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Top Online MBAs in Australia: Deakin & La Trobe

Two Australia-based online MBA programs are now ranked in QS’s global top 40

As time-short managers seek more flexibility in how and when they learn, MBA degrees are becoming increasingly digital.

The QS Distance Online MBA Rankings 2017 rate the world’s 40 best online MBA programs. The vast majority of those programs are based in either the US or Europe. But one nation making gains in the cyberspace is Australia. Two programs which are based down under are now ranked in QS’s global top 40.

Student experience "enriched” by cohort strength says La Trobe MBA Online’s deputy director

La TrobeThe La Trobe MBA Online at La Trobe University, based in Melbourne, entered the QS Distance Online MBA Rankings for the first time this year, in 31st place. The recently established course can be completed full time (in 11 months) or part time (in two years). With tuition listed at A$53,250 (c. US$41,000), it is pricier than its closest competition. However, Susan Keller, deputy director of the program, says an experienced cohort sets the La Trobe MBA Online apart.

“We have a good cohort and that’s one thing people pay for. The student experience is enriched by other, experienced business managers.”

The La Trobe MBA Online scored well in the QS rankings for class experience, with students entering the course holding an average of 12 years of prior work experience. La Trobe also placed highly in the faculty category and Keller attributes that to a, “big investment,” in the hiring of professors possessing both doctorates and industry experience.

“MBA students want to be taught by people with real-world experience and networks,” she says.

6 categories in online MBA rankings’ assessment

The QS Distance Online MBA Rankings 2017 are based on an analysis of six features of a program, including the employability of its graduates, the experience of its participants and how well established it is in the online education market.

One thing La Trobe cannot escape is the relative newness of its course, which was launched only two years ago. Employers (and MBA students) tend to place more value on a strong brand, although there is no evidence that this has held La Trobe back.

“Employers understand it’s not an MBA-light — it’s the exact same curriculum in the face-to-face offering, taught by excellent facilitators,” says Keller. However, she goes on to add that subjects in the online program have been specifically designed for digital learning: “Some of our competitors have recorded versions of face-to-face classes.”

Deakin MBA top in Australia for program offered over more than 30 years

Deakin Business SchoolComparatively, the Deakin MBA at Deakin Business School, based in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood, was set up in 1981. Its clout in the MBA market has helped the business school retain 16th position in QS's online MBA rankings for the second consecutive year.

The Deakin MBA, which costs around A$50,000 (c. US$36,000) in tuition, can be completed full time in 18 months but most students study part time.

One key difference between Deakin and La Trobe is that, at Deakin, postgraduate business students can choose to ‘fast-track’ and complete a unit in as little as four weeks, or take their time and complete it over a year. There are also no assignment deadlines.

Steve Jaynes, interim MBA director, says the program is recognized for its flexibility, relevance and real-world connections to business: “Our course is designed for professionals who want to develop their careers while balancing work, family, and lifestyle commitments.”

Overall, the Deakin MBA beat La Trobe on establishment, class experience and diversity with La Trobe scoring higher than Deakin in the faculty category, in the assessment behind QS’s online MBA rankings.  

Seb Murray
Written by Seb Murray

Seb is a journalist and consulting editor who has developed a successful track record writing about business, education and technology for the international press.

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