The biggest question surrounding any educational option is its value. Not just its monetary value in the future, but also the value in terms of how that degree will work for the individual in the future. Online degree programs should come with the same questions from those pursuing them; how can this online degree help?
Business professionals considering an advanced education such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) must take into account how a degree could help them in the future. The first and most important thing business professionals must keep in mind when considering an online MBA is the improving image of the degree.
While many online degree programs, offered predominantly by private institutions at first, were once viewed as inferior, the quality and image of online degrees is trending higher. Bloomberg BusinessWeek conducted a survey of 20 hiring managers at top companies in Wisconsin in the summer of 2012 and found that half the managers do not take into account the forum in which a candidate earned their MBA.
Fits Your Schedule
One of the biggest things an online MBA can do for students is allow them the freedom to earn their degree on their own time, at their own pace. Monster.com notes that online MBA programs administer course materials over the Internet, allowing students to collect readings, interact with fellow students and complete coursework online when it works best for them.
What this does for students is it allows them to stay in their career field while improving their education at the same time. Traditional programs require full-time, on-campus participation from students. This means students face a double whammy financially speaking because they are not only paying for full-time, on-campus programs but have also left their career behind to do so.
As mentioned above, traditional programs provide a double shock to any student’s financial strength. According to CBSNews.com, MBA programs offered on-campus and online from traditional institutions cost up to twice as much as online-only MBA programs. CBSNews.com noted that the average online-only MBA program costs students $20,500 compared to upward of $135,000 from many institutions on-campus or from their online departments.
The big difference comes in what schools must provide. Traditional programs have fees related to professors, building maintenance, and other fees associated with running a brick-and-mortar institution. Additionally, when these institutions offer online MBA programs, their fees remain high because professors work longer, irregular hours and the cost of purchasing and maintaining computers and networks is passed along to students.
Online-only MBA programs may not have such high costs, making them easier for more business professionals to afford and don’t require them to leave their career to complete them.
Advance in Your Current Field
A recent US News article cited the different advantages offered through different MBA programs. It was noted that online MBA degrees may be ideal for those looking to advance within their current company or remain in the same industry but with a different company. Since few business professionals leave their career to pursue an online MBA, they are often seeking a promotion that requires an MBA, in addition to the work experience they’ve earned.
Additionally, specialized online MBA programs may help prepare individuals for advancement within their industry by improving their knowledge and skill in certain areas of business that are highly desired.