Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW: Inside The QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 Programme | TopMBA.com

Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW: Inside The QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 Programme

By Linda M

Updated April 28, 2021 Updated April 28, 2021

Here's what Professor Nick Wailes, Director at AGSM and Deputy Dean at UNSW Business School, had to say about the school's performance in the QS Online MBA Rankings 2021.

The QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 have been released, revealing the business schools setting the standard for online MBA offerings across the globe.

Now in its 10th year, the rankings analysed the offerings from 57 schools based on several indicators, including employability, class profile, class experience, and faculty and teaching.

One of the best-performing programmes this year was online MBA from AGSM at UNSW Business School, which ranked first in Oceania and fourth worldwide.

TopMBA caught up with Professor Nick Wailes, Director at AGSM and Deputy Dean at UNSW Business School, to discuss the school’s performance in the rankings, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online MBA admissions, and future plans for digital learning.

TM: Given local and global restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been particularly challenging for business schools across the world, as many had to pivot towards remote learning even for in-person programmes. Have you seen a difference – whether positive or negative – in candidate interest for your online MBA offering? And did you implement any changes to the delivery of your programme to adapt to the ongoing pandemic?

NW: In 2020, we saw a significant increase in demand for our online MBA. I think this reflects a combination of factors. First, we know that in challenging times, demand for MBA programmes goes up as people seek to ensure they are well prepared for the future. Second, I think that the fact that we had a highly ranked online programme meant that many candidates who were previously considered only face to face programmes were prepared to enrol in an online programme. We have traditionally delivered our online programme asynchronously, allowing students to study anytime and anywhere. During COVID-19, however, we noticed that students had more control over their schedule and really valued direct interaction, so we added synchronous options as well. They proved to be very popular.

TM: What makes your online MBA programme unique and a top provider of online learning? 

NW: I would say that MBAX's key attributes are flexibility, diversity and a contemporary curriculum. In terms of flexibility, students can choose when and where they study without sacrificing quality. This flexibility is very important for busy working professionals trying to fit studying around their other commitments. We also offer flexibility in terms of what students can specialise in. We currently offer specialisations in technology, social impact, change. finance and law. This allows students to combine the breadth of the MBA with depth in a particular area. In terms of diversity, we are lucky enough to attract very high-quality candidates from a diverse range of industries, roles, and backgrounds. This diversity of thinking amongst our students is a huge asset and really enhances the learning experience.

TM: Your programme scored particularly high for the class experience and employability indicators. Why do you think that is?

NW: There are two key drivers here. First, we have made a very significant investment in career development in this programme. All students have access to on demand and one to one career support that is designed to help them clearly identify where they want to go next in their career and the skills and capabilities they need to develop. Second, our curriculum and assessment focus directly on industry-relevant issues. We like to think that whatever students learn on a Sunday they can apply directly in their workplaces on a Monday and that this translates directly into strong career progression.

TM: What are your hopes for the future of your online MBA – from both an academic and student body perspective?

NW: MBAX continues to grow strongly and to attract high quality candidates. In the coming years, we are keen to continue to expand the range of specialisations available in the programme. Two we are currently working on are cyber security and artificial intelligence. Secondly our aim is to create a genuinely omni-channel model so that students can choose the mode of study that suits them best and can easily move from mode to mode as it suits them. In terms of student support, everything we are doing now is digital first, so that means online students should have access the same quality of support that on-campus students get.

This article was originally published in April 2021 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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