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Published On: Fri, May 21st, 2021

Complete Guide to Online MBA Programs

Attending an online MBA program is a great way to move ahead in your career and improve your future job outlook. An MBA (master’s in business administration) is designed to teach students the skills needed to excel in business and become effective leaders. Graduating with an MBA will help you distinguish yourself in the highly competitive job market and achieve your career goals. 

Online MBA programs have become more popular than traditional MBA courses in recent years, thanks to the flexibility and convenience that they offer. Many people who enroll in MBA programs are working professionals who cannot quit their jobs or dedicate two years to full-time study at a college. Online MBA programs allow students to continue building their careers while earning a postgraduate qualification in their spare time. If you’re considering boosting your business career with an MBA degree, then here is the complete guide to online MBA programs:

What is an online MBA?

An online MBA is an internationally recognized degree that focuses on developing the specialist skills and expertise needed for top careers in business. Online MBA programs prepare students for senior-level positions across a wide range of sectors, including business, finance, human resources, and marketing. 

An online MBA curriculum covers core topics like economics, finance, communication, leadership, and law. The curriculum is broad to ensure that graduates have the skills needed to work in public, private, and non-profit organizations. Along with core business subjects, MBA students also have the opportunity to pick specialist modules. 

According to businessbecause.com, some of the most in-demand MBA specializations are technology, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Online MBA programs have exploded in recent years, and there are hundreds of courses to choose from. You must research different programs and pick a specialization that is well matched to your skills, interests, and future career goals. For example, you should consider an online MBA with an entrepreneurship specialization if you hope to launch a startup after you graduate.

photo/ Alexandra / München

 

How is an online MBA delivered?

Many people who are considering online MBA programs have concerns over how the curriculum will be delivered. Fortunately, modern technology has made it possible for schools to conduct coursework and classes through distance learning in a way that is both clear and effective. 

Most schools deliver coursework via a learning management system (LMS) like Blackboard that utilizes cloud-based tools and technologies. Professors can post course content to the online platform and students enrolled in the program can access learning materials from anywhere. Students can post completed coursework to the LMS for professors to review. When it comes to assessments, students on online MBA programs may be able to complete tests via virtual testing services, or they may need to attend a local testing center or educational facility. 

Some online MBA programs include interactive teaching sessions that take place virtually via the LMS platform. These require real-time attendance and allow interaction between students and professors. Often, interactive learning sessions are scheduled for evenings or weekends so that students with work commitments can still attend. 

What are the advantages of an MBA?

An MBA will help you grow both personally and professionally, and the degree can bring about a wealth of benefits. Here are some of the advantages of getting an MBA degree:

Expand your skills 

An MBA will expand your skills and knowledge across a broad range of business areas, including accounting, leadership, and entrepreneurship. These versatile skills can be beneficial in many different job roles and industries. Enhancing your skills will help you feel more confident in the fast-paced business world. 

Land a promotion 

MBA programs are designed to prepare graduates for senior-level roles in business. An MBA will boost your resume and help you stand out to prospective employers. Once you graduate, you will be more likely to land a promotion at your company as you will possess the leadership skills that hiring managers look for. You will also have the opportunity to look for senior-level opportunities elsewhere and move up the business ladder. 

Increase your paycheck

MBA graduates are sought-after and companies are prepared to pay more to attract the top candidates. Most professionals with an MBA degree land high-level business positions and can negotiate high starting salaries and additional perks such as generous pension schemes and bonuses. A recent employment report found that 9 in 10 MBA graduates believe that their degree improved their earning power. 

Build your network

Many people decide to earn an MBA because of the excellent networking opportunities on offer. When you enroll in an MBA program, you will have access to a wide professional network consisting of classmates, professors, alumni members, and business leaders. The connections that you make on an MBA program can benefit you long after your course has ended. Research suggests that up to 80% of jobs are filled through networking, so it pays to build your professional network. 

Why should I choose to study online?

If you are interested in studying for an MBA, then you have two main options available. You can either enroll in a traditional brick-and-mortar program, or you can choose an online course and earn an MBA degree via distance learning. Here are some of the top reasons to consider online MBA programs:

  • Flexibility: You will have the flexibility to study at a time and place that suits you and work coursework around your existing schedule. 
  • Work opportunities: You have the option to work full-time while you study. Online MBA programs make it possible to build your career and education simultaneously. 
  • Freedom to work from anywhere: You can study from any location with an internet connection. This means that you have the freedom to move around or travel while you are studying for an online MBA. 
  • Cost savings: Online MBA programs are generally cheaper than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Virtual schools don’t need to pay for facilities like libraries and lecture halls, which helps to keep tuition costs down. You will also save money as you won’t need to spend money relocating or commuting to classes. 

Online MBA programs have become increasingly popular as they offer greater flexibility and convenience. There are dozens of advantages to online qualifications, but distance learning also has its drawbacks. One of the biggest challenges faced by online learners is finding the motivation to stay engaged with a lack of course structure. Distance learners must show self-discipline and find ways to stay motivated to complete coursework. Take a look at this article on usnews.com for some of the challenges of online classes and how to overcome them. 

Are online MBA programs easy? 

There is a common misconception that online degrees are easier than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, but this is not the case. Online MBA programs require the same intensive coursework and assessments as campus-based programs. The expectations are the same, and you will need to deliver the same high standards of work whether you choose to study for an MBA online or on campus. 

In some cases, students find online MBA programs more difficult than traditional courses because of the challenges mentioned above. Keep this in mind when you are considering online MBA programs and make sure that an MBA is the best option for you. Make sure that you go into the program with realistic expectations of how much time and effort you will need to commit to your studies to do well. 

How quickly can I graduate from an online MBA?

On average, most online MBA programs take between two and three years to complete. How long it takes you to graduate will be influenced by the program that you choose. It will take you longer to graduate if you study part-time and only take one or two classes per trimester, for example. On the other hand, you may be able to complete your online MBA faster if you can work through the coursework at a quicker pace. 

Some schools offer accelerated programs where you can earn an MBA in 12 months or less. However, these courses are only really suited to motivated students without work or family commitments. It would not be possible to complete an accelerated program if you are planning on working while you study. 

How much do online MBA programs cost? 

Statistics by the National Center for Education Statistics reveal that the average cost of a two-year graduate degree is $38,628. This might seem like a lot, but it is significantly cheaper than most traditional MBA programs. Earning an MBA degree is never cheap, but there are lots of ways to fund your higher education. 

You will become eligible for federal financial aid programs once you are enrolled in an online degree program, just the same as students who are attending courses on-campus. You can submit a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) form to find out what aid you are eligible for. You should receive a student aid report outlining the details within three weeks from the date of submission. You can also apply for other financial aid such as scholarships, fellowships, and grants. Research what schemes are available and apply for as much financial aid as you can.  

Are online MBA programs respected?

There are still some people who believe that traditional degrees are superior to online programs. However, there has been a shift in recent years, and most employers now hold online qualifications to the same standard as their campus-based counterparts. Make sure that you choose an online MBA program that has been accredited by an authoritative body and pay close attention to the reputation of the school. 

How do I apply for an online MBA? 

The process to apply for online MBA programs is fairly straightforward, but you must ensure that it is done correctly. Failing to fill out the application correctly will imply that you are unable to follow directions, and this may cause you to be rejected. 

Most online MBA programs require a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and many courses require a minimal amount of professional experience. This is usually a couple of years, although some top business schools ask applicants to demonstrate up to five years of relevant experience before being accepted onto the course. 

Each school sets its own admissions requirements, so contact the course provider to check what criteria are in place. Make sure that you have all of your supporting documents available, and take your time filling out the application before you submit your application package to the school. 

How can I stay healthy while studying? 

Online MBA programs are intensive, and you may find it stressful to balance your studies with work and other commitments. You should pay close attention to your health while you are studying and take steps to protect your health and wellbeing. 

Adopting healthy lifestyle habits is one of the easiest ways to maintain good health. You should eat three nutritious meals a day, avoid junk food, drink enough water, and get plenty of sleep. Physical activity is also important and you should aim to do some form of exercise every day. This could be as simple as going for a walk around your block or doing a quick workout DVD in front of your TV. 

Conclusion  

To compete in the modern business world, you must have strong business skills and practical experience. MBA degrees are the gold standard when it comes to business qualifications. The degree will equip you with the specialist skills needed to move up the corporate ladder and land your dream role. 

Earning an MBA is a difficult task, and it’s important to acknowledge that online MBA programs are just as intensive as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. You will need to work hard and show self-discipline to complete the rigorous training and assessments required. However, graduating from an online MBA is a massive accomplishment that can bring about huge rewards. If you’ve decided that enrolling in an online MBA is the next step in your career, then use the above guide to help you plan your journey towards becoming an MBA graduate.  

Author: Carol Trehearn

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