Discover whether MBA online degree programs suit your lifestyle, work status, career and academic goals.
MBA online programs are becoming attractive options for professionals who are eager for a career boost through advanced business degree programs. Online MBA programs provide an opportunity to pursue higher education without the need to attend classroom-based sessions or join trips to various locations. In fact, with brick and mortar universities now offering online MBA programs, online degrees can be as appealing to potential employers as full-time programs, at almost half the cost.
Online programs enable students to earn an advanced business degree while working full-time or while studying at the comforts of their own home. MBA courses allow students to acquire strong management skills, extensive business knowledge, analytical and leadership abilities and strategic decision making to make them effective managers and leaders in their respective companies or businesses. Business schools also offer specialized tracks such as marketing MBA, finance MBA and healthcare MBA.
Effective online education is carried out using internet-based applications and communication tools. Courses are taught by disseminating materials in digital formats and delivering lectures and informative sessions through audio-video clips or webinars. Classroom interaction is simulated using chat functions, videoconferencing, online forums or other real-time applications.
MBA online programs provide much flexibility to students. Students can work on their course assignments at their own time and place so long as they have an internet connection. And because there is no need to travel to a university to attend classes, one can cut down on transportation and living expenses, in addition to savings on tuition because online programs are generally cheaper than regular MBA programs.
There are, however, disadvantages if you choose to enroll in an online MBA program. For one, online students skip out on networking opportunities and potential business collaborations that could have been gained through deeper interaction with their peers in a classroom setting. Job recommendations are also unlikely to come from professors whom students have not met or conversed with personally.
Earning a degree from home takes out the need to allocate time for attending classes and resources for traveling to and from the university. Still, it is important to remember that time savings from class attendance and commuting could easily convert to time spent working on written assignments and discussion responses, or watching and replaying video lectures and presentations. An online student might need hours of writing time that could be essentially longer than the time it would take to complete a group discussion or classroom activity.
Online programs offer a great degree of flexibility to students by allowing them the freedom to study at their own time and pace. Still, there are course activities such as examinations or webinars that are conducted at a specific schedule, and course assignments that must be submitted within specified deadlines. A prospective MBA online student must see to it that schedules for these activities are followed, regardless of the location he is in or the work hours that he follows.
Online degrees also face a reputation issue with some companies putting lesser value on an online MBA degree than a regular MBA. Because online degrees take less time to complete and discounts classroom interaction, a handful of employers may tend to consider them as inferior credentials. Even when online MBA programs warrant the same academic merit as regular MBA programs, job applicants may risk creating a less appealing impression on employers who refuse to recognize an online degree.
Given the inherent disadvantages of online education as compared to in-school degree programs, there are options for enhancing the kind of MBA experience that can be derived from an online program. One option is to pursue programs that offer a combination of both online and in-class courses. Some programs allow students to choose which courses they would take online and which ones will require more hands-on instruction.
One other option is to choose a university with relative proximity to your residence or place of work so that you can join university activities or attend professorial lectures from time to time or when the subject matter seem important to you. There are many other options that a prospective MBA student can take, but most of them underscore the fact that MBA online degree programs are not fit for everyone. Whether one chooses an online program or a full-time MBA, it is essential to maximize every learning opportunity being offered in the program in order to acquire the most skills and knowledge that the program seeks to provide.