IE and Warwick Business School (UK) retain the positions they have held since this ranking was launched in 2014.

The Madrid school has the highest proportion of graduates working at department head level or above — 62% against 39% on average for all ranked schools. They also earn the highest salary on average — at USD 191,000, the pay is 44% higher than what they earned at graduation.

IE scores well on other criteria, too: its alumni are most likely to say they achieved their aims and the MBA has the highest proportion of international students, at 96%. It is in the top five for career progress, careers services, programme delivery, and online interaction.

At 18 months, the time limit on IE Business School’s online MBA is the shortest. Some 20% of the teaching and coursework takes place on campuses or at local study centres. The proportion of the programme taught on site increased in the past year when IE introduced new face-to-face workshops on leadership.

Check out: Which B-school Tops the FT 2017 Global MBA Ranking?

Isenberg School of Management (US) has made the top three of the FT Online MBA Ranking for the first time, coming behind IE and Warwick business schools. The school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (US) finished ninth in 2016.

The ranking of 20 business schools is based on surveys of the institutions and alumni who graduated in 2013. MBAs are assessed according to the career progression of alumni, the quality of the online delivery, idea generation, and the diversity of students and faculty.

Data were collected through two online surveys — the first completed by schools and the second by alumni who graduated in 2013. Some 600 alumni responded — about 21%.

The ranking has 18 criteria. Alumni responses inform nine criteria that together contribute 65% of the ranking’s total weight. Eight criteria are calculated from school data, accounting for 25%. The remaining criterion, the research rank, counts for 10%.

Improving graduate salaries are one of the main reasons for Isenberg’s rise. Its 2013 alumni now earn an average of USD 159,000, 43% more than their salary on graduation and the fourth-highest salary of the 20 ranked schools. The school is also in the top five for value for money and top three for programme delivery and online interaction.

Four programmes make their debut in the ranking this year — three from the US and a joint programme, EuroMBA, delivered by six European schools from five different countries. George Washington University (US), in sixth place, is the highest new entrant.

The FT requires at least 70% of programme content to be delivered online for the MBA to be eligible for the online ranking. Seven of the ranked programmes are run entirely online.

Most alumni who responded to the survey said they were very satisfied with the online format. More students said they were very satisfied with asynchronous, or self-paced, study (81%) than synchronous content, or live streaming of lectures (74%). Online interaction between students and teamwork were not rated as highly: just under two-thirds of students were very satisfied by both.

Source: the Financial Times