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Are Online MBA Schools Serious MBAs?

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Online MBA [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2005, 17:48
Good evening;

I am new to this forum, and after looking for the topic in the available threads, I have not seen it discussed, so I am starting a new topic here.

I am 45 years old, married with a young child. Since I am also working full-time and my company will not sponsor my MBA study, a full-time on-campus study is not an available option, nor is it possible for me to relocate to a city with an especially desirable school. Since I live and work in Houston, I am not without options.

An obvious choice is to pursue my MBA online. And I have heard plenty of hype from the University of Phoenix, and from DeVry and Capella. Now, I am not trying to suggest that these schools are without any value, since they come with some level of accreditation, and are very helpful for people who have to work and raise a family in addition to studying for school, but I also am worried that the time, money, and work going into some of these programs would produce disappointment when it comes time to search for positions. That is, I am aware that an online MBA cannot compete with the more prestigious schools, but how do the major online schools stack up with some of the more ordinary brick-and-mortar schools? I have read some interesting articles in Fortune and BusinessWeek, but I want to hear from the people directly in the process.

Thanks in advance for your opinions and thoughts.
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2005, 18:11
I think you lose some of the intangibles (networking and such) by doing an online program.
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2005, 18:38
Agreed, Porscheboy16 (heh, is your girlfriend named 'Carrera'?). There is a trade-off, gaining flexibility of schedule but losing networking as well as Career Services from the school. What I am trying to sort out is the general feel for Online MBAs. Only a few traditional schools offer an Online option, which forces full-time professionals into considering the for-profit schools. Please bear in mind that with two decades of experience under my belt, I already have a network of contacts in place, and my principal reason for getting the MBA is to provide academic documentation for work which I have already been doing for a very long time.

Three years after graduating from Baylor with a BA in English (be nice, we all make foolish mistakes when we are young), I was running a retail business in every aspect of the word, including ordering my own inventory, hiring my own staff and doing my own payroll, and compiling not only weekly and monthly reports, but also drawing up my own P&L statements. I did this because I figured out that by finding out early let me forecast my upcoming budget adjustments for the next year. I learned Accounting from doing it at the ground level, and seeing first-hand what happens when you are right and when you are wrong.

I've worked in three different industries over my 22.5 years, and I have no doubt that I can succeed at higher levels in my prseent company and sector - provided I can show a resume that not only shows my work - but includes the academic documentation showing I have mastered the theory as well as the practice. A bit backwards, but better late than never.

Does that background help my position make more sense?
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2005, 18:45
There are some students for whom a Distance/Internet MBA is a viable option. For the general MBA student, I agree with Porscheboy that you lose out on some of the most important elements of the MBA- learning from other students and networking with them.


Further, you have some pretty good options right in your metro area. For instance, UT-Austin has the Texas MBA at Houston

http://www.mccombs.utexas.edu/news/pres ... tonmba.asp

Rice offers both a Professional MBA and an Exec MBA

http://jonesgsm.rice.edu/jonesgsm/The_M ... ionals.asp

Tulane has also offered an EMBA program in Houston

http://www.freeman.tulane.edu/emba/houston/features.htm

Texas A&M offers an Exec MBA in the region as well.

http://emba.tamu.edu/index.htm
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2005, 19:03
Thanks Hjort. U-Texas seems to have stalled on its Houston MBA program; at this time no one seems to know when (if?) it will get going here, and Rice is not offering an online program, or a part-time which I can make with my schedule (obviously, I asked there first - along with HBU and St. Thomas) - the price of a management position is a longer than 40-hour standard week, so only the Saturday programs are seriously workable for me.

It's a nudge off-topic, but since I am not finding this information anywhere else, how useful is an EMBA in Sarbanes-Oxley focus? I ask this because since Enron was based in Houston, Sox compliance is a huge point of emphasis for many Gulf Coast companies - I actually got a nice job offer from a car dealership chain in Arkansas, whose CFO desperately wants a dependable auditor to verify that the quarterly statements he and the owner are signing for the SEC won't come back and bite him - I turned down the offer, because I recognized they needed more than I could offer (my formal Sox training has been limited to a couple seminars from Dun & Bradstreet) , but the offer is typical of the Houston climate. The EMBA has always seemed to me the road for future Directors and CEOs, while my resume is more back-office; audits and troubleshooting. So my game plan was to pursue an MBA with a concentration in Accounting, although I find myself enticed by Finance.

Am I right, or am I missing something about EMBA's?

Thanks.
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2005, 20:21
What do you make of this statement by UT Austin

"Offer an Executive MBA Program in Houston

Completed: In August 2005 the McCombs School began offering an Option III weekend MBA program in Houston. The program has been very well received by the Houston market, with over 4,000 requests for applications and more than 1,600 individuals attending information sessions for the program. Because of the large number of applications and the quality of the applicant pool, the school has doubled the size of the first class - from 50 to 105 students - starting the program in August. Houston is one of the two most important Texas business centers not just for the state, but for the nation. This new MBA program will be of great value to the school in developing stronger relationships with the companies in this city."

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 [#permalink] New post 14 Dec 2005, 20:48
I have added an Online MBA Compendium:

http://www.gmatclub.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=24524
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2005, 06:21
Hjort wrote:
What do you make of this statement by UT Austin

"Offer an Executive MBA Program in Houston

Completed: In August 2005 the McCombs School began offering an Option III weekend MBA program in Houston. The program has been very well received by the Houston market, with over 4,000 requests for applications and more than 1,600 individuals attending information sessions for the program. Because of the large number of applications and the quality of the applicant pool, the school has doubled the size of the first class - from 50 to 105 students - starting the program in August. Houston is one of the two most important Texas business centers not just for the state, but for the nation. This new MBA program will be of great value to the school in developing stronger relationships with the companies in this city."

Hjort


Sadly, I'd say it reflects a problem in communication. I have sent emails to Ms. Losefsky, the designated communications agent for the University of Texas, but have received no reply. Also, telephone calls to the McCombs School in Austin have been fruitless - no one seems to have any direct information on the Houston program.

While it is possible that the initial success convinced UT to hold off any additional publicity for now, I do find it peculiar that there should be confusion about the program's existence.

Incidentally, I found the same press release via Google, but I note that there are no follow-up or related articles. It appears that UT made the release back in February, but has said nothing since.

Thanks also for your suggestion about Tulane and Texas A&M. I am looking into both, although the Tulane program website seems to imply a mandatory period of study in New Orleans for regular MBA and some international study for the EMBA, neither of which is a feasible option for me.

I also appreciate the feedback about Online Schools. While I still think I may have to go the Online route, I have asked for information and applications from Colorado State, Maryland, and the University of Tulsa, all of which are brick-and-mortar schools with distance options, rather than Phoenix, DeVry, or Capella. I had a gut feeling about them, and I want to be sure that my sweat, time, and money are well-invested.
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2005, 12:33
I have heard that Kelley School of Business' online program is pretty good as an online program. Considering their regular MBA program is in top 20 consistently, I could imagine that some of that 'good stuff' will rub off.

I believe the program is called Kelley Direct MBA
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 [#permalink] New post 15 Dec 2005, 12:46
Thanks for the tip stretchad, I will check it out immediately.
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 [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2005, 17:26
While I imagine you have already tried this, have you contacted Shannon Chapman regarding the Texas/Houston MBA?

Program Admissions/ Marketing Manager Shannon Chapman
(512) 475-6425
(866) 881-6224
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 [#permalink] New post 21 Dec 2005, 18:48
Yes, I think maybe it's an end-of-year break. Right about now, I'm not getting a whole lot of responses (nothing from Texas, Rice sent a form e-mail but nothing detailed yet, Houston and Texas A&M sent packages), but that should change after January 2nd.

Locally, I'm hearing good things about the University of St. Thomas (Saturday cohort MBA program) . Does it ring any bells up your way?
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Dec 2005, 23:12
I have heard of this program but I clearly cannot claim to be an expert with regard to its quality or reputation. I like the way that the classes are concentrated on Saturdays and thus the program avoids taking over Fridays like some "weekend" programs do. The school also seems to value keeping relatively small class sizes. There are some elements are less reassuring. For instance, the lack of accreditation by AACSB or one of the other major international groups is usually not a good sign. One could argue that the traditional accreditation process discriminates against "teaching" schools- I appreciate the agrument but I am not convinced by it. If obtaining an official business credential is important to you I would be reluctant to pursue a program that is not accredited by one of the major agencies.
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Dec 2005, 16:59
Good point, Hjort. I actually have a list of the AACSB-accredited schools, but then I have a lot of lists just now. I need to prioritize between the "very important" and the "moderately important" lists.

By the way, I noticed that the Texas MBA at Houston is relatively expensive. Is it acceptable to ask the pricier schools why they are more expensive? I can understand when a school is known as "elite" or otherwise has a reputation that drives the price, but a state school that doesn't have a top ranking? I don't see it.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2005, 09:04
I agree that Executive MBA programs are often overpriced. In defense of the University of Texas, while not quite one of the Elite Cluster schools, it does come close. Further, the nearest school of comparable stature is over 700 miles away and the nearest school that is clearly higher in prestige some 1000 miles away. Accordingly, the University of Texas has a monopoly of sorts on prestige in the region. This is not the same as saying it is worth the price- since you have an established career the added prestige of the University of Texas might not be that important to you.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Dec 2005, 11:57
Strange. Rice University (Jones Graduate School of Management) has the same tuition as Texas, yet Rice has a much stronger reputation for its Executive MBA than Texas, at least in South Texas, and from the people I have asked about it (at Ernst & Young, Citibank, IBM, and similar companies). Also, Rice's admissions standards seem to be tougher and their average GMAT (according to Kaplan) is higher than Texas. It sure makes Texas look like the wanna-be between the two schools.

Thanks also for pointing out that at this point in my career I may not need a Ferrari to commute to work, as in I need a solid degree more than a flashy one. I have actually received job inquiries in the past year which I had to decline, because I knew that the degree I held would matter. This came from some conversations with some very good friends, and the gist has almost-universally been 'just get the MBA, to back up the resume'. You hear something like that once from a trusted friend, that's one thing, but after the fourth time, you get to thinking that you have to agree.

Again, thanks for your advice. My progress in GMAT studies may make the actual decision for me. Sure hope those Kaplan and Princeton Review tests aren't too far from the real results!
  [#permalink] 24 Dec 2005, 11:57
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