Today’s post comes from Manhattan Review, a well-known provider of test prep and MBA Admissions Consulting in Baltimore, Denver, Miami, Phoenix, and Seattle for Top Business Schools.
No matter how you look at it, getting an MBA is an important decision that will undoubtedly impact your future, as is deciding whether to get it online or by physically attending a university. While an MBA is still the gold standard of business degrees, in the past, online programs really didn’t have the respect that face-to-face instruction always had. However, all that is changing, and changing rapidly.
Perception has begun to shift phenomenally with employers as online programs are becoming more popular. The Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration tells us employers are now more willing to hire applicants with an online MBA. For many professionals, it’s a path to a coveted position or promotion – and an online program helps them get their MBA more conveniently within a shorter time period.
For some, the benefits of earning an MBA online will outweigh those of traditional on-campus education. At Manhattan Review, we believe you might want to give these five concerns some thought when thinking about earning your MBA online.
1. Full-time traditional MBA programs may only accept 40 or 50 students. Online programs can often enroll as many students as they’d like with faculty being recruited globally.
2. There’s another advantage we discovered from talking with those who have earned their online degrees. “I found I was better able to break down and digest information, because I did it on my own schedule” was a statement we heard more than once.
3. Online students have the opportunity to post thoughts for discussion whereas in the classroom environment, often an outspoken few tend to dominate a discussion. What’s more, as an online MBA student, you’ll get access to the same core support groups such as alumni, faculty and fellow classmates.
4. Last, but certainly not least, it’s essential to make sure that an accredited college or university backs the online degree program you’re interested in. That way you’ll be eligible for scholarships, student loans, and other kinds of financial aid. In addition, with an accredited program, you may be more apt to receive tuition reimbursement from your employer.
5. Contact the faculty! To ensure you don’t waste time or money on badly taught courses, here are just a few questions to ask online instructors:
Are you up to date with all software systems?
It’s vital for faculty to be proficient with many different software systems because every student may have a different software package.
How quickly do you answer student e-mails?
Not all online students can do school work during normal business hours Monday to Friday. Remember, there are no snow days – online learning is continuous as long as your computer is turned on.
Do you incorporate new technology?
Online faculty should receive training in the school’s learning management system and any technology updates the school makes. You also want to be assured that an instructor utilizes interactive technologies in the course, such as conducting real-time discussions through Adobe Connect or Skype.
How do you create an online classroom?
The instructor should help create a community within the course. After all, you’re also learning from each other. At the beginning of the course, some online instructors ask for every student to post introductions and short bios describing their backgrounds. In this way, it’s easier for you to meet and interact with fellow classmates.
Now that we know employers are beginning to let go of some of the prejudices generally held against online MBA degrees, being able to work full-time while getting your MBA is an enticing concept. A great way to check on this would be to talk with alumni of your chosen online program. They’ll most likely be able to share their job-hunting experiences and give some valuable feedback about your future prospects.
The flexibility of an earning an online MBA just is not possible with traditional classroom programs. And the tuition is lower as well. Even part-time, on-campus MBA programs designed specifically for employed students still require a commute to school and attend class during prescribed hours.
Just do your research, weigh the advantages and disadvantages, and be open to the notion that seeking an MBA online may or may not be right for you.
For more insights into the MBA application process we recommend that you attend our free interactive MBA Admissions Webinars where you gain lots of useful insight into the MBA Admissions process from Manhattan Review’s director of Admissions Consulting, a former member of Wharton’s admissions board. Alternatively, please call +1-800-246-4600 or +1-212-316-2000 to arrange a free Business School admissions consultation.