By Liz Warren-Pederson
The Eller MBA ranked No. 29 among 196 programs nationally, according to U.S. News and World Report’s survey of 2015 Best Online Graduate MBA Programs, out today.
This marks the first year of eligibility in the ranking for the Eller College of Management, which launched its online MBA program in September 2013. The first graduating class walked in December 2014, with students traveling from Wisconsin, Texas, and California to celebrate their achievement on campus at the University of Arizona.
“Just one year into our launch, we’re already among the top 30 programs nationally,” said Hope Schau, associate dean of MBA programs at the Eller College of Management. “We’re proud of this accomplishment – which is a tribute to the quality of our faculty and our students – but we are also focused on continuous improvement for the best student experience possible.”
The Eller online MBA is unique in its offering of six start dates each year, allowing maximum flexibility for the working professionals the program was designed to serve. The most recent class began on January 5; the next start is March 2.
“We constantly strive to incorporate student and faculty feedback,” explained Paige Bausman, director of the Eller online MBA program. “We just launched concentration areas so that students can customize their graduate education. Now we have options in finance, management and organizations, management information systems, and marketing, and we plan to add more down the line.”
Ofek Devinney, who traveled to Tucson from Wisconsin for her December convocation from the Eller online MBA program, also holds a Ph.D. in toxicology and works for a Fortune 500 company. “I definitely got a lot out of the program,” she said. “The online community Eller has created is so welcoming, and the professors are excellent. They are very accommodating and responsive.”
Jeff Schatzberg, dean of the Eller College of Management, has taught accounting in the Eller MBA for 21 years. When the online MBA launched in 2013, it was a natural for him to add the new platform to his teaching, which has also included the full-time, evening, and executive programs. “While each program is structured a bit differently, the end result is the same,” he said. “The students are across-the-board great, and those who are working professionals make their platform decision on what fits best into their lives.” Many of the online students, for example, have demanding travel schedules that make attending the weekly or twice-monthly Eller evening and executive MBA commitments tough to manage.
Some 65 percent of students currently enrolled in the Eller online MBA program are based in Arizona, and the remaining percentage is divided among 13 states, including California, New York, Florida, Indiana, and Washington. The Eller online MBA joins the Eller evening MBA program, ranked No. 25, and the Eller full-time MBA program, ranked No. 48, in being recognized by U.S. News and World Report among the best graduate management programs in the country.
Top photo of newly-minted Eller MBA Ofek Devinney, pictured with associate professor of marketing Jesper Nielsen (left) and Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics Price Fishback (right).