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The Online MBA ranking consists of 20 categories, including on gender, diversity and teamwork © Getty Images

This is the 11th annual edition of the Financial Times ranking of the top online MBA programmes worldwide. A total of 25 schools took part in the 2024 edition and, from these participants, a top ten list has been compiled.

All participating business schools must meet the FT’s strict entry criteria. They have to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or Equis, and their programmes must have run for four consecutive years. At least 70 per cent of the content must be delivered online. The participants must also pass a selection process before enrolling and an examination process before graduating.

FT Online MBA ranking 2024 — 10 of the best

Find out which schools are in our top-ten ranking of Online MBA degrees and read the rest of our coverage at

Data collection was carried out via two online surveys: the first was completed by participating schools; and the second was completed by alumni who finished their Online MBAs in 2020. In all, 683 alumni completed our questionnaire — a response rate of about 18 per cent.

The FT typically requires a response rate of 20 per cent of alumni, with a minimum of 20 responses, for a school to enter the ranking calculations. However, due to the disruption from Covid-19 in 2020, the FT considered schools with a lower response rate.

The ranking is based on 20 criteria. Alumni responses inform nine criteria that, together, contribute 59 per cent of the total weight. Another 10 criteria are based on the school data, accounting for 31 per cent. The remaining criterion, the research rank, counts for 10 per cent.

Alumni-informed criteria are based on data collected in the past three years. Responses from the 2024 survey carry 50 per cent of the total weight and those from 2023 and 2022 account for 25 per cent each. Excluding salary criteria, if only two years of data are available, the weighting is split 60:40 if the data are from 2024 and 2023, or split 70:30 if the data are from 2024 and 2022. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for any two years of data.

The first two alumni criteria are average income three years after completion of the course and the salary increase compared with their pay on completion, with weights of 12 per cent each. For the latter, half of the weight applies to the absolute increase and half to the percentage increase (the published figure). Salaries are converted to US dollars using IMF international purchasing power parity (PPP) rates.

The highest and lowest salaries are removed for each school to calculate a normalised average. Finally, salaries are weighted to reflect differences between sectors.

“Value for money” for each school is calculated by dividing average alumni salary three years after course completion by the programme’s total cost, including tuition fees and other expenses. Any scholarship assistance given to alumni is subtracted from the total.

School criteria include the diversity of staff, board members, and students by gender and citizenship. For the gender criteria, schools with a 50:50 composition score the highest.

Another diversity measure is the student sector category, which considers the range of industries in which candidates worked before starting their MBAs.

The carbon footprint rank is based on schools’ emissions targets, with extra credit given to those with an audit report that includes Scope 3 emissions (those not controlled directly by the school but which occur externally in its value chain as a result of its activities).

The research rank is based on the number of articles by full-time faculty in 50 internationally recognised academic and practitioner journals. The rank combines the number of publications from January 2021 to July 2023, with the figure weighted relative to the size of the faculty.

The Online MBA ranking is a relative listing. Schools are ranked against each other by calculating a Z-score for each criterion. The Z-score is a statistic that shows where a score lies in relation to the mean. These scores are then weighted as outlined in the ranking key and added together for a final score.

After removing the schools that did not meet the response rate threshold from the alumni survey, a first version of the ranking is calculated using all remaining schools. The school at the bottom is then removed and a second version is calculated, and so on until we reach the final top 10.

Judith Pizer of Pizer-MacMillan and Avner Cohen of AC Data Science acted as the FT’s database consultants. The FT research rank was calculated using Clarivate data covering 50 journals selected by the FT from the Web of Science, an abstract and citation database of research literature.

Key to ranking table

(Weighting % in brackets)

Salary today US$ (12): average alumni salary three years after completion, $ PPP equivalent (see methodology). †

Salary increase (12): percentage increase in alumni salary in the current job versus three years ago on completion of programme. †

Value for money (4): calculated according to alumni’s salary, tuition, fees and other costs. †

Career progress (4): progression in alumni’s level of seniority and the size of the organisation they now work for, versus three years ago on completion of programme. †

Aims achieved (4): the extent to which alumni fulfilled their goals for taking an online MBA. †

Careers service (4): effectiveness of the school careers service, in terms of career counselling, personal development, networking events and recruitment, as rated by their alumni. †

Programme delivery (5): how alumni rate the online delivery of live teaching sessions, other teaching materials, and online exams. †

Online interaction (10): how alumni rate the interaction between students, teamwork, and the availability of faculty. †

Sector diversity rank (2): calculated according to the diversity of sectors the students worked in at the time of admission, before the MBA.

Female faculty (3): percentage of full-time female members of faculty.

Female students (3): percentage of female students on the MBA programme.

Women on board (1): percentage of female members on the school advisory board.

International faculty (4): percentage of full-time faculty whose citizenship differs from their location of employment.

International students (4): percentage of current students whose citizenship differs from the location of the school.

International board (2): percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the location of the business school.

International mobility rank (4): based on alumni citizenship and the locations where they worked before their MBA, on completion and three years after. †

Carbon footprint rank (4): calculated using the net zero target year for carbon emissions set by the university and/or school, and the existence of a publicly available carbon emissions audit report since 2019. Extra credit is given to schools with an audit report that includes Scope 3 emissions (those not controlled directly by the school but which occur externally in its value chain as a result of its activities).

ESG and net zero teaching rank (3): proportion of credits from core courses dedicated to ethical, social, and environmental issues and climate solutions that can enable organisations achieve net zero carbon emissions. Alumni evaluation of their school’s ESG teaching is also included.

Faculty with doctorates (5): percentage of full-time faculty with a doctoral degree.

FT research rank (10): calculated according to the number of articles published by a school’s current full-time faculty members in 50 academic and practitioner journals between January 2021 to July 2023. The rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.

Additional notes

The following data are for information only and are not used in the ranking calculations.

Average course tuition and fees to complete the Online MBA (local currency): Programme tuition costs and fees paid by the most recently enrolled class, in the currency of the country of the school’s location. Figure shows weighted average.

Average completion time (years): The average amount of time students take to complete the programme.

Overall satisfaction: average evaluation by alumni of the course, scored out of 10. This figure is not used in the ranking.


Schools with a 50:50 (male/female) composition receive the highest possible score in the three gender-related criteria.

† Includes data for the class of 2020 and one or two preceding classes where available.

Criteria for taking part in the ranking

Updated on November 1 2023

The FT Online MBA ranking is based on two surveys: one for the business school and one sent to alumni who completed their Online MBA three years ago.

Please note, the FT ranks only general MBAs, not specialised programmes. The Online MBA chosen for inclusion in this ranking can be a full-time, part-time or flexible programme.

Schools must meet the following criteria in order to participate in the annual ranking:

  1. The business school must be accredited by AACSB or Equis.

  2. The programme should have been running continuously for the past four years and should have graduated its first class in the calendar year three years prior to the survey date, or before.

  3. At least 70 per cent of the MBA content must be delivered online. The programme can be either synchronous or asynchronous.

  4. The participants must pass a selection process before enrolling.

  5. At least 30 students must have completed the programme, per year, three years ago and in each subsequent year.

  6. The programme must deliver its degree following an examination process. Exams can be taken at any time during the course.

  7. The business school must have a minimum of 20 full-time permanent faculty.

  8. The MBA must be delivered in English. Graduates must complete the survey in English.

  9. Where applicable, the programme must be delivered by the same faculty that deliver the school’s campus-based MBA programme.

The FT requires a response rate of at least 20 per cent from alumni, with a minimum of 20 completed surveys from any school wishing to be considered for the ranking. For instance, a class size of 100 graduates will require 20 completed surveys, while a class size of 200 alumni will require 40 completed surveys. This response rate is based on the total size of the cohort/class to be surveyed.

Meeting these criteria does not guarantee automatic participation in the ranking. The final decision rests with the Financial Times.

Please note, the table is finalised about eight weeks before the publication date. It is too late for schools to withdraw from the ranking after that point.

Email by the start of November if you have questions or wish to take part, as the ranking process begins that month. The onus is on schools to contact the FT by this time if they wish to take part. The FT is unable to email every school to check if it wishes to be considered.





Invitation to participate: November

Schools to confirm participation: November

Schools to upload alumni list: December

Schools to upload faculty list: January

Survey open: December/January

Survey close: February

Data checks with schools: February to March

Publication: March

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
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