Macquarie Business School: Inside The QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 Programme |

Macquarie Business School: Inside The QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 Programme

By Linda M

Updated April 29, 2021 Updated April 29, 2021

Here's what Professor Lan Snell, Course Director of the Global MBA at Macquarie 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 the Global MBA at Macquarie Business School, which ranked 19th worldwide and third in Oceania.

TopMBA caught up with Professor Lan Snell, Course Director of the programme, 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?

LS: COVID-19 is the black swan event that has accelerated digital transformation. It has mainstreamed online learning, showcasing the importance of purpose-built, online pedagogical design. This is reflected in the prevalence and acceptance of online MBAs. Remote work has given rise to the premium of learning, with many organisations using ongoing learning as a means to engage, connect, and develop talent. Global learning platforms such as Coursera saw a 300 percent lift in demand, reflecting increasing organisational appetite for enterprise learning, as well as individuals seeking to upskill and reskill.

We have also seen some interesting shifts in terms of sector and functional representation from students enrolling in the Global MBA. For example, we see a growth of students enrolling from arts, health, and sport sectors as they seek to re-engineer and/or pivot their career. Professional musicians and actors who were significantly impacted by the pandemic are seeking different options through the Global MBA, as are professional rugby players and coaches.

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

LS: Scale with quality is possible by not compromising on quality. The Global MBA has three points of distinction. First, the curriculum is future-focussed with six capabilities mapped to the World Economic Forum’s future-skills. Second, it is stackable which offers learners choice in terms of how much, or how little they want to learn. We adapted the on-demand model of streaming services like Netflix and applied it to learning to present the Edflix model of education. The third point of difference is accessibility. We deliver this through an affordable price point which makes a quality MBA from an accredited business school accessible for many, and not just the few.

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

LS: A key indicator for quality is class experience. While technical aspects including curriculum, faculty expertise, and accreditation are important aspects shaping how quality is perceived, relational aspects like class interaction, engaged community, and cohort are just as important in determining overall quality perceptions.

A popular criticism of online MBAs is the lack of networking opportunities and student isolation – I am particularly proud that the Global MBA achieved a high score for class experience as it demonstrates how a quality MBA programme can deliver highly interactive and engaged student experiences which dispels this criticism head on. We designed an infrastructure of synchronous and asynchronous touchpoints including live class webinars with faculty during term, regular course catch-ups with all students, in-country meetups (travel permitting), and a range of collaboration tools like Slack for group work. The applied nature of the programme integrates our industry partners. For example, we partner with SAS in co-creating curriculum through one of the data analytics units in the programme. Employability is an important component of the curriculum and offering access to global organisations through our extensive industry partners is central to our ability to deliver this.

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

LS: We hope to continue to iterate the learning model to offer students with quality learning options that address emergent areas. Digital learning allows speed to market – a good thing as it ensures the onus of quality education and relevancy and currency in learning. This is something that we embrace because we know that this leads to optimal learning experiences for students.

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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