While online MBA programs offer a wealth of benefits and opportunities, choosing the program that supports your goals is key.
In the past five years, enrollment in online education has continued to rise, with millions of students across the world choosing to pursue their degrees this way. And out of all the online degrees, an MBA is the most popular. The reason? According to an article on US News and World Report.com, the growth of online learning underscores the need for quality and flexible education programs that meet the demands of the 21st century workforce.
It’s easy to understand the appeal of these programs because many MBA seekers have jobs they don’t want to give up or families they don’t want to uproot; for them, completing an online program is more appealing than moving to a new city to pursue a full-time two-year degree. The cost of online degrees is often much lower than an on-campus pursuit, which makes online MBA programs even more appealing.
Increased demand has caused an explosion of new online MBA offerings, which means finding the program that suits your goals and lifestyle has become more challenging. With that in mind, here are some tips that will be beneficial to you when pursuing your MBA online:
1. Evaluate the quality of the curriculum and value of resources
Although online education is becoming a more popular choice for students pursuing an MBA, not all online programs have the same level of quality or resources available to their students.
Students who choose to pursue their MBA online should have access to the same resources from the university as those that are taught on-campus—even if there is no on-campus program. This includes access to trusted advisors who will work with them one-on-one and offer the same guidance and support as on-campus students would receive. Online students should also have the opportunity to attend conferences and networking events, participate in workshops online and have the same access to recruitment opportunities.
2. Consider the technology and interface offered
It may seem obvious, but the highest quality online MBA programs utilize today’s most advanced technology and provide a state-of-the-art learning environment. Although many online programs boast a user-friendly interface, not all are of the same caliber; so it’s critical to evaluate this component before making your selection.
Attending class, accessing course materials, turning in assignments, streaming instructional videos, participating in discussions and other program activities should be easy, seamless and intuitive. Ideally, you want a program that provides not only a stimulating and immersive learning environment, but one that allows you to manage all the elements of your MBA program in one interface.
3. GMAT or no GMAT?
For years, the GMAT has been the key factor in the MBA application process. Yet many top business schools are doing away with the GMAT requirement as part of their admissions process for MBA students as they look to alternative criteria. Business schools that no longer ask for GMAT scores are choosing to focus on factors like undergraduate GPA and professional work experience to evaluate applicants’ ability to pursue their MBA.
While some online MBA programs still rely on the GMAT or the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) to qualify students, many top programs have removed the GMAT and GRE as a requirement for most applicants because it’s believed that these tests do not offer the best evaluation or identification of the student’s strengths and abilities.
According to OnlineMBA guide, these schools are especially appealing to experienced professionals who have been in the workforce for more than five years. In fact, programs like CSUMB's Online MBA are drawing those who have professional business experience and look to the applicant’s career achievements as a measure of their ability to be successful in their MBA programs.
4. Choosing a program with esteemed faculty
An important consideration to make when deciphering between the many online MBA programs available is who will be providing the instruction during your coursework. The value of experienced, educated and innovative faculty cannot be overstated.
Ideally, there should be little or no difference between the qualifications of online and on-campus instructors—especially when it comes to their education levels, academic backgrounds and professional experience. According to an article on USA News and World Report online, “Vetting online MBA faculty is key, since instructors not only shape a student’s academic experience, but can also serve as helpful connections down the road.”
Keep in mind that MBA faculty members are normally required to have a graduate-level education and professional experience in the business world, as well as expertise in the specific program that they are teaching. It also should be noted that because of the very nature of the online learning environment, the MBA faculty of your online program should be well versed in today’s technology so that they can properly create lessons, direct discussions and provide information for the course.
5. Understand the commitment
Although earning an MBA online may seem easier than attending classes on a university campus for the simple reason that you’re able to work at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home, don’t underestimate the level of commitment that’s required. Pursuing an MBA will require a different level of discipline simply because of the inherent flexibility of the venue.
Instead of being required to “show up” on campus at a specified time, it’s often up to your own discretion as to when you’re required to complete lessons. Of course, no matter which program you select, you will be required to participate in online classes and turn in projects in a specified amount of time.
Ready to pursue your MBA?
Those who earn an MBA experience many benefits including increased career and leadership opportunities, expanded knowledge and skills and the satisfaction of the achievement in and of itself. If you’re considering pursuing your MBA online, take the time to consider these critical factors and discover what California State University Monterey Bay can offer you.