Online MBA Program Rankings

Making the choice of the best business school at which to complete your MBA degree program is a challenge because at last count more than 100 US schools now provide online MBA programs in several different concentrations like finance, accounting and healthcare.Coincident with the increase in the number of schools offering a distance learning MBA degree are the number of sources providing online MBA rankings. Business magazines, national and metropolitan newspapers, trade publications, business and academic associations of all kinds, and even executive recruiting firms will have their own version of online MBA rankings 2010 or some such rendition.Since there are so many different sources for off campus MBA rankings anybody interested in attending a degree program, either online or in residence, has to be skeptical about the usefulness or even the objectivity, in some cases, of these rankings.What are the criteria that were used for the rankings? Have the ranking source’s selection standards been adequately disclosed, or do you get something subjective and essentially un-provable like “quality of faculty”? It is not uncommon in academic circles to quantify an elusive term like quality simply in direct proportion to the length of a particular professor’s CV.Online MBA program rankings should carry more weight if the ranking is focused on schools and programs that provide a particular or narrow focus. It is possible, if not common, that a school that ranks in a lower percentile for finance, for example, could simultaneously rank in the uppermost percentile for a different field like healthcare management. In cases like this the overall ranking for that school’s online MBA program, no matter how scrupulously that overall ranking was amassed, could be unintentionally misleading to the MBA candidate most interested in a career in the healthcare industry,Shopping for an online MBA based entirely on rankings may leave out other important factors that were never considered in the evaluation process. Price/Value is one. Very few, if any, rankings are based on actual value or bang for the buck. Perhaps the standard itself is objectively immeasurable, but with price differences of $10,000 and more per year of study from different schools for the same degree the price/value factor should be very important to you.At a minimum every prospective online MBA candidate should consider the merits of each school’s accreditation status, admission requirements (not all MBA schools require the GMAT), online technology implementation, and the demographics and business career experience of the average incoming student. Many MBA graduates will tell you that relationships and connections were the most important things they took from their graduate school experience.Academic focus and specialization may also be important factors that normally fly under the ranking system. An MBA program that focused on international entrepreneurism could be significantly more meaningful to a foreign student participating in a US based MBA program than even accreditation or faculty ranking.