There are plenty of reasons to earn your master’s of business administration (MBA) degree online instead of choosing the traditional path of attending classes in person.
Perhaps you can’t abandon your day job to take full-time classes. Maybe the nearest brick-and-mortar MBA program is simply too far away to commute and you can’t afford to move. You may have professional or personal constraints and responsibilities that make attending regular classes difficult or impossible.
Fortunately, you can plug into most online classes any time of day or night, so online courses can accommodate odd schedules and provide the flexibility needed by a lot of today’s working professionals.
Attractive Traits of Online Classes
Or it could be an online MBA is more affordable, though you can’t automatically assume tuition for an online graduate degree is less expensive than a traditional school, according to Onlinedegrees.org. There are potential savings, however, from no room and board or commuting costs, the website said. In some cases out-of-state tuition may not apply, and occasionally textbooks are available online for another possible saving.
But mostly it comes down to the flexibility of online MBA programs. Allowing you to take classes on your schedule is one of the main attractions. That flexibility means you don’t have to quit your job or spend time and gas money getting to a campus. Often you can work at your own pace, doing the classwork by computer as your schedule allows and progressing through the courses at your own pace, though you’ll still face course deadlines and have to progress through the classes.
Online Classes Are Not for Everyone
The independent pacing and scheduling, though means you’ll have to be disciplined enough to carve time for the courses and set priorities with personal, family and professional demands on your time. If you need more structure and accountability to follow the classes, online degrees may not be the best.
Another main difference is you won’t have the personal interaction between fellow students and with the instructors, and you’ll miss some of the future networking and recruiting opportunities you’d find in a traditional face-to-face campus setting.
School Accreditation and Reputation
Picking an accredited school is one of the best ways to avoid trouble with online MBA programs or any online school, according to Onlinedegrees.org. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business lists more than 500 accredited business schools worldwide, though not all offer online MBA degrees. Also, the U.S. Department of Education is a source that recognizes associations accrediting schools, Onlinedegrees.org said.
Because online MBA programs aren’t limited geographically, one place to start selecting a school is checking online reviews that can give a sense of how a school performs. However, remember people are more likely to post negative information than praise, according to OnlineMBA.com. Consistently bad reviews, though, can indicate a possible trend such as unresponsive faculty members, the site said.
There are other factors to consider as you refine your search for an MBA program, such as costs and whether you can receive a scholarship.
One way to avoid the isolation of distance learning is through programs some schools offer that are hybrids of traditional and online classes. These call for occasional visits to the campus where you can interact with other students. Another way to make contacts and build relationships is through programs where you travel through MBA studies with the same cohort of students, according to the site.
Read more here about online MBA degree programs.