Europe’s top business schools are currently outstripping their North American counterparts when it comes to the reputation of their online and distance MBA programs, a the QS-ranking shows. Spain is the leading country in Europe with regard to Top MBA – schools. Seven of the top ten schools in the QS Distance Online MBA Ranking are European, with Spain’s IE Business School beating the UK’s Warwick Business School to the top spot. There are also the Barcelona based Esade and IESE that are always ranking among the Top schools. The UK takes six of the top ten spots, with Warwick joined by Manchester Business School (5), Imperial College (6), Oxford Brookes (7), Henley Business School (8) and University of Strathclyde Business School (10).

dreamstime_s_30972484The world’s only ranking dedicated exclusively to online and distance learning MBA programs, QS Distance Online MBA Ranking is based on 18 indicators:

  1. Employer reputation
  2. average work experience
  3. applicants per place
  4. average GMAT score
  5. students with 1st degree
  6. establishment year
  7. accreditation
  8. students enrolled
  9. faculty student ratio
  10. percentage of full time faculty
  11. completion rate
  12. physical meet-up opportunities
  13. compulsory attendance
  14. regular online classes
  15. availability of group work
  16. percentage of assessed group work
  17. diversity of nationalities
  18. percentage of female students


Global top ten


Rank School Name
1 IE Business School
2 Warwick Business School
3 Indiana University Kelley School of Business
4 Thunderbird School of Global Management
5 Manchester Business School
6 Imperial College
7 Oxford Brookes
8 Henley Business School
9 Florida International University
10 University of Strathclyde Business School


The latest QS Applicant Survey  Research shows that the proportion of prospective MBA applicants interested in online and/or distance learning programs stood at 23.5% in 2013, up from just 4.4% in 2008.

“The increasing sophistication and variety of online and distance learning options means a growing number of candidates are now pursuing the opportunity to gain a world-class business education without the need to relocate or take a career break,” says Nunzio Quacquarelli, managing director of QS: “This year’s results show that employers are increasingly considering candidates from the top online and distance programs as part of their recruitment strategies, with European schools having developed a particularly strong reputation compared to their transatlantic counterparts.”

A total of 30 schools are included in the ranking, reflecting the relatively narrow range of schools that are currently targeted specifically by international MBA employers.

The top North American schools are Indiana University Kelley School of Business and Thunderbird School of Global Management. Of the 30 schools ranked, 17 are based in North America, with the remaining 13 all from Europe.