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QS Distance Online MBA Rankings 2015: Out Now!

Online MBA

The new edition of the QS Distance Online MBA Rankings has been released, looking at the top 25 distance online MBA programs in the world today.  The first question on your lips will be, no doubt, who is number one? Well, let’s get that one the way – it’s Spain’s IE Business School.

The school’s full-time program is ranked as one of the best schools in Europe by employers and academics in the field of business and management, which goes to show that the format cannot be considered the preserve of second-rate institutions or so-called ‘diploma mills’.

The MBA rankings, much like QS TopMBA’s listing of the world’s top 200 business schools, is dominated by US and UK institutions, including the likes of Manchester Business School, the University of Texas at Dallas’ Naveen Jindal School of Management. Beyond these powerhouse destinations, we see less celebrated destinations, such as India and Peru, represented through Amity Business School and CENTRUM Católica.

Online MBA quality on the rise

However, the benefit of an online distance MBA, of course, is that the location is not the most important thing. Sure, the vast majority of the programs featured here will require you to travel to a school for an on-campus element – this is, in fact, one of the indicators employed for the rankings, as face-to-face contact – even very occasional contact – can really add something to the MBA experience (you can learn more about the methodology of what is one of QS’s most complex rankings exercises here).

However, the whole magic of the format is that, wherever you are in the world, you can study at a top international business school without relocating – allowing students to remain in their current roles, and to not uproot their lives. Traditionally, such students would have been obliged to look to local, part-time provision – this is no longer the case.

The QS Distance Online MBA Rankings are an acknowledgement that this format of the MBA is a viable alternative for those who cannot undertake a full-time program. There is quality out there. Of course, not every distance online program is born equal. For one thing, it is a young format – schools are still learning and it can be tricky to get it right. Consequently, many big players remain cautious about joining the fray, with brand cachet no doubt at the forefront of many a dean’s thinking.

As well as the stigma attached to distance learning thanks to a proliferation of low quality, low cost provision, there is still a lot to be said for the close contact and cohort spirt of a full-time program.

However, one of the things reputable schools offering distance online MBA programs are often extremely keen to emphasize is that, despite the obvious differences, their distance online MBA programs are very much intended to mirror the full-time experience as closely as possible, with the same faculty as are found on full-time programs (as well as round-the-clock support), the same curricula, and group work playing a key role (with added virtual team skills built up along the way).

Technology, naturally, makes this easier. We’re no longer limited to message boards and emails, but we now have a range of tools – both school-specific and widely available - which allow for instantaneous contact, be it video, audio, textual, or even pictorial!

The criteria for entry into the QS Distance Online MBA Rankings are stringent, and only a small number of schools are considered for the final list of 25. You can be sure, then, that any program that makes our list, will offer you a high standard of MBA education.

 

 

Written by Mansoor Iqbal

Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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