You pay for what you get: In Poets&Quants’ debut 2018 ranking of the best online MBA programs, the most expensive online offering in the world comes out on top.
Many established online programs are reporting strong increases in students.
- The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business boosted enrollment by 151% to 369 students from only 147 a year ago.
- Kenan-Flagler’s MBA@UNC online option reported a 78% jump in enrollment to 1,862 students from 1,047 a year earlier.
- Temple University has increased its online MBA enrollment by 57% to 546 students from 351.
Top-Ranked Online MBA Programs
#1 Carnegie Mellon: 32-month-long, online-hybrid MBA experience $128,000
Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School program is also the toughest online offering to get into, the longest to complete for a degree, and the one requiring more in-person time than any other option, with a half-dozen immersive access weekends a year in Silicon Valley, Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh. But it has the highest admission standards, the best overall MBA experience, and the best career outcomes for its graduates, according to P&Q’s analysis of online MBA programs.
- More schools than ever are entering the online MBA market and when many programs are experiencing significant growth in enrollment.
- As each year goes by, more reputable business schools with highly ranked residential MBAs are moving into the online space.
- In July of this year, Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business will welcome the first cohort in an online MBA program it is launching with 2U, a publicly traded online education provider.
- UC-Davis’ Graduate School of Management will be next. The school signed a contract with 2U in November and hopes to get its online option off the ground next year. Davis’ new program will be the first online MBA degree offered in the 10-campus University of California system.
- 2U already has built a portfolio of online MBAs with a range of business schools, including UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.
- Acceptance rates can approach 100%. At both Georgia Southern, ranked 18th, and Drexel University, which placed 22nd, the online offerings accepted 92% of all the candidates who applied for admission. The school with the lowest acceptance rate of any online program? The University of Texas-Dallas’ Jindal School, where only 34% of the applicants are admitted.
- Only eight of the 25 programs boast average GMAT scores above 600, and not a single program even approaches 700 (see table on admission standards).
- The highest average grade-point averages for these programs was 3.4, achieved by seven schools. The lowest GPA was reported by Georgia Southern, where the average was just 2.8.
- Unlike full-time programs, where the average age of MBA students tends to be in the late 20s, online programs can have students as young as 22 and as old as the mid-to-late 50s.
- At North Carolina State’s Poole College of Management, the amount of work experience students bring to class ranges from just one year to more than 33 years. At the University of Florida’s Hough School, the range is one and a half years to more than 28 years.