Top 6 Online MBA Programs in Australia You Are Actually Likely to Complete

Australia's best online MBA programs are flexible, affordable and help you stay motivated.
Andrew Lancaster

Andrew Lancaster

CONTRIBUTOR

Australia's top online MBAs for 2021 combine academic quality with learning when it suits you. The programs are great for busy people. You can study efficiently, doing quick study sessions when you're alert and free of distractions.

  • An online MBA course offers the same benefits as a campus-based program. It will challenge you intellectually, develop you professionally, and improve your career prospects markedly.
  • The best online MBA programs have extra advantages. They are flexible and provide value for money. And they keep you going by being dynamic and interactive.

You can test an online course by doing 4 initial units, which earns you a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration. Continue the MBA if it's working for you.

Studying for a Master of Business Administration can force you out of a comfort zone and set you on a new learning path. The degree challenges your professional concepts and practices. You're more likely to be considered for leadership positions with an MBA education behind you.
  • Graduates are familiar with leadership, business, and management philosophies. These can be applied to almost any leadership role.
  • Completing an MBA program signals interest and ambition in business development, strategy and management.
Students purposefully examine issues that they may not have considered in depth before. You learn proven strategies and expand your management repertoire.
An MBA is a valuable credential to have on your resume. When you apply for any role that is complex and related to business, an MBA signals you are both capable and prepared to take on challenges. Where recruiters find it difficult to separate job candidates, an MBA can give you a decisive edge. ~ Just Business Today
Video: The shift to online study
Online MBA student smiling The advantages of studying for an MBA degree by distance learning start with choice.
  • You don't have to live near the business school. In fact, you can choose any online business school that will accept you, however far away. The MBA review page you're reading can help you make the best choice.
  • You also don't have to travel to classes – an important time saver for students who want to combine study with work/family responsibilities.
  • Online MBA courses offer flexible scheduling. Digital technology – such as online videos, animated tutorials, message boards and email – means you can work at your own pace. Any real-time aspects of the program, such as video conferencing, are often optional and/or can be completed from anywhere without having to make special arrangements.
  • Online degrees can be accelerated or fast tracked by studying throughout the year. Modern distance learning programs aren't bound to the usual campus schedule (i.e. 2-3 semesters per year, intense exam periods and a long summer break). You can work steadily through a program, finishing each unit quickly before taking a short break and moving onto the next one. Students feel like they are always accomplishing something.
  • Online MBAs are also cheaper than on-campus ones. While universities often set the same tuition fees for online and on-campus courses, business schools specialising in distance education have lower tuition fees generally.

You have multiple pathways available to gain entry into an online MBA program. To do well as an online MBA student, the prerequisites are (i) an ability to study independently (ii) strong motivation and (iii) some professional experience.

University degree

You can be admitted to online MBA courses on the basis of having a university degree. Some programs ask that you have a business degree (BBus, BCom or Graduate Certificate) or at least a degree with a significant maths component.

Note: You will normally be required to have some professional experience as well. After all, it's difficult to relate management theory to practice if you haven't spent much time in a workplace environment.

Professional experience

If you lack a business degree or other relevant university qualification, you can be admitted on the basis of significant professional experience. Some supervisory experience is especially important for gaining entry to MBA programs.

Graduate certificate

A popular way to start MBA studies is with a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration. A grad cert represents the initial 4 units of an MBA. Entry requirements are usually lower.

MBA candidates without a business degree may be required to complete a grad cert before they can join the full MBA program... READ MORE

The CEOs of many of Australia's top companies hold an MBA degree. Here are several examples.

Ron Delia
Ron Delia (Amcor) – MBA (Harvard)

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz
Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz (Mirvac) – MBA (INSEAD)

Scott Charlton
Scott Charlton (Transurban) – MBA (Texas)

Andy Penn (Telstra) – MBA (Kingston)
Andy Penn (Telstra) – MBA (Kingston)

Brad Banducci (Woolworths) – MBA (UNSW)
Brad Banducci (Woolworths) – MBA (UNSW)

Peter Coleman (Woodside) – MBA (Deakin)
Peter Coleman (Woodside) – MBA (Deakin)

Cheapest Online MBA in Australia

Online MBA course

If you don't want to pay too much, Australia's cheapest MBA offers the best value for money. By "cheapest", we mean it is the most affordable good online MBA.

We're not counting "self-paced" MBAs, which offer minimal support and no regular classmates. Completion rates for these kinds of degrees are poor.

We're also excluding MBAs which are just online versions of an on-campus degree. Adapted MBAs are inflexible and often not engaging. Here's what we recommend for genuine value in 2021.

Digital learning can improve student outcomes and affordability, expand access and reduce operational costs for institutions.

~ Inside Higher Ed

Southern Cross University

Southern Cross University (SCU Online) offers an affordable MBA that you do on a modern learning platform. The 100% online program has 6 start points per year and consists of a series of 7-week modules. You can choose the general program or major in: accounting, health services management, information and knowledge management, or managing and leading people. SCU Online programs are built just for distance learning, making for an easy and intuitive online learning experience.

Australia's Top 3 Online MBAs

Business professionals smiling

Online Study Australia presents only the best courses and that's what we've done here. The top 3 online MBA programs share some things in common.

  • The degrees are well priced.
  • The programs are modern, flexible and designed for online study.
  • Students benefit from advanced digital learning and communication technologies.
  • Assessment is continuous instead of exam-based.

The top ranking MBA programs are ideal if you want to study business administration in an efficient, time-saving manner. Plus you'll earn a respected qualification at the end.

James Cook University

Just about everything you could want in an online MBA program is offered by James Cook University. As you'd expect, the affordable program runs year-round – allowing you to finish quicker or, if you want, take a break at any time of year. Students focus on 1 unit at a time, which allows study to be combined with full-time employment. You're also assigned a Student Success Advisor and can access everything you need via LearnJCU. The program offers the choice of 3 concentration areas: global perspective and strategy, data management and analytics, and organisational leadership.

Ducere Global Business School

Ducere Global Business School has been running an excellent online MBA program for a number of years. Graduates receive an MBA degree from the Business School's university partner, Torrens University Australia. The program has strong claims to be Australia's best. Professional development revolves around doing real online projects in small teams.

You develop applied skills and form online connections with Australian businesses. The program provides a better learning model for mature-age students who: (a) want to develop real skills and (b) don't want to waste time on academic exams. Completion rates are fantastic, showing just how much students enjoy the activities.

University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide’s online MBA brings the best of both worlds. You benefit from the experience, knowledge and insights of the prestigious Adelaide Business School. At the same time, students are afforded all the modern conveniences, such as 100% online study, 6-week teaching blocks, interactive learning opportunities and dedicated online support.

The curriculum is well thought out and rigorous. Students gain the tools to be able to confidently run a company, studying topics such as leadership, finance, marketing, innovation and entrepreneurship. Specialist streams are also available in the fields of health management and information technology.

Become a Responsible Leader

Responsible consultative leader

MBA studies give you the opportunity to develop your ability to be a responsible leader. Responsible leadership is about looking outward – beyond just narrow, short-term goals.

Key themes in responsible leadership are (i) considering all stakeholders, from customers through to regulators and the general public (ii) establishing business practices that are sustainable and (iii) having a global mindset.

Doing an MBA program gives you the mental space, and the conceptual and applied frameworks, to develop as a responsible leader. Students learn how to make decisions with big-picture considerations in mind.

We created our organisations to serve us (not the other way around) and they are the primary vehicle we have for changing the world for the better. If they are to help us meet the challenges we face as a global society, organisations must act responsibly – be a force for good.

~ Grahame Broadbelt

Griffith MBA (Responsible Leadership)

An excellent way to learn responsible leadership is with the 100% online MBA offered by Griffith University. The 12-unit program has core values of responsible leadership, sustainable business practice and global orientation. It will help you develop a modern, progressive leadership style. The flexible MBA can be studied part-time, year-round. A graduate certificate (4 units) is also available within the program. Subjects include economics, finance, marketing, integrated accounting, people, strategy, and doing business across the Asia-Pacific region.

UK MBAs for Australians on a Budget

Cheap, budget MBA

Did you know that it's possible for Australians to do an online MBA with a UK university? The degrees are cheaper than their Australian counterparts and potentially bring greater career value. What's more, you get study support that's based in Australia.

You can earn a 100% online MBA degree from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David or the University of East London. In each case, the cost is about half that for a similar Aussie MBA program.

A British MBA qualification could be a great addition to your CV. You'll also be able to promote the fact that you will have done an online industry project with a leading company or organisation in the UK.

Masters degrees in the UK are highly regarded by employers. They are also popular among international students, indicating the UK's globally-recognised strength in this area... this extra higher-level qualification shows your ability to commit to an intense period of work.

~ Prospects

University of Wales Trinity Saint David MBA

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David is offering a 100% online MBA to people based in Australia. The program is highly affordable and includes a loan facility.

The MBA course is delivered in partnership with Melbourne-based Ducere Global Business School. Each student has the opportunity to do real project work with a leading company or other organisation from the UK. Key topics include global business challenges, HR management, marketing and financial management, digital entrepreneurship, and strategy. Assessment is regular and is done without traditional exams.

University of East London Executive MBA

Here's a way to simultaneously build new skills, advance your career, impress your friends, save time and save money. In partnership with Ducere Global Business School, the University of East London is offering an Executive MBA for students living in Australia. The 100% online program consists of 5 subjects and an industry project, and takes just 12 months to complete. Tuition fees are highly competitive and part scholarships are available. The program is open to students with a bachelor degree or extensive management experience.

MBA Courses for Technology Managers

Technology managers discussion

Specialist online MBA degrees are available for technology managers. The programs are ideal for (a) general managers who oversee technology work and (b) IT professionals advancing into leadership and executive roles.

MBAs for technology managers limit the amount of technical content. As with other MBA courses, the goal is to produce graduates with flexible leadership and business management skills.

The great advantage of doing an MBA, rather than an IT masters, is that the degree opens unlimited career opportunities. An MBA is a general leadership qualification.

An MBA builds professional confidence in IT leaders. You enhance problem-solving skills that help you push through all kinds of challenging situations... Many IT professionals use their MBA as a springboard into senior roles that pay more and offer higher income potential.

~ John Edwards

UNE MBA (Data and Cyber Management)

One of the most industry-relevant MBA degrees is available from Australia's leading online university, the University of New England. UNE's online MBA with a specialisation in Data and Cyber Management prepares managers for executive roles that may include data and security leadership. The 12-unit program covers topics such as global cyber security, big data, the cyber mindset, digital operations and project management, and leadership in practice. Students complete a relevant industry project organised by UNE's education partner, Ducere Global Business School.