For the fifth consecutive year, Saint Leo University's online MBA Sport Business program has been recognized by the prestigious industry publication, SportBusiness International, as one of the top online sports management programs in the world.

The July 2016 issue of the London-based publication lists Saint Leo's online MBA degree program with a concentration in sport business as an international leader, placing the program at number three worldwide.

The ranking is based on a number of criteria including the percentage of graduates employed within three months of graduation, average salary three years after graduation, alumni responses to surveys about satisfaction with course teaching, levels of support, internship requirements, and more.

SportBusiness International's Postgraduate Sports Course Rankings are the only authoritative guide to university-level courses in the sport business industry. SportBusiness International considers only postgraduate-level courses that are 100 percent related to the business and administration of sport, and have been running for three or more consecutive years.

The first year that SportBusiness International published the ranking, all programs both online and on-ground were evaluated equally. Saint Leo was ranked the 17th best program in the world and one of only five from the United States.

The second year of the annual evaluation, SportBusiness International segregated online programs and Saint Leo's program ranked number three out of 125 schools that applied in the online category.

Competition among university programs increases

This year, more than 600 schools worldwide sought to be included in the SportBusiness International rankings. Despite four times as many schools applying, Saint Leo maintained its place as number three in the world online.

"Clearly, the SportBusiness International ranking is becoming more prestigious worldwide with more and more universities applying every year," says Saint Leo's Dr. Judy Holcomb, assistant professor and chair of the Sport Business, International Tourism and Hospitality Management Department in the Donald R. Tapia School of Business. "This only benefits students who seek a high-quality program that will prepare them to reach their career goals."

In addition to the online Master of Business Administration degree program with a concentration in Sport Business, Saint Leo also offers an on-ground Bachelor of Arts degree program in Sport Business.

Online graduate program attracts working professionals

According to Holcomb, Saint Leo's online MBA in sport business typically attracts business professionals who are already working in the field who want to advance to higher levels of management and leadership positions. However, it also prepares individuals who are looking to transition to a new career path by providing instruction in higher-level skills management skills, she says.

Saint Leo's program enables students to gain an understanding of sound decision-making processes, a knowledge of functional operations, and the ability to plan and lead within the industry. And since the program is fully online, it meets working professionals' needs for flexibility and convenience.

"Our professors are committed to excellence in theoretical and experiential education," says Holcomb, "and our students receive the professional development they need for a successful career in an exciting industry with career opportunities around the globe."

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