Prospective Master of Business Administration (MBA) students have to decide: is an online program or on-campus learning experience better? Online MBA programs haven't always had the best reputation, but that is beginning to change. According to the Application Trends Survey Report by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 47% of online MBA programs reported more people applied in 2017 than ever before. As the stereotype begins to change, here are a few things to consider before deciding if an online MBA program is right for you.
Reasons to choose an online MBA program:
1. It is often faster. A traditional MBA program will require you to commit to a two-year program. However, an online program can be done in as little as 14 months.
2. Online programs are getting a better reputation. In the past, online MBA programs weren't as well-respected, but now this is changing. Employers often prefer that their workers attend an online MBA program because it gives them the flexibility and freedom to work and study at the same time. Many top universities offer great MBA programs online now.
One of the top-rated online MBA programs is at the Kelley Direct at Indiana University - Bloomington. It allows students to receive an MBA degree from a well-respected business school. 100% of students admitted to the program are already employed and have two to five years to complete the program.
3. Online programs offer financial aid and scholarships. GMAC's Application Trends Report also found that nearly 40% of online MBA students anticipating receiving employer support to help people for their education.
Online MBA programs that are Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business ( AACSB) -accredited schools will have a similar financial aid process to traditional programs.
Many schools even have specific scholarships to help offset the cost of their online program. For example, Babson College provides a $5000 Blended Learning MBA Diversity and Women's Leadership Scholarship. The University of North Carolina will also offer partial scholarships to outstanding applicants.
Reasons not to choose an online MBA program:
1. Missing out on real-life connections. Studying online and in-person are entirely different experiences. While on-campus, you can meet and form relationships with your peers, attend presentations, and meet with professors. This type of human interaction can't be replicated online.
However, this is changing, with some programs allowing for more in-person interactions. The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University has a part-time online MBA program that offers an online hybrid format. Twice a week, students participate in live, interactive classes. Students can also attend Access Weekends that are held in different locations, giving them a chance to meet and network with peers, alumni, and professors.
2. Less internship and job fair opportunities. Most traditional MBA programs give their students plenty of opportunities to participate in an internship. While there are some MBA programs online that have started to incorporate an internship program into their curriculum, there are many that still do not. If a student is far away from the university, they might not be able to participate in job fairs either, which could affect future employment opportunities.
For many business professionals, taking advantage of an online MBA program is a great way to achieve your career goals. While it won't be the right fit for everyone, they can be a good option for someone who wants an adaptable and flexible schedule. As you consider different online programs, find one that fits with your career goals and timeline to help you get the best results.
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