Everything You Need to Know About Online MBA Programs

A Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular and sought-after postgraduate degrees. Today, hundreds of thousands of students are graduating with MBAs every year from educational institutions all around the world.

An MBA is an internationally recognized qualification that will teach you the essential business skills and practical knowledge to excel in today’s competitive business sector. MBA graduates are highly valued and many secure senior-level positions within leading organizations.

Getting an MBA requires time and financial investment, but it can be an extremely rewarding venture with excellent career potential. It gives business professionals the flexibility to get their master’s degree without having to give up other obligations, such as work or childcare. This is why more and more professionals are choosing to earn their MBA degree online.

If you’re considering investing in a postgraduate business degree, then here is everything you need to know about online MBA programs:

How is an online MBA different from a traditional MBA?

The main difference between online and traditional MBA programs is that you won’t need to attend classes and commute to a campus if you study online. Online MBA programs give students the freedom and flexibility to study at a time and place that suits them, making it the ideal choice for students with professional or personal commitments. On the other hand, students attending a traditional MBA program will be required to attend classes and teaching sessions at set times.

College Raptor explains how “online MBA programs offer the same content and coursework as what one would expect from any traditional track.” An online course will cover the same core MBA topics, such as corporate finance, marketing, and modern business leadership.

Modern technology allows professors to deliver learning sessions and classes through distance learning. Most business schools use a learning management system like Moodle or Blackboard to plan and deliver online programs. Professors can post pre-recorded classes on the platform and learners can view classes and access course content at a time that is convenient for them. Students can also post coursework and assessments onto the learning management platform for their professors to review.

What do online MBA programs teach?

Online MBA programs teach students the skills, expertise, and practical knowledge required for management positions in the business sector. Some of the key skills that you will acquire while studying for an online MBA are strategic thinking, team building, networking, leadership and analytical skills, to name just a few. These skills can be applied to a broad range of senior roles and industries including business, finance, human resources, and medicine.

Online MBA programs cover the core curriculum, but you will also have the opportunity to choose an MBA specialization. The highest-paying MBA concentrations are management, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and information technology. Graduates who specialize in these modules are in high demand across many industries and sectors. Take the time to research different MBA specialisms and elect a specialty that aligns with your skills, interests, and professional aspirations.

Will an online MBA help my career?

An online MBA qualification can boost your job outlook and benefit your role hugely once your graduate. Here are some of the key ways that an online MBA can help your career:

  • Land your dream promotion – Online MBA programs prepare students for top positions and most graduates secure executive positions soon after graduating. An MBA qualification could help you land your dream promotion with your current employer or secure a senior position in a top company or organization.
  • Increase your pay – Surveys show that there is a significant difference in pay between professionals who have an MBA vs those who don’t. Earning potential for MBA grads is also expected to increase. A report published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers predicts that the average starting salary for MBA grads in 2021 will be  $87,966 – an 11.3% increase since 2020.
  • Gain a competitive edge – Getting an MBA will set you above your coworkers and help you compete in the fast-paced business world. An MBA is extremely beneficial if you want to move up the corporate ladder or break into a competitive business sector such as finance or entrepreneurship.

How long will it take to complete an online MBA?

The timeframe to complete an online MBA will depend on your course and method of study. College Consensus states that full-time online MBA programs can be completed in just two years, but they are rigorous and best suited to students without distractions like a career or a family. If you are ready to get stuck in and have the time available, then enrolling in a full-time online MBA program is the fasted way to get your master’s degree.

Part-time online MBA programs are the preferred option for students who are working or have families, as they allow you to take on the number of credits that you feel you can cope with at a particular time. Part-time online MBA programs typically take between two and five years to complete, depending on your pace of study. Make sure that you consider your availability and obligations when deciding whether to enroll in a full-time or part-time online MBA program.

What are the benefits of studying online?

Earning a higher degree like an MBA can be a surefire way to advance your career and open up new job opportunities. However, trying to balance postgraduate education with work, family, and other commitments can be challenging or impossible. Technology has helped solve these issues and online MBA programs offer unparalleled flexibility. Here are some of the main benefits of studying online:

Learn at any time

Online MBA programs allow learners to take classes in the evenings or at weekends and study from the comfort of their own home. You can access learning materials online and complete coursework at a convenient time. This means that you can earn an MBA degree while still fulfilling your work and family obligations.

Study at your pace

When you enroll in an online MBA, you will have the freedom to study at your pace and won’t feel pressured to keep up with your peers. At the same time, you will also have the freedom to complete learning activities and coursework faster if you have the time available.

Save money

A further advantage of studying online is that it is often cheaper than choosing a traditional campus-based course. Business schools incur fewer costs when they offer online MBA programs, which translates to lower tuition fees for you. Online education is also cheaper as you won’t need to commute to classes and pay for car maintenance and fuel.

Will I meet the entry requirements?

Each business school sets its criteria for online MBA programs and you must check that you meet the entry requirements before you apply. The majority of online MBA programs require applicants to provide proof of completion of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or institution. Along with this, you will usually need to provide undergraduate transcripts showing a minimum GPA and a letter of recommendation.

You will also need to provide a professional resume outlining your professional experience. Keep in mind that you will typically need to demonstrate a minimum of 2-3 years of experience before being accepted onto an online MBA. Some top business schools require applicants to have several years of professional experience before they are accepted onto the course. Online MBA programs are designed to prepare students for executive business positions, which is why a certain level of professional experience is required. Read articles online for more information on the entry requirements for online MBA programs.

How can I pay for an online MBA?

Online MBA programs are often cheaper than traditional campus-based degrees, but they are still expensive. The average cost of a two-year full-time online MBA is $38,628, but this can be a lot higher at top-ranking business schools. The good news is that there are several ways to pay for a postgraduate degree. The three most popular options are student loans, scholarships, and employer contributions.

Graduate loans

A recent survey by NCES revealed that more than 50% of students take out a loan to pay for graduate education. You can apply for a student loan to cover the tuition fees of your online MBA and you may also be able to borrow money to help cover your living costs while studying. The interest rates on student loans are much lower than other loans and you don’t need to start making monthly repayments until after you graduate and find employment.

Scholarships

There are many different MBA scholarships available to graduates. Most scholarships are merit-based and awarded to students based on their academic performance. That said, you may also be able to apply for a scholarship or grant if you are from a low-income household and need financial aid to afford graduate education. Explore what scholarships are on offer and apply early to boost your chances of securing financial support.

Employer contributions

Employers recognize the benefits of an MBA degree and many organizations will agree to pay for postgraduate qualifications like online MBA programs to up-skill their team members. Organize a meeting with your manager to discuss your desire to complete an online MBA. Clearly explain the advantages that an MBA could bring to your role and the company as a whole.

Is an online MBA challenging?

There is no getting around the fact that getting an MBA qualification is hard work. Online MBA programs are designed to create industry leaders, so they involve rigorous training and assessments. You must be prepared to work hard and learn the necessary skills and practical knowledge to become an MBA graduate.

Keep in mind that online MBA programs are not easier than traditional MBA programs. You will need to work just as hard and dedicate yourself to your studies in the same way that you would if you were attending a campus-based course. The expectations will be the same and you will need to be highly motivated to stay on top of your coursework and deadlines.

Here are some tips to help you be successful when enrolled in an online MBA program:

  • Take control of your learning from the outset and create a detailed study plan that highlights key deadlines and learning objectives.
  • Choose a productive study environment that will support your learning e.g. an area that is free from distractions.
  • Experiment with a variety of study methods to find what works best for you based on your skills and learning preferences.
  • Strike a healthy balance between your learning, work, and personal life. Make time to socialize with your loved ones and enjoy hobbies and interests.
  • Adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as eating a nutritious balanced diet, drinking enough water, exercising for 30 minutes a day, and getting plenty of sleep.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your professors or peers for help if you’re struggling with certain aspects of your course. Use technology to connect and communicate online.
  • Factor relaxation time into your schedule and find ways to unwind and fight study-related stress.

Summary

MBAs have become one of the more popular master’s degrees in the US, and for good reason! These postgraduate business degrees can be hugely rewarding and lead to tens of thousands of dollars in additional income each year. MBA graduates are in high demand and make graduates secure executive-level positions offering high pay, career advancement, and job security.

Getting an MBA is not easy, but it is a worthwhile investment for anyone seeking to move up the corporate ladder and compete in the modern business sector. Online MBA programs have made this graduate-level degree more flexible and accessible than ever. Many professionals can earn an MBA while continuing to work and build their careers. Enrolling in an online MBA program can help you advance in your current role and achieve your professional goals.

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