The 10 Best Online MBAs in the World

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For business professionals, studying for an MBA is an essential step on the career development ladder; it creates a wealth of new opportunities, develops sought-after managerial skills and widens your network immeasurably.

However, by their very nature, MBAs are aimed at working professionals; as a result, not everybody has the time or the means to attend business school. That's why many institutions are now offering accredited online MBA programmes, allowing you to study around your working life at home or on the move.

To help you select a suitable course, we've taken the latest rankings data from Quacquarelli Symonds and the Financial Times and compiled a list of the top choices available.

So, if you're ready to take that next big career step, read on; these are the best online MBAs.

10. Alliance Manchester Business School (University of Manchester)

Length: 24 months or 18 months (accelerated)

Intakes: 2 per year (January and July)

Residential component: Yes (total 30 days)

Programme fee: £29,500 (UK centre only)

Flexible in its nature, the part-time Global MBA programme at the Alliance Manchester Business School is tailormade for professionals in every industry. It is built upon four core modules, covering leadership, marketing, accounting and strategy, with the option to select three additional electives based on your own interests.

Students must also complete two business projects (one simulated and one live), while there is also the opportunity to attend residential workshops overseas. (The school has learning centres in Dubai, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore.)

In addition, the school provides an accelerated 18-month version of the programme for high-level managers and senior executives, while you don't necessarily have to possess a business background to get on the course. For example, former Manchester City soccer captain Vincent Kompany received his Global MBA from Alliance Manchester in 2017.

9. MIP Politecnico di Milano

Length: 20 months

Intakes: 1 per year (October)

Residential component: Yes

Programme fee: €32,000 (individual) / €37,000 (corporate)

Although it's classed as an online learning experience, much of the benefits of MIP's part-time MBA programme are to be found in person. As well as two international weeks at top European business schools, there is also an intensive exchange programme at Silicon Valley, enabling access to the workings of the biggest tech companies in the world.

Most of the learning material is delivered online, although you will also be expected to attend most of the face-to-face lessons in Milan; these take place one weekend a month and are taught in English. Students must also complete a final consultancy project towards the end of their study.

8. Durham University

Length: 24 months

Intakes: 2 per year (April and October)

Residential component: Optional

Programme fee: £23,000

As a respected name in the business world, Durham University's online MBA programme is highly valuable. It is currently structured around the completion of five core modules and two electives, as well as a strategic case analysis at the culmination of your study. In addition, students are encouraged to follow a set specialism pathway, which typically includes one area from entrepreneurship, consultancy or technology.

Conveniently, you can also choose to supplement your study with residential classes or, if you prefer, study completely online; this is especially handy if you have a particularly busy schedule. Indeed, flexibility is at the heart of everything Durham does, with manageable study periods allowing you to maintain that all-important work-life balance.

7. AGSM @ UNSW Business School (University of New South Wales)

Length: 24 months

Intakes: Session-by-session basis (3 per year)

Residential component: No

Programme fee: AUD$57,960

Taught by the AGSM department of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Business School, the MBAX is a unique, highly rated online MBA programme that is designed to streamline students into one of four specialist areas: technology, change, finance or social impact.

There are 12 modules on the course (7 of which are compulsory), while there are also numerous exchange partnerships with around 30 global business schools. Entry is flexible, too, with the school accepting candidates with both an undergraduate degree and at least two years of professional experience or, for non-graduates, at least six years of professional experience.

6. Warrington College of Business (University of Florida)

Length: 20 or 21 months

Intakes: 3 per year (January, May and August)

Residential component: No

Programme fee: $59,800

Warrington's full-time MBA programme is one of the most renowned and established in the US, and its online version is determined to emulate this success. As such, students follow the exact same study pattern and timeline.

Although there are assessments and grades, the faculty are keen to emphasise that success is tailored to each individual and their specific goals. This flexibility is mirrored by the availability of additional hybrid courses, where students can obtain their MBA in a shorter period of time if their circumstances permit.

5. Marshall Business School (University of Southern California)

Length: 21 months

Intakes: 2 per year (August and December)

Residential component: Yes (1 week)

Programme fee: $99,692

Despite the eye-watering price tag, an MBA from the University of Southern California (USC) is highly valued by employers – and the school doesn't differentiate between the full-time and the online version, either.

There are six requisite courses that students need to complete, all supplemented by team-based activities, group discussions and online guest lectures from notable businesspeople, while there also non-mandatory overseas electives that include trips to Singapore and Dubai.

4. Imperial College London

Length: 24 months

Intakes: 2 per year (January and September)

Residential component: Yes

Programme fee: £36,500

As one of the top universities in the world, you can expect nothing but quality from Imperial College London's online MBA programme. With a focus on technological innovation and a global outlook, it is also one of the most cutting-edge.

As a result, its standards are high. You will be expected to commit a lot of time preparing for lectures, completing the required reading and working on assessments. There is also a lot of emphasis on contributing to the business school's wider community, as well as working on various professional development tasks.

3. Kelley School of Business (Indiana University)

Length: 24 months (can take longer if needed)

Intakes: 1 per year (August)

Residential component: Yes (2 weeks)

Programme fee: $71,820

Widely recognised as one of the top online MBA schools in the US, Kelley School of Business offers a huge amount of flexibility. Elective modules make up a significantly higher proportion of your credits than at other institutions, meaning that the course is truly tailored to your interests and needs.

There are also opportunities to earn dual degrees, present to Fortune 500 executives and even spend time in emerging markets, such as Cuba, Botswana and Myanmar. If you're looking to be more immersed in your learning experience, then there are few courses as varied and as interesting as this.

2. Warwick Business School (Warwick University)

Length: 24 months

Intakes: 2 per year (January and June)

Residential component: Yes (2 weeks)

Programme fee: £32,460

Topping the Financial Times' online MBA rankings in both 2018 and 2019, Warwick Business School's two-year course features an innovative teaching style, supplemented by regular guest speakers and lecturers from some of the world's foremost business institutions.

That's not all, either. Built around eight compulsory modules, four electives based on your interests and a final consultancy project, the programme also features a face-to-face module option, as well as the chance to spend a semester in either India, China, Mexico or Brazil.

1. IE Business School

Length: 17 months

Intakes: 2 per year (February and October)

Residential component: Yes (3 weeks plus an optional 4th week)

Programme fee: €51,200

Marketed as a 'Global MBA' rather than an online one, the IE Business School's innovative programme describes itself as 'disruptive' – a bold claim, but one that is backed up by a course over 15 years in the making.

Utilising a 'blended methodology', there are numerous online and in-person lectures, seminars and conferences that you would be expected to attend, tailored carefully around each individual's personal and career circumstances. This is then followed by a three-step career prep process that includes simulations, coaching sessions and mock industry-specific interviews.

If you can meet the stringent standards and entry requirements, the school's revolutionary teaching strategies offer an online MBA experience quite like no other.

As you can see, there is no shortage of high-quality options when it comes to gaining an MBA from afar. Indeed, if you possess the dedication and determination to balance a professional postgraduate qualification alongside a full-time job, then there are some truly amazing opportunities to further your career.

Have you studied an MBA online? What were your experiences like? Let us know in the comments section below!


This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 25 July 2018.