Online MBA programs have made the ultimate achievement in business education more attainable than ever before. You can now earn your Masters in Business Administration from home, on your own time, while still ensuring you get a top-level, internationally recognized qualification. Whether you want to do a general MBA or a specialized degree like a marketing MBA, online courses can provide what you need. But just as the popularity of these courses have grown, so has the number of providers – and not all of them are equal in the quality of education they offer. It’s important to pick the best from the range of accredited online MBA programs available to you.
That’s why we’ve gone ahead and researched the top ranked online MBA programs, to help you quickly filter the good investments from the waste.
The Top Ranked Online MBA Programs
Here are some of the best online MBA programs from business schools in the USA as they’re currently ranked:
- University of Phoenix
- University of Maryland University College
- Thunderbird School of Global Management (based in Arizona)
- Duke University (North Carolina)
- Indiana University Kelley School of Business
- University of Florida
- Pennsylvania State
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Drexel University
- Northeastern University
- Kaplan University
- Grand Canyon University
- Walden University
Of these, the University of Phoenix has by far the largest enrollment in its distance MBA programs and it offers specialization in seven different niches. They also have the most intakes per year, meaning it’s relatively easy to sign up quickly and get started on your MBA with University of Phoenix. The course makes use of state-of-the-art distance learning multimedia technologies. On the downside, Phoenix’s online MBA is not accredited by any of the major international accreditation groups.
The Indiana program, on the other hand, is accredited internationally – as are Drexel, Northwestern, Arizona State and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
A few other schools outside the US are also worthy of mention, such as the programs offered by Manchester University and Warwick Business School in the UK and IE Business School in Spain.
The Association of MBAs is the main UK-based accreditation body, so any course bearing their seal of approval should give you a high quality and internationally recognized qualification.
Online MBA Programs: General or Specialized?
One important decision you’ll have to make when choosing a graduate school for your online MBA course is whether you’ll opt for a general business course, or one that specializes in a particular area of business management, such as accounting, finance or marketing.
The decision depends on your own personal goals and circumstances. If you have a reasonable idea of what kind of role you want to get into and you know your strengths, you’re probably better off specializing early. If you only have a vague idea of where your greatest strengths are or you want to have the flexibility to work in a wide range of roles, you’re better to go with a general course.
A specialized qualification may also help you walk into a higher salary job more quickly after you graduate – but it may also limit the number of jobs that are open to your skillset. In any case, most MBA courses are general for the first year and then give you the option to specialize in the second.
The Importance of Accreditation
There’s a good reason accreditation exists for MBA courses. It’s to ensure courses across the country conform to a standard – without accreditation, you could end up with “education institutions” handing out MBAs written on the back of a napkin, in exchange for exorbitant fees. After a while, the MBA would lose credibility as a qualification.
That’s not to say that a non-accredited MBA is worthless – far from it. But an MBA from an accredited program is likely to command more respect and carry more weight than one without accreditation behind it. That’s why it’s so important to get your MBA from an accredited education institution – to ensure your qualification is of top value in the job market.
Note that the fact that a university has accreditation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s MBA program is accredited. There are separate accreditation bodies for universities in general, and MBA programs as well as online MBA programs.