AIU Blog

The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.

The Merits and Demerits of Online MBA Programs

AIU Online - Coursesmart eBooks

When students are faced with choosing a degree program to pursue the first thing they should do is look at the merits and demerits of each program under consideration. This is true of first time students and those returning to school from the workforce. Business professionals considering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) have undoubtedly heard of the two most popular MBA programs available, full-time and online MBAs.

Since both traditional and online MBA programs have merits and demerits, comparing them will make it easier for students to decide which forum is best. Given the relative youth of online MBA programs compared to traditional counterparts, students should closely examine the merits and demerits of any program before enrolling.


The first thing many students will notice is the lower cost of an online MBA program. points out that the average online-only MBA program from private institutions will cost a student around $20,500. This was found to be more than half the cost of online MBAs offered from other schools, and nearly one-fifth the cost of MBA degrees offered from top business schools.

Another big plus in the mind of many potential students is the flexibility an online MBA program offers. Rather than show up in a physical location for a specified block of time, students in online MBA programs have the freedom to study and participate in classwork from the comfort of their home at any time of day.

Finally, business is often viewed as a ruthless and cutthroat industry where only the strong survive. This does not necessarily mean that shy people are not cut out for business administration programs, especially when they are delivered online. Yahoo! Education listed business administration degrees as one of the top choices for shy students to earn online.

The math is easy to decipher on this merit. The lack of face-to-face interaction makes it easier for those with a shy personality to complete an online MBA and find their own route in the business world with an MBA in their pocket to assist.


While Bloomberg BusinessWeek noted in early 2012 that the image of online MBA programs has been improving, US News found that traditional MBA programs offered from full-time institutions remain the gold standard in the mind of many employers. Online MBA programs remain on a lower tier in the minds of many compared to those offered from the nation’s top business schools.

Another big problem facing many online MBA programs is a lack of accreditation. A seal of approval on the content and quality of a program, accreditation is a big deal in the minds of most employers. The problem for many online MBA programs, particularly those offered by private institutions, is a lack of accreditation from the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Students may want to consider researching which private institutions have received this accreditation.

It is worth noting that no two individuals are going to experience the same success or failure from the same program. It is up to each individual to digest the merits and demerits listed above and determine how this information will impact their future in an online MBA program.