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.

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49 comments to Top Ten Online MBA Programs

  • What Are the Best Online MBA Schools & Programs? | MBAPrepAdvantage – MBA Admissions Consulting

    [...] MacQuil offers an in-depth look at some of the best online MBA programs with their detailed top 10 list. Topping this list is IE Business School in Spain, which offers a 16-month Global MBA program that blends virtual lectures and conferences with two short residence sessions in Madrid. Next is Thunderbird School of Management, based in the US, which has a Global MBA program lasting 19 months. In this program, you’ll use a virtual classroom as well as on-site seminars in the USA, China, and Switzerland. Also of note is Manchester Business School’s Distance Learning MBA, which lasts 2 years. The program combines self study with face-to-face workshops in the UK, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Malaysia and Jamaica. [...]

    • nils

      This is really helpful. How do you rate Thunderbird’s program vs. Babson’s. I have admits from both. Which degree is more reputed. Your help is much appreciated!

      • Denisse Romero

        Congrats! In general, Thunderbird is known for its international business programs and Babson is better known for its entrepreneurial focus. There are many factors you should consider, but if you’re leaning towards a more entrepreneurial path (starting your own business), then Babson might be the best option. If you’re more interested in global businesses, then Thunderbird might offer more opportunities to intern and eventually work with international companies.

        • nils

          Thanks Denisse! My primary objective is to learn general management and feel that both programs do a nice job of incorporating that element. Any insight into the overall reputation of these programs would be helpful. Thanks again!

  • Taran Pandey

    The tuition fee is too much.
    My question, is the tuition necessary and mandatory to do the course or it is optional?

    • Denisse Romero

      Tuition is usually mandatory before taking any courses, however there may be financial assistance or scholarship programs offered by the school. Contact the school directly for more information.

  • Cu

    Hi, thank you so much for making this list. I now have the Online MBA offers from Manchester and Imperial. Because I had no business academic background, it is difficult for me to make any decision. Would you please kindly share your opinions with me? Many thanks in advance.

  • Parul

    does any of the courses offer scholarships / grants? I cannot afford such high tuition fees.

  • Sankey


    how does an on line MBA compare to the full time one, interms of recruiter assessment, networking and job opportunities.

    any other pro & cons

    • Paco

      I thought about it and am still thniking about it but every year I don’t get an MBA I manage to advance in my career substantially enough that I wonder if an MBA would ever make sense. I realize if I ever want to be management at a large public company and MBA would help but I’d much rather spend the rest of my life working for startups and some of them are open to hiring you even if you don’t have an MBA.If I did get an MBA, it would have to be from either Berkeley or Stanford, and the reality is that it’s unlikely I’d get into either of them and the cost of tuition is likely not worth it given the jobs I’d get after are the same ones I’d be able to get now, or after 2-3 more years of work experience.Her Every Cent Counts recently posted..

  • Radu

    can someone recommend an online mba (or diploma, certificate) with a focus on real estate?

  • vin

    I am an entrepreneur/dentist,looking to do MBA (distance learning),either in Australia,UK or USA.Can you please recommend universities.

  • Shine

    Thanks! Getting an MBA is good and getting it through an online school is great. The only problem with me is the cost. I don’t think I can afford even the cheapest one.

  • Try is properly accredited as well. I am looking into this one or Northeastern..have yet to decide…good luck!

  • John Well Khallahle


    I’m in search of a MBA program that can be taken by distance learning mode, with campus visitation as option – not compulsory. In USA, UK, and Australia.

    Thank you and regards,


    • John

      UPenn is the best, Villanova is very good. Other great options in the state of Pennsylvania inudcle Pitt, Penn State University Park, CMU and Temple. University of Delaware in Newark is also very good. An MBA degree comes after you have graduated from a university with a bachelors degree and a good amount of work experience. It is not something that you go straight into after high school.

  • Brad


    I was just looking into Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO. They have an online MBA with a focus in sustainability and environment. They are AACSB accredited.

  • Neci

    What is the best online university for someone who does not have professional experience? Is there anyway to bypass those requirements?

  • Paulo Almeida


    Thank you for the article. Iam looking for a on line MBA with environment focus. It looks really hard to findo one with acredittation. Do you have any suggestion ?

    Thank you very much!

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