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Online MBA Programs from Ivy League Universities | A Review

Ivy League Universities offer online MBA programs to students.

Online MBA programs offer many benefits, especially in their flexibility with your schedule. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) prepares you to lead a business, start a company, or perform other managerial or executive tasks at important organizations. MBA degrees are valued across industries as excellent credentials for those in the business world.

Meanwhile, earning a degree from an Ivy League university is widely seen as a mark of academic and social excellence. Therefore, many recent college graduates and working professionals want to know whether they can earn an online MBA from an Ivy League school, combining the best scenarios for the ultimate education.

This page breaks down available online MBA programs from Ivy League universities. It will also explore why Ivy League degrees are so desirable and how to find online MBA programs at these schools.

What Are Ivy League Universities?

Eight private universities, mainly located in the northeastern US, make up the Ivy League. These colleges originally partnered when their sports teams competed against one another in the American Collegiate Athletic Conference. Over time, this group of schools — partially because of their founding dates and partially because of their reputations — gradually accumulated more prestige.

Today, the Ivy League group of universities holds the distinction of the best schools in America. There are competing universities in foreign countries, such as Oxford University in the UK. Still, the Ivy League represents the best of the best in college education for many Americans.

The eight schools included in the Ivy League are:

  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth University
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • The University of Pennsylvania
  • Yale University

These schools certainly have academic merit. For example, according to US News and World Report, Princeton University has been ranked the best university 11 times. Harvard and Princeton have also been ranked the best university several times.

The Prestige of the Ivy League

The Ivy League schools are desirable for a number of reasons. In many ways, the notion of momentum has improved each school’s reputation beyond what one would normally see.

In a nutshell, many call the Ivy League the best schools. This encouraged more talent and academic experts to work for these schools, making them even better than before. Donations poured into the universities, allowing them to improve their campuses. This, in turn, drew more talent to the schools and so on.

Today, Ivy League schools are still high-quality educational organizations. Many famous individuals have attended an Ivy League university, including several US presidents, senators, and CEOs. Thus, Ivy League degrees act as an indicator of excellence.

Indeed, many people go to an Ivy League school not for the quality of the education but for the social opportunities they hold. Ivy League schools, one should note, do not necessarily provide a better education than other colleges. However, their other benefits make them go-to choices for many young professionals seeking greater opportunities in their lives.

Benefits of Attending Ivy League Schools Online

Ivy League schools offer several practical and intangible benefits to those who attend them. That’s why many want to attend these universities at any cost. Below we examine some of these benefits for you.

Great Academic Value

For starters, the Ivy League universities don’t lack academic rigor and excellence. These schools draw the best professors from around the world. Even if they didn’t offer quality pay, professors would still want to work at these locations because of their reputations.

Therefore, students who attend MBA programs at Ivy League schools can expect quality educations that are difficult to match. They’ll learn from the best and, in theory, be well prepared for their own business endeavors. Additionally, the Ivy League universities draw top talent in terms of students.

Those who attend MBA programs at Ivy League schools will have the opportunity to collaborate with students just as bright as they are. This is a big draw for many top 1% students.

Networking Opportunities

Perhaps more importantly, Ivy League educations offer unparalleled networking opportunities. A significant advantage of attending an Ivy League school is meeting and fraternizing with other very intelligent people.

More than that, the Ivy League schools draw people from the upper class across industries. Politicians, CEOs, and innovators of all types pursue their education at these universities.

Additionally, they frequently send their children to Ivy League schools to ensure their educations are also top-tier.

Young professionals, aspiring startup entrepreneurs, and everyone in-between meet and mingles at Ivy League schools. When one attends an MBA program at Harvard or Princeton, they don’t just get a top-tier education. They also get the opportunity to find a future business partner whose family or other associates can provide funding, ideas, and more.

The networking opportunities available at Ivy League schools are better than those found anywhere else.

Starting Salary Advantages

Having a degree from an Ivy League school is often enough to secure a higher than average starting salary for one’s profession. For example, if a student studies business administration and earns an MBA, they may apply for an executive position at a local company. The company could offer graduates a higher salary even if they don’t have experience just because their degree comes from Harvard.

That’s because many individuals believe, rightly or wrongly, that an Ivy League education is superior to other college educations. Students who attend and graduate from Ivy League schools often earn more money over their lifetimes as well.

Note that this advantage also extends into securing employment in general. Graduates from Ivy League schools often have an easier time obtaining interviews for competitive positions. Once interviewed, they may even get the job ahead of otherwise better-qualified candidates. Again, the interviewer or hiring company may bank on the quality of an Ivy League education above all else.

Extra Career Resources

On top of all those benefits, Ivy League schools have extra advantages. They frequently offer additional career and educational resources to their graduates. These include expert advisors, internship opportunities, and more.

All in all, attending an Ivy League school is a way to get a head start in one’s field or profession relative to the competition. The right Ivy League school can ensure that an aspiring entrepreneur or CEO has every opportunity to succeed.

Do Ivy League Schools Offer Online MBAs?

Not usually.

Ivy League schools are highly exclusive institutions. While online education is flexible and affordable for many, it contradicts the personalized and social experience these universities have built their reputations on.

Online education for top programs like MBAs isn’t in the cards for most Ivy League schools. They believe that much of their value stems from the in-person learning experiences and socializing students go through at their campuses.

That said, many Ivy League schools offer alternative online programs or classes. Many of these universities also offer online credentials or certificate programs. These enable professionals to bolster their resumes or learn specific skills without pursuing full degrees. See our GetEducated article about certificates.

Why Don’t Most Ivy League Schools Offer Online MBAs?

It all stems from the Ivy League social experience. Lots of people attend Ivy League schools for the opportunity to meet others on campus. Plenty of important business, political, or other social partnerships began on the campuses of Ivy League schools.

This is not possible if you take an online MBA program. Even in a cohort-style program, where one’s classmates stay the same throughout the program, the social experience is different.

Because of these differences, it’s unlikely that Ivy League schools will offer online MBA degrees in the future. That could change as educational trends shift. But most students will be better off pursuing online MBAs from other universities.

Best Online MBA Programs from Ivy League Universities

So, are there any available online MBA programs from an Ivy League school? It turns out, yes, but only from one: Brown University.

Brown University offers an online MBA-style program that isn’t exactly the same as its traditional MBA program. For this reason, many call it the Executive MBA. This truncated and streamlined MBA program offers many of the same benefits as a traditional MBA experience. However, it also has several significant differences.

While other Ivy League schools offer executive MBAs similar to this program, they are not available online. At this writing, Brown University is the only Ivy League school that offers an online MBA program. Let’s look at the program and its many features and benefits.

Executive MBA – Brown University

Brown University has collaborated with IE Business School in Spain for their online executive MBA. The IE Brown Executive MBA is an innovative and management-focused program. Rather than being taught exclusively by faculty at Brown University, IE Business School faculty also teach within the program.

Brown University, founded in 1764, is located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a leading research university. Being in the Ivy League, Brown University has world-renowned faculty to teach all of its classes. Many of Brown’s graduates have held leadership positions in politics and science.

Meanwhile, IE Business School, located in Madrid, Spain, is ranked as one of the top business schools in the world, year after year. Founded in 1973, it is exclusively a postgraduate institution. IE Business School fosters an entrepreneurial spirit and always incorporates humanities into its business training programs.

This collaborative program includes a world-class education taught over 15 months. It is available in a blended or hybrid online and residential format. That means students do not complete the program entirely online. Instead, much of their coursework is available online with five required residential weeks.

During the residential weeks, students stay at Brown University. They mingle with their professors and fellow students and socialize/network, similar to the experience of an in-person program.

Executive MBA Features

The Executive MBA program from Brown and IE takes place over 15 months. During the program’s curriculum, students take over 20 courses. The coursework is rigorous and dynamic. It incorporates cross-industry expertise and utilizes diverse perspectives to ensure that every graduate can meet the demands of worldwide company leadership.

Students take courses including but not limited to:

  • Cost Control
  • Global Trends
  • History, Culture, and Politics
  • Marketing Management
  • Managerial Economics
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Technology and Innovation Strategy
  • Global Markets
  • And more

In addition, all students must complete a capstone key reflection project. This capstone project requires students to integrate the knowledge they have learned throughout the program and solve a challenging problem within their personal interests or areas of influence.

On top of that, all students will spend one week in South Africa. This is part of the course Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Developing Regions. They work in teams with their classmates and develop new business solutions for various Cape Town townships.

Executive MBA Admissions Requirements

As one might expect, the Executive MBA program is very exclusive and difficult to get into. It’s 15 months long and always begins in March, so students must apply ahead of time. Furthermore, the program follows a cohort style. Students stick with the same classmates throughout the program, offering excellent Ivy League-style networking opportunities.

To be considered for admission, students must have:

  • Over ten years of work experience
  • Several years in a leadership or management position at a private business
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Excellent moral compass
  • Flexible working style
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in business or a related focus
  • A high GPA or excellent grades from previous educational institutions

Because of these factors, most Executive MBA students are around 40 years old. They also average about 16 years of work experience. Therefore, young professionals entering the workforce rarely enroll in this online MBA program. Instead, it’s intended for future CEOs and experienced entrepreneurs who want to bolster their professional prospects.

Note that the cost of this program is approximately $135,000. This includes all the materials, tuition, and travel costs for the program from start to finish. Candidates must make an initial deposit of $13,500 to reserve a place in an upcoming program.

Other Elements of the Executive MBA Program

Fortunately, there are a variety of foundation scholarships and fellowships available for students who need financial aid.

The program emphasizes a student-first teaching style in which every student has multiple opportunities to meet with professors and administrators. The small class sizes ensure that every student receives undivided attention throughout the program.

At the time of this writing, the Executive MBA is ranked number three in the world by The Economist. Furthermore, the curriculum is certified by multiple institutions, including the AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS.

Students receive a single diploma awarded by Brown University and IE Business School upon graduation.

Differences Between the Executive MBA and a Regular MBA

Brown University’s Executive MBA and traditional MBA programs are more similar than different. However, the Executive MBA differs in these ways:

  • Includes a foreign country experience for all of its students
  • Partnered program with IE Business School, so students have the chance to learn from international faculty
  • Completed in 15 months in a cohort style

In contrast, the traditional MBA from Brown University is a more traditional college program that takes two years to complete.

The Executive MBA program still provides a Brown University experience to attendees. Remember, all students must spend several weeks at Brown University on campus. These weeks occur throughout the program’s duration.

Is Attending an Ivy League School for an MBA Worthwhile?

That depends on one’s goals, budget, and timeline.

Generally, attending an online MBA program from a different school is more worthwhile. GetEducated has vetted the online programs available to you. You can find that information here. Alternative online MBA programs are still academically rigorous, and many are fully accredited.

Brown University’s Executive MBA is a good choice if you:

  • Already have a lot of business experience
  • Want the prestige associated with an Ivy League school
  • Want to meet and socialize with other like-minded professionals or students.
  • Have plenty of funds or financial aid opportunities. Remember, the program costs over $130,000 per person.
  • Have the time to commit to the program. It’s a full-time experience lasting 15 months. You may not complete the online program on a part-time basis.

Should You Find an Online MBA Elsewhere?

For many, the answer is yes. Online MBA programs can certainly be worthwhile. Online MBAs give many of the advantages that other online educational programs include, such as:

  • Schedule and class flexibility. Most fully online programs offer asynchronous class completion. In other words, students can complete classwork on their schedules so long as they turn it in by a certain deadline. They don’t need to attend lectures at a specific time each day. This enables students to juggle work or family responsibilities
  • Affordability. There are lots of affordable online MBA programs. Some programs cost less than $10,000 per year.
  • Rigor. The vast majority of accredited online MBAs are still just as academically challenging and worthwhile as on-campus MBAs. Students don’t need to worry about their new degrees seeming too easy or cheap. They can acquire an MBA and know that it’ll help them succeed professionally for years to come

Because online MBA programs are so scarce among Ivy League schools, it’s worth most students’ time to look elsewhere. Here are some other accredited online MBA options:


Ultimately, online MBA programs from Ivy League universities are rare. But that doesn’t mean you’re entirely out of luck. GetEducated has a detailed list of top online MBA programs from a wide range of schools. Although these aren’t Ivy League universities, they are still excellent educational organizations and great places to get degrees.

Want to know more? Check out the list of colleges and online MBA programs. Many affordable colleges offer these online MBA programs. At these universities, you can finish your education without having to break the bank.

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