Top 10 Online MBA Programmes with the smallest cohort

Top 10 Online MBA Programmes with the smallest cohort

By H. Young

Updated April 23, 2021 Updated April 23

The online MBA at GBSB Global Business School has the smallest class size of all the online MBA programmes featured in the QS Online MBA Rankings 2021, with only 32 students enrolled.

Released today, the QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 assess the online MBA offerings of 57 business schools worldwide, demonstrating just how easy it is to earn your MBA remotely.

You can find out more about the methodology used to produce the rankings here.

Let’s take a look at the full top 10…

Smallest online MBA cohorts 2021



Students in class


GBSB Global Business School



La Trobe University



Pacifico Business School



Naveen Jindal School of Management - UT Dallas



Vlerick Business School



Kent State University



OBS Business School



Georgia Southern University (Parker)



Clarkson University



Curtin Graduate School of Business


10) Curtin Graduate School of Business

Kicking off our top 10 is Curtin Graduate School of Business’s CGSB MBA.

International students make up just two percent of the programme, with nine nationalities represented. Participants have an average of 14 years’ work experience, with students taking an average of 35 months to complete the programme. Since its inception in 2004, the programme now has 518 graduates.

Students can opt for the generalist MBA or study one of two majors: oil and gas (in partnership with Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University) or leadership.

Tuition equals $37,157.

9) Clarkson University

Clarkson University’s Online MBA boasts the highest proportion of female students in this year’s global ranking with 65 percent. The programme also scored very highly for the class experience indicator.

The Online MBA at Clarkson runs on quarter-based terms that usually start in September, January, March and June. Clarkson's Online MBA consists of 14 3-credit courses (10 core courses and four electives) giving students a balanced educational experience.

Of the 122 students enrolled, nine percent are international with six nationalities represented, and students have an average of 9.5 years work experience.

Established in 2010, students usually take an average of 21 months to complete the programme. Tuition is US$49,308.

There are four award levels associated with the online MBA at Clarkson: Fellowship (at least 15 percent); Dean’s (at least 25 percent); Presidential (at least 40 percent); Trustees (at least 75 percent)

8) Georgia Southern University (Parker)

Students on the online MBA programme at Parker tend to complete the programme in an average of 21 months.

The online curriculum consists of 10 courses/30 credit hours with students completing two courses each semester for five consecutive semesters. A mandatory two-day orientation prior to the first week of classes enhances in Atlanta for US residents to meet fellow students and faculty, and also discover their learning style.

The online programme uses Desire2Learn (D2L) Brightspace as its learning management software (LMS) system. Students can begin classes in either autumn or spring.

Students on the programme have an average of 10 years’ worth of work experience, and women make up 41 percent of the cohort.

Tuition is US$22,170.

7) OBS Business School

OBS Business School’s online Global MBA has a standard duration of 12 months and is the fourth cheapest programme in the world with tuition of US$16,550. OBS was founded in 2006 as the first 100 percent online business school in Spanish.

The programme has a highly diverse class profile, with 40 percent female students, 96 percent international students and 14 years’ average work experience.

6) Kent State University

The online MBA programme at Kent State University is 37 credit hours. Applicants with two or more years of full-time work experience, post-bachelor's degree, will have 1 credit hour (professional development) waived.

Of the 93 students on the online MBA programme, 48 percent of students are female, but only one percent are international with two nationalities represented.

The programme offers five start dates – spring, summer and autumn. Courses are in 8-week modules.

Tuition is US$31,524. A limited number of competitively based $500 academic merit scholarships are available to admitted Online MBA students.

5) Vlerick Business School

This year, Vlerick Business School’s online MBA programme scored a 73.30 for employability – with the programme also scoring highly for the faculty and teaching indicator.

The programme is made up of 12 courses, a practical Knowledge in Action Project and an interactive game.

Vlerick’s online MBA programme has a standard duration of 24 months, but can be shortened to 12 or lengthened to 48 months depending on your needs.

Of the 76 students in the cohort, 40 percent are international and female respectively.

Total fees are €37,500 (approx. US$43,990).

4) Naveen Jindal School of Management

Naveen Jindal School of Management’s Global Leadership MBA – ranked 16th in the overall ranking – scored high for class experience.

The programme lasts 21 months on average. The class profile is diverse compared to other US-based online MBA courses: 43 percent of students are women, while 17 percent are international, but with a smaller cohort, it’s easy to see why.

3) Pacifico Business School

Pacifico’s online MBA only has one start date in May 2021 this year – with classes taking place on Thursday and Friday between 6:30pm and 10:30pm, and Saturday between 9am and 6pm.

Themes on the online MBA programme are: Business Fundamentals; General Management; Strategy; Leadership; Transformation. Pacifico has partnerships with the following headhunters: Highered, Thomas, Michael Page, GENES, DNA Human Capital.

Of the 60 students enrolled on the programme, 34 percent are female, two percent are international (with only one nationality represented) and students have an average of 10 years work experience. Students complete the programme in 26 months on average. Tuition is $18,000.

2) La Trobe Business School

La Trobe’s online MBA programme is built on the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), so you'll gain the skills and knowledge to balance economic and sustainability outcomes.

Sample first year courses include Critical Skills for Success, Managing People and Culture, Sustainable Development for Business; Responsible Leadership. And second year courses include Innovative Strategies for Change, Corporate Governance, and electives.

Students can complete the programme anywhere between nine months and 53 months – with the average being 24 months. Of the 56 students in this year’s cohort, 45 percent are women, two nationalities are represented, and students have an average of 10 years work experience.

Tuition for the programme is $45,003 – and 80 percent of students are completely self-funded.

GBSB Global Business School

GBSB Global Business School’s online MBA programme not only reigns supreme in this top 10 for the smallest cohort – it’s also in joint first place as the shortest online MBA programme in the world – with a study period 10 months.

This year’s cohort is 100 percent international, with 27 nationalities represented, 45 percent women, and an average six years’ work experience.

The course has three annual intakes in September, January and April, and a flexible approach to learning, with classes pre-recorded and available to students at all times.

Tuition for the programme is €15,050 (approx. US$17,919).

This article was originally published in April 2021 .

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