Is Now The Right Time To Pursue An Online MBA?
Online MBA have been around for a long time now and business degrees were one of the first to move towards an online format. A lot of it has to do with the fact that they are some of the best suited for online learning. The issue with early programs was the reasonable technical limitations and the lack of recognition.
Things have greatly changed since then, and online MBA programs are now very common and respected. Many have considered going for the option due to recent events and it could be a very good way to get the credentials amid restrictions. So, is now the right time to get an MBA?
The Rise In Online MBA Applications
The pandemic has boosted demand for online education across all domains, but especially when it comes to online MBAs, and it’s easy to understand why. These programs allow students to attend classes without having to deal with restrictions. There are still a lot of uncertainties about when the
world will be able to get back to normal, and going for an online option could be a good insurance policy to have in case things have to go on a standstill again.
Not only that, but there’s also a slew of entrepreneurs who have been blindsided by the recent events and realized how ill-equipped they were for disruption. This has pushed many of them to look at the online MBA and other online business programs to get the skills that they so desperately
Others may want to position themselves for a job market that is set to be very fierce in the next few years. Not to mention that the MBA is beginning to be asked as a qualification for entry-level managerial roles in some cases.
Businesses will also be looking for more people with the credential after years of its validity being questioned. They understand the importance of someone being able to improve efficiency, navigate through different types of work methodologies, and have a solid in-depth understanding of supply
There have been reports of schools seeing an increase of over 30% in applications in spring 2020 compared to the year before. Many colleges are also doing their part to improve their programs and attract more students. Also, students have more choice at their disposal with overseas schools
increasingly courting them as well.
You also have many people who have been furloughed at this time and may have a lot of time on their hands. Getting an education is a sound way to invest stimulus money and many of them are expecting their furlough to be lifted. This makes online MBAs a more viable and attractive option for
the long term.
The Appeals Of An Online MBA
However, recent events are not the only reason for the rise in popularity of online MBAs. Back in 2016, over 57% of schools reported an increase in applications for online MBAs, which was up 7% from the year before. And it’s easy to understand why considering everything they have to offer.
The biggest benefit of online MBAs is convenience. Students can attend classes from wherever they are, and in some cases, whenever they want. You have asynchronous programs that allow students to attend lectures on their own time within a set time frame. These give people even more flexibility and the ability to fit their studies around their professional and personal obligations, not the other way around.
Another major benefit of online MBAs is cost. While tuition for online programs tends to be around the same for traditional classes, there are many ways in which students can save. They can save on many of the fees associated with attending classes on campus. They can save on manuals since most of them will be digital. It’s also important to note that some schools can reduce their overall tuition costs by concentrating more on online education.
There are some fundamental differences between the online MBA and the traditional MBA. One of these is the contact with faculty and other students. While you may not be able to interact face to face, communication tools make collaboration easy, and asking questions to teachers and getting
them answered is much simpler. Teachers can process questions much more efficiently and in a way that would be virtually impossible in a traditional class.
Also, online MBAs tend to attract a different crowd than traditional MBAs. They tend to attract a lot of professionals from other fields, business owners, and overseas students. This gives you a diverse set of experiences that you can draw from. You’ll get to learn from people who are in fields such as manufacturing or law. You’ll be introduced to different cultures and realities and have a chance to identify untapped markets or unmet needs.
An online MBA gives students access to more opportunities, not only where they are, but globally. It will also make any entrepreneur better and more effective, which will be essential in the tough business climate we’re set to experience for the next few years.
Another great reason to get an online MBA is that you can now choose from virtually any school in the country. Maybe you wanted to go to a top school but were too far away, or you weren’t able to get into the school of your choice where you are. Now you can choose a college that’s on the other
side of the country without having to relocate.
Myths About Online MBAs
It’s also very important that you dispel some myths about the MBA as they could stop you from considering the option. First of all, you have to know that good online MBAs are just as efficient and rigorous as any other MBA. Don’t expect it to be easier and don’t expect people to be able to know that you got your degree online unless you got it from a school that is known for having online MBAs only.
Not only are online MBAs just as tough as regular ones, but they could even be tougher depending on the person. These classes demand a lot of discipline and some people might realize how much they need structure in their lives. There is no one to push you in the back or remind you that you
have important assignments or exams coming up. You also have to motivate yourself to attend classes and stay focused with all the distractions of a sometimes very busy household.
The fact that you got your MBA online will make absolutely no difference in how it will be viewed by your employer. It will mainly have to do with how well the school is ranked and the accreditation of its program. We’ll touch on this later.
Another common myth of online MBAs is that only diploma mills offer them. This is one of the worst and most inaccurate lies about online MBAs. Virtually all prestigious schools have an online MBA right now and they take it very seriously. They understand how popular the option will be in the coming years, and are doing everything they can to improve their offerings.
You also shouldn’t assume that studying your MBA online will be lonely and you won’t be able to get the networking benefits. Good programs will have tons of networking opportunities for students. And, as we said earlier, communication is made easy with new tools. It could even help students who are more reserved to come out of their shells and communicate with students from all over the globe.
Online students have access to everything from forums, to discussion groups, to live webinars where they get to exchange. If you're in a major city, chances are you’ll be able to find a few people going
through the same program as you. Nothing is stopping you from getting together and forming a study group. Online classes make communication natural and seamless and, in many ways, better than face-to-face interaction.
How To Choose An Online MBA Program
If you want to get all the benefits of online MBAs, however, you have to make sure that you go for the right program. The very first thing you have to do is make sure that it’s accredited. This is what will determine how respected your degree will be in the marketplace. Also, you want to make sure that your credits will be transferable if you need to stop or want to go to another school.
This is why you need to start searching for the different types of accreditation out there and which ones you should be looking for. The best online MBA programs are AACSB accredited. The AACSB reviews MBA programs and makes sure that they abide by certain standards. It is the most prestigious accrediting body when it comes to business schools and has been around since 1920. It doesn’t only rank programs in the US, but the whole world.
Also, you need to look at whether the school is regionally accredited. Know that regional accreditation is actually viewed as more prestigious than national accreditation. This is because national accreditation is usually reserved for non-profit or state schools while regional accreditation is for vocational, trade, or for-profit schools. Some of these associations include:
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- Higher Learning Commission
- The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Next, you want to check how well the school is ranked and how prestigious their MBA program is. Here, you want to concentrate on their MBA program in general, as this is what people will consider when looking at your degree. Remember, employers will only be able to see from which school and program you got your degree, not the method through which you obtained it.
You also have to check what the program is like and what type of technology is being used. You have to make sure that they’re using the latest tools so that classes are as immersive as possible. We would also suggest that you survey some people who have been through the program and ask what they have to say about the overall experience.
Also, we would suggest that you think twice about going for asynchronous classes. While they might seem convenient at first glance, they have some serious drawbacks that could affect your experience. Watching lectures on your time also means that you won’t be able to interact with other people or teachers, which takes away a lot from the program. Instead, we would suggest that you look for evening or weekend classes if your schedule is an issue.
Making Sure That You Are Ready For An Online MBA
Another very important thing is that you assess whether you truly have what it takes to succeed with an online MBA, or online education in general if it’s your first time around. Studying online is very different in many ways and you have to make sure that you are ready for the change. First of all, you have to make sure that you have the self-discipline and motivation needed. Again, you’ll be the one who’ll have to keep tabs on assignments. You might also be the type of person who absolutely needs to have that human interaction.
We would suggest that you watch a few free lectures online first or even try a MOOC and see how well you do. If you notice that the format works for you, or is an even better fit for your personality, then this is a good sign.
You also have to make sure that you have the proper environment for studying. If you’re living in a hectic household, you will need to get other people on board, which could be difficult at times. You might need to arrange a special space in the house or have to study from somewhere where you’ll be able to concentrate better.
Pursuing an online MBA now could be a great option if you want to advance your career, become a more well-rounded entrepreneur, or have a diploma that will be in high demand in the next few years. We strongly suggest that you consider the option, and see what’s out there for you.