Top Ten Online MBA Programs

by Denisse Romero

Do you want to pursue an MBA but can’t find the time? Maybe you don’t feel like being out of a job for 2 years is worth the investment? Maybe all the online MBA programs you know seem too generic? Do you want a quality MBA without sacrificing your job, your family, or your earnings? This is a quick summary of the top ten online MBA programs based on rankings/reputation, structure, networking opportunities, gained skills, and tuition investment. The Rankings and Tuition Fees* published on this article are believed to be true for the academic year 2010-2011.

1. IE Business School

Location: Madrid, Spain
Program: Global MBA
Rankings: #1 by The Wall Street Journal, #11 by Financial Times, #1 in Europe by BusinessWeek
Description: IE offers a 15-month Global MBA program for English and Spanish speakers. The program allows students to connect to the virtual classroom from anywhere in the world. In addition to virtual lectures and videoconferences, students are required to participate in two short week-long residence sessions in Madrid. There are additional optional sessions to network and connect with other students in different locations throughout the course.
Networking Opportunities: Students from 24 countries with background and expertise in a diverse variety of fields including financial markets, banking, marketing, and technology.
Gained Skills: Strategy, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Information Systems, Intercultural Skills.
Tuition: € 39,200 (approx. $56,000 USD)


2. Thunderbird School of Global Management

Location: Arizona, USA
Program: Global MBA
Rankings: #1 in International Programs by U.S. News & World Report, # 1 in International Business by Financial Times
Description: Thunderbird offers a 12, 19 and 36-month global MBA program where students participate through virtual classrooms and on-site seminars in the USA, China, Switzerland and Chile.
Networking Opportunities: Students have lived and worked in several different countries with backgrounds in a wide variety of companies ranging from Coca Cola to Boeing to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Gained Skills: Cross-Cultural Communications, Global Political Economy, Global Finance, Global Operations, Global Marketing, Global Negotiations, Global Leadership, Global Strategy.
Tuition: $68,800 USD (includes on-site costs for international study trips except airfare)


3. Duke University

Location: North Carolina, USA
Program: Cross-Continental MBA
Rankings: #6 by BusinessWeek, #12 by U.S. News & World Report, # 20 by Financial Times.
Description: The program lasts 16 months blending Internet-enabled distance learning with 6 residential sessions that take place in North Carolina, Europe and Asia.
Networking Opportunities: Students from 25 countries average 3 to 9 years of experience and are currently employed full-time in a variety of industries.
Gained Skills: Finance, Accounting, Decision Models, Cross-Cultural Communications, Marketing, Strategy, Global Financial Management, Global Economics.
Tuition: $125,400 USD


4. Manchester Business School

Location: Manchester, UK
Program: Global MBA
Rankings: #15 by MBA Career Guide Survey, #29 by Financial Times.
Description: This flexible program can be completed in 2 years (accelerated option) or 3 years (regular option), and combines self-study with face-to-face workshops in one of six destinations worldwide – UK, USA, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Malaysia and Jamaica.
Networking Opportunities: Students and alumni are located in over 140 countries and possess years of work experience in industries such as construction, engineering, and finance.
Gained Skills: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Managerial Economics, Quantitative Methods, Corporate Strategy.
Tuition: £23,100 (approximately $37,900 USD)


5. Warwick Business School

Location: Coventry, UK
Program: Warwick MBA Distance Learning
Rankings: #1 (Distance Learning in the UK) by The Economist, #42 by Financial Times.
Description: The Warwick MBA consists of 3 parts that can be completed in 3 years (one part/year) or extended up to 8 years. The program uses a variety of delivery methods including print materials, online resources, virtual study groups and a compulsory September Seminar at Warwick each year.
Networking Opportunities: Participants include students from more than 90 countries with an average of 10 years of experience. Many students are in middle-management and upper-management positions.
Gained Skills: Strategic Advantage, Finance, Accounting, Modelling and Analysis, Economics, Market Analysis, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior.
Tuition: £6,200 for 2011-2012 period. (approximately $10,100 USD)

6. University of Florida

Location: Florida, USA
Program: Internet MBA
Rankings: #1 (Distance Learning 2010) by The Economist, #9 by The Wall Street Journal, #53 by U.S. News & World Report, #2 (U.S. Best Value MBA) by Financial Times (2011).
Description: The Internet MBA program at the University of Florida provides students with two options: The Two-Year MBA and the One-Year MBA option. The Two-Year MBA program starts in February, offers a 27-month curriculum and requires 8 weekend campus visits at the end of each term. The One-Year MBA option is provided for students with a business degree and 2 to 7 years of work experience. It starts in January, offers a 16-month curriculum and requires 5 weekend campus visits at the end of each term.
Networking Opportunities: Students in these programs average 6 years of work experience in a variety of industries such as telecommunications, banking, and international trade.
Gained Skills: Personal Finance, Corporate Finance, Accounting, Marketing Management, Professional Writing, Operations Management, Entrepreneurship, E-Commerce, Brand Equity, Business Policy, Business Law.
Tuition: $46,000 USD for the One-Year MBA option; $52,500 USD for the Two-Year MBA option.


7. Indiana University

Location: Indiana, USA
Program: Master of Business Administration (Kelley Direct)
Rankings: #19 by BusinessWeek, #23 by U.S. News & World Report, #2 (Distance Learning) by The Economist.
Description: This flexible program can be completed in 2 to 5 years. It focuses on general administration, but can be tailored to meet the needs of individual students. The program is offered almost exclusively over the Web with two in-residence clinics that last one week in Indiana.
Networking Opportunities: Students in the program come from almost every state in the USA as well as over 20 countries from around the world. Almost all students have several years of corporate or military experience.
Gained Skills: Accounting, Finance, Economics, Quantitative Analysis, Project Management, Strategic Marketing, Human Resources, Global Business, Business Law, Strategic Capabilities.
Tuition: $58,395 USD


8. Pennsylvania State University

Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Program: Penn State’s Online MBA
Rankings: #47 by U.S. News & World Report, #56 by The Economist, #44 (Business School) by BusinessWeek.
Description: This 2-year program combines online courses with 2 residency experiences – the first one at a U.S. company (at a U.S. location) and the second one at Penn State’s University Park campus.
Networking Opportunities: Penn State iMBA students represent employers from 42 states and 8 countries.
Gained Skills: Finance, Accounting, Organizational Behavior and Change, Data Analysis, Decision Making, Marketing, Corporate Strategies, Global Operations, Global Management.
Tuition: $55,656 USD for the 2-year program


9. Babson College

Location: Massachusetts, USA
Program: Fast Track MBA
Rankings: #21 (Evening MBA Program) by U.S. News & World Report, # 1 in Entrepreneurship by Financial Times, #39 (Business School) by Business Week.
Description: This 24-month program combines face-to-face learning, web-based learning, and field-based projects. Face-to-face instruction is based on two-day sessions that are held at Babson, Portland or San Francisco approximately every six weeks – all day on Fridays and Saturdays.
Networking Opportunities: Students in this program average 10 years of work experience and come from almost every state in the US and approximately 10 countries.
Gained Skills: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Creativity, Human Behavior, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, Ethics and Law.
Tuition: $73,500 USD


10. University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Location: Massachusetts, USA
Program: Online MBA
Rankings: #9 (Greatest Opportunities for Women) by Princeton Review.
Description: The entire 37-credit degree program can be completed online. No campus residencies are required. The program can be completed in 2 years.
Networking Opportunities: Students in the program are from the 50 US States and 15 countries and have experience in a variety of industries.
Gained Skills: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, Organizational Behavior, Business Data Analysis, Independent Research.
Tuition: $27,795 USD

Other Online MBA Programs to Consider


Arizona State University Arizona, USA


Oklahoma State University Oklahoma, USA


EuroMBAFrance, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain


University of Texas – Dallas Texas, USA


Florida State University Florida, USA


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Virginia, USA


Northeastern University Massachusetts, USA

CENTRUM Catolica Lima, Peru
(Program is conducted in Spanish)

*Most rankings are based on regular MBA rankings.
Tuition fees are for the entire program.

Related Posts:

49 comments to Top Ten Online MBA Programs

  • Derrick Brown


    I am considering an online MBA program (marketing concentration), but I haven’t ruled out the traditional on campus option. I have Florida Tech’s online mba program in mind, for online, and the University of Memphis’ mba program in mind if I go the on campus route (UofM is local for me). Whats your take on these two programs?

    Derrick, Memphis,TN

    • Denisse Romero

      They are both accredited universities, but I don’t know much about their MBA programs. I suggest you do some research and gather information on alumni job placement and starting salaries after the MBA. You can request this information from their admissions or career offices. Although learning new knowledge and skills is one of the objectives of graduate education, you need to ultimately decide whether this is a good return on your investment. Good luck!

  • pj

    Can I use a MBA online certificate to proceed for a Doctorate degree, PHD?

    • Denisse Romero

      This really depends on the doctorate program and its admissions requirements. Many doctorate programs require only a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s in the field will increase your chances of being admitted if your master’s (or certificate) helped you conduct important research in the field of study, attend/present at conferences, and network with experts in the field.

  • Saad

    @ Daniel – I have looked at Imperial program too. The distance learning program apparently seems good, but as comparable to Henley and Warwick, it does not have any attending workshop type sessions. Hence,its good in a sense that there is no attendance required at all. But on the other hand, networking opportunity will be limited. I do understand that the networking options in online / distance learning degrees are usually limited but this is something I’d be looking for as part of my selection criteria.

  • Kelley School of Business

    Before choosing a university check first their graduate profiles on how did their career grow after gaining the said qualification.

  • Saad

    I have looked at Henley DL program and Warwick DL program. The Henley program has more workshops which allows students to gather and discuss face to face whereas the Warwick program has only one week workshop , so less networking opportunity. Has anyone have any ideas about these two programs as I am struggling to decide in between these two ?

  • Daniel Shaw

    What are your thoughts on Imperial College London Distance MBA. Is it highly respected?

  • V

    Hello Denisse,

    Thank for your note.

    To a bit more color, context and update: Northerastern (online) is out due to cost and the limited available engagement with the Professors. Perhaps
    every online program might be that way, but I prefer part-time. This brings to Elon or NC State.

    Admissions office is extremely helpful.
    GMAT waived
    Has had its MBA program since 1985.
    Offers only part-time MBA, no Full time or online. Ranked by business week in the top ten national programs.
    They offer no concentrations except for more choice of entrepreneurship & Consulting focus in the electives. (both I like)
    Also not sure if it has a lot of real projects or
    Not sure if there is a great alumni network or I couldn’t get a feel for it.

    *NC State*
    Admissions office is okay to deal with, but easier with Elon.
    (Lot of hoops to go through from my transcripts from India standpoint, althought I have a Masters in the US).
    GMAT not waived and hence additional delays in getting admitted (losing one semester time).
    Young program, started in 2002. NC State is ranked for several but not sure of the MBA program (66th by US News for better business schools I think)
    Ha Full-time, Online and Part-time programs.
    Has Seven concentrations, out of which I like atleast 4 concentrations, a matter of narrowing down to 1/2.
    Each concentration, they do real projects for companies and non-profit organizations.
    Doesn’t yet I think have a great alumni network but has great ‘company networkb’ due to the proximity to research triangle park.

    With all these, leaning toward NC State as it is local and Elon is an hour’s drive each way from my place.

    Question: Is it better to do MBA where there are concentrations or do where it is mostly general management. Also if you have any other
    comments based on my analysis above, feel free to share.

    Thanks much!

  • V

    Hello Denisse,

    I am trying to decide between Elon, NC State and Northeastern. Kind of difficult to compare and contrast between these. Do you have any opinions?


    • Denisse Romero

      Hi V – Are you interested in a specific field? What are your career goals? Let’s say, for example that you want to work in the global marketing field after graduation. With that scenario in mind, you should probably select a program that has a strong marketing department and offers opportunities to network with global marketing firms and professionals though case studies, projects or short-term consulting. Try to gather as much information as possible from the MBA admissions and alumni offices. See where their recent graduates are working, the corporate partnerships the MBA program has…for example, do they offer projects with any particular company/companies? Do they have networking opportunities where you can connect with people with similar interests? As I said, gather as much information as possible before making a decision. Good luck!

  • Chris


    I have recently been admitted into the DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) Program at the University of Liverpool. This is a distance education program by critical action learning. Is this degree reputable in UK, US and the rest of the World. Please advice. Thank you.

    • Denisse Romero

      Chris – While the University of Liverpool is widely known and seems to be accredited, you should probably dig deeper and request the university for information regarding DBA graduates. Where do they work? What do they do? What kinds of research are they pursuing? Perhaps even salary ranges. Some business programs provide these statistics. If possible, you should talk to a DBA graduate or current DBA student and ask for their personal and objective opinion of the program. Ultimately, you should try to develop a career plan before entering the program… that way you can take advantage of all the program resources such as career or student office, alumni, professors, lecturers, and networking events.

  • can i do the M.B.A after 3 year polytechnic diploma and with have 4 year job exprience in industries.please urgently reply

    • Denisse Romero

      Kishanvir – Most MBA programs require a 4-year degree for admissions purposes. Of course, there are some programs that make exceptions for individuals with extraordinary credentials or experience. You should probably contact MBA schools directly and inquire about the admissions requirements for your specific situation. Good luck!

  • Mitz

    hello sir,
    can u plz help me for given question..?
    1. can i join distance mba programme after 10+2 and industrial experience of 5 years. do i require any kind of bachelors degree ..?
    if its possible then plz suggest me a colleges for that.

    • Denisse Romero

      Mitz – Most MBA programs require a bachelor’s degree. Some programs will make exceptions for individuals with extraordinary credentials or experience. Contact the individual MBA schools and inquire about admission requirements for your particular situation. Good luck!

    • The MBA is a very good idea but not mandatory.I work with hstiioalpty schools mostly in Switzerland where five of the top ten in the world are are and lecture all the time about the importance of education compared to attitude.Although education will definately help you in the ease of picking up things in the actual work place it is attitude and the willingness to learn while you are on the job that will get you ahead.One thing I always say is Everyone can get an education in Hospitality but not everyone was born to actually do it meaning attitude and true personality can not be taught.If you get a BA or an MBA in hstiioalpty and realize you will still need to work hard and apply yourself more than your fellow emplyee then you will go very far in this business much .

  • Katie

    I’m actually looking into Thunderbird for their distance MBA program. I keep finding that they are highly ranked for a variety of their MBA programs, and knowing that they are a world renowned accredited school is also beneficial. Now I just have to hope I can get in!

    • Denisse Romero

      Katie – Thunderbird is particularly known for its international business program. This is a very good choice if your future career plans involve international/global business. Best of luck to you!

  • David Hollins MBA

    In their quest for rankings, this site is saying “US is best” as they are accredited. Do any of you know what that accreditation means? Nothing at all. I chose Edinburgh Business School (Heriot-Watt University) way back in 1995 – when few universities even had DL programmes. I did look at Warwick and Henley – both far too trendy – and OU (ha, ha – 4.5 modules and coursework!). The interesting thing is that EBS is now the world’s largest proper programme (there is a US pay and display one!), which shows what the market thinks. The big attraction of EBS – aside from not getting involved in irrelevancies like paid accreditation – was that the exam is all so no fiddling coursework and you have to answer the question put in front of you (no 3 from 7 nonsense) so you have to know he whole course. Tough – but that is why EBS is the biggest (and best in my view!). They start with the basics, which is handy for any technicians changing over, and then work up to the advanced stuff, but there is no whizz-bangery (like Harvard teaching Enron as the “new economy” some years ago). EBS might not suit you, but if you have the kokum to take an MBA, you should be able to research the subject for yourself and make your own decision – rankings are for sheep!

    • Denisse Romero

      Hi David. Thanks for sharing your experience as a student of Edinburgh Business School. Certainly, everyone needs to ultimately make an educated decision and select a business program that is aligned with their individual goals and objectives. With thousands of MBA programs around the world, most students generally find rankings useful and a starting point in their quest to find the perfect program for them. Regarding accreditation, I do think it is important for MBA programs and any higher education program to be accredited by an external and objective entity (usually sponsored by a regional, national or international governmental body). This not only protects students from spending their hard-earned money on low-quality programs, but it is also important to employers who may not hire graduates from non-accredited programs. Ultimately, it is important for everyone interested in graduate programs to do their research and decide the best program for them based on their own individual factors. In higher education, one size does not fit all.

  • eddie

    hello sir,
    please can you rank these universities for me as to the best on online mba program.

    open university,university of liverpool,warwick university


    • Denisse Romero

      Hi Eddie. There are so many factors – personal and professional – that you should consider when raking these universities. Warwick is on this top ten list because it has many of the elements I think are important in an Online MBA. However, that does not mean that either OU or Liverpool may be just as good or better choices for you and your individual objectives. All three universities appear to be accredited, so their academic value has been vetted by external entities with objective standards. I would suggest that you take a look at each of these programs and compare them based on your criteria. Good luck!

  • Tonya D

    Thank you for this information. I am considering an online grad program and found this information very helpuful.

Leave a Reply





You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *