How to Choose an Online MBA Program
Enrolling in an MBA program is a great way to advance your career, increase your salary potential, and enhance your business and leadership skills. With many graduate programs moving online, you can now attend a business school of your choice on a flexible schedule. Before you start your search, read below for a few things to keep in mind.
Consider the technology the program uses for its online learning and teaching. Most schools utilize a learning management system such as BlackBoard or Canvas to facilitate learning. Other schools rely on proprietary systems to dispense knowledge. It is important that you get familiar with the course of delivery systems to gauge whether or not you fit their learning style. Most online programs also have tech support professionals available 24/7 to help learners overcome typical tech issues. However, ensure this level of support is available with your chosen program.
One of the most crucial things to look for when choosing an online program is proper accreditation. The school offering the program and the course work should be adequately accredited. Accreditation is provided by an International organization such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or AACSB International. It confirms that the school abides by required guidelines and the MBA is of high quality.
A program’s faculty members massively influence your learning experience and could significantly affect your future success. Some online MBA programs supplement their teaching staff with adjunct professors. However, the best MBA programs use the campus-based faculty to teach online learners. This continuity doesn’t only create a sense of equality amongst students; it also guarantees all students are getting the same level of education.
Cost of an Online MBA
This may be a given, but it’s very important to consider how much an MBA program costs. Several factors determine a program’s cost, including the program length and available resources. Additionally, a school’s prestige, location, and accreditation can also determine the tuition rates. The average MBA program costs between $66,300 and $73,000, depending on the field and school. Find out the cost of the program you want to join and determine whether it falls within your budget.
Online MBA programs don’t come cheap. If you require help to fund your education, opt for an MBA school that accepts outside financing such as grants, scholarships, or school loans. You should also check whether your online school has its own grants or scholarships for eligible students.
Timeline for Completion
There are several program formats and durations available for pursuing an MBA online. If you enroll in a part-time online program, you may need a couple of years to complete it. However, you can complete your online education in as little as one year if you choose an accelerated format. The factors that determine the format you might choose include the time you have and whether you have other commitments to keep in mind, like a full- or part-time job.
School reputation matters because it conveys information about the expected quality of their education. A school that enjoys an excellent reputation for its on-campus programming, for example, is likely to maintain its overall quality even in the digital space.
“Choose a school with a proven reputation of delivering a quality education both on campus and online. Rider’s Norm Brodsky College of Business is AACSB-accredited and its MBA graduates go on to work at top companies.” – Ron Cook, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at Rider University
The Flexibility of the Program
As mentioned earlier, an online degree is an ideal option for students juggling several responsibilities. Although flexibility is a foremost benefit of an online MBA, not all online programs are designed equally. Some programs are ‘asynchronous’ to allow students to study at their own pace through recorded lectures. However, other ‘synchronous’ require you to attend live classes at some specified time. Other programs may have a mixture of both, or even in-person meetings.
The Similarity Between the Online and Traditional MBAs
It is easy to assume every school’s on-campus and online MBA programs are similar to one another. Before choosing an online program, however, do some research to confirm whether this is indeed the case. Find out how the online program’s admission standards, reputation, resources, class size, and curriculum compare to its traditional MBA program. This helps you avoid any possible surprises and know what to expect along the way.
The right online program should open up ample opportunities for career growth upon graduation. The easiest way to determine the employment outcomes for a program’s graduates is, well, to see for yourself! Most online MBA programs provide opportunities for prospective students to engage with alumni. You can meet the alumni through campus events, visits, or reach out to them directly to get a sense of real career prospects.
Some online schools offering MBA programs provide a range of placement resources. Check whether the school you are interested in has a career placement program. This is crucial if you don’t already know where to work after getting your online degree. Some schools also offer résumé preparation or tips for finding a job after finishing your education.
Look at the Alumni Network
The strength of the online school’s alumni network can affect its reputation and therefore reflect the overall success of its graduates. Schools that have large and active alumni networks offer several opportunities for students to make connections with prospective employers and professionals. You should also determine how engaged the alumni are with their former program. Students who had an excellent experience with their MBA are likely to stay in contact with the school long after graduation. Find out how often the alumni attend events and the school and if they are routinely featured in departmental bulletins and newsletters.
Talk With Recruiters
Speaking to recruiters is an excellent option for finding a great online school. Most companies hire recruiters to help them recruit new employees, and finding a recruiter who deals with MBA-type positions is advisable. Ask them whether there are specific online programs top firms favor over others. If you are considering an online school whose quality a recruiter has doubts about, you might want to explore the possibility of looking for a different school.
Checking a particular school’s online MBA reviews can also help you settle on the best online program. MBA graduates often leave reviews regarding what they do professionally and whether the MBA from a school has helped them in their current job. Current students also offer honest and upfront reviews that help you determine the benefits and drawbacks of the school you are interested in joining. Reviews can help if you are torn between two or more business schools.
In a nutshell, before you choose an MBA online, it is crucial that you conduct thorough research to be sure you are investing in the right program. While the tips on choosing an online MBA program are by no means exhaustive, they are certainly a good place to start as you narrow down your search.
We Can Help You Find the Right MBA Program
At Abound, we believe that the ideal right MBA program should fit your schedule and provide the resources you need to further your career. Check out our cohort of accredited schools to find your perfect fit.