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Comprehensive Guide on Online MBA: Is it Worth Your Time?

Introduction

  • More people are enrolling for an online MBA globally. Over the last five years, the sector has grown exponentially, with more than 47% of employed individuals opting for online management studies.
  • The growth has been occasioned by increased demand for management professionals in different sectors of the global economy. The world’s population is growing fast, which has led to a boom in the consultancy, manufacturing, and financial sectors. 
  • As a result, more institutions are seeking accreditation to offer online MBA which is ideal for individuals on formal employment. As of now, almost every country has several institutions that offer programs online.
  • However, the rush to meet the demand for online management has led to a rise of unscrupulous individuals out to exploit a large number of desperate students! Therefore, you should be keen when enrolling in any learning institution—always ensure that it’s accredited to offer an online MBA.
  • To help you make an informed decision, we’ve prepared an all-inclusive guide on online MBA. It has everything you’d want to know about the program. Read on to understand. 

What Is An Online MBA?

  • An online MBA is a management course that’s completed online—students will not be required to attend physical lessons. The mode focuses more on delivering content using online techniques to students remotely.
  • While many people have been skeptical about the program for a long time, it is now receiving endorsements from different quarters globally. This is especially so after various accreditation bodies approved online MBAs offered by different institutions. 
  • Due to the approvals, employers and other hiring agents have adopted online MBAs as valid degrees—as long as they are offered by an accredited institution. 

Who is the Target for Online MBA?

  • Online MBA targets all candidates with valid undergraduate qualifications. It offers courses that are tailor-made to increase management knowledge and skills necessary to catapult the students to the top of their business career. 
  • The curriculum revolves around marketing, accounting, management, economics, business law, and finance. As such, any candidate who would like to pursue the program must have an interest in any of these sectors.
  • However, this program is a best-fit for working professionals who have limited time to attend physical lectures. Some institutions may require that all the applicants possess at least two years of work experience. 
  • Graduates with work experience in areas such as finance, marketing, consultancy, and operations are particularly preferred. 

Online MBA Delivery

  • You’ve heard about online MBA, but you’re still uncertain about how it works, right? Well, an online MBA is entirely delivered using online approaches. 
  • As such, you’ll be required to have high internet connectivity and adequate electronic gadgets to access all the learning materials. 
  • Most learning institutions have developed reliable Learning Management Systems (LMS). This is a downloadable software that acts as a link between online MBA students and instructors/ tutors. 
  • The institution will upload anything that needs students’ attention on the platform, thus ensuring that no student misses out on crucial course details. 

How does LMS Platform Work?

LMS platform is one of the most comprehensive platforms for online MBA students. It integrates different tools and cloud-based services that guarantee effective communication throughout the semester. 

It has unique features such as:

  • Video streaming
  • Lecture capture
  • Interactive video sessions
  • Text chat windows
  • Web conferencing
  • Audio discussion sessions

With these features, the students can interact, seek clarifications, and engage in productive group discussions. 

Additionally, most of the online MBA institutions have incorporated electronic textbook materials in the LMS. This feature allows students to access a fully-equipped digital library, research journals, and other electronic resources. Even better, students can listen to audio recordings of the textbooks, which simplifies their learning process. 

Another outstanding feature of the LMS is the integration of assignments portals. The instructors can issue assignments, and students can submit completed work through the same channel.

This avoids over-reliance on emails and guarantees integrity in assignments/projects administration

Asynchronous Lectures vs. Synchronous Lectures: What’s the Difference?

  • Asynchronous lectures are recorded sessions that you can access any time you want through the LMS. These lectures could be from experts in your field, your tutors, professionals, or any other individual designated to pass relevant information to students.
  • On the contrary, synchronous lectures are live lectures that students are required to attend in real-time. These sessions are primarily interactive—students will ask questions and interact with their tutors. While these lectures can be available at a later time, only participating students will get answers to their pressing needs/queries.
  • For the synchronous sessions, online MBA students will receive a link to join the lesson. It has the best simulation of classroom setup. Students can raise their virtual hands anytime they need clarification or have a question to ask the tutor. Due to their relevance, most institutions will insist on the need for students to attend a given percentage of all sessions to qualify for graduation. 

Will International Students in Different Time Zones be Considered when Allocating Synchronous Lectures?

  • One of the biggest challenges that institutions face is the difference in time zones. However, there is always a balancing act depending on the timezones of different students in a given class. 
  • After evaluation of the differences, the institutions will settle for an adequate time that could favor the majority of the students. Nevertheless, online MBA students must be flexible enough to attend the lessons even in odd hours.
  • Due to this challenge, however, most online MBA students focus more on the asynchronous lectures to accommodate all the students. 

Is an Online MBA Worth It?

  • Yes, online MBAs are slowly being adopted by employers after a long time of resistance. A report by the Graduate Management Admission Council shows a steady rise in the number of online MBA students.
  • Even better, there is a general acceptance of the program among the employers. However, a majority of them are particular about the institution that offered the program. As such, students must be careful to ensure that they only enroll for an online MBA in institutions that have been accredited by relevant accreditation bodies. 
  • One of the ways that you should calculate the worth of your online MBA is by determining its ROI. This is a ratio that shows the returns/benefits of the program compared to the investment in terms of monetary resources and time.
  • If you’re a career person who has been sponsored by your employer to study the program, you can be sure that there is a significantly high chance of getting a promotion. Even as a self-sponsored student, you can be sure that an MBA is an excellent additive to your academic credentials. 
  • However, it is crucial that you evaluate its relevance in your field of work. The more relevant it is to your area, the higher the ROI. Only invest in the program if it will help you to rise through the ranks in your career. 

Online MBA Accreditation: Why Is It Necessary?

  • Can you imagine the amount of money you spend on an online MBA? It is a lot, right? Well, an online MBA is a humongous investment, and it can be costly both in terms of money and time.
  • As such, it can be devastating if you realize midway that the MBA you’ve been spending resources on will amount to nothing! That it will not add any value to your career.
  • To avoid such devastation, different regions have developed accreditation bodies mandated to approve or disapprove online MBA. 
  • Accreditation is proof that you will get high-quality education and that you will get a high return on your investment. This is achieved through an intense evaluation process that involves regular assessments of the facilities available to offer an online MBA. Also, they must ascertain that all the tutors are qualified to provide specific online MBA courses. 

Types of Online MBA Accreditation

There are different accreditation types of accreditation that an online MBA can get. They include:

National Accreditation

  • This is an accreditation that an institution receives from local accrediting bodies. It started in 1912 and has since grown to evaluate multiple institutions in different countries. 
  • In most cases, this accreditation is not valued as highly as the regional and international accreditations. Some of these accrediting bodies include the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), the Distance Education and Training Council, and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

Regional Accreditation

  • These are accreditation bodies based on geographical locations where different countries located nearby join to form an accreditation body for all the institutions in that region. 
  • They include the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC) and the Higher Learning Commission. 
  • For institutions to meet the requirements of this accreditation body, they must undergo an extensive compliance process to prove their ability to offer all the programs.  

Institutional Accreditation

  • This an accreditation method that assesses the suitability of the entire course as opposed to a single program. As such, all the programs offered by the institution are valid.
  • However, most institutional accreditations are only offered for a specific duration. After the expiry of that period, the institution must undergo another round of assessments. The certification can either be extended or withdrawn. 
  • As such, candidates must be keen to check the timelines of institutional accreditations. If it has expired and not renewed, it means that the institution failed the quality tests required before renewal. 

Specialized Accreditation

  • This is an accreditation that evaluates a specific department of an institution. For example, a business department in a given institute.
  • The accreditation agencies evaluate the curriculum, faculty’s qualifications, facilities available, and students’ outcomes.
  • The best online MBA accreditation bodies include the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

“While not many institutions will have all these accreditations at once, an ideal online MBA institution must have at least one certification from these valid bodies.

Which accreditation bodies approve online MBAs?

If you want to pursue a valid MBA, you should always ensure that it is accredited by credible accreditation bodies. Some of these bodies include:

Online Education Boards 

  • Most countries have Online Education Boards that are mandated to evaluate the ability of various institutions to offer quality online programs. Such organizations assess the institution’s facilities, infrastructure, and learning environment before endorsing any university. As such, you can be sure that institutions validated by these bodies meet all the requirements for offering an online MBA.

Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

  • This is an accreditation body that was established in 1916 to assess the quality of management courses provided by institutions globally. AACSB accreditation is influenced by various factors, including an institution’s faculty, learning facilities, mission, operations, curriculum, among other critical considerations. 
  • AACSB accreditation is one of the most valuable/crucial endorsements any business school can earn. It involves an intensive evaluation of the institution’s systems, which can take a considerable time.
  • Even after the approval, institutions must maintain high-quality education to maintain valuable status. AACSB regularly checks the program’s quality and tutors’ qualifications to determine whether to renew the accreditation or not.
  • As of now, there are approximately 570 institutions that have received the endorsement of AACSB.

European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)

  • This is an accrediting body established under the European Foundation for Management Development. It aims at ensuring that all management schools in Europe and beyond follow all the guidelines of the MBA study. 
  • EQUIS is particularly keen on assessing the availability of adequate learning facilities, qualified teaching staff, and other necessary parameters that facilitate these institutions to offer an online MBA. 
  • Most importantly, EQUIS considers the international acceptability of the online MBA. It evaluates its overall quality and compares its curriculum with other internationally recognized institutions to determine whether the students will get comprehensive course coverage. 
  • Unlike AACSB, EQUIS assesses the entire institution as opposed to individual programs. There are currently approximately 130 institutions in 30 countries that have received the accreditation. 
  • Some of the institutions that are EQUIS accredited in the US include Babson College, Wellesley; Bentley University, Waltham; Skema Business School; and Michael G. Foster School of Business, University of Washington, Seattle.

Association of MBAs (AMBA)

  • AMBA is an accreditation body that was established in 1967 to assess and approve the ability of institutions to offer MBAs. This body only offers accreditation for specific programs but not the entire institution.
  • As such, you should check whether an online MBA is AMBA-accredited before enrolling. It endorses programs based on the facilities available and the overall quality of the program.
  • Currently, this body has approved approximately 180 programs in business schools operating in about 72 countries. 

Triple Accreditation: What is it?

  • If an institution has triple accreditation, it means that it has been evaluated on all the three major accreditation bodies (as listed above) and passed the test. 
  • Triple accredited institutions meet the highest standards of management studies possible. Such an institution will certainly have state-of-the-art learning facilities, up-to-date online MBA curriculum, and highly trained tutors. 
  • To achieve this prestigious accreditation, an institution must prove beyond any doubt that it offers internationally accepted programs and that they produce graduates that meet the current market demands.
  • Due to the intensity of the evaluation process, only a few institutions have received triple accreditation—approximately 50 of all the 3,900+ business schools globally.

Must an Online MBA Institution be Triple Accredited?

  • No, accreditation from only one accreditation body is enough evidence that the online MBA offered by that specific institution meets all the requirements.
  • However, you are mandated to ensure that your institution of choice has a functional online education department that has been endorsed by the online education bureau of that specific region. 

Categories of online MBA institutions in the US

Numerous institutions offer online MBAs globally. These institutions are classified as follows:

  • State Universities. These are public universities established under the law of given states to provide higher learning education. The institutions receive federal funding and are relatively affordable for students. Examples of these universities include Harvard University and Stanford University
  • Private Universities. Students can also undertake their online MBA from private universities. There are two major categories; for-profit and non-profit institutions. Whenever you are selecting your university of choice, ensure that you consider their registration details, accreditation, and fee structure
  • Colleges. These institutions are primarily set for undergraduate studies. However, there are a few colleges that offer an online MBA. In most cases, such colleges are linked to a university such as Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics 

When selecting the institution to join, always remember to ascertain that it has top-notch support systems for online MBA students and that it is accredited.

What Should I Consider When Choosing an Online MBA Institution?

Choosing an online MBA requires sobriety—you shouldn’t rush into deciding lest you regret later!

Always consider the following factors to ensure that you make an informed decision and pursue an online MBA that will be worth your every coin: 

  • Accreditation. The benefits of having accredited online MBA institutions can never be overemphasized! This is the only way to validate the suitability of any college to offer the program. As such, you must always ensure that your institution of choice has at least one approval from a reliable accreditation body
  • Available Online Facilities. Besides the overall MBA accreditation, there is a need that you ascertain your institution’s ability to deliver content online. If you want to decipher the status of your university’s online education, you can check with the Online/Distance Education Bureaus of that particular region. These bodies assess the facilities available and offer accreditation based on the institution’s ability to provide top-notch online MBA
  • Flexibility. Frankly, the primary reason for online mode of study is to enable students with other engagements during the day to undertake their studies conveniently. It would be useless if you enrolled in an online MBA program in an institution that’s inconsiderate of your needs. As such, you should always conduct your prior search to determine whether that particular online MBA will accommodate your daily working schedule
  • Curriculum. You must assess the curriculum of the online MBA before settling for a specific institution. Ensure that it offers all the courses that you require to boost your career. Also, you can be keen to note the distribution of credits among the courses to determine the emphasis given to your core courses
  • Availability of Learning Materials. Even when it is online learning, every institution is obliged to provide adequate learning materials to all students. As such, you should critically assess the availability of such materials, the quality, and the ease of access. Never enroll for an online MBA course in an institution that does not have clear guidelines on how students can access learning materials!
  • Specializations. Students must always check whether their university of choice offers their preferred specialties. Also, some institutions are known to deliver better in specific specializations. For example, many institutions are known for MBA in Marketing—recruiters know the value of such students. On the contrary, such an institution may be weak in Human Resource! As such, you must be keen to select universities that offer the best in your area of specialization. Additionally, you must check the availability of dual-specializations. You’d be devastated to know that an institution does not allow such when you’ve already paid your entire course fee!
  • Cost. Always enroll in accredited universities that you can afford. Numerous institutions offer online MBAs at a relatively reduced cost. You should evaluate your abilities before registering to avoid deferrals which could be detrimental to your studies 
  • Program’s Length. Check how long the online MBA is expected to take. The sooner you complete it, the better it’ll be for you. Also, you should check on the flexibility of the completion time—can the institution give additional completion time? 
  • Admission Requirements. Only choose an online MBA institution if you can meet all the requirements

All these factors offer a crucial guide that’ll help you to select the best institution. Since it is an online MBA, you should never be too bothered by the location of the institution.

This module of study allows you to study from wherever you are using online platforms!

Can I Get Scholarships to Undertake an Online MBA?

Yes, a majority of institutions offer scholarships to their students. However, regular students are prioritized, which makes it relatively challenging for online MBA students to get them. 

Some of the universities that have scholarship programs for their online MBA students include:

  • University of North Carolina
  • John Hopkins University
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Denver
  • Pepperdine University
  • Arizona State University

Also, numerous authorities offer MBA scholarships in the US. As such, you should apply to as many as you can. These are some of them:

  • AICPA Scholarship Program. All applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA and excellent extracurricular activities record
  • Dan M. Reichard, Jr. Scholarship. Requires a minimum of 3.0 GPA and excellent knowledge in business, administration, and management
  • Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award. This scholarship can be used by students undertaking professional degrees from accredited institutions all over the world
  • Government Finance Officers Association Scholarships. This scholarship is ideal for students interested in management and finance careers in a government set up
  • HubShout Internet Marketing Scholarship. Candidates must have at least 3.0 GPA and exhibit interest in information technology and internet marketing
  • Lace Surety Bonds Scholarship. Candidates must submit written essays on given topics. Also, they must be currently undertaking a program in a US university
  • Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship. If you’re interested in the scholarship, you must have scored at least a 3.25 GPA in your undergraduate degree and exhibit immense interest in management studies

Tips for Earning a Scholarship

To enhance your chances of earning a scholarship, you should strive to be the best. These scholarships are highly competitive!

 Here are a few tips that will enable you to get a scholarship fast:

  • Always ensure you get the best GPA. The higher your academic achievements, the easier it will be for you to get the scholarship
  • Engage in extracurricular activities. Individuals with sports/extracurricular activities experience have a better chance of winning a scholarship
  • Write excellent essays. During the application phase, you should always strive to have the best essay. Outline your goals with unmatched precision
  • Align yourself with the goals of the scholarship body. Check for scholarships that have a bias on specific fields of studies. For example, it will be easier for you to get an award from a finance-oriented body than an engineering-oriented one

Always remember that scholarships are not guaranteed. As such, you must do the best you can to earn one. 

Online MBA Fee Structure

  • The cost of an online MBA varies from one institution to the other. However, candidates interested in the program should expect to pay an average of $35,490, which translates to at least $841 per credit hour.
  • In most institutions, out-of-state students will be required to pay more. On average, this group pays an average of $39,850 or approximately $963 per credit hour.

Online MBA Eligibility

Different universities have different eligibility criteria. However, some of the most crucial eligibility requirements are common. They include:

A Valid Undergraduate Certificate

  • Candidates interested in an online MBA must produce a valid undergraduate certificate and score sheets. Different colleges/universities have set specific GPA requirements. As such, you must check the particular requirements from the official website of your institution of choice.
  • On average, most universities require candidates to have a GPA of 3.5-5.0. However, the cutoff points may vary depending on the quality of grades of all the applicants. As such, the higher your GPA, the higher your chances of getting an admission

A Detailed Resume

  • Some universities will require that you prove your capability to undertake the program. As such, you’ll be required to submit a detailed report showing your strengths, weaknesses, special skills, and experience. 
  • To enhance your chances of admission, ensure that you only concisely provide relevant details. 

Entry Exams Score Card

  • Universities require that you produce a valid scorecard for an MBA entrance exam. You must follow all the directives of your preferred university.
  • However, the commonest scores required are GRE or GMAT. Some may administer their entrance exams to interested candidates.
  • Also, some institutions waiver this requirement—just research through the institution’s prospectus and website to find exhaustive details. 

Original Transcripts

  • Before you can pursue your online MBA, you must prove that you completed your undergraduate studies successfully. You’ll achieve this by providing all the transcripts provided during your undergraduate education.
  • Most universities will provide an online platform where candidates can send the details. Otherwise, candidates may be required to submit attested copies of the transcripts through various channels as enumerated by the specific university.

Statement of Purpose

  • In some regions, this document is referred to as an admission essay. It is a simple write-up that should explain the candidate’s reasons for applying to the program. It gives the candidates a chance to convince the admission panel that they deserve the opportunity to study an online MBA.
  • When writing the statement of purpose, candidates must elucidate how earning the MBA will help them to achieve their professional and academic goals. As such, candidates must be as precise as possible to increase their admission chances. 

Recommendation Letters 

  • Some institutions will require that you submit at least two letters of recommendation from your current or former employer. This letter is aimed at providing evidence of work experience and establishing the candidates’ work ethics

“Only undergraduate degrees set following the guidelines of respective governments are admissible.”

Online MBA Admission Criteria

Most universities require that candidates apply for the online MBA through an easy-to-use admission portal. The application forms and prospectus are available on the official website of your preferred university. 

Admission Requirements

  • Candidates must have a valid undergraduate degree from an accredited institution
  • Candidates must have at least two years of experience
  • Some institution may require TOEFL results to prove English proficiency
  • An entrance exam scorecard (usually GMAT, XAT, or GRE)

Admission Materials required

  • A duly completed application form 
  • Official transcripts
  • Undergraduate certificate
  • Up-to-date resume
  • Entrance exam scorecard
  • Recommendation letters 

Additionally, all candidates are required to pay an application fee when submitting their application for review. Failure to pay the fee may lead to automatic disqualification. 

Admission Process

Submission of Forms/Documents

  • Candidates must submit all the documents (as listed above) before the deadline. Different universities provide different submissions options. As such, you must always be keen to identify your institution’s preferred method

Evaluation of Applications & Shortlisting

  • Once the admission committee receives all the forms, it’ll evaluate them to determine the most suitable candidates.
  • All candidates who meet the minimum eligibility criteria are shortlisted and invited for interviews.

Interviews and Candidates’ Evaluation

  • All shortlisted candidates are invited for an interview. While some institutions may require physical interviews, a majority of online MBA institutions conduct the interviews using digital platforms.
  • Candidates are obliged to ensure that they receive the accurate date and time of the interview.
  • They should also seek to find out the method/platform that will be used for the interviews.
  • These interviews seek to evaluate the candidate’s skills, understanding of management matters, numeral ability, communication ability, and reasoning ability.

Final Admission Phase

  • After all the interview steps, qualified candidates will receive their admission letters. They should comply with the directives of the specific school to complete the registration process. 

Online MBA Duration

  • An online MBA can take anywhere between 9 months and four years, depending on the policies of the specific institution. 
  • However, it is a must that every student covers the required number of credit hours to qualify for graduation. 
  • A typical online MBA student must undertake at least 30 credits for core courses such as finance, economics, HR, and management. The number of credits will rise when you factor in the foundational courses.
  • Additionally, the duration will be affected by the flexibility of the institutions:
  • Some universities allow online MBA students to register for given exams when they are ready. In such institutions, a student can take a maximum of 4 years to complete—they study at their own pace. 

What Are the Specializations Available for an Online MBA?

Due to the rising demand for management professionals, various institutions have tailor-made programs to suit the market needs. As a result, there are multiple specializations that an online MBA student can pursue. 

Major Specializations for Online MBA Students

  • General Management. This is one of the most common online MBAs. A student is required to undertake a comprehensive MBA program. This type results in an all-rounded graduate who is highly versatile and can work in different business environments
  • International Business Management. This is an online MBA program that exposes the student to various business policies that guide the international business environment. They’ll know all the available treaties between different countries in the world and how they affect the movement of goods and services. With this information, the student is capable of managing any business globally while making decisions that respect all the trade regulations
  • Strategic Management. This is a specialization that equips the student with adequate skills for developing strategies that catapult business growth. When a student specializes in this area, they’ll gain crucial decision-making skills that’ll have the potential to transform the business environment—for the better
  • Finance. This is an ideal specialization option for individuals who deal with financial management. They may include bankers, data analysts, accounting, chief financial officers, and finance managers. The course will equip students with critical skills such as statistics, accounting, data science, and data analytics. 
  • Marketing. If you’ve always wanted to perfect your promotional skills, then this is the right specialization for you. The program will equip you with various techniques that you can use to increase brand awareness. Some of the courses provided include branding, market analytics, market research, and marketing intelligence
  • Entrepreneurship. This is the best course for investors. It will help you to gain critical skills that will catapult your business to the top. Additionally, you may consider enrolling for this program if you have a business idea, and you’re looking for effective methods to launch it. 
  • Operations Management. This is tailor-made for people who desire to manage an operation unit. It equips the students with production optimization skills, logistics management in a production unit, and adequate production flow
  • Information Technology Management. Do you want to become an IT guru? If yes, then an online MBA with IT specialization will give you an immense boost. This is particularly important since the majority of businesses globally are moving to digital platforms. It relies heavily on collection and analysis of data to help in decision making
  • Human Resource Management. This is the best specialization for human resource managers or any other individual who intends to handle recruitment, managing employees, employees’ motivation, and everything else that involves human resources. Any organization must have a qualified human resource manager to craft job descriptions, define responsibilities, and ensure the best productivity of employees
  • Consultancy. This is a field that requires a student to gain extensive knowledge of legal and management matters. Their primary role will be to offer advice on financial management and any other matter related to management

“You should realize that some institutions allow students to take dual specializations. As such, you shouldn’t feel lost if you’ve always wanted to specialize in 2 areas listed above.”

All that you need to do is to check for a university that offers dual specialization. Ensure that you also consider other factors that directly affect its quality, such as accreditation and delivery methods

What are the benefits of an online MBA?

  • The spike in the number of individuals enrolling for an online MBA is a testimony enough that there are immense benefits associated with the program. 
  • It not only helps you to improve your management skills but also equip you with the trending business news that affects business operations directly. 

Unique Advantages of an Online MBA

1. Flexibility

  • An online MBA is designed to allow working professionals to strike a balance between their daily routine and their educational needs. These MBAs offer both asynchronous and synchronous lectures, which will enable you to complete the program from wherever you are!
  • Additionally, most online MBAs have adaptable schedules—they consider the needs of individual students and can organize for special lectures that favor their availability. 
  • As such, any student who wants to continue with their full-time jobs, care for their families, or undertake other businesses will find solace in an online MBA. 
  • Even better, many institutions allow students to adjust the number of credits they can take each semester. In such a case, the student can decide to take fewer credits each semester but take relatively longer to complete the program.
  • When enrolling for an online MBA, you must consider all these factors. A flexible institution allows you to remain productive in all your activities!

2. Affordability

  • Most online MBAs are highly affordable since institutions do not require payment of extra charges such as accommodation, facility maintenance, and transport charges. 
  • Frankly, it’s possible to get an accredited online MBA from $5000 to $10000 annually, which is lower compared to any regular MBA anywhere in the world! However, you should note that we have pretty expensive online MBAs too! Some may charge more than $50,000 annually, depending on many other factors.
  • As such, you should always check the cost of studying an online MBA in your favorite institution and only enroll if you can afford it. 

3. Exposure to Technology 

  • An online MBA demands that you extensively use technology every day to access your learning apparatus. This way, you’ll be equipped with myriad technological tools that will help you in your daily business operations. 
  • While regular students will also interact with technology, online students have the upper hand since they use it in their daily operations. The constant exposure develops an unmatched technology mastery that gives them an added advantage when applying for jobs that require practical interviews with electronic/technology-driven devices. 
  • Additionally, online MBA students learn crucial tips about managing different tasks using online tools such as Adobe, Trello, Yammer, and Google Docs. As such, they’ll have an easy time when tasked with document management and everything that needs meticulous organization to achieve. 

4. Global Opportunities

  • Online MBAs enable you to acquire the degree from your dream university outside your country without necessarily leaving your location.
  • It reduces the world into a small village where students from different continents can interact through online platforms. This phenomenon is a sure way of ensuring that students get different perspectives of business from different environments.
  • It exposes them to international business practices and enables them to be fully-equipped to work anywhere in the world. 
  • Additionally, some online MBA universities set satellite campuses in different parts of the world, which further enhances the chances of their graduates to work in organizations located all over the world. 

5. A Wide Range of Institutions Available

  • Candidates interested in an online MBA are not limited by location or distance. They can apply to any accredited institution anywhere in the world!
  • However, candidates are advised to first check with the institutions’ websites to determine their policies on international students. 
  • Nevertheless, you can be confident that you’ll get an accredited university from your continent of choice where you can pursue your online MBA.

What are the disadvantages of an online MBA?

While an online MBA has numerous advantages, it has some limitations too:

1. High Technology Requirements

  • If you want to complete an online MBA, you will be required to invest heavily in electronic devices and internet connectivity.
  • All learning materials will be shared online, and you’ll be required to stream several sessions live, which requires highly reliable internet connectivity, consistent power, and secure devices. 

2. Requires High Discipline

  • If you’re to complete an online MBA program, you must observe high discipline levels. What’s tricky is the fact that this is purely intrinsic! Nobody will follow you up to read and undertake all the assignments!
  • As such, you can be sure that managing an online MBA from home will not be a breeze. You must overcome the tiredness accrued from your daily chores and avail yourself of live lessons, exams, and assignments. 

3. Work Experience Requirement

  • This is a limitation to fresh graduates. A majority of online MBA institutions demand that students must have 2-3 years of working experience.

4. Absence of Campus Experience

  • An online MBA denies you the chance to interact with your professors, tutors, and fellow students. While you’ll have online interaction platforms, it cannot beat the physical socializing experience

Online MBA Placement Opportunities

  • Online MBA graduates have continually been placed in both local and international organizations. Various institutions have different placement strategies. They use placement cells where students are trained in interview skills and other recruitment procedures. This equips them with crucial knowledge that increases their placement chances.
  • Some of the organizations that participate in placement drives include Amazon, eBay, World Vision International, Internal Revenue Service, Direct Relief, Koch Industries, Albertsons, and IMF.

Average Online MBA Salary

  • On average, online MBA graduates earn $52,872. However, highly paid graduates can earn up to $ 60,779

Comparison of Online MBA, Distance MBA, and Regular MBA

Characteristic Online MBADistance MBARegular/Full-time MBA
Overview Course content delivered using online/digital platforms onlyCourse content delivered using both online method and physical lessons known as Personal Contact ProgramsStudents are largely resident and are required to attend all the lessons
Duration 1-4 years depending on the flexibility of the institution 2-3 years 2 years 
Delivery methodOnline online/hard-copy materials sent through postPCP sessions in study centers Physical lessons, seminars, and conferences
CurriculumVirtual practical sessions, projects, dissertations, and group works Practicals in study centers, projects, viva voce presentations, and group works Physical practical sessions, projects, group works, presentations, and dissertations
Teaching MethodsRecorded lectures, live lectures, online materials posted on students portal Hard Copy materials, counselling services at study centers, PCPs, and materials posted on student’s portal Library, research, conferences, seminars, and field tours
Flexibility HighMediumLow
Fees Relatively low  ($20,000- $50,000)Medium ($35,000-$80,000)High (up to $100,000)
Placement Over 90% of the students are placed in different organizations Over 90% of the students are placed in different organizations Over 95% of the students are placed in different organizations both locally and internationally
Admission Requirements Candidates must have an undergraduate degree with at least 3.0 GPA, valid entrance exams score card, and a duly-completed application form Candidates must have an undergraduate degree with at least 3.0 GPA, valid entrance exams score card, and a duly-completed application form Candidates must have an undergraduate degree with at least 3.0 GPA, valid entrance exams score card, and a duly-completed application form 
Networking Minimal interactions between students and professors Medium interaction: students can interact with professors and other students during PCPMaximum interaction as students attend lectures regularly
Exams administration All assignments and exams are administered onlineAssignments are administered online but end of semester exams are physically administered in designated exam centersPhysically administered
  • As it is evident, every mode of study has advantages and disadvantages. As such, you should assess all the available modes of study to determine your ideal one. 
  • Always take into consideration your needs, flexibility, delivery method, and accreditation before you settle for your preferred university and mode of study. 

Is online MBA meant for me Everything You Need to Know

  • Pursuing an online MBA is an excellent idea for working professionals who want to improve their career prospects. It’s particularly important for individuals working in management-related fields, including finance, human resource management, and economics.

But why is the online MBA so important?

  • You could be wondering the value that the online MBA will add your career since you already have a job, right? Well, the truth is that the competition in the job market is increasing significantly. As such, you may need to earn an MBA, which will help you to improve your credentials and maintain your competitiveness. 
  • Earning an MBA is always an excellent shot in the arm for your career. You will remain competitive as you implement new things in your work area. This will help you to revolutionize your working environment and increase productivity.
  • Also, an online MBA exposes you to emerging issues in the business world. You will be provided with unique ideas on how you can prepare your organization to adopt these changes without any adverse effect on its profitability.

Bottom line: The Verdict

  • Acquiring an online MBA is an excellent idea for any working professional. It equips you with reliable techniques that will help you handle the financial, human resource, and economics sectors of your business.
  • Due to these benefits, there has been a spike in the enrollment of online MBAs globally. More people are registering for this program as more institutions seek accreditation to offer it. 
  • However, you need to be careful to ensure that you only enroll in accredited institutions. With the current rush, you can be misled to believe that every online MBA is valid! On the contrary, only online MBAs from recognized institutions will offer you the much-desired benefits! 
  • An online MBA is a great idea, especially if you want to learn and undertake your daily activities concurrently. The program is designed to provide quality education to students remotely. You will be able to complete the program from the location of your choice.
  • While this sounds good, it can be tricky for many working professionals. If you’re not disciplined, you’ll end up neglecting your studies, which may result in discontinuation and loss of the fee paid. As such, you should always evaluate your abilities before enrolling for the program.
  • Besides flexibility, this program is sure to offer you great saves. You’ll pursue the program at a relatively reduced fee, which makes it quite affordable. 

However, the program has some limitations too:

  • You will have fewer networking chances. The best you can do is interact online using various digital platforms provided by the institution. While this may sound fine, it actually robs you of quality partnerships that would potentially transform your business world.
  • Also, online MBAs are received coldly in some quarters. Some employers would still prefer a regular MBA as opposed to an online one. However, this bias has significantly reduced over time but not entirely eliminated.

Based on this:

  • It can be safe to conclude that online MBAs will offer you the much-needed management knowledge that will transform your career.
  • However, it is always a brilliant idea to only choose this route if you have unavoidable job obligations. In such cases, the employer will appreciate your effort, and you stand a higher chance of raising the career ranks than an unemployed individual who chooses this route.
  • If your job is not too demanding or you do not have many obligations, you should consider enrolling for a regular MBA. This way, you can be certain that your credentials will be accepted even by the few employers that are still skeptical about the online MBAs
  • Finally, you must only enroll in accredited institutions! Do not waste your resources in institutions that are neither recognized by the government of that particular country nor accredited by a valid accreditation body.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Must I be employed to qualify for an online MBA?

  • No, but candidates will be required to have previous full-time work experience during the admission process. Also, most online MBA institutions have tailor-made this course to suit students with full-time day jobs

Q2: Must I have an undergraduate degree to qualify for the program?

  • No, candidates with the minimum aggregate points requirements on any course may apply for the online MBA. However, all the candidates will be subjected to further interviews to determine their suitability to undertake an online MBA

Q3: What is the work experience requirement for online MBA?

  • Candidates interested in online MBA must have a minimum of 1 year of full-time work experience. However, most universities will evaluate the quality of candidates’ work experience as opposed to the quantity

Q4: I did not get admission to an online MBA. Can I appeal or reapply for the program for the same admission period?

  • No, a majority of online MBA institutions do not have appeal mechanisms. The admission process is strictly based on merit, and the admission panel’s decision is final

Q5: Which is the major difference between an online MBA and regular MBA?

  • The primary difference between the two is the mode of delivery—while online MBA utilizes online delivery methods, regular MBA has classroom sessions.
  • Besides the mode of delivery, all the other aspects of the courses are similar (including the number of credit hours required before graduation)

Q6: What do admission committees look for? What can I do to increase my chances of admission?

  • All admission committees will be interested in selecting the most qualified candidates for their online MBA. They consider various parameters, including academic achievements, work experience, entrance exam performance, extracurricular activities, and many other eligibility aspects.
  • If you want to increase your chances of admission, you should submit the duly completed application form in time, attach all the required documents, and make all the payments requested. Never attempt canvassing since it will lead to automatic disqualification 

Q7: Which entrance exam is considered before admission to an online MBA program?

  • Different universities will consider the results of different admission tests. However, the major tests considered include GMAT, CAT, GRE, and XAT. You should ensure that you strictly follow the instructions of the specific university you are interested in
  • Additionally, some private universities have customized entrance exams conducted by the institutions

Q8: Are international candidates eligible to apply?

  • Yes, institutions allow international students to apply to the program. However, they must meet all the admission requirements using equivalents set by the university’s admission panel

Q9: Will I be required to attend physical interviews before enrolling for an online MBA?

  • Yes, institutions require that you present your original documents for verification. Additionally, candidates are subjected to oral and written tests to evaluate their ability to handle the program

Q10: Can I transfer from an online MBA to regular MBA?

  • No, students can’t change their course midway. However, you can discontinue your current program and apply freshly for the regular MBA—which is not recommended

Q11: Which is the common method of application for online MBA?

  • Most institutions encourage candidates to apply for the program online. This saves them time and is highly convenient for the admission panel. All that the candidates are required to do is open an admission portal where all admission details will be posted

Q12: After how long do I expect to get the feedback on my online MBA application?

  • Candidates will get the feedback as soon as their application is evaluated. The duration may vary from 1-3 weeks depending on the volume of applications received

Q13: Which learning methods do online MBA institutions adopt?

  • Most institutions in the US, and globally, have developed formidable online systems to deliver content remotely. Some of these facilities include a comprehensive student portal, video conferencing facilities, recording equipment, and effective chatting systems

Q14: Will online MBA students be required to undertake projects?

  • Yes, online MBA students must undertake projects as part of their evaluation. These projects must be derived from their areas of specialization and supervised by authorized instructors

Q15: What happens when I want to step out of the course for a while?

  • Students who want to take a break from the course must apply formally in writing. The institution reserves the right to either accept or reject a deferral application. 
  • However, students must actively register for courses to avoid discontinuation. Any student who fails to register for semester courses for more than 12 months will be required to apply for the program again

Q16: How are examinations administered for online MBA students?

  • Assignments and other mid-semester evaluations are conducted online. This can be achieved through video conferencing or student portals.
  • While some institutions may allow students to undertake exams through highly controlled online platforms, others provide designated exam centers where all candidates can access the examinations

Q17: What platforms are available for online MBA students to meet with their fellow students and instructors?

  • Online MBA students can meet using online platforms. Also, some institutions may arrange conferences and seminars where all the parties can mingle. Nevertheless, students are always free to visit the institution at their discretion

Q18: Will I be required to attend the convocation ceremony physically?

  • Yes, online MBA students are free to attend the graduation ceremony at their respective institutions

Q19: How long will it take before I get my student card?

  • Immediately after registration, students are provided with a unique enrollment number. The students will be ready within 14 days from the day of admission. Students can access the cards online, download them, and print them

Q20: Will I be allowed to enter the institution’s library?

  • Yes, online MBA students have the right to access all the institution’s facilities. However, they must produce their student identity card to be allowed in

Q21: How are online MBA students expected to pay their program fees?

  • Every university has their preferred method of payment. Students must liaise with the finance office to get the exact payment details. However, most universities allow cheques, online payment systems, and demand drafts.

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