Famous billionaire Warren Buffet once said, "The more you learn, the more money you can earn." These words couldn't be more true, especially for those with an MBA degree in hand. In 2022, MBA graduates earned an average starting salary of $115,000, which is 53% higher than those with a bachelor's degree.
The best online MBA programs allow us to achieve this high income potential without leaving our homes and families. In the past, online degrees were criticized for lacking interactivity. That is no longer true — since then, business schools have invested significantly in improving their online learning platforms.
While it may not fully replicate the on-campus learning experience, advancements like virtual reality and 3D imaging are bringing us closer to recreating the vibrant atmosphere of a real classroom. Interest in online MBA programs remains strong, with many schools reporting an increase in the number of applications since the lockdown period.
Below are the best online MBA programs offered by leading business schools in Europe.
1. ESMT Berlin
ESMT Berlin is recognised as Germany’s top business school, offering a personalised approach to management education. The school specialises in innovation, technology management, leadership, and analytics within the global market. It offers a range of MBA programmes, including Full-Time, Part-Time, Executive, and Global Online, which enable career changes and promotions, catering to many ambitions — even those who can’t leave home. ESMT Berlin’s Global Online MBA is as flexible as it’s immersive. It’s 100% online and can be completed in 24 months — fitting it around their life and work schedules. Modules cover finance, marketing, strategy, operations, and leadership. What makes it one of the best online MBA programmes is it’s experiential, despite its remote nature. Students engage in real connections and meaningful networking.
“What surprised me the most is the community that you get to build with an online programme, especially at ESMT. They have done a really good job giving us tasks and assignments that are very group-oriented,” said student Patrick Gall.
It can also take your career to another country. “The Global Online MBA helped me to be more confident to move to Germany and start a new position. I have a lot of good role models in my classmates who do business in different countries,” said graduate Ayaka Nogaku.
Last year, in partnership with BMW Group, the school launched a programme offering up to 10 women displaced from Ukraine the opportunity to join the Global Online MBA. The goal of this fellowship was to enable recipients to develop the skills and competencies required to contribute to Ukraine’s economic redevelopment. Collaborating with BMW Group again, ESMT is providing 10 full-tuition scholarships for the ESMT Global Online MBA programme starting September 2023.
“After the successful start with the BMW Group Fellowship for Ukraine last year, I am beyond delighted that we are again partnering with the ESMT Berlin to support the professional future of the next generation,” says Ilka Horstmeier, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, People and Real Estate, and Labour Relations Director.
“This year, the focus will be on Hungary. With the BMW Group’s emerging production plant in Debrecen, we are at the forefront when it comes to sustainable production and digitalisation. Therefore, we are really pleased to be able to provide our competences in those fields to the talents of tomorrow.”
The deadline to apply is July 16, 2023. For more information, click here.
2. IE Business School
IE Business School, based in Madrid, has established itself as one of Europe’s top institutions, known for its comprehensive business courses and expertise in entrepreneurship. The IE Business School achieved the highest rankings in two categories, employability and faculty and teaching, outperforming all other programmes. According to QS, 45% of the graduates from IE Business School’s Online MBA programme received promotions within a year after graduating, and 11% started their own companies.
However, what consistently attracts students to IE’s Global Online MBA is its strong emphasis on diversity and sustainability. The school recognises that today’s applicants consider not only educational and career goals but also personal values when choosing a business school programme.
The programme attracts many students every year as it offers flexibility, which is perfect for those working and with other commitments and responsibilities.
3. Warwick Business School
The Financial Times has recognised the Warwick Distance Learning MBA as one of the top-ranked programmes worldwide. This distance learning MBA was one of the pioneers in its field, having been around for around 30 years. Despite its experience, the UK-based institution continuously strives for improvement. This has resulted in many achievements, including graduates of the programme typically experiencing a salary increase of 35% within three years after completing their MBA.
Given the impressive outcomes, it is evident that Warwick University dedicates significant time, effort, and resources to its online offerings. The institution’s investment in technology is evident in the exceptional facilities provided to students. These include an e-learning department equipped with two film studios for recording lectures, interviews, webinars, and discussions.
While achieving high rankings is essential, those who reap the rewards of Warwick’s online learning are the students themselves. Students are able to engage in lectures in real-time and speak directly to guest speakers and professors. Lessons are also archived for those who were not able to attend lessons.
4. Imperial College Business School
Imperial College Business School, located in London, has the esteemed “triple crown” accreditation from AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS. Being a part of one of the world’s most innovative and dynamic universities, recognised globally for its contributions to STEM fields, Imperial College has consistently integrated technology and business education, shaping its teaching methods throughout its history.
The university’s Global Online MBA is ranked #2 in the UK and #3 in the world (Financial Times Online MBA 2022).
During induction week and your Capstone module, you’ll meet your class and faculty on campus in London. You can join electives offered in international locations too. Spanning 21, 24 or 32 months, it’s delivered through “The Hub,” an online learning platform created by the school’s EdTech Lab.
The platform ensures connectivity among students, tutors, and peers, allowing access from any location and device.
5. POLIMI Graduate School of Management
POLIMI Graduate School of Management is a prestigious institution that provides an advanced curriculum that prepares students to excel in today’s fast-paced business environment. The programme utilises a flexible and interactive online learning platform, allowing students to participate in collaborative discussions actively, analyse case studies, and engage in real-world simulations.
There’s a strong emphasis on innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship, ensuring that graduates possess the necessary tools to navigate complex business challenges and drive impactful change within their organisations. It has established itself as the leading institution in Italy for online learning. The school has prioritised digital learning methods, granting students the freedom to choose when and how they access course materials from any location worldwide, using any device.
6. Alliance Manchester Business School
The Alliance Manchester Business School is a globally renowned institution known for its innovative curriculum. The programme uses an engaging and interactive online platform where students actively participate in live discussions, collaborative projects, and immersive simulations, enabling them to apply their knowledge to real-world business scenarios.
Its remarkable diversity makes the Alliance Manchester Business School Global Part-time MBA unique. The business school boasts an extensive international alumni network consisting of 60,000 former students from 176 countries. This vast community offers endless opportunities for networking and collaboration. The Global Part-time MBA by Alliance Manchester is specifically designed for experienced professionals from various industries.
It incorporates 50% face-to-face teaching. This blended-learning format provides students access to workshop residentials alongside online content, enhancing their learning experience.
7. Durham University Business School
Ranked #3 in the UK and #8 in the world (Financial Times Online MBA Ranking 2023), the Durham University Business School Online MBA is designed with flexibility in mind. Sophie Atkinson, Senior Commissioned Officer of the UK Armed Forces, says: “Without hesitation, undertaking the Durham MBA (Online) is one of the best decisions I have made. As expected, it is an academically rigorous course which demands commitment. It’s also excellent at ensuring the practical application of business knowledge and skills.
The programme offers students the choice to study entirely online or participate in on-campus components, allowing for maximum freedom and adaptability. With the guiding principle of flexibility, the programme also provides students with the option to select from various elective modules that align with their specific career objectives. The digital nature of the programme enables it to attract students from around the world. As highlighted by Chris Williams, the Director of the Durham Online MBA: “The Online MBA at Durham allows students to pursue their studies from any location on the globe.”
8. EAE Business School
EAE Business School in Madrid provides an Online MBA programme designed to offer professionals a comprehensive and flexible learning experience while they continue their careers or manage other commitments. It stands out for being third globally based on the number of entrepreneurs, according to Bloomberg Business Week.
Online digital resources and tools are combined and complemented with face-to-face sessions held on the EAE campuses in Barcelona and Madrid. These take the form:
+ four individualised counselling sessions or one-hour one-on-one tutorial sessions
+ explanatory masterclasses
+ experiential workshops