The number of Australians studying an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) leapt more than 15% from 2020 to 2021 as young executives looked for ways to make them stand out in a tough job market or simply provide something to do during long lockdowns.
New data sourced from the Australian Government’s Department of Education shows there was a 15.8% increase in the number of domestic students studying for an online with a total of 8,870 domestic students enrolled in 2021, compared to 7,662 in 2020.
The number of internal students studying an online MBA leapt 121% to 4,592 as providers switched students into the online space after many were locked out due to border closures.
The total number of students studying an MBA, including online, on-campus and hybrid teaching modes jumped 5% to 14,524.
While 2022 data enrolment data is not available it is expected to show a small decline in the number of students studying an MBA as economies around the world began to move on from the pandemic and labour shortages in developed countries began to emerge.
International data, compiled by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) shows total applications to graduate business schools dipped in 2022 from their pandemic highs, slipping 3.4 percent year-on-year among a matched sample of programs.
This comes after application volumes increased 2.4 percent year-on-year in 2020 amid the start of the pandemic and sustained that level of demand in 2021, when schools reported a 0.4 percent year-on-year increase.
Australia's 20 Biggest Online MBA Programs
The rankings of Australia';s 20 biggest online MBA programs was largely unchanged from 2020, with the Australian Institute of Business (AIB) reporting 1,717 enrolments, AGSM@ UNSW reporting 923 enrolments and Deakin University reporting 664 enrolments.
Melbourne's RMIT University was the big mover, jumping three places into fourth after enrolments increased from 340 in 2020 to 576 in 2021. Torrens University also fared well, increasing online enrolments nearly 70% to 576 students.
Australian Institute of Business (AIB) CEO Jo Thomas it was wonderful to see domestic students once more turning to an MBA as a strategy to futureproof their career during uncertain economic times.
"The demand for online learning surged during COVID out of necessity but we are now seeing students embracing good quality online education and realising that it is not a poor substitute for on-campus education at all," she said.