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US News’s 2019 Online MBA Ranking

You can do everything online now, including get an MBA. But what are the best business schools to get an online MBA from? US News has a few thoughts on that, which they’ve shared in their latest online MBA ranking. 

According to US News, the top online MBA programs in the United States are: 

  1. Indiana University—Bloomington Kelley School of Business
  2. University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill Kenan-Flager Business School
  3. Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business
  4. University of Florida Hough Graduate School of Business
  5. University of Southern California Marshall School of Business
  6. Arizona State University Carey School of Business
  7. University of Texas—Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management
  8. University of Maryland—College Park Smith School of Business
  9. University of Auburn Harbert College of Business
  10. Pennsylvania State University World Campus

Glaringly absent from that list is Temple University’s Fox School of Business, which previously dominated the US News online MBA rankings with four consecutive first-place finishes.

After it emerged that Temple’s Fox School had misreported data to US News last year, the school was stripped of its gold medal. The schools dean subsequently left over the scandal. 

That dramatic uncrowning of the online MBA rankings king made room for Indiana University and University of North Carolina, previously third and fourth, to move up into a tie for first place this year. Carnegie Mellon, last year’s second-place finisher clocked in at third for 2019. 

So how does US News determine its rankings of online MBA programs?

The most heavily weighted factor in its methodology is what it calls “engagement.” Recognizing the danger for online degree programs to become passive learning experiences, US News tries to rank programs by how well they promote participation and interaction.

US News measures student engagement by looking at numbers such as graduation rate, class sizes, retention rates and school policies. Engagement accounts for 28 percent of a given school’s overall score.

Next most important are “student excellence” and “expert opinion,” each worth a quarter of a school’s score. Student excellence includes data points like GMAT scores and acceptance rate, while expert opinion is a survey in which administrators involved in online MBA programs rate programs’ reputations.

Finally, faculty credentials and student services both count for 11 percent of a school’s score. The former considers variables such as what degrees faculty have while the latter looks at factors like students’ debt burden.

It’s worth noting that acceptance rates at top online MBA programs are significantly higher than acceptance rates in the top tier of traditional full-time MBA programs. For example, the Indiana and UNC online MBA programs have acceptance rates of 76 and 60 percent respectively. 

Considering the differences between online and traditional MBA programs, you might have questions about which type of program is the right fit for you, and how your profile would stack up at top online vs. top traditional MBA programs.

We’re happy to help you answer those questions. Just sign up to receive a free MBA application assessment!