Imperial College Business School, a new entrant to the FT Online MBA ranking last year, moved up a place to second, with IE Business School dropping one place to third.
The FT’s list of best Online MBA programs in 2022 is dominated by European business schools, with the Europe-based programs in the top three being joined by MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management in sixth place, Durham University Business School in seventh, and University of Bradford School of Management in 10th.
The other schools in the ranking are America's University of North Carolina's Kenan Flagler Business School in fourth, University of Florida Warrington in fifth, Australia's AGSM at UNSW Business School in eighth, and University of Nebraska Lincoln in ninth.
Online MBA programs have been having somewhat of a moment since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, with more candidates looking for flexible, affordable online MBA programs that allow you to complete your studies alongside your work.
Considering an Online MBA?
Warwick tops the Financial Times ranking AGAIN
The methodology of the Online MBA ranking by the Financial Times is based on a range of criteria, with a key focus on the total compensation 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.
Warwick topping the ranking for the fifth year in a row, and the school's long-term success, can likely be attributed to the impressive salaries its Online MBA graduates earn three years after completing the program. Graduates earn on average $194,800 per year three years after the program, with salary of grads increasing by just over 36% post-MBA.
Graduates from Imperial’s Online MBA, who again earn the second-highest average salaries among the top 10, can expect around $192k, an increase of $7k on last year's ranking.
Warwick also ranks second in the FT’s career progress rank, which measures progression in the level of seniority and company alumni work for in the three years following graduation.
Warwick’s Distance Learning MBA also ranks third globally for value for money—the program costs just over £35,000 ($45,700)—eclipsed only by Durham University Business School's Online MBA, which costs £24,000 ($32,600), and University of Bradford School of Management's online program, which costs just under £19,000 ($25k).
Financial Times top 10 Online MBA programs
What else stands out in the FT Online MBA ranking?
Most schools ranked in 2021 have either maintained their positions in 2022 or moved up the list. However, this year's ranking is made up of 10 schools rather than last year's 15. Both the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, ranked ninth last year, and Indiana University Kelley School of Business, ranked fifth last year, have dropped out of the top 10.
After Warwick's grads, Online MBA students on the International Flex MBA offered by Italy’s MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management can expect the biggest salary uplift after graduation. Students see their pre-MBA salary increase by just over 35%, although this metric can be impacted by the seniority of students entering the program.
Interestingly, the three US schools in the ranking make up the top three for best careers service. University of Florida Warrington ranks first for careers service, Kenan-Flagler comes second, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln is ranked third. Kenan-Flagler ranks first globally for research, whereas Florida Warrington comes in second.
IE Business School in Spain again boasts the most international students, at 92% of the school's Global Online MBA cohort. The school also has the most female students, at 48%, a 2% increase from last year's ranking. MIP has increased female representation in its International Flex MBA this year. The school now boasts 29% female students in the cohort, whereas last year that figure was only 17%.
IE's impressive performance this year continues when it comes to the FT's environment, social, and governance (ESG) rank. The school sits in top place, followed by AGSM and MIP.
IE has improved its performance this year when it comes to student satisfaction. The school's Online MBA last year recorded the lowest student satisfaction score out of any of the 15 top-ranked schools (still reasonably high at 8.5/10), although this metric is not used in the ranking. This year, the school sits in fifth place for student satisfaction. Students are again most satisfied at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business.
Imperial again ranks highest for international mobility, with many Imperial online MBA students working in different countries after graduation. The school also boasts the most international faculty, with 96% of faculty from outside the UK.
The Value of an Online MBA
Online MBA programs come in many different shapes and sizes. Online MBA programs ranked by the FT can take students between 1.5 and 3.5 years to complete.
Online learning is no longer viewed as secondary to traditional campus-based classes and so the cost of some online MBAs is increasingly comparable to some full-time MBAs.
Kenan-Flagler offers the most expensive program in the FT Online MBA ranking, at over $125,000. The school’s full-time MBA costs around $134,000 for two years of tuition.
There are more affordable options though. After Bradford School of Management, some of the cheapest Online MBA programs in the FT’s list are offered by Durham University Business School in the UK ($32,600) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ($31,200). There's also Bradford's $25,000 program.
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 at different stages of their careers compared with full-time MBA students.
As we get more and more used to working and studying from home, online MBA programs are becoming increasingly popular, providing comparable study experiences and career benefits in a more flexible format.