In a time of digitalization, quality online MBA programs rapidly gain awareness and acceptance. Attending an online MBA is a huge investment of your time, money, and energy, and the experience will change your life both professionally and personally. If you are still concerned about the value of an online MBA, this article may be helpful to you. 

1. What is an online MBA? 

1.1 Definition 

An online MBA offers the same rigorous curriculum as its on-campus counterpart; instructors simply tailor coursework to online platforms. A distance-based MBA offers an opportunity to attend out-of-state schools without the expense and hassle of relocation, and it permits you to have more control over your pace of study.

1.2 Types of online programs

  • Self-paced programs: 

In terms of students, it is the most popular approach to earning a master’s degree online. Typical students of these programs are the ones who can stay motivated without being set deadlines and prefer working independently. They normally had experienced self-directed education in the past and had confidence in this environment. In terms of programs, for some, students are allowed to complete their studies without any deadlines, while for other programs, they have a required time which must finish their studies.

This kind of program also allows students to move quickly through course material they know from previous and current work experience while spending more time on any unfamiliar topics.

  • Real-time programs: 

This type of online program is most closely similar to the on-campus experience. Class lectures are attended online, but synchronously – in real-time – as they are being presented live, rather than by accessing a recorded presentation of the same lecture at a later time or date. Some programs offer a combination of real-time and asynchronous activities depending on the class and the instructor. Programs requiring real-time attendance may be more of a challenge to working professionals and non-traditional students due to conflicts with other responsibilities, but students fresh from an on-campus bachelor’s degree program may not find it a stretch to participate.

  • Hybrid programs: 

A hybrid program combines the flexibility of online education with the on-campus experience. In certain fields of study, students can only receive necessary hands-on training onsite; for example, in a classroom, laboratory, or via a face-to-face meeting.

Other hybrid programs may involve taking most courses fully online and attending on-campus meetings periodically, such as on weekends or at other, less frequent but still regular, intervals.

Hybrid programs can involve any combination of online and onsite learning: students may attend all classes for some courses online and take classes for other courses in the same program onsite.

2. Types of people who take online MBA 

2.1 The career changer 

On average, people change careers several times during their lives, for a variety of reasons. Online master’s programs can help facilitate this change. Career Changers might have gone into their current fields expecting they’d be content with their chosen professions, only to find that their opinions changed once they really got down to it. Some Career Changers may similarly be experiencing burnout in their current working environments, while others have seen the potential for growth in their markets plummet.

Online master’s programs allow someone looking to change fields – whatever the reason – the chance to earn the degree to make it possible, all while continuing to hold down their current job. Those whose current line of work requires travel will also find online programs to be a particularly good fit, as they can study anytime, and anywhere, they may be.

2.2 The go-getter 

Typically “eternal students,” Go Getters have a thirst for knowledge that will lead them to pursue educational advancements.

Because technology moves at such a rapid rate, certain fields require continuing education to stay current with advances. 

Go-Getters will seek out higher education in the form of master’s programs to forward their growth in their chosen fields, and will find that the convenience of online programs allows them to do so while maintaining their regular lives.

Go-Getters are those who possess an innate drive to learn, and who will look to master’s programs as a way to continue their quest for knowledge.

2.3 The remote students 

Otherwise unable to attend a traditional university due to geographic constraints, online master’s programs allow remote students to pursue their academic dreams.

Remote students might live in rural areas, overseas, or even be active military members who, while they desire to earn their master’s degree, cannot physically make it to classes. Online programs are the perfect fit for these students; thanks to virtual classrooms and online coursework, Remote Students can bring the university to them, wherever they may be.

Professionals often opt for an online MBA instead of offline as it provides maximum flexibility for a student which is not stopping their careers and quitting their jobs. Professionals also look for an MBA for the  promotion or changing career so an online MBA is a good fit for them

3. Is an online MBA worth it 

3.1 The perks of getting an online MBA 

– Price: ROI online MBA graduates recoup the cost of their program 1 year sooner than full-time graduates as the cost of the program is quite affordable and they can still work during the studying time. 

– The school offers top-notch faculty and instruction. The mark of a high-quality online MBA program lies in who is providing the instruction. 

For example, at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, on-campus faculty create and deliver all course content. The part-time online MBA at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business offers flexibility to working students as well as the same faculty, curriculum, career planning resources, and degree that on-campus students receive. Plus, candidates can switch to the full-time format at any time

– After Covid, an online MBA seems more attractive. The best programs embrace the digital economy and help train their students in digital skills.

COVID-19 has shown us just how important the digital world is to business.

– Admission requirements get easier and more convenient. Many online MBA programs waive scores from standardized tests such as GMAT and GRE if you have work experience.

– You don’t need to pause your current career for 1.5-2 years and you can customize your workload, deciding how many classes you take each semester

3.2 Downsides of getting an online MBA 

Networking limited: the greater difficulty in creating enduring bonds with your classmates and the faculty that lets you graduate with a truly supportive and enduring network of smart, ambitious people. While many online MBA programs, particularly the best, offer coaching and career development services, they are not equivalent to what you would get in a residential experience where mainstream recruiters come to campus to present to and to interview students for open jobs. 

Job opportunityat any quality full-time residential MBA program, there are on-campus presentations from corporate recruiters, on-campus interviews with potential employers, and an endless stream of job opportunities, particularly at the better schools. 

Another issue is that online MBA graduates are often older and outside the typical hiring window for MBA candidates.

That pipeline is largely nonexistent in an online MBA program, mainly because the students already have jobs but also because employers have been less eager to hire MBAs from online programs.

Great discipline:  In terms of academic knowledge one gains through a residential program, the two-year program, you might not get the ability to go deep and to specialize due to the less interaction and it requires you such a great discipline. 

A study by Columbia University found that on-campus students are more likely to be able to complete their programs than online students in community colleges.

If an online MBA is looking to be your most viable option, make sure to triple-check the program’s credentials. If the school offering the program is top-ranked by a reputable rankings provider you’re halfway there. AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA, EPAS, and ACBSP are the accreditation bodies accepted for inclusion in those provided by QS.

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