U.S. News & World Report has ranked the online MBA program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business among the 10 best in the United States. The annual survey, released on Jan. 10, 2017, evaluated more than 200 programs in five performance categories, and the Smith School debuted at No. 9 as a first-time participant.
“This ranking comes exactly three years since our first students opened the program in January 2014,” says Smith School professor Judy Frels, assistant dean, online programs. “We’ve had 12 intakes since then, and the quality of our students and dedication of our faculty continue to amaze me.”
Working professionals in the 21-month program earn an average annual salary of $85,000, and participants have included an Intel senior financial analyst, a U.S. Navy division head, a Dell senior delivery consultant and president of a growing startup.
Frels says the program offers the same academic rigor and world-class faculty as the school’s campus-based options. The program starts and ends with campus-based residencies and includes group projects designed to foster a collaborative community in classes capped at 25 students. About one-third of coursework is delivered in sessions that allow participants to collaborate in weekly live video sessions.
AACSB International president and CEO Tom Robinson cited these features in a recent Wall Street Journal report, calling out Smith’s online MBA as a “great example” of a high-touch program that offers intense levels of student interaction and engagement.
The online format also works well for professionals with busy schedules who may need to accomplish their studies at different times throughout the week, who are raising a family or who may anticipate relocating. About 25 percent of students serve in the military or have veteran status, and enrollment includes applicants based abroad and from nearly all parts of the United States. Overall, about 40 percent of students live more than 50 miles from the school’s main campus in College Park, Md.
“What I hear frequently from students is they like the flexibility,” says Smith School online MBA director Danielle Wang. The same goes for professors who teach in the program. They have logged in from Belgium, China, France, Grenada, Iceland, India, Romania, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
U.S. News evaluated online MBA programs on student engagement (28 percent), admissions selectivity (25 percent), peer reputation (25 percent), faculty credentials and training (11 percent) and
student services and technology (11 percent).
Top 10 Online MBA Programs
2017 Best Online MBA Programs, U.S. News & World Report
1 Temple University (Fox)
2 Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
3 Indiana University (Kelley)
4 University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)
5 Arizona State University (Carey)
5 University of Florida (Hough)
7 University of Texas-Dallas
8 Pennsylvania State University
9 University of Maryland (Smith)
10 Arkansas State University
10 Auburn University (Harbert)