IE Business School has achieved the No. 1 position worldwide in the ‘QS Distance Online MBA Ranking’, an international survey that examines the quality of online, distance, and blended MBA programs.

The ranking was drawn up by UK organization the QS Intelligence Unit, using parameters that include student profiles, levels of diversity, level of faculty, the learning experience, or international accreditations of the programs. This achievement further consolidates the No. 1 position obtained by IE Business School in the ranking of European business schools drawn up by Financial Times in December 2013.

The survey shows that the proportion of prospective MBA applicants interested in online and/or distance learning programs stood at 23.5% in 2013, up from just 4.4% in 2008. Of the 30 schools ranked for their online programs, 13 are European and 17 are based in North America.

“The increasing sophistication and variety of online and distance learning options means a growing number of candidates are now pursuing the opportunity to gain a world-class business education without the need to relocate or take a career break,” says Nunzio Quacquarelli, managing director of QS. “This year’s results show that employers are increasingly considering candidates from the top online and distance programs as part of their recruitment strategies, with European schools having developed a particularly strong reputation compared to their transatlantic counterparts”.

“Companies increasingly value graduates of online MBA programs run by prestigious institutions,” explains Martin Boehm, Dean of Programs at IE Business School, “And from the students’ perspective, they have the opportunity to study a top-tier program with greater flexibility, which means there is no need to relocate to another country for a long period of time, making it easy to combine studies with work”.

The IE Business School portfolio of blended programs includes the Executive MBA+ and Global MBA+. These part-time programs integrate the management education provided by an MBA program with modules focused on specializations in the fields of Global Management, Advanced Global Management, Entrepreneurship, Corporate Finance, Marketing and Sales, Information Technology, and Healthcare Management. MBA+ students can do the core MBA program and/or the specialization module in either English or Spanish, in a weekly onsite format and/or bi-weekly blended format. This system is unique to IE and permits students to design their own bespoke MBA+ programs.

IE’s also offers the IE Brown Executive MBA, run jointly with Ivy League member Brown University, renowned for its excellence in the field of humanistic, social and scientific disciplines. Participants in the program have markedly international profiles, and an average of 14 years of professional experience. It combines online modules with residential periods at the campuses of IE in Madrid and Brown in Providence. The portfolio is rounded off with IE Business School’s Global Executive MBA, aimed at executives with an international background. The program is also taught in English, combining onsite modules in Spain, Singapore, US, and Brazil, with online periods. The program’s student body comprises 25 nationalities and participants have an average of 15 years’ experience in management.