Australia’s 25 Biggest Online MBA Programs Revealed

The number of students studying an MBA remotely exploded by more than 25% in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, as university campuses shut down and providers were forced to switch students to digital learning platforms.

New data from the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DETE) shows there were 14,506 students enrolled in an MBA in 2020 and studying either fully online or via hybrid model of online and in-class teaching. In 2019, there was 10,737 students studying online. Enrolment data for 2021 is due later this year.

The vast majority of business schools reported a big increase in the number of online students with Kaplan Business School increasing their online enrolments by 58% from 895 students to  2,149 students. Torrens increased online enrolments by 25% and AGSM @ UNSW grew 30%.

The forced shift to online learning in 2020 also resulted in corporate recruiters abandoning their historical bias toward classroom-taught graduate management programs.

The Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) Corporate Recruiters Survey showed a significant jump in the number of recruiters who view online programs as equal to those taught in the classroom.

The report explores the state of employer demand for graduate business school talent (MBA and business master’s degree recipients) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and includes responses from nearly 1,000 corporate recruiters and staffing firms around the world.

One of the report’s key findings was that corporate recruiters appear to be becoming more accepting of online degrees – with the exception of the United States.

The percentage of global recruiters who view graduates of online and in-person programs equally increased from 34 percent in 2021 to 60 percent in 2022, suggesting a significant growth in the acceptance of online programs.

The Top 25 Online MBA Programs In Australia

The data also revealed the top 25 online/hybrid MBA programs by the number of enrolments with the Australian Institute of Business (AIB) retaining its spot as the most popular online MBA program with 2,213 enrolments. The total number of MBA enrollments at AIB fell slightly from 2,262 the year before.

Kaplan Business School was second with 2,149 (2019: 895), Torrens University was third with 1,573 (2019: 1,176) students, AGSM @ UNSW was fourth with 867 (2019: 603) and Deakin University rounded out the top 5 with 861 (2019: 807) students.

AIB CEO Jo Thomas said the organisation’s investments in online learning over many years had left it well prepared for the pandemic.

“As an ‘online first’ provider we were very fortunate that when the pandemic hit, unlike other traditional institutions making the quick rush to remote learning, we could spend that time perfecting our capabilities and offering,” Jo said.

“As the demand to differentiate in the employment market grows, so too will the demand for online MBA education. Exciting times are ahead for all online institutions.”



Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (