Enrolling in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program might not always be super easy or straightforward, especially if you don’t meet the admission requirements. Business schools that offer MBA degrees often expect students to have between 2 and 5 years of relevant work experience, and, in some cases, even more.
Other common requirements are above average results in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
But if you want to apply for an online MBA program, are the expectations just as high? What kind of scores would allow you to study at the best American business schools? Poets & Quants have released their annual top online MBA ranking, and these are some of the most important findings:
Average GMAT scores for top online MBA programs
- Average GMAT score at Baylor University: 687
- Average GMAT score at University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill: 677
- Average GMAT score at Carnegie Mellon University: 671
- Average GMAT score at Creighton University: 670
- Average GMAT score at Indiana University: 650
Overall, while GMAT scores are still relevant, many universities — especially those offering online MBAs — see them as secondary admission criteria. As a consequence, there are various ways to skip this test, which allow students to focus on other aspects of their university application.
Average GRE scores for top online MBA programs
- Average GRE score at Carnegie Mellon University: 324
- Average GRE score at Kennesaw State University: 322.5
- Average GRE score at University of Cincinnati: 320
- Average GRE score at Indiana University: 315
- Average GRE score at University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill: 314
GRE is in line with GMAT, at least in terms of losing popularity as an admission factor for online MBAs. For example, at the 42 business schools (in the Poet & Quants ranking) that accept GRE scores, the percentage of students who actually submitted a GRE score was around 11.6%.
Average GPA scores for top online MBA programs
- Average GPA score at Worcester Polytechnic Institute: 3.54
- Average GPA score at University of Texas-Dallas: 3.48
- Average GPA score at University of Michigan-Dearborn: 3.46
- Average GPA score at University of Massachusetts-Lowell: 3.45
- Average GPA score at University of Arizona: 3.45
Unsurprisingly, the Grade Point Average (GPA) scores are still relevant and remain one of the most important admission factors. Why? Because anyone who’s studied at a university before knows that maintaining a great GPA isn’t exactly easy.
Not anyone can do it, it takes a lot of discipline, perseverance, and balance between the courses you take (if you get to choose). This is why business schools still hold GPA scores in high regard.
Best online MBA programs – Poets & Quants 2021 ranking
To create this ranking, Poets & Quants have used 3 main criteria: admission standards, academic experience, and career outcomes. They collected data from surveys taken by both online MBA graduates and program administrators.
- Online MBA at Kelly School of Business – Indiana University
- Online MBA at Tepper School of Business – Carnegie Mellon University
- Online MBA at Marshall School of Business – University of Southern California
- Online MBA at George Washington University
- Online MBA at Kenan-Flagler Business School – University of North Carolina
- Online MBA at Lehigh University
- Online MBA at Villanova University
- Online MBA at Auburn University
- Online MBA at Foster School of Business – University of Washington
- Online MBA at Leavey School of Business – Santa Clara University
Tuition fees for these top-ranked online MBA programs range from 35,500 to over 120,000 USD per academic year. The most affordable MBA is the one offered by the Auburn University (35,375 USD/year), while the most expensive one is the online program from Carnegie Mellon University (141,320 USD/year).
You can learn more about each top university offering online MBAs on the official Poets & Quants website.
- GMAT and GRE scores are slowly becoming secondary admission criteria for online MBA programs. This was the case even before the current pandemic, which, of course, has reinforced their secondary status.
- GPAs remain a key factor in the admission process due to their ability to highlight a student’s previous academic achievements and abilities.
- To enroll in one of the best online MBAs offered by American universities, expect to pay at least 50,000 USD, with tuition fees easily jumping higher than 70,000 USD per academic year.