Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

World's Best Online MBA Programs | Financial Times Ranking

Find out which business schools offer the world’s best online MBA programs as we break down the FT Online MBA Ranking 2024

Mon Mar 11 2024

IE Business School offers the world’s best Online MBA program—that’s according to the Financial Times Online MBA Ranking 2024. IE’s Global Online MBA tops the FT ranking for a second year in a row after spending five years lower down on the table. 

2024’s second and third are the same as last year but switched. Imperial College of Business places second, an impressive achievement having joined the ranking in 2021, while Warwick Business School has dropped to third. 

The FT’s list of best Online MBA programs in 2024 is dominated by European, particularly UK-based business schools.

The top three programs are joined by Durham University Business School in sixth, Polimi Graduate School of Management (formerly MIP Politecnico di Milano) in eighth, Birmingham Business School in ninth, and the University of Bradford School of Management in 10th. 

That’s seven European business schools out of the top 10 with five in the UK.

The number of US schools dropped this year from four to two: the University of Southern California: Marshall comes fourth and Carnegie Mellon: Tepper is fifth. AGSM at UNSW Business School in Australia rounds out the top 10, coming in at seventh. 

The number of Online MBA programs are continuing to grow having become popular since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. However, this year business schools seem to be innovating and moving beyond completely independent, isolated study and taking a more hybrid route. 

IE Business School has topped the table again

The methodology of the Online MBA ranking from the Financial Times is based on a range of criteria, with a key focus on average alumni salaries and salary increases received by Online MBA students after graduation.

Schools ranked by the FT must be accredited by AACSB or EQUIS. Online MBA programs must have run for four consecutive years and at least 70% of the program must be delivered online.

IE retaining the top position is likely due to its high proportion of international students, the variety of sectors that the students worked in when admitted, and the international mobility of alumni. 

Graduates praised IE’s diversity of students, which contributed to their practical business skills, personal growth, and management capabilities. The Spanish school was also ranked second for program delivery, online interaction, environment, social, and governance (ESG) teaching and school carbon-footprint rank.

Graduates earn on average $205,088 per year three years after the program, with graduate salaries increasing on average by 32% post-MBA. 

IE is ranked fourth for salary outcomes, however, with Imperial, USC: Marshall, and Warwick having higher average salaries. 

Imperial’s graduates enjoy an impressive salary of $218,315, USC: Marshall’s alums gain a 44% salary increase, while Warwick’s average salary made a $14,000 this year to $208,387. 

Financial Times top 10 Online MBA programs

What else stands out in this year's FT Online MBA ranking?

There have been a few changes in this year's ranking compared with 2023. Some schools have dropped out while others, AGSM at UNSW and Bradford School of Management, who were featured in the 2022 ranking are back this year. 

Ninth and fourth place, Birmingham Business School and USC: Marshall are new to the table this year. 

These schools replaced University of Massachusetts Amherst: Isenberg, University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler, Florida Warrington, and University of Liverpool who all dropped out of the table. 

Bradford comes back on the table with the best value for money—its Online MBA course costs £19,222 ($24,670)—and ESG and net zero teaching rank. 

Birmingham Business School, which costs £24,284 ($31,165) comes second for cost but fourth for value for money. Durham University Business School's Online MBA, which costs £30,000 ($38,501), comes in third for cost but second for value for money.  

USC: Marshall ranks first for careers service and Birmingham comes second, while Carnegie Mellon: Tepper is ranked third this year. 

In terms of diversity, IE once again boasts the most international students, at 94% of the school's Global Online MBA cohort. Its female student population rose from 39% last year to 42% in 2024, making it tied for second with AGSM in UNSW. 

IE continues with its diversity representation with the highest proportion of female faculty members at 50%. 

Durham University has the highest female student representation in its Online MBA this year, with 52%. 

IE's impressive performance this year continues in the FT's environment, social, and governance (ESG) ranking. The school sits in second place, only trailing Bradford and being followed by Warwick in third.

IE’s student satisfaction slightly dropped this year from 9.3 in 2023 to 9.2, making it seventh. However, other schools on the list put up stiff competition: USC: Marshall who came first in this ranking had a 9.9 rating, while Carnegie Mellon: Tepper had 9.5, and AGSM at UNSW had a 9.4 satisfaction rating.

Imperial boasts the most international faculty, with 97% of faculty from outside the UK.

IE did rank highest for international mobility, with many Online MBA students working in different countries after graduation, followed by Warwick. 

The value of an Online MBA

Online MBA programs come in many different shapes and sizes. Online MBA programs ranked in the top 10 by the FT take between 18 and 39 months to complete.

While there are a number of affordable options in these top 10 to consider, the fees are still not insignificant.

Tepper offers the most expensive program in the FT Online MBA ranking, at almost $147,000.

However, Online MBAs are a more flexible and affordable for those looking to achieve an advanced business degree without putting their lives and careers on hold. 

Online MBAs are developing becoming more interactive and hybrid to give students stronger networking and communication skills.

If you’re asking yourself the question ‘Is an online MBA worth it?’, you’ll need to consider your own individual career goals. Online MBA students tend to be more advanced in their careers compared with full-time, in-person MBA students.

FT best online MBA programs: 20232022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 20172016