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U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School's online MBA No. 1

January 07, 2015

U.S. News & World Report has ranked the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School's MBA@UNC program No. 1 in its first ranking of online MBA programs.

"We created MBA@UNC to provide access to a world-class program for people for whom coming to campus isn't a viable option," said Douglas Shackelford, dean of UNC Kenan-Flagler and the first associate dean of MBA@UNC. "It is a new model of online education based on UNC's tradition of excellence, innovation and access."

"MBA@UNC provides an in-person program offered online, combining maximum flexibility without compromising the quality of the classroom experience," said Susan Cates (MBA '98), executive director of MBA@UNC. "Our students are high-potential working professionals who want to earn a world-class MBA from wherever they are in the world without leaving their jobs or moving."

UNC Kenan-Flagler launched MBA@UNC on July 4, 2011, and today more than 630 students are enrolled. They represent 47 states and 35 countries, including Australia, Azerbaijan, Columbia, India, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, United Arab Emirates, U.K. and across the United States.

"When we announced our plans for MBA@UNC in 2010, we pledged to offer the same quality as our other top-ranked MBA programs: the same world-class faculty, rigorous curriculum and selective admissions standards," said Sridhar Balasubramanian, associate dean of both MBA@UNC and the full-time MBA Program. "Today we are proud that MBA@UNC is recognized for excellence with this No. 1 ranking."

"Our students' commitment to their education, their engagement with the School and their career success are remarkable," said Cates. "They have earned promotions, taken new jobs, made career changes, and moved across the United States or around the globe while enrolled at UNC Kenan-Flagler."

MBA@UNC blends the flexibility of an online program with intensively interactive experiences and the rigor and quality of an on-campus program.

  • Self-paced or asynchronous class sessions cover material taught in a typical lecture. They include original, broadcast-quality video segments, self-paced lectures, interactive case studies and collaborative activities that foster teamwork. Students have access to the content 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • During live or synchronous class sessions, a professor and a cohort of 10-15 students meet in an online classroom at prearranged dates and times. Live, streaming video allow students and professors to see and hear each other as they analyze and discuss course topics in real time, all of which are recorded so students can revisit them, even after they complete courses. Classes are scheduled to accommodate students in multiple time zones. The technology platform also enables live office hours, student-led study groups, group simulations, negotiation exercises and projects.
  • At the end of every quarter, students and professors attend face-to-face electives called Global Immersions at different locations around the world. To date, immersions have been held in San Francisco, London, São Paulo, Singapore, Chicago, Istanbul, Mumbai, New York, Johannesburg and, every December, Chapel Hill.

To deliver MBA@UNC, UNC Kenan-Flagler collaborates with technology partner 2U Inc., which provides an advanced online learning platform and support for students and faculty. 2U is a leading provider of cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions for leading nonprofit colleges and universities to deliver high-quality education to qualified students anywhere.

MBA@UNC tied with online programs at Indiana University and Temple University for the No. 1 spot in the U.S. News ranking. U.S. News ranked programs on five categories:

  • Student engagement (weighted 28 percent) which includes course participation, opportunities to interact with professors and classmates, and accessible and responsive faculty focused on create a rewarding experience
  • Admissions selectivity (25 percent)
  • Peer reputation (25 percent) based on a survey of high-ranking academic officials at MBA programs
  • Faculty credentials and training how to teach distance learners (11 percent)
  • Student services and technology (11 percent) which includes diverse online learning technologies that allow greater flexibility for students and strong support structures that provide learning assistance, career guidance and financial aid resources