Want an MBA from the US? Here’s how you can – from anywhere

SOURCE: AFP PHOTO / Brooks Kraft / Apple Inc
Tim Cook earned his MBA from Duke University. Here's how you can still get an MBA from the US despite border closures.

By Shekinah Kannan 

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Were your MBA plans put on hold due to COVID-19 travel restrictions? You’re not alone. With the pandemic disrupting travel and international studies across the globe, there are many uncertainties for prospective business school students who are looking to commence their courses this year or next. An online MBA, however, can offer some respite.

However, the benefits of seeking out alternatives cannot be understated, especially if it’s an MBA from the US.


American business schools are among the top in the world. They boast of established networks and vast connections with domestic and international organisations globally. When it’s time to secure a job, these connections will prove to be valuable.

Even in light of a pandemic, these business schools have continued to dominate the world’s leading MBAs in rankings.

Luckily for many students, a US MBA is still accessible, what with business school shifting to online learning amid global lockdowns.

Why should you get an online MBA?

“Many people assume that student numbers will fall in response to the current problems, but recessions tend to mean that people want more education because the alternatives – underemployment or unemployment – are worse, and having more skills can protect you against the economic chill winds”, says Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute.

Banit Singh Sawhney, CEO at EduLoans, confirmed this to ProdigyFinance. He says that students looking to start their studies in 2021 would be joining the workforce in 2022 or 2023, when the economy is expected to rebound.

“IMF has predicted that 2022-23 will see unprecedented growth, as the amount of liquidity in the world after a recession is bound to increase global traction. Hence students who are looking to start studying in 2021 should not think twice before pursuing their dreams,” he opines.

An online MBA is not just a golden ticket to a career in senior management roles — it is also a flexible option for busy professionals who are looking to upskill themselves. Depending on the programme enrolled, courses can be completed on the weekend or after working hours.

Last year, Boston University’s Questrom School of Business doubled its enrolled students for the online MBA programme, attracting 401 new students compared to 200 as expected for the semester that began in August 2020.

Despite the benefits of an online MBA, there are sceptics and fence-sitters. Some worry that the quality of an online MBA may not be up to par with an in-person programme.


Business schools around the globe, however, have been working furiously to shift to online learning. This includes bolstering efforts to improve the quality of their online MBAs to be equivalent to that of an on-campus programme. Today, many online MBAs also offer opportunities available to students studying on-campus, such as networking opportunities and strong access to professors and the faculty for support.

Apart from flexibility, quality, and an outstanding ROI – affordability is another perk for aspiring business leaders to take into consideration. Tuition fees for online MBA programmes are typically lower than on-campus ones. 

Which online programme is right for you?

Assuming you’ve done some research on attending business school the traditional way, you’ll know that rankings are held in high regard by many. 

Apart from the prestige associated with graduating from a highly-ranked business school, there are many other perks including receiving a world-class education from top professionals in the field to networking opportunities that can help with your career.

Each year, The Financial Times (FT) takes into account numerous factors in their online MBA programme, including using alumni responses, school data, average income three years after graduation and salary increase compared with pre-MBA salary; “value for money” for each school, diversity of school and students and the school’s research – to name a few.

To help you narrow down your list of choices, here are the top five business schools in the US online MBA aspirants should consider in 2021, according to FT:

Business school Location Programme Salary today Salary increase
University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler US MBA @ UNC 183,527 28%
Indiana University: Kelley US Kelley Direct Online Programmes 145,723 31%
University of Florida: Warrington  US Online MBA 133,937 35%
University of Maryland: Smith US Maryland Smith Online MBA 142,263 32%
Babson College: Olin US Babson Part-time MBA Programme 147,697 39%