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 and Melbourne: University of Sydney, UNSW, Monash, and University of Melbourne.
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 Sydney||1,411||6,073||7,484|
|University of New South Wales||3,871||3,194||7,065|
|University of Melbourne||2,498||3,292||5,790|
|Charles Sturt University||2,100||3,188||5,288|
|University of Technology Sydney||2,047||2,923||4,970|
|Queensland University of Technology||2,402||1,356||3,758|
|University of Wollongong||507||3,216||3,723|
|University of Queensland||977||2,174||3,151|
|Curtin University of Technology||1,499||1,446||2,945|
|La Trobe University||656||2,226||2,882|
|Australian National University||166||2,327||2,493|
|University of Southern Queensland||1,050||1,291||2,341|
|University of Adelaide||707||1,629||2,336|
|University of Newcastle||1,013||1,276||2,289|
|Swinburne University of Technology||1,255||836||2,091|
|Southern Cross University||807||1,031||1,838|
|University of South Australia||944||841||1,785|
|Edith Cowan University||451||1,210||1,661|
|Torrens University Australia||376||1,218||1,594|
|Federation University Australia||171||1,326||1,497|
|University of Western Australia||1,097||391||1,488|
|James Cook University||197||1,283||1,480|
|Western Sydney University||534||833||1,367|
|University of Canberra||503||770||1,273|
|University of Tasmania||504||769||1,273|
|Charles Darwin University||90||997||1,087|
|University of New England||894||82||976|
|University of the Sunshine Coast||157||637||794|
|Australian Catholic University||244||314||558|
|University of Notre Dame Australia||89||4||93|
Source: uCube Higher Education Statistics (1 February 2018)
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.
|University of New South Wales||96|
|University of Melbourne||95|
|University of Sydney||95|
|Australian National University||82|
|University of Queensland||81|
|University of Western Australia||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|
|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|
|Charles Sturt University||$24,800|
|Australian Catholic University||$25,000|
|University of Wollongong||$25,344|
|Swinburne University of Technology||$26,130|
|Western Sydney University||$26,600|
|Federation University Australia||$26,800|
|University of Canberra||$28,900|
|University of Technology Sydney||$30,672|
|University of Newcastle||$31,280|
|University of Tasmania||$32,500|
|University of South Australia||$33,000|
|La Trobe University||$33,510|
|Curtin University of Technology||$34,800|
|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
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
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).