Australia's Top Distance Online MBA Programs Compared

Australia's Top Distance Online MBA Programs Compared

Four Australian online MBA programs feature in the QS Online MBA Rankings 2019, more than in any other major ranking.

So, why choose one of these Australian schools to undertake your MBA? If you’re an international student living in southeast Asia, Australia may be a lot easier to travel to for residential electives or networking than similar courses in the US or Europe. Plus, you can get a fantastic education, usually at a lower price than at American institutions.

Read on to find out more about the Australian programs in this year’s rankings…

1: AGSM @ UNSW

UNSW

The online MBA program at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) is ranked sixth in the world and is the only Australian program to make it into the global top 10. It’s a very well-established online MBA program, and Professor Nick Wailes, AGSM Director and Deputy Dean of the UNSW Business School, emphasizes how this helps them keep developing their program:

“Our background and experience mean that we are well positioned to innovate and take advantage of new technologies that can enhance student learning as they emerge. We are constantly evolving our model to make it the best possible learning experience.”

The online MBA degree at AGSM – the MBAX – describes itself as a unique online management degree that you can specialize. Specializations include Finance, Social Impact, Technology and Change. The MBAX is notable for its truly flexible online delivery, as you can complete the course in anything from two and a half to seven years. The average program length is 60 months, the longest in the rankings.

Wailes emphasizes how the option of specializing contributes to the program’s appeal, stating that, “The opportunity to combine the breadth of an MBA program with depth in a particular area of focus helps set MBAX apart.”

In terms of the class profile, the MBAX has a high proportion of female students (43 percent), with members of the current cohort having a considerable average of 11.6 years’ work experience, from backgrounds such as finance, consulting, and technology.

There are two pathways into the MBAX program. You will either require a strong undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and a minimum of two years professional or managerial work experience, or at least six years of professional work experience.

MBA applicants will of course need to provide a personal statement, a CV, two letters of referral and proof of English language proficiency in their application. GMAT/GRE isn’t required for admission onto the MBAX course.

Tuition fees are charged by unit of credit. The MBAX is made up of 12 courses, and the 2018 fee per course is AUD$4,830 (approx. US$3,320). The total estimated program cost is AUD$57,960 (approx. US$39,840).

2: Deakin Business School

Deakin Business School

The online MBA at Deakin Business School is ranked 24th in the world and second in Australia. The online MBA is based on their Cloud ‘campus’ – an interactive learning platform – with face-to-face interaction taking place on their Melbourne campus.

MBA students can begin their studies in March, July, and November. To complete the MBA, students must attain a total of 12 credit points, consisting of eight credit points of core units and four credit points of elective units. This should take around 18 months to complete, but there is a level of flexibility. For example, it’s possible to do an elective unit in an intensive course, thereby completing it quicker. For valuable face-to-face experience, there are residential units, which consist of six consecutive days of intensive study on campus. The average program length is 30 months.

Professor Mike Ewing, Executive Dean and Vice President of Deakin University’s Faculty of Business & Law, is keen to emphasize how Deakin's long-running experience with distance learning shapes the delivery and experience of the course for students:

"Distance education is built into our culture and our DNA. Our staff understand distance learners and how to teach well in an online environment. We know it’s more than just ‘technology’ and ‘an online platform’ – it’s about an attitude and orientation toward understanding that those not able to be present on campus deserve the same level of attention and experience as those who come on-campus."

The course has an English language requirement, with candidates needing an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent to be accepted. You must also either have a bachelor’s/master’s degree and a minimum of three years professional work experience in a managerial role, or a graduate certificate in a related discipline and five years of managerial experience. As with most MBA courses, Deakin also requires a CV, personal statement, and two references as part of the admissions process.

Tuition fees are estimated at AUD$33,800 (approx. US$23,221), but this is dependent on the units you choose and how long you take to complete the course. The class profile is made up of 39 percent female students with an average of 12 years’ work experience.

3: La Trobe Business School

La Trobe Business School

La Trobe Business School is ranked in 32nd place, achieving an above average score in the class experience ranking indicator, which assesses how much the program makes students feel part of a cohort and facilitates interaction between them. Dr Geraldine Kennett, director of the MBA program at La Trobe, enthuses about how the university works to ensure an enjoyable experience for students:

“Our online MBA program is designed for building peer-to-peer learning and professional relationships using interactive weekly video conferencing. A high-performing team of dedicated lecturers - many of whom work in or have connections with industry – put the student experience at the core of what they do.”

The course takes between one and two years to complete (with an average program length of 21 months), with intakes in January, March, April, July, September and October. The online study periods are seven weeks in duration, and candidates are expected to complete 10 core subjects and two elective subjects. This MBA is renowned for being a ‘green’ MBA, meaning it has a focus on sustainability.

You will need an Australian bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent, with a minimum C-grade (60 percent) average), and a minimum of three years’ relevant postgraduate managerial experience. Applicants without an undergraduate degree but with a minimum of eight years managerial experience may also be considered. Application to La Trobe also requires a CV, personal statement, and two references.

Course fees are AUD$38,000 (approx. US$26,096) per 120 credit points, with 120 credit points representing full-time study for one year. The program nearly reaches gender parity with 48 percent female students, with an average of 11.7 years’ work experience.

4: Curtin Business School

Curtin Business School

Curtin University, Curtin Business School is the final Australian program in the rankings, coming in at 37th place. It leads Australian programs for most experienced students, with participants having 14 years of work experience on average. It scored well in class experience and class profile, with 51 percent female students.

Currently offering a blended online and face-to-face MBA program, Curtin will launch a fully online MBA program later this year, but currently allows for a blended delivery of online and face-to-face teaching methods.

Candidates can undertake the 34-month program as a ‘generalist’ MBA or choose to specialize in either leadership or oil and gas (in partnership with Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University.

The program is made up of eight core units and four elective units. Students must also complete a professional portfolio, which involves a minimum of 40 hours of professional development (complemented by workshops and lectures).

Entry requirements for the program are a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) plus a minimum of 3 years’ work experience. GMAT or GRE results aren’t required for entry, but non-English speaking students must achieve a minimum IELTS score of 6.5. Fees for Australia/New Zealand students are AUD$35,550 (approx. US$24,943) and AUD$49,800 for international students (approx. US$34,941) in 2019.

This article was first published in June 2018 and updated in June 2019

Written by Julia Gilmore

Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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