A top 20 U.S. business school, the University of North Carolina's online MBA@UNC program offers professionals the ability earn their degree without interrupting their career. Accredited by the Association for Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business.
It is not just accolades and name recognition that makes an online MBA program a good one. Instead, multiple factors go into making a quality online college degree program, and we took the most important of those factors into account when we researched and compiled this list of the best online MBA programs available today. In addition, we only included online schools that had at least half of all their MBA options available to distance learners, as this indicates that the school is committed to providing online students with the same access to education as campus students. In order to produce an accurate ranking, we considered seven measurable factors that contribute to the overall quality of each school:
- Number of different MBAs available, including concentration options. Variety is essential, as students with differing passions and career plans would benefit from different concentration and MBA choices. From Accounting to Human Resources to Sports Management, there are numerous types of educations that students can tackle that could be specially tailored to their future career. Schools that offer more than one choice of MBA are rewarded for this variety, as it gives incoming students more to choose from and more chances to find an MBA niche that works for them. After all, not every student is only looking to earn a general MBA.
- Acceptance rate. The acceptance rate reflects a school’s selectivity. Being selective in whom it accepts into its programs is one way schools ensure that all of the students admitted will stand the best chances of completing an entire degree program. This type of selectivity for success works the same way as sports teams who only select the best players to ensure that the game goes well. Schools that are more selective are rewarded because it shows that the school is more concerned with ensuring a student’s success than schools that are less selective.
- Retention rate. Only the most successful and helpful schools will see their students returning year after year to continue their studies. A high retention rate indicates that students of the school are satisfied in their educational experience because they have not dropped out or transferred out of the institution. For this reason, schools with high retention rates are rewarded because students are more likely to be enjoying their educational experience and the school is also more likely to offer great incentives for students to stay, such as career counseling, course help, and a close-knit student and instructor community.
- Graduation rate. High graduation rates are a good sign of quality education. The higher the graduation rate, the better the program must be at properly guiding students through their educational career. Schools with high graduation rates are rewarded because they most likely offer students plenty of help during their education, even to students who are struggling with their studies. At a school with a high retention rate, students typically receive tutoring, valuable feedback from instructors, and useful academic counseling, all of which ensures that every student receives any and all of the help that they may need.
- Financial aid given rate. Great schools that truly focus on their students will be generous with financial support. A high financial aid grant rate shows that the school is willing to help out students who are dedicated but unable to readily pay the full tuition price tag. For this reason, schools with a high rate of financial aid are rewarded because the school is more likely to be needs-blind, which means that the institution will not favor those who can afford tuition over those who cannot. After all, many students will need assistance to pay for their education, and schools that are willing to provide this assistance are more student-centric than those that are less willing to provide financial aid.
- Clickthrough rate. Interest in a school’s programs is a great indicator of student satisfaction, as only the most intriguing programs will consistently grab the attention of prospective students. For this reason, schools with a higher clickthrough rate (CTR) are rewarded. CTR is calculated by figuring out the number of times someone clicks on a link to find out more about a certain school and dividing that number by how often the link appears. This means that even schools with more links per page are not necessarily at an advantage. Instead, schools with a higher CTR are genuinely those that are more actively getting students to express interest in their programs, indicating that they offer something that students are interested in.
- OnlineMBA.com student feedback and survey results. Feedback straight from online students themselves is one of the best ways to gauge how successful an online MBA program truly is. After all, there is no better way to get an idea of how good an online MBA program is than by hearing from someone who experienced it. We factored in the results of our year-long student survey, rewarding schools that received positive feedback in terms of academics, post-graduate success, and overall student experience.
As all of these factors are important and we did not feel that any one factor was more significant than another, everything was weighted equally in our ranking calculations. While it is impossible to truly rank the best online MBA programs due to every student’s personal preferences in education, we hope that our well-researched list will prove to be a valuable resource for those interested in pursuing an online MBA degree.
For more rankings, please visit a few of the ones below:
OEDb.com’s Top Online Schools – This list ranks the top 42 online schools based on each institution’s acceptance rate, financial aid rate, graduation rate, peer web citations, retention rate, scholarly citations, student-faculty ratio, and years accredited. The methodology weighs all of the componenets equally to provide an in-depth and fair assessment of which online schools offer the best of all of those factors. If you desire to research more about general online schools rather than specific online MBA schools, then this ranking is worth a visit.
Princeton Review’s Best Value Colleges – Split into public school and private school categories, this list compiles and ranks the nation’s best undergraduate colleges. It considers academic factors like the quality of students, admissions criteria, and how students ranked their educational experience. It also weighs the cost of tuition, including all room and board fees and financial aid options and grants. With all of this in mind, the ranking is able to provide a good picture of which undergraduate colleges in the country provide the best bang for your buck.
U.S. News & Report’s 10 MBAs With Most Financial Value at Graduation – This list tanks the MBA programs where students have seen the most financial gain immediately upon graduation. It factors in how much debt students of all MBA programs tend to accrue and what their starting salaries at their first post-graduate jobs are. The best programs see students with less debt and more gain from their first paychecks. This list can be useful in helping you to keep in mind the importance of education costs in comparison to your career goals.