After four years in second place, Warwick Business School topped the 2018 FT ranking of the best online MBA programmes for the first time.
Spain’s IE Business School, which had dominated this ranking since the inaugural edition in 2014, falls one place to second and Isenberg School of Management in Massachusetts remains in third place.
The 20 ranked MBAs are assessed primarily on the career progress of alumni and also by the diversity of the cohort and the quality of online delivery. The main criteria for career progress are alumni salary three years after graduation and their salary increase compared with pre-MBA levels.
The average salary of alumni from FT-ranked online MBAs generally matches that of their counterparts from the FT’s top 100 full-time MBAs.
The online class of 2014 receive an average salary of $147,000, slightly higher than the $146,000 for full-time students. The classes of 2013 had salaries of $140,000 and $142,000 respectively.
However, there is a contrast between the salary increases seen by alumni of the different degrees. Online graduates had an average salary rise of about 32 percent, significantly below the 107 percent enjoyed by the campus alumni. They have reached similar salaries but at different stages of their careers. The online MBA graduates are now about 40 years old on average — six years older than their full-time equivalents — and their salary was about 60 per cent higher at enrolment for their course.
Alumni from Warwick had the biggest year-on-year salary increase, up $13,000 compared with the previous cohort, to $183,000. This is the second highest salary, just below that of IE’s alumni at $184,000, which is down $7,000 on last year.
Warwick is ranked top for career progress and joint number one with Indiana’s Kelley School of Business for research. It is also third in the aims achieved category, fourth for value for money and fifth for its careers service.
The UK school has the largest enrolment in the ranking, with nearly 1,300 students. It also has 850 overseas students, by far the largest number, from 106 different countries.
While online MBAs were predicted to attract large numbers of foreign students, most schools enrol a low proportion. In the 2018 ranking, half of the 14 US-based MBAs are delivered entirely online, yet between them have 4 per cent of international students.
All four European schools include face-to-face elements in their courses but more than 50 per cent of students are from overseas. For the class of 2014 — the most recent data available — 70 per cent of foreign students at European schools were from outside the EU.
Key to the FT Online MBA Rankings 2018
(Weighting % in brackets)
- Salary today US$ (20): average alumnus salary three years after graduation, $ PPP equivalent (See methodology).
- Salary increase (10): percentage increase in alumnus salary in the current job versus three years ago on graduation.
- Value for money (3): calculated according to alumni’s salary, fees and other costs. †
- Career progress (4): progression in the alumni’s level of seniority and the size of company they now work for, versus three years ago on graduation. †
- Aims achieved (4): the extent to which alumni fulfilled their goals for taking an online MBA. †
- Careers service (4): effectiveness of the school careers service in terms of career counselling, personal development, networking events and recruitment, as rated by their alumni. †
- Programme delivery (5): how alumni rate the online delivery of live teaching sessions, other teaching materials and online exams. †
- Online interaction (10): how alumni rate the interaction between students, teamwork and the availability of faculty. †
- Female faculty (2): percentage of female members of faculty.
- Female students (2): percentage of female students on the MBA programme.
- Women on board (1): percentage of female members of the school advisory board.
- International faculty (4): percentage of faculty whose citizenship differs from their country of employment.
- International students (4): percentage of current students whose citizenship differs from the country the school is located in.
- International board (2): percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the country in which the business school is situated.
- International mobility (5): based on alumni citizenship and the countries where they worked before their MBA, on graduation and three years after. †
- Faculty with doctorates (5): percentage of full-time faculty with a doctoral degree.
- PhD graduates (5): number of doctoral graduates from each business school during the past three years. The figure in brackets is the number of these who took up faculty positions at a top 50 full-time MBA school.
- FT research rank (1: calculated according to the number of articles published by a school’s current full-time faculty members in 50 academic and practitioner journals between January 2015 and December 2017. The rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.
- For the three gender-related criteria, schools that have 50:50 (male: female) composition receive the highest score.
For more information see the Financial Times