Which is the best MBA?

Which is the best MBA program in Australia? That depends on what you want from the degree and how much you are willing to pay.

Our MBA guide has different rankings, lists and selections by program feature. The info and tools can help you decide which is the best Master of Business Administration degree for you.

All types of courses are considered, from expensive to cheap, and both face-to-face and online. The guide includes some top picks for good value MBAs.

Reasons for getting an MBA

Studying for an MBA gives you the opportunity to learn business administration skills. That really should be your motivation when studying. But it is one of many reasons for getting an MBA.

You may want to study for an MBA to:

  • build business management capabilities
  • add valuable credentials to your resume
  • acquire business connections
  • glean new perspectives on business development and leadership.

1. Program Size

Size isn't everything but it does reveal some things about a business school. It may be useful to know how many students you will be studying with if you enroll in a certain program.

The table shows that the biggest graduate business and management schools in Australia are in Sydney: UNSW, UTS, Macquarie University and University of Sydney.

Size is a quality indicator in at least a couple of ways.

  • Bigger graduate business schools are popular. A large enrollment shows many people think the school offers good value for money.
  • Larger MBA programs may also offer more choice. The program has a bigger budget, allowing it to employ more instructors and offer more units and majors.

A drawback to studying with a large business school is that you can more easily get lost in the crowd.

  • Instructors may be too busy to give you one-on-one advice.
  • Student services (e.g. when you want to vary your course or access library material) may be compromised.
Graduate Business School Australian International Total students
University of New South Wales 3,757 2,286 6,043
University of Technology Sydney 2,581 3,080 5,661
Macquarie University 2,168 2,935 5,103
University of Sydney 1,424 3,664 5,088
Monash University 1,342 3,515 4,857
Deakin University 2,849 1,873 4,722
University of Melbourne 2,261 2,454 4,715
Charles Sturt University 2,146 1,680 3,826
University of Wollongong 438 3,347 3,785
Queensland University of Technology 1,554 1,553 3,107
Curtin University 1,741 1,362 3,103
RMIT University 1,261 1,600 2,861
University of Newcastle 1,328 1,526 2,854
CQUniversity 610 2,072 2,682
University of Queensland 917 1,765 2,682
University of Southern Queensland 1,203 1,475 2,678
University of Adelaide 757 1,488 2,245
La Trobe University 503 1,734 2,237
Federation University Australia 173 1,997 2,170
James Cook University 264 1,878 2,142
University of South Australia 1,132 990 2,122
Australian National University 207 1,862 2,069
Flinders University 1,174 879 2,053
Griffith University 798 1,135 1,933
Swinburne University of Technology 1,096 704 1,800
Western Sydney University 620 1,083 1,703
Edith Cowan University 530 686 1,216
Southern Cross University 584 592 1,176
University of Canberra 379 744 1,123
University of New England 1,043 76 1,119
Victoria University 384 723 1,107
Murdoch University 354 697 1,051
University of Tasmania 510 513 1,023
University of Western Australia 763 225 988
Bond University 219 593 812
Charles Darwin University 101 612 713
Australian Catholic University 253 293 546
University of the Sunshine Coast 118 260 378
University of Notre Dame Australia 66 10 76

Source: uCube Higher Education Statistics (21 November 2015)

2. University Reputation

It's obviously nice to get an MBA from a business school with a good reputation. There's prestige associated with saying you got your MBA from Stanford or Oxford or some other famous university.

You don't have to dig deep to figure out how much prestige you get from studying at a particular university. People, including employers, usually are not checking out the latest business school rankings. Prestige is linked to the university's brand more than the business school itself.

A way of measuring prestige is by how hard it is to get into courses. The table shows the Australian universities with the highest indicative cut-off scores for getting into Bachelor of Business/Commerce programs. On top are UNSW, the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.

Australian MBA graduates.
Business/Commerce Degree ATAR
University of New South Wales 96
University of Melbourne 95
University of Sydney 95
Monash University 82
Australian National University 82
University of Queensland 81
University of Western Australia 80
Macquarie University 80
University of Adelaide 80

Source: Uni Reviews (21 November 2015)

Note: ATARs only apply to undergraduate courses.

3. Tuition Fees

Tuition fees are an important value factor. Students pay full fees for postgraduate courses, including MBAs and other masters.

  • Australian students are eligible for HECS-HELP loans.

MBA fees vary greatly. As the table shows, the cheapest MBAs start at around $20,000 per year. The most expensive are much more. The highest fee is $81,400 per year at the Melbourne Business School. 

  • Note that fees shown are for international students.
  • Fees for Australians are generally the same but can be lower.

The standard length of an MBA is 1.5 years (3 terms) of full-time study.

  • Programs can be shortened where the university offers credit for prior study or experience.
  • Extended (or Executive) MBAs may be 2 years long.
Graduate Business School $A/year
SCU Online $18,720
University of New England $20,440
University of Southern Queensland $21,520
Edith Cowan University $21,600
Southern Cross University $22,480
University of the Sunshine Coast $22,800
Charles Darwin University $23,448
James Cook University $24,000
CQUniversity $24,480
Charles Sturt University $24,800
Australian Catholic University $25,000
University of Wollongong $25,344
Victoria University $25,400
Swinburne University of Technology $26,130
Western Sydney University $26,600
Federation University Australia $26,800
Flinders University $27,800
University of Canberra $28,900
University of Technology Sydney $30,672
Murdoch University $30,960
University of Newcastle $31,280
University of Tasmania $32,500
Monash University $32,700
University of South Australia $33,000
La Trobe University $33,510
Curtin University of Technology $34,800
Griffith University $35,000
Bond University $35,240
Deakin University $36,000
RMIT University $36,480
Macquarie University $38,000
University of Adelaide $38,500
University of New South Wales $38,880
Australian National University $39,024
University of Sydney $40,000
Queensland University of Technology $42,200
University of Western Australia $66,000
University of Queensland $66,144
University of Melbourne $81,400

Annual fee for international students (indicative).
Source: Uni Reviews (21 November 2015)

4. Undergraduate Performance

Bachelor degree rankings

Would you be confident enrolling for an MBA at a business school which gets poor ratings for its bachelor courses?

We think undergraduate performance matters. Based on bachelor rankings, the most underrated and overrated business schools are listed here.

Good value business schools

High ratings / low fees

CQUniversity ✓
Edith Cowan University ✓
University of New England ✓
University of Southern Queensland ✓
University of Wollongong ✓

Over-priced business schools

Poor ratings / high fees

University of Notre Dame Australia x
University of Queensland x
University of Tasmania x
University of Western Australia x
Victoria University x

Calculations

To produce the lists, a measure of business school value was calculated for each university.

  • Business school value is the ranking score for undergraduate courses divided by the annual fee for an MBA.
  • Ranking score depends on size, student ratings of courses, and graduate salaries (see Uni Reviews).

5. Top Picks

Ducere


Online MBA for Australians

Self paced, innovative

Project work (no exams)

Global leaders faculty

SCU Online


Fully online MBA

Short modules

7 majors

Lowest fees

University of Wollongong


Sydney CBD or Wollongong

Core curriculumn

3 semesters

Low fees