In 2012 I linked to a Financial Times article that listed the top online business schools worldwide. That link is now dead and anyway, that was 11 years ago. What about now?
The Financial Times issued rankings in 2022 for 10 online MBAs worldwide, ranked on the following criteria:
- salary today (equivalent USA $)
- salary increase %
- environmental, social and governance rank
It is a somewhat strange list of only 10 institutions (down from 48 in 2012) of which four are in the UK, three in the USA and one each from Spain, Italy and Australia. No Canadian institutions are listed. The top listed school was the Warwick Business School, followed by Imperial College, London.
Even though online, these 10 schools are not cheap, with tuition fees to completion ranging from C$30,000 to C$150,000+.
Remember, this is for online MBAs – the Financial Times 2023 ranking for the ‘top 100’ business schools can be found here and its methodology for the 100 business schools with regular programs here. All participating schools meet the FT’s entry criteria and are accredited by EQUIS or the AACSB.
StudyPortals lists over 3,000 online or blended programs in business and management with 298 results for Canada. Of these 148 are bachelor programs, and 124 are masters’ programs. In comparison, there are 5,600 programs listed for the USA.
Your search can be modified by specialty, location, education level, duration and tuition fees. Be careful though as they include a large number of blended programs, which will require some attendance on campus.
This site comes with a Best Fit tool to help you decide, and student reviews of programs listed. It does not just focus on business programs, but has listings for a wide range of subject disciplines. It does not appear though to rank programs (there is a ranking web page but it’s ‘dead’.)
This is by far the most comprehensive listing of online business programs that I have found, certainly for Canada.
FindMBA Online lists 647 online MBA programs worldwide. Almost 70% (448) are in the USA, and only three in China. You can then sort by the type of accreditation (AACSB, AMBA and/or EQUIS) and/or by ‘Ranked in Global Online MBA Publications’.
FindMBA lists seven universities in Canada ranked by ‘popularity’:
- Dalhousie University’s Blended Online MBA
- The University of Toronto Rotman School of Management’s Global Executive MBA
- Laurentian University’s Online MBA
- University of Fredericton’s MBA and Executive MBA (note: this is one of the few private universities in Canada)
- University of Canada West’s Online MBA (another private university)
- Athabasca University’s Online Executive MBAs (several for different professions)
- Thompson Rivers University’s MBA
Only Dalhousie and Toronto are listed as having AACSB, AMBA and/or EQUIS accreditation
Canada is lumped together with the rest of Latin America, with the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru listed fifth, above Athabasca University. (If Canada had been listed with the USA it would have disappeared from sight).
- job placement rate: 40%
- student satisfaction: 25%
- industry recognition: 20%
- salary expectations: 7.5%
- graduation rate: 7.5%
But which comes top? Here are the 12 top ranking Canadian online MBAs according to CampusCompare:
- Ivey Business School, Western University, Ontario
- Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, Ontario
- University of Fredericton, Nova Scotia
- Athabasca University, Alberta
- University of Alberta Business School
- De Groote School of Business, McMaster University, Ontario
- Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia
- University Canada West, British Columbia
- University of Guelph, Ontario
- Laurentian University, Ontario
- Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia
- Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ontario
(Note that the Rotman School of Management came top in FindMBA’s list, and doesn’t even appear in CampusCompare’s list, and Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business came top in FindMBA Online, and only 7th in CourseCompare’s list – so much for rankings.)
You can search by school name, state, city or zip code, type of degree, blended or fully online, tuition, or size of institution, or type of institution (privvate, for-profit, public).
Top ranked online Bachelors in Business Programs: Pennsylvania State University – World Campus
Top ranked online MBA program: Arizona State University (Carey).
However, the rankings are very close in most cases.
There are numerous other sites – for instance Chamber of Commerce lists the best general business schools in the USA, but not online programs – but this post should be sufficient for most readers of this blog.
If you are thinking of doing an online business degree, it really doesn’t matter where you live, so long as you meet the institution’s admission requirements – and can afford to pay the fees.
However, be aware that there are many other good schools not mentioned in this post. Also, be careful with rankings. The ranking of the whole university or general business school does not necessarily correlate with the quality of online programs. A specialist online university, or a campus-based university with many online programs, may have better courses than a campus based university with a prestigious business school offering just the odd business program online (think MOOCs, for instance). Look carefully at the methodology used for rankings and check other factors, such as cost, convenience and above all, the quality of the online courses. And lastly check how independent these sites are. Business schools not surprisingly spend a lot of money on marketing, so be careful – there may be some product placement in these lists.
If you have had a good – or even more importantly – a bad experience with an online business program, use the comment box at the end of this post – future business school students will bless you!