U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Online MBA program at the University of Delaware’s Lerner College #26 in its 2019 Best Online MBA Programs list, placing UD’s program in the top ten percent of ranked schools. This is a jump of 46 spots from the program’s 2016 U.S. News & World Report ranking of #72.
Since its establishment in 2013, the UD Online MBA program has seen rapid growth not just in rankings, but in enrollment. For the fall 2018 semester, enrollment hit 357 students.
“Our program has seen explosive growth this past year,” said Jack Baroudi, a professor and senior associate dean for academic programs. “The number of students has doubled from the prior year, and the quality of the applicants has been outstanding.”
Lerner College Dean Bruce Weber explained that the Online MBA program “has become UD’s largest graduate program by enrollment. It continues to grow and innovate through the efforts of Lerner faculty and our Graduate & Executive Programs office headed by Jack Baroudi.
“With expanding competition, we have established ourselves in the top decile of accredited programs,” Weber continued, adding that in recent years, publications like U.S. News & World Report have “enhanced their methodologies and expanded the factors considered in their rankings,” making such rankings increasingly credible and useful for prospective students.
The rankings are also significant, Baroudi said, “because they measure the quality of the program by looking at the faculty, students, admission policies, curriculum, student services and the achievements of our graduates. These are all areas to which we pay close attention. Student success is our top priority.”
In this area, the UD Online MBA program focuses on delivering real change in the careers of its graduates. For the class of 2017, for example, 66% of students either changed careers or received promotions from the time they started the program to within 4 months of graduation.
So how does the program deliver results like this?
“Most importantly, we are AACSB accredited and our faculty who teach in the program are Ph.D. qualified, with extensive experience in studying contemporary business issues,” Baroudi said. “Many work as consultants and advisors to major corporations. They are constantly updating their courses to reflect the changing needs of business. Our faculty teach in both our on-campus and online programs and work hard to create an engaging learning environment.”
Further, Baroudi added that the program partners each instructor with an instructional designer who is an expert “in how to design and deliver an online course in the most effective and engaging way. We work hard to make certain that our curriculum is preparing our students to be leaders in their chosen fields.”
Online MBA student Jennifer Merrill said that she certainly feels she is being prepared for new challenges. As a mid-career professional, she said that she chose the UD Online MBA to find new approaches to these challenges, and to round out her technical knowledge with stronger business development, management and administration skills.
“The coursework has been challenging and diverse, including accounting, business leadership, finance, and corporate governance,” Merrill said. “From team building to managing books, the breadth of fields and topics has been refreshing and rewarding.”
Merrill also said that she appreciates the flexibility of the online course structure, as well as the accessibility of the faculty members.
“The courses and team projects have provided me with new tools to examine and resolve management situations, budget scenarios, and invigorate my leadership,” she said. “The online MBA has been an excellent use of my time and resources, and will be an important contributor to my career—and that’s even before graduation.”
Fellow student Krista Burke agreed, calling her UD Online MBA experience “both challenging and rewarding.”
“My favorite thing about the UD Online MBA program was the courses that gave me the opportunity to view perspectives from those with diverse backgrounds,” Burke said. “I am a full-time working parent of two children, and the convenience of the online format has also proved invaluable.”
What’s next for the future of the UD Online MBA? Baroudi said: “We are adding more faculty to our programs and increasing the number of concentrations and majors we offer. Our goal is always to make certain that our students are successful, whether this means moving into a more senior role in their current organization or changing careers altogether.”