What’s it really like to earn your MBA online? Do you sacrifice connection with classmates and faculty and have to settle only for the learning? After going through an online MBA program, how many graduates would actually recommend their experience to a friend or colleague? The median score is a 9.4 on a ten-point scale with ten reflecting the best possible answer.
Every year for the past four years, Poets&Quants has set out to get answers to these and many more questions from the newest crop of online MBA graduates for its annual ranking of the best online MBA programs. And each year, we are surprised at the high levels of satisfaction among graduates of programs that are largely delivered over the Internet. This year we surveyed 5,880 alums and received responses from 1,143 graduates for a solid response rate of 19.4%.
Sure, there are differences from one school’s program to another. And there are online MBA options that consistently get high grades from graduates from year to year. But overall, our student satisfaction surveys show that graduates of these online programs are a pretty happy bunch.
OVERALL, GRADUATES OF OUR RANKED ONLINE MBAS WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEIR PROGRAMS TO OTHERS
Consider the ultimate test: When we asked graduates if they would recommend their program to others, the median score for our ranked programs was a fairly hefty 9.4 on a ten-point scale, with ten reflecting the best possible score. Those high grades are a function of the resources many business schools have poured into their online courses, the enthusiasm with which faculty have embraced online teaching, and the advances in technology that make long distance learning far more engaging than ever.
For 2020, when many residential programs have been forced online due to the coronavirus pandemic, that’s as true as it has ever been. Of course, the courses in an online MBA program differ greatly from classes in a residential program that has been shifted to remote instruction. In an online MBA, the courses were rebuilt from scratch for a different format. The work by faculty that goes into translating classroom interactions online makes these courses far superior to the residential programs that are now delivered by Zoom.
Still, there are differences from one program to another, and our survey data clearly captures them. Our advice on how to read the data? Don’t get hung up on who is number one or number two on a survey question. Instead, realize that small differences in these scores are not statistically meaningful. Certainly, any program getting a 9.0 or above more than checks the box on the measurement.
THE CORE SURVEY QUESTIONS AND HOW ONLINE MBA GRADUATES RESPONDED
You’ll find that we attempt to measure what’s important and what you’re most likely to want to know. That’s because the survey questions were developed in cooperation with the business schools and with input from students. You’ll probably find yourself more interested in certain questions than others which is why we provide the guide below. It enables you to click on a question and go directly to the responses we received from the latest graduates of each of the ranked online MBA programs.