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The Best Online MBA Programs In 2019, According to QS

Find out which business schools topped the 2019 QS Online MBA rankings

Thu Jun 27 2019

The market for online MBA degrees is growing fast. So the need for reliable methods to compare and contrast courses is greater than ever before.

Independent business school analysts Quacquarelli Symonds, have just published their attempt at providing a resource for prospective students to do that. The 2019 QS Online MBA Rankings named the top 40 providers in the global market. 

Spain’s IE Business School saw off growing competition from top business schools in the UK and US to be named the world’s best online MBA provider, after doing so in 2018. London’s Imperial College Business School ranks second globally, with the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business third.

There was little change at the top of the table, which is surprising if you consider how fast the online MBA market is expanding. Seven of the schools ranked in the top 10 in 2019 also achieved that feat the year before.

In the past five years, the number of AACSB-accredited schools offering online MBAs has surged by 69%. The University of California-Davis, for...

ce, established an online MBA in May.

QS ranked online MBAs based on their performance on four key metrics that measure employability, class profile, faculty and teaching quality, and class experience.

IE’s strong performance was due to its high marks on employability. Students have access to a careers team that works with more than 3,500 international recruiters. Some 90% of students find a job within three months of graduating at such companies as Amazon, McKinsey, and Scotiabank.

IE also scored well in terms of faculty and teaching. The program is blended (it includes online and offline elements). Students beam themselves to campus from around the world using IE’s 'WOW Room', which is equipped with emotion recognition systems that are used by professors to judge engagement and make teaching adjustments.

Check Out: The Pros And Cons Of Online Learning

online learning proscons

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UK business schools put in a strong showing, with four in the top 10, including Warwick Business School, Alliance Manchester Business School, and Durham University Business School. This reflects the maturity of the market, with many UK schools being early adopters of online MBAs. Warwick, for example, launched an early version of its course more than 30 years ago.

Three ranked schools were from the US—Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business are among them. Australia’s AGSM, and Italy’s MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management complete the top 10.

The rankings highlighted how far online MBA programs have to go in achieving gender parity. There is a common perception that because online MBAs are more flexible than their full-time counterparts, they will enroll more women.

However, only three of the 40 programs report having a majority-female cohort, including EU Business School, which has 54% female students. In contrast, some ranked schools have cohorts comprised of about 25% women. Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University enrolled the lowest proportion of women among ranked schools: 19%.

Read: Is An Online MBA Worth The Money?

online mba money

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It is widely accepted in business education that a diverse range of students leads to better discussions. Corporate recruiters are also crying out for more female job candidates.

Nevertheless, the online MBA is a bright spot for business schools. Applications to full-time MBAs in the US have fallen for the past few years amid a strong jobs market, with prospective students less willing to put their career on pause. 

QS CEO and founder Nunzio Quacquarelli, said: “The online MBA offers invaluable flexibility to students seeking to elevate their careers to new heights, reducing both the opportunity and financial costs of further study. Both the number of schools offering online MBAs and the number of enrolments they are receiving are on the up, reflecting swelling demand.”

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