World’s Best Online MBA Providers Revealed

Education | April 22, 2020, Wednesday // 10:22|  views

As universities across the world transition to online learning programs in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, QS Quacquarelli Symonds – global business school analysts – have released their annual list of the world’s best online MBA providers.

The 2020 edition of the list names 47 programs, with Spain’s IE Business School ranked global number-one for the fourth consecutive year.

The rankings demonstrate that online business education is still overwhelmingly provided by Western, Anglosphere universities:

  •  25 of the 47 ranked providers are American;
  • The United Kingdom offers the world’s second and third best programs: Imperial College Business School ranks 2nd, while Warwick Business School places 3rd;
  • Only one program offered by an Asian provider features in the rankings: India’s Amity Directorate of Distance & Online Education places 30th;
  • Both the United Kingdom and the United States offer three of the world’s top ten programs.

Beyond the United Kingdom and United States, pockets of educational excellence in this field are found elsewhere. They include:

  • Australia’s University of New South Wales AGSM program, which places 4th;
  • Italy’s Politecnico di Milano School of Management, which ranks 5th globally;
  • Belgium’s Vlerick Business School (12th);
  • Peru’s CENTRUM PUCP Graduate Business School, which is Latin America’s only ranked program, but places 14th.

QS World University Rankings: Online MBA 2020 – Top Ten





IE Business School



Imperial College Business School

United Kingdom


Warwick Business School

United Kingdom


AGSM @ UNSW Business School



Politecnico di Milano School of Management



Indiana University (Kelley Direct Programs)

United States


Alliance Manchester Business School

United Kingdom


Southern California (Marshall)

United States


Florida International University

United States


University of Otago Business School

New Zealand

© QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2020 www.TopMBA.comAll rights reserved.


Nunzio Quacquarelli, CEO and founder, QS Quacquarelli Symonds, said: “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is obliging higher education providers to ensure that they are able to offer outstanding teaching and learning experiences in the virtual classroom, and demand for online education is likely to accelerate as lockdowns across the world continue. QS are offering a ranking that has proved itself ahead of the curve in trying to capture both the standard of online learning experience in innovative ways, and in recognizing the importance of independent employability data in offering quality assurance.”

Quacquarelli continued: “Online students tend to be particularly attuned to the key questions of whether their potential programs will be recognized by employers, and whether they will be sacrificing teaching quality for flexibility. This ranking enables them to make more informed comparisons according to these key criteria.”

QS’s dataset also offers insight on the student characteristics of those taking an online MBA. Key facts about class cohorts include:

  • On average, the online MBA student has nine years of workplace experience. The most experienced online MBA cohort can be found at the Jack Welch Management Institute, whose students enter the program with 15 years of hands-on business experience behind them;

  • Almost a quarter of online MBA providers (11/47) record no international students – those taking the program from a country different to that of the provider – among their cohort. Globally, the international student average is 24%;

  • The majority of online MBA students remain male: women account for 39% of student cohorts across the 47 ranked providers.


QS rank business schools’ online MBA programs according to four metric groups, each designed to capture a key component of their mission: employability, diversity and access, the standard of the learning experience, and the quality of the class experience. The four metric groups are:

(1)  Employability (30% of final score): how employable are graduates from this online MBA program? The results incorporate data from QS’s proprietary QS Employer Survey, which captures the sentiments of over 44,000 hiring managers worldwide;

(2) Class Profile (30%): how diverse and international is each program’s class cohort? What is the applicant/place ratio, and how many students are enrolled? How much work experience does the cohort have, on average?

(3) Faculty and Teaching (35%): does this program offer high academic standards? The results incorporate data from QS’s proprietary QS Academic Survey, which captures the sentiments of over 90,000 academics globally;

(4)  Class Experience (5%): what is the calibre of each program’s learning experience? This includes a range of evenly-weighted indicators including physical meetups, regular synchronous classes, access to a learning app on a mobile and/or tablet, and 24/7 tech support.

The full rankings will be live at from Wednesday 22nd April, 00:01 UTC.

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