Prospective students who consider online MBA programs have some common worries. They wonder if they’ll learn as much online than they did when they sat in traditional classrooms during their undergraduate education. They’re concerned that the bonds students form on campus will be especially elusive in the Internet world. And they think they may also have to sacrifice connections with faculty who could become valuable mentors over their professional lifetimes.
To address these issues and to more deeply examine the quality of the academic experience in an online MBA program, we asked thousands of graduates from the best online MBA programs to assess their experiences. More than 1,580 online MBA alums from the past two years responded to this year’s student satisfaction survey.
Across the board, the results are highly favorable. At the best online MBA programs ranked by Poets&Quants, alumni give their schools high marks. Even programs ranked near the bottom of our top 35 list received strong reviews. Indeed, we found fairly high rates of satisfaction on everything from the quality of the professors in the virtual classroom to the effectiveness of career advising in the program.
MEASURING STUDENT SATISFACTION IN ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS
Student satisfaction matters. It can be a powerful endorsement of a program for prospective students who may not have the time to kick the tires of the many options currently available. And when the opinions of graduates can be gathered using a common survey, the results allow for school-by-school comparisons.
You can also sort our results by what matters most to you. Want to have the best teachers? Look at the top ten schools that scored highest when we asked alumni to appraise the quality of their professors. Prefer an online MBA option where students believed they had immediate benefits by being able to apply what they learned in the classroom to their current jobs? Then look over our list of the programs that nailed this dimension. Want to join a program that encouraged strong connections among the students? Then consult the answers we received from alumni of each of those programs.
It’s worth noting that many schools declined to allow their alumni to be surveyed, partly because they feared their programs wouldn’t compare favorably to the competition. Other schools, including the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, UC-Davis, and Rice University, have only recently begun their online MBA offerings and have yet to graduate a class that could be surveyed. In any case, we think the schools that were open to scrutiny from the outside are truly the best online MBA experiences you could have. And luckily, the 35 programs on our list offer an MBA at every price point and brand, with a wide array of features, schedules, and formats to meet every possible student need.
While our overall rank is based on three factors, including admissions standards and career outcomes, we specifically asked alumni to assess their academic and extracurricular online experience. When it came to the best online experiences, these ten programs stood out this year:
TOP TEN ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS Of 2020 BASED ON STUDENT SATISFACTION
- Rochester Institute of Technology Saunders College of Business
- Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business
- Indiana University Kelley School of Business
- University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School
- Ohio University
- Jack Welch Management Institute
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Foisie Business School
- Lehigh University College of Business & Economics
- USC Marshall School of Business
- Hofstra University Zarb College of Business
Here are some of the results of our alumni survey, used to help us rank the best online MBA experiences. Graduates were asked to respond to each question on a ten-point scale, with ten representing the best possible answer. We show the full results for all the schools whose alumni responded to our online survey. And you can see all of the results or search for the answers to a specific survey question: