Online MBA programs have not always been praised by top employers. The early iterations of online learning were seen as second-rate to campus degrees, but this perception is fading as technology improves online student engagement.
Online MBAs are seen to be a good fit for the future of work, with the coronavirus pandemic driving a shift to remote or hybrid work. And Covid-19 is also spurring an online learning revolution as campuses are closed through lockdowns.
Online MBA students are more likely to receive employer funding than full-time candidates because they study part-time, so they do not need to leave their job to learn. They can apply what they learn directly into the workplace, benefiting their employer handsomely. And many business schools will support students in making a compelling business case for employer funding.
However, corporate sponsorship can come with strings attached, usually a contract to stay at the company for a fixed period of time or having to pay back the firm in full. This may not be a concern for many Online MBA students, some of whom are usually looking to accelerate their career inside their current company. For those looking for career mobility, however, self-funding the MBA may be the best bet.
But for those seeking a potentially free MBA paid for through employer funding, here is a list of the top 10 schools to consider:
The world renowned UC Davis Graduate School of Management in America runs an Online MBA. As many as two in three students historically receive employer support, though this figure has dropped since the global financial crisis of 2008. However, many students do still receive support.View School Profile
A fair chunk of students from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland are from the military, which is one of the top funders of MBA degrees. The Smith School of Business in the US runs a respected Online MBA that is ranked highly by US News & World Report.View School Profile
At Imperial College Business School in the UK, many companies want to invest in their employees’ success, from a wide variety of industries. Imperial in London’s Online MBA was recently ranked as the best in Britain and second in the world in the QS Online MBA rankings 2020.View School Profile
Multinational organizations and management consulting firms sponsor students at ESMT Berlin in the German capital city. ESMT recently launched a hybrid online and on campus MBA with some employers offering to pay full fees or offer partial tuition coverage.View School Profile
Some employers will pay for students at Warwick Business School to do an Online MBA. Such students strengthen their case by presenting a range of short- and long-term benefits linked to current business activity. Warwick has been the best provider of Online MBAs for several years, according to the ranking produced by the Financial Times.View School Profile
Hult, with campuses across the world, offers an Online MBA program that is affordable, convenient and immersive. That helps its students sell the benefits to their employers, some of whom are willing to foot the entire or partial bill for the tuition fees. Hult has even written a handy guide for how to make a compelling business case for sponsorship.View School Profile
In the UK, Durham offers a well ranked Online MBA program that accelerates the career of managers. The course is affordable, and students do seek financial support from their employers if they can demonstrate a commitment to stay with the firm and put their newfound knowledge into practice.View School Profile
At this distance learning specialist, employers often contribute towards the MBA study fees. And the OU, of the UK, has a free interactive tool that helps students develop a personalized, compelling business cases for their employer. The OU’s is one of the best budget MBA courses in Europe.View School Profile
At UCL, many Online MBA students will be funded by their employer. And the leading UK academic institution will support them, through offering an admissions advisor to help make the sponsorship process as seamless as possible. UCL also has compelling data on the return on investment students should expect from the Online MBA.View School Profile
UNC’s Online MBA program is one of the highest ranked in the world by the FT. Some students at the school in the US do secure employer sponsorship, and UNC encourages everyone to ask. The school has created a resource guide for negotiating financial aid terms as well.View School Profile