Online MBA courses rebound at the world’s best business schools

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Charlotte Edmond, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • Demand for MBAs has grown as the job market falters in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Online courses are growing in popularity, but tend to have less of an after-effect on salaries than in-person courses.
  • European schools lead the rankings of providers, but US schools dominate overall.

Even while the pandemic closed campuses around the world, demand for MBAs last year rebounded. The difficult job market in 2020 drove many people to opt for full-time study in a bid to boost their career prospects, according to research by the UK Financial Times.

Several schools in the rankings reported double-digit increases in applications to study during the 2020/21 academic year.

Alongside this, there has been a spike in interest in online MBAs, with many business schools forced to rethink their offerings in light of the pandemic.

The FT’s annual ranking of business schools shows that Warwick Business School has retained the top spot as the best distance learning or online MBA. It has held this slot for four years now, primarily because of the salaries alumni earn. Three years after graduation, former students earn an average of $207,725 a year. Warwick is also the best performer in terms of career progression of its students.

Although there are some differences in how the data is calculated in the rankings for full-time MBA courses versus online offerings, there is a marked discrepancy between the two learning routes when it comes to salary increases, the FT report notes. The average salary hike for those completing online courses is 29%, compared with 123% for the top 15 full-time programmes in the 2021 global MBA ranking.

Researchers attribute this divide to the demographic differences between the two cohorts – full-time MBA students tend to be in their late 20s and are likely to enjoy rapid promotion afterwards. Online learners are more likely to be in their mid-30s and more established in their careers, so there is a higher chance of their salary reaching a plateau.

In-person learning

European schools take the top slots for in-person teaching. Insead, based in France and Singapore, is the top-ranked school overall, with the London Business School, based in the UK, taking second place.

But, despite a strong showing from the continent high up the rankings, US schools dominate overall. Half of the top 100 schools ranked by the FT are based in the US, including 7 of the 14 in the top tier.

The rankings are calculated from data including alumni salaries three years after graduation, the quantity of research in recognized journals and the diversity of students and faculty. A number of schools, including Harvard, Stanford and Wharton, withdrew from the rankings this year because of disruptions caused to data collection during the pandemic.

The research also shows that, when surveyed in September and October 2020, salaries of alumni had remained resilient despite the pandemic.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

4 steps to developing responsible AI

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

5 crises that could worsen under COVID-19

CEOs as activists: should leaders speak up about social causes?

Refugee crisis update: Commission is struggling alone with little help from EU or G7 leaders

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

This city is planting a tree for every man, woman and child

Belgium: keep up reforms to increase employment and productivity growth

COVID-19 : Have we learnt any lessons at all from last year?

Our poisonous air is harming our children’s brains

UN human rights chief fears world has grown numb to Syrian carnage

The European Green Deal must be at the heart of the COVID-19 recovery

EU and 15 World Trade Organization members establish contingency appeal arrangement for trade disputes

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

China revisited by the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Coronavirus: Team Europe continues to deliver with more than €26 billion disbursed in support to partner countries in one year

Thousands returning to Nigeria’s restive Borno state ‘at risk’; UN ‘gravely concerned’

Russia and the West use the same tactics to dismember Ukraine

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Iraq: Solutions needed ‘urgently’ to quell ongoing violence, break political deadlock

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

Latin America’s cities are ready to take off. But their infrastructure is failing them

‘Bleakest period yet’ in Occupied Palestinian Territory: UN human rights expert

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

How do we upskill a billion people by 2030? Leadership and collaboration will be key

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

A fairer world requires fairer tech. Here’s why

The world’s coastal cities are going under. Here’s how some are fighting back

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

How has technology changed – and changed us – in the past 20 years?

The European Commission cuts roaming charges. But “it’s not enough”…

What have the banks done to the markets making them unable to bear cheap oil?

These 3 tech visionaries are reinventing the wheelchair

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

Environmental liability rules need revamping

Fall asleep in Vienna, wake up in Paris – Europe’s night trains make a comeback

Human rights champions from across the world receive top UN prize

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

From violence to dialogue: as land conflicts intensify, UN boosts efforts to resolve disputes through mediation

How data is transforming the way we care for the ocean

European Fund for Transition to support more workers made redundant

The European Council takes more measures to stem illegal migration

Commission initiates an investigation to decide whether to prolong the steel safeguard measure

What’s the difference between carbon negative and carbon neutral?

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

Illness in health workers: when the caregiver becomes the patient

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

Victims’ Rights: New Strategy to empower victims

Why the global trade of chemicals is key to COVID-19 recovery

An electric motorbike could help tackle big game poaching. Here’s how

Changing world of work needs new jobs strategy

Same-sex marriages and partnerships should be recognised across the EU

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

Working with millennials, leaders say humility works better than bossing around

To take or not to take – The Indian vaccination dilemma

Coronavirus global response: EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Iraq and new funding

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Cross-roads

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: