Earning an MBA from your laptop has become increasingly popular. Online programs tend to be less expensive than their residential counterparts and students don’t have to quit their jobs to get an MBA. What’s more, students can generally set the pace for their degree, easing up on the demands of their education when personal or work demands increase.IS
According to the fourth annual ranking of the best online MBA programs by PoetsandQuants.com, the top ten options offer a wide variety of viable alternatives available to prospective students at virtually every price point from a low of $35,375 to the most expensive at $141,320 from big brand business schools to lesser-known players.
At the very top of this year’s list is the online MBA program at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The first top-tier school to launch an online MBA program 21 years ago, Kelley has been knocking on the first-place door in each of the three previous rankings. The school’s Kelley Direct MBA program has ranked second twice and third once behind Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. It is also the most affordably priced of the winners at $74,520, some $37,000 less than the online MBA at USC, and about $67,000 under the hybrid online MBA at Carnegie Mellon.
THE LEAST EXPENSIVE TOP TEN PROGRAM? AUBURN UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE OPTION
Rounding out the top five were No. 2 Carnegie Mellon, No. 3 USC Marshall, No. 4 George Washington University, and No. 5 University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. The least expensive Top Ten program, with a price tag of $35,375, is from Auburn University, while the most expensive is Carnegie Mellon’s online MBA at $141,320. The Tepper program, however, offers the most in-person class sessions of any of the top online options.
Compiled from surveys completed by school administrators and more than 1,143 alumni of the programs, the ranking is based on three equally weighted factors: the quality of incoming students, an assessment of the MBA experience by graduates and career outcomes of alumni (see ranking methodology). Each category is weighted by 100 points, with a raw score of 300 points being the highest a school can earn. Kelley compiled a score of 282, which was 13 points higher than the school ranked second, Carnegie Mellon, giving Kelley a decisive top ranking over all other schools.
Kelley leaped to the top by finishing first in academic experience with a perfect score of 100 thanks to high grades achieved by its faculty, the overall strength of its curriculum and breadth of course offerings as well as the school’s co-curricular programming. Kelley also ranked third in the quality of its incoming students and tenth in career outcomes.
THE RANKED SCHOOLS REPRESENT THE TOP 15% OF THE MORE THAN 350 ONLINE MBAS
Among other things, Kelley Direct Online MBA students regularly interact with faculty, both in and out of the classroom. Alumni assessments of the faculty put Kelley professors in the top ten for overall quality as well as for their accessibility and responsiveness to students. Every Kelley student, who typically takes two years to complete an online MBA, is assigned both an academic coach and a career coach.
All told, PoetsandQuants.com ranks 47 online MBA programs that represent the top 15% of the more than 350 online MBA options in the world. Here’s this year’s top ten:
1 Indiana University (Kelley), $74,520
2 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper), $141,320
3 University of Southern California (Marshall), $111,663
4 George Washington University, $100,883
6 Lehigh University, $41,595
7 Villanova University, $66,000
8 Auburn University (Harbert), $35,375
9 University of Washington (Foster), $78,000
10 Santa Clara University (Leavey), $83,510