Spain’s IE Business School overtakes Warwick as the leading online MBA provider

IE Business School in Spain has overtaken Britain’s Warwick Business School as the leader in online MBAs, performing strongly on measures such as post-graduate salary increases, according to the 10th annual FT Business Degree Assessment.

Warwick and Imperial College maintain their strong positions in the list of ten institutions assessed, ahead of two other UK schools: Durham and the University of Liverpool.

In the US, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Massachusetts Amherst did well, alongside good results from the University of North Carolina and the University of Florida: Warrington, both longtime participants.

The FT ranking comes at a time of growing interest in online learning, which intensified during the Covid pandemic as many business schools – alongside other higher education institutions – began offering a wider range of hybrid, synchronous and asynchronous options for students .

See the more detailed table here.

Overall demand for MBAs in North America and Europe has eased, partly in response to a tight job market as employers seek to retain existing employees with additional incentives rather than forfeiting them to full-time education.

As a result, the traditional separation of online and face-to-face courses has shifted. Even some of the leading business schools are now offering online classes, usually supplemented with some face-to-face meetings to allow for more part-time study and less travel to a campus.

Participation in the FT Ranking is voluntary and requires the collaboration and provision of data by both the business schools and their alumni three years after the completion of their program. Some schools were excluded due to the high standards required for eligibility, and of the 23 participating schools, a number could not be ranked because too few alumni responded to questions.

FT Online MBA Ranking 2022 – 10 of the Best

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Find out which schools feature in our online MBA degree rankings and read the rest of our coverage at

The ranking weights factors such as salary, salary increase and value for money after accounting for tuition.

IE alumni reported the second-highest average salaries, adjusted for purchasing power parity, three years after graduation, at nearly $206,000. This was just below the average for the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Isenberg Online MBA, which was $233,000.

IE graduates also reported the second highest salary increase as a result of graduation and the shortest average overall graduation time of just 1.5 years, compared to 4.5 years at the University of Liverpool Management School.

A former student at IE Business School in Madrid said it “offers a unique mix of subjects in a very beautiful city. . . I particularly enjoyed the focus on accounting and entrepreneurship, which was very helpful in planning future roles and opportunities.”

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Online MBA students indicated that personal development was their main motivation for studying, ahead of career opportunities, managerial development and a salary increase. With online courses, a lower proportion were interested in increasing their salary, changing careers, employers, or countries than was the case with full-time, classroom-based MBAs. But a larger proportion of online users – 16 percent – wanted to start their own business.

When it comes to studying and teaching online MBAs, men continue to outnumber women. IE was closest to gender parity with 49 percent women on the faculty, while the University of Massachusetts Amherst: Isenberg had the highest proportion of female students at 41 percent.

IE had the largest proportion of foreign students at 92 percent, while Imperial reported 97 percent international faculty. University of Florida: Warrington was ranked first for the diversity of professional backgrounds among its students at the time of admission, ahead of IE in second place.

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Unique among FT rankings – because it is so important to online learning – it takes into account alumni views on the level of interaction between students, the level of teamwork and the availability of faculty. One of those metrics ranked IE second only to Carnegie Mellon: Tepper. University of Massachusetts Amherst: Isenberg ranked first for live instructional sessions, other instructional materials, and online exams based on alumni ratings.

In line with the FT’s most recent 2023 Global MBA Rankings, this year’s online MBA rankings put a new focus on sustainability by requiring business schools – or their broader universities – to produce a public carbon emissions report and set a target date be awarded for net zero emissions.

IE’s Global Online MBA was ranked first in these new measures. It also scored best for a long-term self-assessment of the extent to which core courses included environmental, social and governance factors – and a new metric for incorporating climate solutions to reduce carbon emissions.

The University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler is ranked highest by its full-time faculty in the FT50 list of prestigious peer-reviewed academic journals for number of research papers – a measure of academic excellence. The University of Florida: Warrington took second place.

Overall, alumni said that the online MBA providers were most effective when it came to teaching economics, organizational behavior, and general management. They judged that schools are doing less well in the emerging fields of fintech and e-commerce.

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blank Spain’s IE Business School overtakes Warwick as the leading online MBA provider

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