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This thread has retired. Please move to the NEW ONLINE MBA Vault for rankings
Online MBA Rankings
Upon several requests, we have compiled the online MBA rankings, which actually is much harder to figure out than regular Full Time MBA Rankings.
Why Get an Online MBA?
There are not many reasons to get an Online MBA as the in-person experience is much more rewarding and productive. Which means the in-person program will always win and should always be preferred. I can't think of a situation or what would make an online MBA better than a traditional one (not yet at least) but there are a few good reasons to still pursue an online MBA:
Location - if you are not able to take time off for a full time program or live close enough to a Fully Employed/Part Time program, online MBA is your only option. You can wait but if time is of the essence then that's what works. E.g if you live in Wyoming or off-shore oil rig or another country. This case may also apply if you are unable to get the visa or visit the US frequently. In these cases, it may be the only choice.
Schedule - not a great reason to get an online MBA but if you have 2 kids or a job with a very unusual schedule (an ER doctor, a Pilot, or a ship captain) then again, this may be your only choice.
Mobility - If you are not able to easily get to school due to mobility constraints.
1. Reputation - online MBA programs tend to have a weak reputation due to some of the first few programs lacking quality control and relaxed admission policy. Thus if you are getting an online degree, you want to get it from a very reputable school, ESP. From one that has a strong name recognition. Fro example UNC, Duke, or Tepper. Thus your first priority should be addressing the perceived reputation.
2. Admission standards. Review the admissions requirements; if the school does not require you to take the GMAT or any other admissions test, that could be a red flag. Remember that low standards and widespread admission was the issue that got the online programs into trouble. Low barriers to entry result into a lower perceived value by the students, lower effort, less aunity, and finally, lower quality of students.
3. Class Profile. You want to check the student profile and see how an average student and your future classmate looks like. If you see that they have no work experience, lack leadership experience, grades or test scores, that's a red flag.
Some Really Cool Online MBA Programs?
Duke's Cross Continent MBA - you get to study in 5 parts of the world (Dubai, New Delhi, St. Petersburg, Shanghai/Kunshan, and Durham, North Carolina). It takes 6 semesters (3 years) and a cool $128K (this includes the room & board in all campuses but does not include the airfare)
MBA@UNC - it is the first year this program has been open. Currently only 19 students are enrolled but the average GMAT runs at 700 and the tuition is $89K for the 2-year program)
Re: Online MBA Rankings - 2011 & 2012 [#permalink]
27 Apr 2012, 12:58
This post received KUDOS
I appreciate the work that went into this list. I have been taking a hard look at online mba programs, and I know the data out there is lacking. My approach has been to look at the schools that offer online programs, look at the traditional programs offered by those schools (full time and part time), and finally attempt to determine the extent to which the online will leverage the full time program resources. I have not found a good resource for hard data on student satisfaction for online programs. Another challenge is that most rankings rely in large part on self-reported data from schools, and it seems there is a lack in consistency in what schools provide.
Based on the research I have been doing, I would say that Northeaster may deserve mention. Northeastern's rankings for full time and part time programs are a bit below some of the other schools listed, but they do seem to put an emphasis on their online offering.
Another school that may deserve more consideration here is Penn State. I think they suffer here because the online MBA is out of their World Campus program, which in general they handle as a seperate entity from their traditional colleges. However, their program appears to draw heavily from the Smeal College of Business, which is pretty consistently in the top 50 of the major rankings. However, they do also use faculity from their part-time programs from other non-Smeal colleges/campuses.
One final note: The Texas A&M online MBA is offered out of Texas A&M-Commerce. This program does not seem to draw from the Mays school out of the flagship Texas A&M (College Station), which is the program listed in the various rankings.
Re: Online MBA Rankings - 2011 & 2012 [#permalink]
09 Oct 2012, 13:35
Thanks for putting together this list! I have devoted quite a bit of time to researching online MBA programs, as this is going to be the best option for me (Married w/an infant child & a mortgage). I live in Houston, Tx and am also considering the UT MBA at Houston - as they confer the same degree as the FT students in Austin (and they limit their enrollment in Austin, so as not to diminish their brand - at least that's what they advertise). Anyway, what I looked for in programs was, first and foremost, the AACSB accreditation and then I made sure that the degree conferred is the same as the FT students (ie, no indication on the diploma that it was awarded via online classes) - which is why I have ruled out Penn St (not to mention all the negativity surrounding that school right now - fair or not, it still factors into people's decisions). As of now, the schools I intend to submit applications are (in order of preference): 1) UT MBA at Houston (UT is my dream school, I've been throwing up the hook 'em horns since I was a toddler) 2) MBA@UNC 3) Arizona State 4) University of Florida & 5) NC State University (this is my fall back school).
FYI...I stumbled across your website while looking on Amazon for GMAT prep books, I think I am going to go with the Manhattan series. I look forward to utilizing the resources of this forum to help me through the application process. Hopefully, I will be sharing my success story!