Online MBA programs are on the up. Applications to a wealth of schools have increased this past year, driven by a growing desire for flexibility, better teaching technology and good career outcomes. So which online MBAs are the best?
Each year, the Financial Times ranks the world’s 20 best online MBA courses. After four years in second place, Warwick Business School of the UK topped 2018’s ranking, which was published today. Spain’s IE Business School, which has been top since 2014, fell to second place while the Isenberg School of Management in Massachusetts stayed in third place.
The FT’s online MBA ranking is based on the career success of graduates (salaries three years after graduation), the diversity of the programs, and the quality of online tuition. The average salary of alumni from the FT’s ranked online MBAs was $147,000. This compares favourably with the average salary of the FT’s full-time MBAs, which was $146,000.
Online MBAs received a smaller salary hike than their full-time counterparts — 32% versus 107%. This is because online MBA students are usually older and more experienced — the average for FT ranked programs is 40 years old, compared with 34 for full-time students. Online MBAs have salaries about 60% higher than full-time students at the beginning of their courses.
Warwick’s 1,300 online MBAs had the highest salary surge year-on-year, $13,000 more than the previous cohort, to $183,000. Warwick came top for career progress and tied the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University for research. Warwick also came third for aims achieved and was fourth on value for money, plus fifth for the strength of its career services team.
The FT’s data also show that online MBAs enrol a low number of international students, contrary to popular belief. In the 2018 ranking, the average of all the schools was 19% foreign students, much lower than the 50% international students in full-time MBAs. Online MBAs also enrolled fewer women than full-time version, 34% versus 37%.