Top 10 Online MBAs 2021 |

Top 10 Online MBAs 2021

By Linda Mohamed

Updated May 13, 2021 Updated May 13, 2021

Find out about the top 10 business schools setting the standard for exceptional online MBA provision worldwide 2021.

The online MBA programme at Spain’s IE Business School has been ranked the best in the world  - for yet another year - in the QS Online MBA Rankings 2021.

Released today, the QS Online MBA Rankings assess the online MBA offerings of 57 business schools worldwide. You can find out more about the methodology used to produce the rankings here.

Read on to find out more about the top 10 programmes setting the standard for exceptional online MBA provision worldwide.

      QS Online MBA Rankings 2021: Global Top 10






IE Business School

Global Online MBA



Imperial College Business School

Global Online MBA

United Kingdom


Warwick Business School

Distance Learning MBA

United Kingdom


AGSM @ UNSW Business School




Alliance Manchester Business School

Global Part-time MBA

United Kingdom


MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business

iFlex/Flex EMBA



Kelley School of Business

Kelley Direct Online MBA

United States


Marshall School of Business

USC Marshall Online MBA (OMBA)

United States


Vlerick Business School

Online MBA



Chapman Graduate School of Business – FIU

Professional MBA Online

United States

10) Chapman Graduate School of Business – FIU

Chapman Graduate School of Business - FIU

Kicking off our top 10 – falling down one place from last year’s ranking – is the Professional MBA (PMBA) Online from the Chapman Graduate School of Business at the Florida International University, which scored particularly high for class profile and employability. The course has the highest percentage of female students in the top 10: an impressive 54 percent.

The programme is highly customisable: students can choose from three different pacing tracks (33 months, 21 months and 18 months), five term starts (January, March, May/June, August and October) and eight specialisations. It also includes a two-day in-campus residency, seminars, industry nights, virtual meetings and business career management opportunities.

Tuition for the entire programme is US$42,000 for both in-state and out-of-state students.

9) Vlerick Business School

Vlerick Business School

In ninth place is new-entry Vlerick Business School, the only Belgian school on the list. The school’s online MBA programme – with a standard duration of 26 months – can be shortened to just over a year through a Fast Track option or extended to a maximum of five years if needed.

The programme is made up of 12 courses, a practical Knowledge in Action Project and an interactive game, and received high scores in the faculty and teaching and employability indicators. This year’s class profile includes the smallest cohort on the list – 76 students – with 40 percent international and female students respectively.

Total fees are €37,500 (approx. US$43,990).

8) Marshall School of Business

Marshall School of Business

Retaining the eight position from last year’s ranking is the 21-month online MBA (OMBA) at Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. This year’s cohort is made up of 34 percent women, however, it has the least international cohort on the list, with only three percent international students and three nationalities represented.

The programme includes an integrated curriculum that spans across five cross-disciplinary courses, through which students acquire essential knowledge about core subject areas of business such as marketing, finance, management, and entrepreneurship.

Marshall School of Business’ OMBA scored particularly high for class experience. Total tuition amounts to US$106,596.

7) Kelley School of Business

Kelley School of Business

Next we have the online MBA programme offered by Kelley School of Business, which dropped down a spot from last year’s rankings but still scored high for class experience and employability. This year’s class profile is made up of 17 percent women and 41 percent international students with an average of 13 years’ work experience.

The programme was the first online MBA offering from a top school and it’s highly customisable. Students can enrich up to 50 percent of their curriculum with electives and choose from seven major specialisations including Business Analytics, Marketing and Finance.

Total tuition amounts to US$74,520.

6) MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business

MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business

In sixth place is MIP’s online iFlex/Flex EMBA offering, which has a standard duration of 24 months. The programme was among the top scorers for class experience and faculty and teaching.

Dean Federico Frattini said: "One of the biggest challenges schools face when switching to online teaching is keeping students engaged, motivated, and part of the school community. Therefore, even when teaching online, we make sure that we take the time we need to build and nurture personal relationships with students - even when we do not meet them face to face.

"Through strong collaboration online with our faculty, students learn how to communicate effectively with each other - even when working with peers across geographic boundaries and time zones. These skills are increasingly required to conduct business around the world and are therefore increasingly valued by employers."

The course requires applicants to have at least six years of professional experience, with current students having an average of 13 years of industry experience. 29 nationalities are represented in the cohort – accounting for 41 percent of international students – and 17 percent of candidates are women.

Frattini said: "The business schools that were best prepared for the shift towards online learning [during the COVID-19 pandemic] had already demonstrated in the years prior that they understood that online teaching required educational models and approaches that are completely different from traditional methods - and at MIP we were certainly prepared.

"Because of this, we have definitely seen a positive impact on candidate interest in our online MBA offerings. Indeed, enrolment to the International Flex EMBA increased by about 50 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, and there is no doubt that this is because we have such strong foundations in this area."

The programme costs €37,000 (approx. US$43,375).

5) Alliance Manchester Business School

Alliance Manchester Business School

Gaining two spots from last year is Alliance Manchester Business School, the first of three British schools on the list. The Manchester Global Part-time MBA combines live-taught core courses, electives, applied learning and in-person interaction opportunities.

The two-year flexible programme has tuition fees of £30,000 (approx. US$37,293) or £27,500 (approx. US$34,177) for the accelerated Finance pathway. The cohort is highly diverse, with 80 percent international students coming from 70 different countries, 30 percent female students, and an average of 12 years’ work experience.

4) AGSM @ UNSW Business School

AGSM @ UNSW Business School

Just missing out on a top three spot is the only Australian school on the list: the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at the University of New South Wales Business School.

The school’s MBAX has the second-highest percentage of female students in its cohort within the top 10 at 38 percent. It earned high scores across the board, especially for employability and class experience. The programme includes a compulsory starter course, followed by five core courses, five specialisation courses, and a capstone course within an elective the area of study – Change, Social Impact, Technology or Finance.

Tuition costs amount to US$44,588.

3) Warwick Business School

Warwick Business School

WBS kicks off the top three for the second year in a row, achieving high scores in the employability, class profile and faculty and teaching indicators.

Pietro Micheli, Professor of Business Performance & Innovation and Course Director for the Distance Learning MBA, said: "The main reasons WBS is ranked so highly for our online MBA is because of our platform, our experience and expertise in providing blended learning, our top faculty, and our network of alumni. 

"We invest heavily in edtech every year and have a fantastic e-learning department that now has two film studios to record lectures, webinars and discussions. We are also going to companies to film on site, developing mini-documentaries to help open up the subject even more for students. We are also developing in-house content such as online business games, where students can simulate what happens when they make strategic decisions as a manager of a business. Our platform has really helped the school during the coronavirus pandemic, making the move to online teaching for the rest of our courses a lot smoother."

The Distance Learning MBA cohort is diverse, with 14 years’ average work experience, 79 percent international students and 33 percent female students. Fees for the programme are £34,150 (approx. US$47,000).

Warwick’s program takes between one and two years to complete. It combines eight required modules, two “Warwick Weeks” on campus, four elective modules and a consultancy project.

2) Imperial College Business School

Imperial College Business School

In second place once again is the Global Online MBA at Imperial College Business School, which received the second-highest scores in the top 10 for employability and faculty and teaching.

Most of the teaching during the programme is conducted through The Hub, a virtual learning platform developed by Imperial’s award-winning Edtech lab. Students complete pre-study modules, then attend a five-day compulsory in-person induction week, as well as four core module periods followed by an optional global experience week. The course ends with a capstone business game.

Professor Markus Perkmann, Academic Director of the programme, said: "We find that our candidates are highly employable but also highly promotable for several reasons. First, our programme is selective, hence our MBA candidates are all high-calibre professionals, working in top companies around the globe. Secondly, the brand recognition of Imperial as a global top-ten university means many employers will trust in the expertise of our graduates.

"Our teaching is highly interactive and focused on practice-oriented assignments, often as group work which enables our students to not only learn basic knowledge, but also critical thinking and communication skills."

The Global Online MBA cohort is the second-most international on the list, with 85 percent international students and 62 nationalities represented. 36 percent of candidates are women. Fees for the 24-month programme are £41,350 (approx. US$56,974).

When asked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Imperial's online MBA programme, Perkmann said: "We have found that our Global Online MBA programme has been the least affected by the pandemic, and we have therefore seen a significant increase in applications. 

"However, online MBAs like our programme had already seen growing interest before the pandemic, and we will continue to see this growth trend after the worst of the pandemic is over."

1) IE Business School

IE Business School

Retaining the top spot for yet another year is IE Business School, whose Global Online MBA programme once again achieved a perfect score for employability, as well as high scores across all other indicators.

Known for its diverse cohorts, the class profile for IE’s 18-month course is made up of 95 percent international students (up from last year’s 86 percent), 40 percent women (up from last year’s 34 percent), and an average 10 years’ work experience.

The programme is made up of three core online periods, one Global Immersion Week (locations include Shanghai, Los Angeles and Mumbai), plus three face-to-face weeks in Madrid. Teaching includes working in interactive small groups on real-world and industry-based case studies. Total fees amount to €51,200 (approx. US$60,094).

This article was originally published in April 2021 . It was last updated in May 2021

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