World Class Faculty & Research / September 9, 2014

Online MBA Climbs Fast in Rankings

New Program at UMD’s Smith School Debuts at No. 4

Less than one year after its January 2014 launch, the Online MBA at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business has earned a top-five ranking from a national publication. The blended program, which caters to working professionals, debuted at No. 4 in “The Definitive Guide to Online MBAs,” published by Poets & Quants in August 2014.

“I have been blown away by the interaction you receive with faculty,” said Smith Online MBA student James Cannon, chief operating officer at Farr, Miller & Washington in Washington, D.C. “You are able to interact with them almost as if you are sitting across the table with them.”

Ashley Roffe, another Smith Online MBA student who manages CSX railroad operations in New York, said participants also learn from each other. “Pretty much every class will have at least one team project,” she said. “You interact with your classmates a lot.”

The Poets & Quants report, based on interviews and website data, rewarded U.S. programs designed with the same rigor as traditional MBAs. “The higher up the list you go, the more likely it is that the online option is as close a replica as you might get if you were on campus,” Poets & Quants writes in its introduction. “It is far more likely to be taught by the same full-time faculty and to include all the business basics.”

Besides offering a core curriculum similar to Smith’s full-time and part-time programs, the Online MBA allows students to specialize in accounting, information systems and business analytics, finance, marketing or a general track.

The majority of the 21-month program is taught online using a blended format that combines asynchronous coursework with live weekly sessions. Students also participate in a three-day residency at the start of the program in College Park, Md., and then return before graduation for a three-day capstone residency.

Gary Cohen, assistant dean in Smith’s Office of Executive Programs, said the flexible format appeals to managers who want to keep their jobs while earning an MBA. The program also works well for military personnel who do not always know where they will be stationed next.

“Different educational formats work best for different kinds of learners,” Cohen said. “As the market changes and new technology emerges, Smith will continue to innovate to deliver quality education for nontraditional students looking for blended and distance learning options.”


From Poets & Quants, “The Definitive Guide to Online MBAs (2014)”




1. Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

32 months

15 “Access Weekends”

2. UNC (Kenan-Flagler)

18-36 mos.

Quarterly 3-day immersions

3. Indiana (Kelley)

24-60 mos.

2 weeks on-campus

4. Maryland (Smith)

21 months

2 three-day residencies

5. Penn State (World Campus)

24 months

2 weeklong residencies

For more information about the program, go to or contact an enrollment adviser at 1-877-807-8741.

Related Video: 
August 21, 2014: Gary Cohen talks with Maryland Public Television about Smith's Online MBA Program.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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