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Rankings Methodology

Many top MBAs lead graduates to a world of opportunity. They can also leave graduates with a massive debt load (one of the highest averages of any graduate degree types). Of top 20 MBA programs in the nation, graduates who are employed three months after graduation enjoy salaries of over $100,000 on average. At these same schools, the average student debt load is also over $100,000. While this is often a good trade off and many students are readily able to balance student loan debt in the coming years, we know that many students already have work and life challenges to balance with their education. With our particular focus on online business degrees, we’ve taken a unique methodology for our rankings, looking at some of the elements that most affect online business students. Our central focus: value.

What Value Means to us

  • Programs that help students to not have to choose between a degree and high debt loads.
  • Programs that support online and non-traditional students particularly well.
  • Programs where students receive large amounts of personalized attention.
  • Programs with well-regarded and highly trained faculty.


  • Affordability (1/3):
    • Average indebtedness of program graduates in the last calendar year.
    • Percentage of graduates who needed to take on student loan debt.
  • Support Services (1/3):
    • Online-specific flexibility, accessibility and support measures for online and non-traditional students
  • Quality Classes (1/3):
    • The average class size
    • The percentage of faculty with terminal degrees in their field