For the fourth consecutive year, IE Business School in Spain and Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom placed first and second, respectively in the Financial Times’ fourth annual ranking of online MBAs. This year the FT expanded its online ranking by five programs to 20 from 15 ranked schools last year. U.S. schools benefited from the expanded list, capturing 65 percent of the total 20 positions, up from 60 percent of 15 last year.
The online MBA program at the University of Massachuetts’ Isenberg School of Business emerged the big winner, jumped six places to finish third, the highest rank awarded to a U.S. program this year. Isenberg was ranked 11th two years ago in 2015 and failed to make the debut ranking by the FT in 2014, boasts the largest enrollment in an online MBA offering with more than 1,300 students.
From the start of this online ranking, U.S. schools have occupied the third spot. In the debut ranking, third place was captured by Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School, which has since fallen to 13th. In both 2015 and 2016, the third ranked online offering was from the University of Florida’s Hough School, which fell to sixth this year.
Rounding out the top ten on the FT list were No. 4 the Australian Graduate School of Management, No. 5 University of Florida’s Hough School of Business, No. 6 George Washington University, No. 7 Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, No. 8 Babson College’s Olin School, No. 9 Durham University Business School, and No. 10 Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Business. Both George Washington and Syracuse had been unranked last year by the FT.
The ranking by the British newspaper is based on surveys of alumni who graduated in 2013 as well as surveys to the schools. The FT assesses programs based on such metrics as the career progression of alumni, the quality of the online delivery, idea generation and the diversity of students and faculty.
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The newspaper attributed Isenberg’s improving graduate salaries gains this year. “Its 2013 alumni earn an average of $159,000, 43 per cent more than their salary on graduation and the fourth-highest salary of the 20 ranked schools,” the newspaper reported.
IE Business School won its fourth straight No. 1 ranking by having more of the characteristics of an Executive MBA program than a typical online MBA offering. The FT noted that IE boasted the highest proportion of graduates working at department head level or above. Grads of IE’s online MBA also earned the highest salary on average 44% higher than what students earned at graduation.
FT Survey Conclusion
In its surveys of alumni, the FT found high rates of satisfaction with online programs. “Most alumni who responded to the survey said they were very satisfied with the online format,” according to the newspaper.
When the FT asked alumni if they felt the online degree program helped them achieve their goals, no school fared better than IE Business School, but close behind was Warwick Business School, Indiana Kelley, Florida Hough, and Durham.
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