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About the Online MBA

Professionals who want to pursue an online MBA certainly have more options today than ever before, and as a result the online MBA is very popular. Recent surveys show that there currently are more than 11,000 people in the US working on their online MBA at more than 90 universities. And, there currently are more than 4 million MBA graduates around the world today, with more and more graduating from online programs.

Many professionals want to earn their online MBA so that they can have more professional opportunities for advancement. For example. to become a top business executive, getting an MBA is often very important, with salaries possible of well over $100,000 per year.

These days there are many different flavors of online MBAs, including:

  • Full time and part time

  • Full MBAs for recent graduates

  • Executive MBA or EMBA

  • Joint MBA degrees

  • MBAs from traditional, non-profit universities, as well as for-profit schools

In the early days of online MBA programs, there were some questions from some corners about their academic quality, but that is a thing of the past. Many top universities now offer excellent online MBA programs such as the University of North Carolina and Indiana University.

The Appeal of the Online MBA

The majority of online MBA seekers are working in full time jobs and do not have the option of quitting work and going to a conventional, campus-based MBA program. Also, many have families and do not want to go to the trouble or the expense of relocating them to get an MBA. Getting a master’s degree from your home at a university hundreds or even thousands of miles away has a lot of appeal.

Further, the cost of many MBA programs online is usually affordable, and can be paid for with a variety of loans or grants, just like a traditional program.

Most of all, the advantage and appeal of this type of master’s degree is flexibility. It is possible to continue to work full time and to earn your MBA in as little as two years. Many of the classes can be taken on your own schedule. That is, the classes are asynchronous, meaning that the material can be completed at any time. Other online MBA classes are synchronous, meaning that you must take that particular class at a set time with the professor and other students online at the same time. You should check out which your online MBA program is, to be sure that it fits your scheduling needs.

Challenges in Online MBA Programs

Most online MBA programs provide the same course material that the regular MBA program does. However, one of the major benefits of an MBA program is that it allows the student to learn from his or her fellow students in classroom. Most people earning their MBA have valuable business experiences and these experiences can be shared with classmates, which causes additional learning to occur during the program. Going to class online means that you may not have as many chances for this type of valuable class interaction with fellow students.

That is why many online MBA programs will require you to visit campus at least once or twice during the duration of the two or three years until completion. This provides you with an opportunity to get to know your professors and fellow students, and to learn from them.

It is a good idea to check with your online MBA school to see how many opportunities you will have to interact with your fellow classmates, either in person or online.

MBA Concentrations

Most online MBA programs offer many types of concentrations on which you can focus your degree:

  • Accounting

  • Finance

  • Global Supply Management

  • Human Resources

  • Management

  • Marketing

  • International Business

  • Leadership

  • Entrepreneurship

Accreditation is Key

It is important that the online MBA program that you select be accredited. This means that an objective educational organization has certified that the MBA program is of the highest quality. Some of the more common accreditation agencies include:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

You should ensure that your program is properly accredited, or you may find that your MBA is not valued by some institutions and employers.

Admission Criteria

Like a regular MBA program, online MBA programs select their students on a variety of factors, including your undergraduate GPA, academic transcripts, resume and related work experience. Note that many MBA programs require you to submit your scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Some online MBA programs require these scores and some do not. Check with your institution to see if these scores are required for admission.

Job Outlook

Becoming an MBA graduate from an online program is a great way to increase your salary and job level. Top executives in the business world can make $160,000 or more per year, with the job growth expected to be more than 10% in the coming 10 years. So, earning your MBA online can be a great stepping stone to an exciting professional career.