Important to know about an online MBA
The decision to get an MBA is a significant one, with financial and professional considerations that depend on the quality of the education you receive. One option that MBA applicants have today that they didn’t have twenty years ago is the ability to get an MBA online. While employers were reluctant to hire people who got their MBA online as few as ten years ago, there has been a big shift recently as online schools have continued to invest resources into their online programs.
Today, employers are more willing than ever to hire applicants with an online MBA as the quality of both the online MBA programs available and the students willing to attain an online MBA has risen dramatically. For many working professionals, an online MBA is a way to get the qualification they need for a promotion while continuing to work in their chosen field.
For many people today, the benefits of earning an MBA online will outweigh those of a traditional, in-person MBA program. Here are five factors that you should consider when making the decision between a traditional vs. online MBA:
Some full-time MBA programs may accept as few as 40 to 50 students while online programs can enroll many more students. If you are limited geographically in where you can get an MBA because you made the decision to continue working, an online MBA may be your only option.
At Manhattan Review resp. Manhattan Admissions, we’ve heard over and over again that one of the greatest benefits of getting an MBA online was the flexible pacing. We hear over and over again that people were better able to break down the information and digest it on their own schedule.
Many students find that online education is a more interactive learning environment than traditional classrooms. In traditional MBA programs, a few students tend to dominate the discussion while most students are relegated to audience members. In online programs, students are more likely to post their thoughts in discussion forums, while still having the same access to faculty and alumni networks as traditional MBA students.
Make sure that the online program you are considering is backed by an accredited college or university. That accreditation will make you eligible for scholarships, student loans, and other kinds of financial aid. You will also be more likely to receive tuition reimbursement from your employer.
The last step in your research should be to contact the school and if possible, their faculty. Once you’re at this point, here are some questions you will want to ask:
- Are you up to date with all software systems?
Make sure that the online program you are considering is up to date with the latest software suites available for facilitating online education.
- How responsive is the faculty to student e-mails?
While you may have more immediate access to faculty through lectures on-demand and discussion forums, the faculty at an online program may be responsible for far more students than in a traditional setting. You want to know how responsive the faculty will be to your emailed questions.
- Do you incorporate new technology?
One of the advantages to an online program is the incredible advancement in the technology available to facilitate online learning. However, this is only useful if the program you are targeting keeps pace with the newest developments in online education. Ask to see how the program you’re interested in keeps up with the latest and greatest in online education software suites.
- What is the culture of your online classroom?
It is very important that the instructor of an online classroom fosters an inclusive, community environment so that students can learn from each other as well as the professor. One of the most successful tactics we’ve seen employed is having students post bios of themselves before the start of a class so that you can better know your classmates. Make sure that your online MBA program has a similar commitment to fostering a positive learning environment.
As graduates of online MBA programs do bigger and better things, employers are now giving online MBA programs the respect that they deserve. One of the biggest advantages to an online program is its availability to working professionals. If you are committed to staying in your current position while attaining an MBA, the online program may be your best bet.
Many online MBA programs are now a viable alternative to the part-time MBA programs that most traditional business schools offer. However, the online MBA programs cost less, and they are still far more convenient than commuting to a classroom multiple times a week to attend a traditional lecture.
As with all things in your pursuit of an MBA, do your research, ask the right questions, and you will be able to decide for yourself if the online MBA is a better bet than a traditional MBA.
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