Spain’s IE Tops Global Online MBA Rankings

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The Financial Times has released its ranking of the world’s best online MBA programs, offering a glimpse into the developments of a constantly-improving sector aiming to meet the needs of education in a global economy.

The Spanish business school IE came in top place for the third year in a row, followed by the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom, also for the third year in a row, and the University of Florida Hough Business School in third, maintaining its place from last year’s rankings.

Durham University Business School replaced Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business in the fourth slot as Northeastern dropped to seventh place. Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business came in fifth, and Babson came in sixth.

AGSM’s MBAx program came in eighth, making it the first Australian program to be ranked. The ninth and tenth places went to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Arizona State University’s Carey School of Business.

The top 15 programs were chosen out of 18 participating programs, reports Find MBA. To be eligible, at least 70% of the program’s content has to be delivered online. Out of the winners, nine had no on-campus requirement at all, with the rest were blended programs that required weekend or week-long residential classes. Because of the flexibility of these programs, they tend to appeal to older professionals with existing careers, many of whom are seeking promotion rather than a new career path.

Seb Murray of Business Because quoted Dr. Richard McBain, head of post-experience programs at Henley Business School:

Business schools need to adapt to … a world of work that requires more flexibility. And they need to accommodate the demands of an increasingly global and diverse managerial workforce.

To rank the programs, the Financial Times surveyed the schools and their alumni, with the latter counting for 65% of the ranking. Alumni who graduated in 2012 reported on their current salary, their increase in salary, and how good they rated their program’s online interaction to be.

FT also took into account the number of articles published by the school’s full-time faculty, reports Laurent Ortmans of the Financial Times, using the Scopus database. The highest-ranked schools used online material effectively according to their past students, including virtual classrooms, live lectures, and multimedia to enhance lessons.

IE and the Warwick Business School are two of six schools that are ranked in both the world’s best online MBAs and the best full-time MBAs, reports Laurent Ortmans of the Financial Times.

Half of IE’s alumni were already senior managers when they enrolled, which is a higher proportion than any other schools.

Three years after graduation, they were found to be earning the highest average salary of any of the schools at about $179,000. The next in average came from the Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, with graduates making around $150,000.

Graduates of IE have the second-highest average increase in salary after graduation at 39%.

One former student said:

There is a definite “before and after” for career progression. Post-MBA I felt I had more of a sense of direction not only of where I wanted to be, but also why, and how to make it happen.

The results, which included data from 610 past students, were published on March 7th.