We believe the best online MBA programs are simply at the best business schools. The ultimate test for any degree is the reputation of the school that grants it. To that end, we’ve taken our ranking of the flagship full-time MBA programs and filtered out the schools that don’t yet have online versions of their MBA degrees. That exercise led us to a ranking of the best business schools with online MBA programs for the second consecutive year.
All told, there are eight business schools in the Top 50 in the U.S. that now offer online MBA programs: Carnegie Mellon, the University of North Carolina, Indiana University, Maryland, Penn State, Arizona State University, Florida and George Washington. Babson is just outside the top 50 and leads the other 12 business schools in the second half of the Top 100, which includes Northeastern University and Syracuse University, which recently partnered with the educational firm 2U, Inc., to move its more-than-a-decade-long online MBA program on a more sophisticated learning platform, the same one used by UNC at Chapel Hill.
The higher up the list you go, the more likely it is that the online option is as close a replica as you might get if you were on campus. It is far more likely to be taught by the same full-time faculty and to include all the business basics in the on-campus MBA curriculum. In almost all the cases, the MBA degree you get is exactly the same diploma that full-time, on-campus graduates receive.
MANY AFFORDABLE MBA PROGRAMS ARE ON THE BEST LIST
Our list also shows that you don’t have to go heavily into hock to get an MBA. Sure, the most expensive online MBAs cost about $75,000 and up, with a top price tag of $118,000 for the Carnegie Mellon program. But theres also the no frills, though highly recommended, Auburn University program which goes for the rock bottom price of just $27,900. In fact, there are half a dozen programs at highly ranked business schools where you can get the MBA for under $50,000.
While new online MBA programs are being launched at a fairly regular pace, the highest ranked schools with online programs now form a significant group offering would-be students a lot of worthwhile choices. Most of them are blended programs that combine online learning with on-campus retreats and immersions. Many of these programs also allow students to specialize or concentrate on specific fields, ranging from corporate finance and entrepreneurship to global supply chain management and sustainable enterprise.
It’s also worth noting that there are several very good non-U.S. options available, including the global online MBA program from Spain’s IE Business School and Warwick Business School’s MBA by distance learning.
(See following page for our ranking of the top 20 business schools in the U.S. with online MBA programs)