IE Business School, Warwick, and Northeastern lead the pack

The Financial Times has release its first ever online MBA program ranking, which replaces the publication's online MBA program listing that it had published since 2006.

Although Spain's IE Business School's Global MBA leads the new ranking, the bulk of the 15 schools listed are based in either the US or the UK. Warwick Business School's MBA by Distance Learning follows IE, and is followed by Northeastern University's Online MBA. Florida - Hough and Indiana - Kelley round out the top five. The rest of the ranked schools can be seen in order below.

To rank the schools, the FT collected data through two surveys - one for the schools and one for alumni. Current alumni salary was the most heavily weighted criteria, although salaries from non-profit and public sector workers, as well as full-time students, were not included. Other factors specific to online MBA programs included program strength in course delivery and online interaction. 17 programs took part in the ranking.

In general, the salary growth for the ranked online MBA programs was less than that of the programs ranked in the FT's Global MBA program ranking, which ranks full-time MBA programs. For instance, alumni from top-ranked IE Business School's distance learning program reported that their salaries grew 42 percent, on average, compared to alumni in the school's full-time program, which reported a salary increase of 112 percent.

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