We’ve been surveying students for our rankings of full-time, brick-and-mortar MBA programs for over 20 years. In 2015, we began surveying students and publishing rankings of online MBA programs, as well. While there is a very broad range of quality in online education as a whole, the 50 schools that made our top Online MBA Rankings are as prestigious and effective as brick-and-mortar MBA programs, and they offer similar professional gains. When deciding between online and on-campus learning, consider which environment will empower you to be most productive.

Online MBA vs On-Campus MBA

Consider earning your MBA online if... 

  • You have family, work, or other commitments that require a more flexible schedule. Online MBA programs allow students to study at more convenient times; you’ll never miss a class and you won’t spend time and money commuting to campus.
  • You want to attend a program located far from where you live. Studying online means you'll be able to stay where you are, which offers additional flexibility for students with personal or professional commitments. You may still want to factor in travel costs, as its common for online MBA programs to include a brief quarterly or bi-annual session on campus so students can meet face to face. 
  • You're self-motivated and possess a lot of self-discipline. Online learning requires a lot more commitment to keep up with classes and assigned work — professors and peers won't be as present as they would be on campus. 
  • You have access to reliable technology. At a minimum, you'll need a fast internet connection and a computer with adequate memory and appropriate software. You'll be using it a lot!
  • You have strong writing skills. Most communication with instructors and fellow students will be done via email, so you'll need to express yourself clearly (especially if you need assistance).

Consider earning your MBA on campus if...

  • You tend to learn better in a structured environment. On-campus programs require students to register for specific classes; attendance is required, and homework, projects, and exams will have stricter due dates. 
  • You would benefit from the in-person discussions that take place in and out of the classroom. If you feel you would benefit from one-on-one time with professors or you prefer working in groups, consider on-campus MBA programs. 
  • You want to build a robust professional network. While there are opportunities to network in online MBA programs, face-to-face communication creates stronger, more human connections. 
  • You want to take advantage of facilities and resources on campus, including extracurricular activities, lectures, libraries, and athletic facilities.
  • You want easier access to advising, career counseling, and other on-campus student services.

While the cost of obtaining your MBA varies from school to school, there are often few differences between online and on-campus programs (and many schools offer variations of both options). Read more about the types of MBA programs available to students before you apply. ​

Practice for the GMAT

Take a GMAT practice test with us under the same conditions as the real thing. You'll get a personalized score report highlighting your strengths and areas of improvement.


Read More