BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — For the second straight year, the Kelley Direct Online MBA program at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business is ranked No. 1 by Poets&Quants, a leading news site about business education.
Kelley Direct has held the No. 1 position three times since Poets&Quants launched their ranking seven years ago and has always placed in the top five. That consistent record of quality also was highlighted in Poets&Quants’ decision to name Kelley Direct the MBA Program of the Year two years ago.
Created in 1999, Kelley Direct is the original online MBA program from a top-tier business school. The program is uniquely designed in how it serves the needs of working professionals. Earlier this year, Kelley Direct was ranked No.1 by U.S. News & World Report – for a second straight year – as well as No. 1 by the Princeton Review for the sixth consecutive year.
This latest recognition for Kelley Direct is yet another affirmation of its faculty and staff’s constant efforts to innovate and put students first, said Ash Soni, dean of the Kelley School and The SungKyunKwan Professor.
“Nearly 25 years after we set the standard in online MBA education, we’re still leading the way,” Soni said. “Our faculty and staff are 100 percent invested in creating momentum for our students and continue to push the boundaries of what an online MBA should be. We are very proud of Kelley Direct’s legacy of excellence.”
This year, 51 business schools worldwide participated in the rankings, which are based on three equally weighted factors: the quality of incoming students, an assessment of the MBA experience by graduates and career outcomes of alumni.
In addition to the top overall ranking, Kelley Direct ranked No. 1 in the admissions category for the third straight year. It also placed second in academic experience and 10th in career outcomes. The program is focused on providing the best overall MBA experience, offering an online MBA experience that doesn’t feel like an online program.
“Kelley Direct offers personal touches more common to full-time, residential MBA programs. We are always looking for ways students can connect with one another and with our faculty and staff, as if they were here on campus, learning in person full-time,” said Will Geoghegan, chair of Kelley Direct and clinical associate professor of management and entrepreneurship.
“For example, we offer weekly virtual live class sessions, global and domestic immersions tailored to online MBA students, and career services and coaching specifically for advanced career professionals – program elements many other online MBA programs can’t or don’t replicate,” Geoghegan said.
In its article accompanying the rankings, Poets&Quants’ editors noted several features that differentiated Kelley Direct from its competitors, including affordability, its facilities such as the $10 million Jellison Studios, and that the program is taught entirely by full-time Kelley faculty who work with the Kelley instructional design team to deliver coursework.
Poets&Quants also praised Kelley Direct’s in-person, immersive experiences. They include Kelley On Campus, which involves a live case that enables students to apply what they’re learning in a real-world setting that also benefits a real client, and Kelley On Location, which “takes students on an industry deep-dive to various cities.” Kelley Direct students can choose from more than a dozen optional global or domestic trips. Next year, the program will introduce Kelley On Innovation, a new immersion opportunity focused on entrepreneurship.
“Throughout our 25-year history in an ever-increasing, hyper-competitive market, we’ve been at the forefront of online education,” said Sarah Wanger, the program’s executive director. “We believed then, and still do so today, that an online MBA should be delivered as a first-class preference and have designed every aspect of our program to emulate the best aspects of an MBA experience, no matter the modality.”
Poets&Quants, one of five education websites operated by C-Change Media, was founded and is led by John A. Byrne, former executive editor of Businessweek and former editor-in-chief of Fast Company. He created the first regularly published rankings of business schools. In April 2023, Poets&Quants was acquired by London-based Times Higher Education.