The world of educational rankings is very robust. There are many big names in the rankings game, including Bloomberg Businessweek, US News & World Report, Financial Times, Forbes, PrincetonReview, The Economist, Eduniversal, and Quacquarelli Symonds. These organizations rank business schools, MBA programs, and even online programs. Online MBA programs only have a few prestigious rankings, and among them is the Financial Times Online MBA Ranking.
The Financial Times
The Financial Times is one of the world's major business news and information organizations. They offer news in the areas of business, management, finance, economics, life and arts, travel, and politics. They started in 1888 as the London Financial Guide paper. Their iconic salmon pink color webpage and paper is a throwback from trying to differentiate themselves from their rivals in their beginning as a financial journal. Today, they have an editorial staff in over 40 countries to offer the day's latest news around the world.
In addition to their news articles, the Financial Times also publishes seven different global management-related rankings; MBA, EMBA, Master in Finance, Master in Management, online MBA, executive education, and European Business Schools. Each school in these rankings must hold an AACSB International accreditation or Equis accreditation and be at least four years old.
Online Ranking Methodology
This year marks the third annual online MBA ranking for the Financial Times. The ranking consists of 15 business schools from around the world with a total of 18 that took part in the ranking process. To be included in this ranking, schools had to achieve the accreditation standard set up for all FT rankings, offer a flexible format with at least 70% of the content delivered online, and require students to pass a selection process before enrolling and an examination process before graduating. Data was collected from the schools themselves and alumni of the online programs. The Alumni responded to questions regarding salary, career goals achieved, program delivery, and online interaction. This data represents 65% of the ranking total. The rest of the data came from criteria on faculty credentials and research, diversity, graduates' international mobility, and graduate who later pursued PhDs.
Pros and Cons of the Ranking
The range of data that was collected for this ranking is diverse and broad. Collecting information from graduates is a great way to get an inside view on satisfaction and ROI. Combining that with specific data on programs, including faculty credentials and program interaction, gives a balanced view of the individual online MBA programs.
The biggest draw back of this ranking is that there were only a total of 18 programs considered from the entire world included in the data process. The US alone has over 350 online MBA programs available today. It is hard to see that a ranking of 15 can give a very good view of the best online MBA programs in the world. The criteria for the ranking automatically excludes programs not accredited by AACSB-International, those not requiring GMAT and GRE scores, and programs not requiring a final examination. This strict ranking does highlight some very prestigious programs, but they leave out many prestigious and highly ranked programs that can be a great fit for prospective students.
Notable Online Programs in the Ranking
The top five programs in the Financial Times Online MBA Ranking is as follows:
The Financial Times collects great data giving a well-rounded picture of different online MBA programs around the world. But this is unfortunately a picture that only includes a very small group of online MBA programs available. Use this ranking as piece of your research when researching programs. If you are interested in programs that are accredited by ACBSP and IACBE, or that don't require GMAT or GRE scores, then be sure to continue your search beyond this ranking.
What all prospective students need to remember is that there are numerous rankings available and it is important to gather information from multiple sources. Do not look at just one ranking, no matter how robust or "good" it is. Use it as a piece of a greater puzzle that shows the best next step for you.
Rankings can be very helpful. There are hundreds of online MBA programs to choose from. Let the rankings narrow your list down. Then research and apply. See which ones you get accepted into. See which ones you like the most. Then make the most informed decision that you can.
Stay tuned for more ranking reviews, and happy hunting.
Other reviewed rankings: