The Fox School of Business at Temple University, Philadelphia has, for the third consecutive year, topped the U.S. News & World Report Best Online MBA Programs 2017 Rankings with Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business placed 2nd followed by Kelly School of Business at Indiana University.
Tepper rose to No. 2 from No. 6 in the previous year. However, Kelley and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business school dropped a spot to No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
Fox had notched up an impressive overall score of 100. Tepper had an overall score of 98 and Kelly 95. U.S. News had rated the schools using four criteria, namely, Faculty Credentials & Training, Student Services & Technology, Student Engagement and Admission Selectivity.
The 5th spot was tied between by ASU W.P. Carey School of Business and University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business. While no school made it to the 6th rank, Naveen Jindal School of Management at UT Dallas was 7th. Penn State World Campus was 8th and University of Maryland Robert H Smith School of Business at 9th rank.
There was a tie for the 10th spot between Arkansas State University Jonesboro and Raymond J Harbert College of Business at Auburn University.
U.S. News says it publishes annual rankings of distance education MBA programs to help prospective students who often narrow their research exclusively to programs that award MBAs. Master’s degree programs in business administration have greater enrolment, by far, than any other type of graduate business degree program.
The 2017 Best Online MBA Programs rankings evaluate schools based solely on data related to their distance education MBA programs. U.S. News has assessed non-MBA graduate business degrees in areas such as finance, marketing and management separately for a different ranking, Best Online Graduate Business Programs.
Schools with MBA and non-MBA business programs offered online are included in both rankings, but they are evaluated on entirely separate data.
For the 2017 edition, the online MBA programs were assessed using five categories. In the Student engagement category 28% weightage was given. Quality online MBA programs promote participation in courses, allowing students opportunities to interact with their instructors and classmates, as is possible in a campus-based setting. Instructors are not only accessible and responsive, but they are also tasked with helping to create an experience rewarding enough that students stay enrolled and complete their degrees in a reasonable amount of time.
The second category is Admissions selectivity with a weightage of 25%. MBA student bodies entering with proven aptitudes, ambitions and accomplishments can handle the demands of rigorous coursework. Furthermore, online degrees that schools award judiciously will have greater legitimacy in the job market.
The third is Peer reputation (25%). A survey of high-ranking academic officials at MBA programs helps account for intangible factors affecting program quality that are not captured by statistics. Also, MBAs earned from programs that are well respected by academics may be held in higher regard among employers.
Faculty credentials and training (11%) is the fourth category. Strong online MBA programs employ instructors with academic credentials that mirror those of instructors for campus-based programs, and they have the resources to train these instructors to teach distance learners.
The fifth is Student services and technology (11%). MBA programs that incorporate diverse online learning technologies allow greater flexibility for students to take classes from a distance. Outside of classes, strong support structures provide learning assistance, career guidance and financial aid resources commensurate with quality campus-based programs.
In calculating the Rankings, U.S. News selects factors, known as ranking indicators, to assess each program in the above-mentioned categories. A program’s score for each ranking indicator is calculated using data that the program reported to U.S. News in a statistical survey and from data collected in a separate peer reputation survey. The value for each ranking indicator is standardized about its mean to account for statistical variance.
U.S. News multiplies these standardized values by the weights it has selected for the ranking indicators and then sums these values to compute the five separate category scores. Each of these category scores is rescaled for display purposes on usnews.com so that the top-scoring school receives a display score of 100 and the bottom-scoring school receives a display score of zero.
To produce the overall scores, U.S. News takes the raw category scores before they have been rescaled and multiplies them by the category weights detailed above. The resulting scores are then rescaled from zero to 100.
Numerical rankings are assigned to programs in descending order of their overall scores, with the highest-scoring program ranked No. 1. Schools with tied scores are tied in the rankings.
Programs whose overall scores are in the bottom 25 percent are categorized as Rank Not Published. U.S. News calculates numerical ranks for these schools but does not publish them.
For the 2017 rankings, 16 schools are designated as unranked because they reported having fewer than 10 students enrolled or because their programs were less than a year old at the time of the data collection. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical rank for these schools.
For data collection, a list was compiled of business schools offering MBA programs online. The next step was to collect data from these schools. For the first step, statistical questionnaires were sent to regionally accredited public, private and for-profit institutions that granted master’s degrees in business. Respondents were asked if they would be offering an MBA program through internet-based distance education courses in the 2016-2017 academic year.
Between the start of data collection in August 2016 and the October 2016 closing date, 255 schools said they would be offering online MBAs in accordance with the definition, up from 228 the previous year. The rest either said they would not or chose not to respond.
To complete step two, U.S. News used the same questionnaire to collect additional statistical information from the 255 schools with online MBA programs. The ranking indicator weights are unchanged from the previous edition of the rankings. All student and faculty statistical data are for the July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, cohorts, while the remaining data reflect policies, services and technologies in place at the time of the questionnaire completion in 2016.(image Source: Wikipedia.org)