Exploring Online MBA Rankings

No matter how you plan on financing your education, you want to make sure that it is money wisely spent. After all, education is an investment and you should only invest in an MBA program that is sure to pay off in the future. The key to making a wise investment is research, and while there are many resources that can help, perhaps one of the most reliable, and readily available, are university and college rankings. Rankings are essentially reviews of institutions of higher education that are then listed in a certain order determined by a combination of factors for the purpose of identifying their strengths in relation to one another. Business school rankings can help you to further examine the quality of online MBA programs offered at each institution.

Varying Criteria, Varying Results

While MBA Online has its own rankings for online MBA programs, there are plenty of others out there that can be greatly beneficial in your search for the right business school. It’s important to understand that rankings are only one data point in the overall process of choosing a business school and should not be the only criteria considered when selecting an online MBA program. Also, take into consideration that every ranking system has a separate set of criteria, values different factors, and weighs them all differently. While one publication’s academic criteria may carry the most weight in overall rating, another may give graduate outcome criteria more weight on the basis that career success indicates program quality. Essentially, this means that even though one publication may rank a school’s MBA program within its top 10 that same school might not even break into the top 50 of another publication’s rankings.

QS Online MBA Rankings 2021
Rank School Programme Location
1 IE Business School Global Online MBA Spain
2 Imperial College Business School Global Online MBA United Kingdom
3 Warwick Business School Distance Learning MBA United Kingdom
4 AGSM @ UNSW Business School MBAX Australia
5 Alliance Manchester Business School Global Part-time MBA United Kingdom
6 MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business iFlex/Flex EMBA Italy
7 Kelley School of Business Kelley Direct Online MBA United States
8 Marshall School of Business USC Marshall Online MBA (OMBA) United States
9 Vlerick Business School Online MBA Belgium
10 Chapman Graduate School of Business – FIU Professional MBA Online United States

Other Reputable Rankings

There are many other organizations out there that have online MBA rankings such as GetEducated.com, TheBestColleges.org, and Financial Times, just to name a few. There are even more organizations and publications that rank traditional MBA programs. Popular magazines such as U.S. News and World Report, Businessweek, Forbes, and Entrepreneur are known for publishing annual rankings of graduate business programs, as are educational organizations like Princeton Review. Some of the options therefore mentioned, are among the most referred to and trusted when it comes to traditional MBA rankings. And since many schools adapt their traditional programs into an online format, these rankings can give you a good idea about how their online MBA programs stack up.

1 University of Pennsylvania: Wharton 115 US 33 237,530
2 Columbia Business School 125 US 71 218,542
3 Harvard Business School 104 US 91 207,180


93 France/Singapore 6 186,784
5 Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management 117 US 11

U.S. News and World Report

U.S. News and World Report has ranked institutions of higher education since 1983. Today, this publication annually puts out one of the oldest and most recognized college and university rankings in the United States. Those interested in taking the next step in their education to qualify for top careers in business may want to check out U.S. News’ rankings of the Best Business Schools. Each year over 400 full-time MBA programs are surveyed and those that respond are ranked according to the weighted average of three criteria. The first, is quality assessment which is based on peer and recruiter assessment scores. Next, is placement success based on graduate employment rates and mean starting salary and bonus. Last, is student selectivity which consists of acceptance rates, mean GMAT scores, and mean undergraduate GPA. For the individual looking to earn an MBA with a specific focus, this publication also ranks programs by specialities including entrepreneurship, logistics, nonprofit, production, and information systems.


Considering that this publication has been solely dedicated to delivering business news since its first issue in 1929, you can rest assured that they know a thing or two about finding the best business programs the world has to offer. For over 20 years, Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked full-time MBA programs around the globe establishing itself as a go-to resource for potential MBAs everywhere. When ranking business schools Businessweek takes into consideration the satisfaction levels of both students and corporate recruiters along with faculty research output. MBA graduates at business schools in North America, Europe, and Asia are sent surveys to rate their programs based on their educational experiences. Corporate MBA recruiters are also surveyed about schools at which they recruit concerning the quality of graduates and their organization’s experience with MBAs. Finally, the publication calculates the intellectual-capital rating of each school in regard to faculty journal publication.

Princeton Review

As an exam preparation and admissions consulting company, the Princeton Review has been a trusted source for educational information since 1981. When it comes to business education, different people are looking for different things and just because a school has a high rating doesn’t mean it’s the best fit. This is no secret to the Princeton Review which takes a unique approach to business school rankings in its annual publication “Best 300 Business Schools.” As each school featured is academically sound, this book features 11 lists each of which ranks the top 10 business schools in each category. Some categories are based on student concerns like which schools are the toughest to get into or have the most competitive students, while others list the schools with the best classroom experience, career prospects, or professors. There are categories that even rank campuses based on environment and facilities along with ones that rank the schools that offer the best opportunities for minorities and women.


This prestigious magazine has been providing information for the world business leader since its first issue in 1917. Today, it is a biweekly publication known for its coverage of everything business as well as its wide range of ranking lists. One such list is America’s Best Colleges which ranks more than 600 of the best public and private colleges according to quality of education, student experience, and institutional achievement. Purposed to help students in the selection of an undergraduate school, criteria are based on factors like student satisfaction, postgraduate success, graduation rate, and competitive awards. Forbes also biannually publishes rankings of the best business schools which includes a ranking of MBA programs that are based on graduate return investments.


As a publication geared toward the small-business owner, Entrepreneur Magazine covers news and issues related to entrepreneurialism, management, and business ventures. In order to help students wishing to study entrepreneurship identify the best programs available, this magazine has partnered with the Princeton Review to publish annual rankings of the country’s top colleges for entrepreneurs. For the eighth time, these two organizations have worked together to examine over 2,000 institutions and select the top 50 undergraduate and graduate entrepreneur programs. Individuals looking into earning an MBA with a specialization in entrepreneurship may want to look at the rankings of the Top 25 Graduate Colleges for entrepreneur programs. These graduate-level business programs are examined for their educational environment and entrepreneurial relevance and ranked by criteria such as academics and requirements, students and faculty, and offerings outside of the classroom.

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