Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

The 10 Best Online MBA Programs In The World—According To QS

IE Business School leads the latest ranking of distance-learning MBA programs. Like most top-ranked online MBAs, IE’s Global MBA includes a residential component

Wed Jun 27 2018

IE Business School's Global MBA has just been ranked the best in the world for the second consecutive year in the QS Distance Learning Online MBA Rankings 2018 released today.

IE’s Global MBA scores especially highly on the employability of its graduates; the major focus of the QS rankings methodology, which also considers the quality of students and faculty, student work experience, program longevity, and accreditations.

Ignacio Gafo, associate dean for global and executive MBA programs at IE, is delighted with the result. “Online MBA students are global challengers who question the status quo and strive to reshape the business world for the better,” he says. “We instill in our Online MBAs the same intensity as our full-time programs. We have reinvented our Global MBA to take education in the field of digital transformation to the next level.”

Following IE, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business comes in second;...

al College Business School in third; Warwick drops from second to fourth; and the University of Florida comes in fifth.

The ranking sees blended-learning programs dominate. QS says nine out of the top-10-ranked programs combine online learning with a residential component. George Washington University’s Online MBA can be completed fully online, although the University of Florida also offers a 24-month, 100%-online option.

QS also revealed more insights exclusively to BusinessBecause. Out of the 100-plus schools offering online MBAs that QS surveyed for the rankings, 64% have a face-to-face component; 80% offer international trips; 96% offer electives or specializations. QS found that 40-to-50% of work done within online programs is done in groups.

For more exclusive insight, read: QS Online MBA Ranking 2018—6 Things That You NEED To Know



The online MBA is still overwhelmingly offered by providers in the US and UK, accounting for 78% of the QS top-50-ranked programs. India’s Amity Directorate of Distance and Online Education (ranked 39th) is Asia’s only entry.

“Online education has unambiguously come of age in recent years, and employers are increasingly likely to acknowledge the value that can be provided by distance learning programs,” notes Nunzio Quacquarelli, CEO of QS.

With online MBAs now more valued by employers, business schools can charge prices more in line with their equivalent, full-time MBA courses. Warwick Business School’s full-time MBA is only around $10,000 more expensive than its online MBA option ($41,000).

IE Business School’s full-time MBA is priced at €72,200 ($84,000), compared to its online MBA at €51,200 ($60,000) for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The Global MBA at Oxford Brookes University—dubbed a flexible, part-time, and online MBA program—is by far the most affordable in the QS top-10, priced at just £15,440 ($20,000) for those starting in September 2018 and March 2019. That’s a fraction of the cost of Indiana University Kelley’s online program, priced at $68,000.

Chris Blackburn, the school’s dean, says online learning options need to match the quality of on-campus degrees. “To be among the global elite, we have ensured that our online provision is underpinned by the same teaching and learning philosophy we apply for those studying on campus,” he says.

“We’ve also evolved to meet the changing needs of our students through the development of a more flexible, blended and interactive program to meet increasingly busy and dynamic lifestyles.”

Ranked the UK’s best online MBA provider of 2018, Imperial’s Global Online MBA costs around $47,000. “Our focus on facilitating human interaction and promoting an active approach to learning has led to high levels of student satisfaction and success on our Global MBA program,” the school’s dean, Francisco Veloso, explains.

“Given recent developments in technology, we are able to move beyond the traditional video plus discussion board format to create truly engaging and social learning experiences, comparable in impact to the very best face-to-face programs.”

Advances in technology are making online MBA programs more interactive than ever before. And, away from the rankings, some 100%-online MBA programs are gaining traction. Still, QS data shows face-to-face interaction remains an important component of most top-ranked online MBAs.

The 10 best online MBA programs in the world, according to QS:

Tuition fees have been sourced from school websites, converted into US dollars, and rounded to the closest thousand