program. This year we have added leadership as a compulsory starter course both because it puts the leadership journey of an MBA front and centre in the program and it also helps create a sense of belonging to a cohort. We’ve also recently introduced a new specialisation in medical technology and pharmaceuticals. This really reflects the growth of this industry (something that will accelerate in a post COVID world). We have also introduced a number of new electives across some of the other specialisations including digital innovation."

3) Warwick Business School

WBS managed to move up one place into the top three spot this year. The program achieved the second-highest score in the rankings for class profile.

Warwick’s program takes an average of 30 months to complete. In your first year, you’ll undertake eight required modules and two ‘Warwick Weeks’ on campus. In your second year you’ll have four elective modules and a consultancy project. Per module, there are 30 teaching hours, 40 hours of guided self-study and 30 hours of independent study.

The cohort is diverse, with 79 percent international students (down from 92 percent) and 28 percent female students. Fees for the program are £33,250 (approx. US$41,210) and include one international elective module.

Pietro Micheli, Course Director for the Distance Learning MBA and Professor of Business Performance and Innovation, said: “This is great news for the staff, students and alumni of Warwick Business School. It is further proof that we have a world-class online MBA programme after being named number one in the world for the third year in a row by the Financial Times in its online MBA rankings.

“The QS rankings is just as keenly followed by prospective students so to see the school ranked in the world’s top three by both is good news and really enhances our growing reputation as a world-leading school in online education provision.

“Our Distance Learning MBA has been running for 30 years, giving us great experience to perfect it.

“Our learning platform my.wbs is a bespoke design by our eSolutions team and provides a virtual classroom for our students where we run lectures, knowledge groups, online case studies and holds rich interactive learning resources. It is much more than using Zoom. While Zoom may help deliver content during the current pandemic, a blended programme needs much more thought, effort and investment.

“Our programme is not just an ‘online MBA’, but a blended distance learning MBA, that is: we believe that this programme is (and will be in the future) a mix of online and face-to-face content and interaction.

“We invest heavily in edtech every year and are now trialling a new virtual reality learning experience. Also the learner journey techniques we have developed from doing MOOCs has helped us to improve the Distance learning MBA.

“We are going to companies to film on site, developing mini-documentaries to help open up the subject even more for students. We now have 660 webinars across all our courses, so we can teach fully online, in the classroom or a mixture of both."

2) Imperial College Business School

Landing the second spot once again is Imperial College Business School’s program, which scored highly for employability and faculty and teaching, where it got the second-highest score in the rankings for both indicators.

Most of your teaching will be through The Hub, a virtual learning platform developed by Imperial’s award-winning Edtech lab. Students complete pre-study modules, then attend a five-day, compulsory on-campus induction week, as well as four core module periods followed by an optional global experience week. The course is topped off with a capstone business game.

Fees for the 24-month program are £37,500 (approx. US$46,626). In terms of class profile, 80 percent of the cohort are international, 30 percent are women, and they have an average of 10.5 years’ work experience.

Professor Markus Perkmann, Academic Director of the Global Online MBA at Imperial College Business School, said: "We’re delighted to retain a strong position in this year’s QS rankings and to be recognized by QS as a global leader in MBAs. This ranking reflects the that we have selected our best core faculty to teach on our Global Online MBA and that our graduates do very well in terms of progressing their careers. We are proud that our Global Online MBA is powered by our own innovative learning platform, providing superior online pedagogy and cementing our reputation as a leading technology-based business school. 

"Our pioneering in-house Edtech Lab has created an innovative learning platform – the Hub – that sets itself apart with its superior usability, offering a learning experience that allows students to enjoy all the benefits of an online degree whilst still retaining close interaction with their tutors and fellow students. The online Hub ensures students always feel connected and supported in a similar way that they would with a face-to-face programme."

When asked about the high number of international students on the online MBA program, Perkmann said: "International students enrich our community and bring unique cultural, career and educational backgrounds to their cohort which creates a more interesting study experience for all students. Online learning has taken away the physical barriers of geographic location which means that students from all over the world can study together, gaining the important skills, knowledge and networks needed to succeed in the world of international business."

1) IE Business School

In first place and retaining the top spot for yet another year is IE Business School. The program achieved the highest score in the rankings for both employability (a perfect score) and faculty and teaching.

It is made up of three core online periods, one Global Immersion Week (locations include Shanghai, Los Angeles and Mumbai), plus three face-to-face weeks in Madrid. Teaching includes working in interactive small groups on real-world, industry-based case studies. The program has an average length of 18 months, the shortest in the rankings.

The class profile is made up of 86 percent (down from 94 percent) international students, 34 percent women, and an average of 10 years’ work experience (up from 8.5 years). Fees for the 2019-20 academic year are €51,200 (approx. US$57,778).

Martin Boehm, Dean of IE Business School, said: “IE’s Talent & Careers Department understand how important the career path is for all our students and graduates. The department is made up of a growing team, from all over the world, who work closely with more than 3,500 international recruiters.”

But it wasn’t just the employability indicator that proved successful to the business school, IE also scored very highly for the faculty and teaching and class experience indicators.

Boehm said: “The faculty teaching on IE’s Online MBA program have a distinctly international profile – one which mirrors that of our student body – and they are dedicated to excellence in their research as well as their teaching and professional activities, and they bring this passion and knowledge into the online classroom.

“Furthermore, the faculty are trained in the special art of teaching online and are focused on building connections and fostering participation between students.”

Boehm also noted that the small class size on the Online MBA program is another advantage to the course and business school itself. He said: “None of our classes cater to more than 35 students which allows students to build very tight relationships with their peers and to benefit from an intense interaction with our faculty. I really feel this high touch approach has been our secret of success.”

This article was originally published in April 2020 .

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