Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Harvard | Mr. Armenian Geneticist
GRE 331, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 1st Gen Grad
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1
Ross | Mr. Travelpreneur
GMAT 730, GPA 2.68
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
London Business School | Ms. Numbers
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
IU Kelley | Mr. Fortune 500
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.2
N U Singapore | Mr. Naval Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthtech Venture
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Senior Research Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.58
Stanford GSB | Mr. Doctor Who
GRE 322, GPA 4.0
Rice Jones | Mr. Carbon-Free Future
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
INSEAD | Mr. Data Savvy Engineer
GRE 316, GPA 2.92
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9

The Best Online MBA Programs In The U.S.

Get our new digital guide to the best online MBA programs for use on iPad & Android tablets or available as a downloadable PDF. Learn about the best online MBA programs

Get our new digital guide to the best online MBA programs for use on iPad & Android tablets or available as a downloadable PDF

What are the best online MBA programs?

A few years ago, hardly anyone bothered to even rank the digital versions of a school’s MBA. But as distance learning has become increasingly popular, several major publications known for their lists of on-campus degree programs have gotten into the act.

U.S. News & World Report, which debuted an online MBA ranking in 2013, now provides numerical ranks for 172 programs, from No. 1 Indiana University to No. 169 University of North Alabama in Florence (four schools were tied at a rank of 169).

Not to be outdone, The Financial Times rushed into the rankings game in 2014 with a global list of 15 programs that had IE Business School in Spain at the top, followed by Warwick Business School in Britain, Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School in Boston, the University of Florida and Indiana. 

The Economist also has ranked online programs in the past, though its last special report on distance learning is somewhat dated, having come out in 2010. Instead of providing numerical rankings for each of the 16 programs evaluated, the British magazine instead chose to rate the programs excellent, good, average or poor. Only two schools’ programs were deemed “excellent” at the time: the University of Florida and IE Business School in Spain. Another three schools were rated “good.” They are the programs at Thunderbird Global School of Management, Indiana University’s Kelley School, and Euro MBA, a consortium of European business schools.

DOWNLOAD OUR NEW DIGITAL GUIDE TO THE BEST ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS FOR IPAD

The problem with all these rankings–along with their often significantly flawed methodologies–is that they are so new that many schools have declined to participate in them. The result: The relatively new lists fail to show the full array of business schools now offering online MBAs, including some of the very best schools.

DOWNLOAD OUR DIGITAL GUIDE TO ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS FOR ANDROID TABLETS

Potential students also will find a large number of websites that purport to rank the best online options, but almost all of them are little more than “link farms” that collect a royalty or click payment when someone seeks more information on one of the listed programs. Any website that ranks online programs but fails to provide detailed explanations of the methodology with specific back-up data for each school is pretty much worthless. Be extremely wary of these fake rankings which often attempt to mix for-profit schools with legitimate academic institutions.

DOWNLOAD A PDF VERSION OF OUR GUIDE TO THE BEST ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS

Because so many brand name universities are in the online space today, and their acceptance rates are significantly higher than for their full-time MBA programs, there is no reason to settle for a degree from the University of Phoenix, Kaplan, Capella or any other organization that lacks academic and professional credibility. Prestige may not come cheap, though you will be able to find some very affordable programs at the highly ranked business school on our list of the best.

Related Stories:

10 Essential Questions Every Online Student Should Ask

The Online MBA Stigma

What Employers Really Think About Online MBAs

From Covert Missions To An Online MBA

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.