MBA Comparison: Online vs. Traditional
By Ashford University Staff
The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree has long been the most popular master’s program. Thus, as a current full-time employee and/or undergraduate student, you may wonder whether or not you should pursue an MBA. And if the answer is yes, you need to determine the right path for your education—online or in person.
Should You Pursue Your MBA Online or in Person?
Virtually all MBA programs were structured the same way before the advent of online education. Students either attended graduate school immediately after earning their bachelor’s degrees or returned to campus after a few years in the workforce. Many students have enjoyed a this traditional college experience. However that college experience often excluded students who didn’t have the time or ability to attend classes at a set time and in a set place. Students even had the opportunity to enroll in part-time MBA programs, as classes often were held at night to accommodate working adults.
As working professionals go back to school, online MBA programs have grown in popularity due to the accessibility, affordability, and career-relevant learning outcomes. Until recently, many employers preferred a traditional MBA degree to an online MBA degree. However, that prejudice began to fade away as more qualified students and employees chose an online MBA degree due to various reasons. Online schools are routinely partnering with organizations who fully or partially sponsor their employees to earn their MBA degree online. For many students, an online MBA makes the most sense - here’s why.
Advantages of an Online MBA Program
First, you should consider these advantages of an online MBA program:
1. User-friendly admissions process
Full-time employees who left school a long time ago may have difficulty in preparing for the required exams to be admitted into a traditional business school. There are many online schools that do not require these exams. Additionally, advisors can walk students through the process of applying over the phone or online. At Ashford, you are not required to take the GMAT or GRE (Graduate Management Admission Test/Graduate Record Examination) in order to be admitted into MBA program at The Forbes School of Business & Technology.
An online MBA program can offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling when compared to a traditional MBA program. As online courses are usually asynchronous, students do not have to log in to the course site at a specific time. In addition to not having a specific time students must log on, course load is often reduced, allowing students to take just one class at a time. students do not have to leave their full-time job. This is perhaps the strongest reason that an online MBA degree has been gaining in popularity.
Support can come in many forms. For online MBA programs, it is a web of peer support, professional guidance, and numerous online tools that help you foster success. Each online program is unique, so make sure the program you choose supports you in the ways that you need. Talk to an advisor to gain a sense of the systems in place, while being aware of what would benefit you the most.
4. Adaptability to a modern environment
According to Business Insider, the advantage of an online MBA format that maximizes the use of technologies that keep a student connected to their daily and weekly tasks (interactions via emails, text messages, and web conferences), may better prepare future business leaders than a traditional in-class MBA format does. Given that businesses are experiencing rapid digital transformations, fostering confidence in a digital work environment has career benefits. While online MBA programs often lack a face-to-face component, they make up for it in terms of diversity and accessibility. Students who participate in online MBA programs come together from all over the globe, enriching diversity and presenting students with a wonderful opportunity to increase their own cultural competence. Additionally, you may find yourself in an online discussion with current business professionals who can enhance your own understanding of business best practices.
What You Need to Know before Applying for an Online MBA Program
Additionally, if you do end up pursuing an online MBA, there are a few things to take into consideration before you apply to a college.
1. Get to know your target schools
Taking a virtual tour of online schools will give you an inside view of each school. If possible, also obtain feedback from current and graduated MBA students about their experiences with the school. Doing this step will help you determine if the school has the focus and atmosphere that you seek from an MBA program.
2. Check out career and student services
You’re most likely seeking an MBA as a means to obtain a satisfying job once you’ve graduated. For that reason, it’s important to check out the career and student services offered at the educational institutions that you are considering. It’s imperative that the school you choose puts an emphasis into helping you with the transition from student to professional upon graduation.
3. Know the requirements and prerequisites
MBA schools vary according to the requirements and necessary prerequisites. While some require specialized testing and letters of recommendation, Ashford University simply requires that you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree and have a minimum GPA of 2.0. All educational facilities generally require that you have your transcripts sent to the school.
4. Time required for application procedure
Depending on the school's requirements and prerequisites, you may need to allow some time for the application process, especially if you are required to take tests and collect letters of recommendation (which is necessary for some schools). Whatever the requirements, the sooner you start the process, the better.
Studying for and obtaining your MBA is an exciting and momentous occasion. An online MBA degree is a strong choice for many working professionals who are looking to grow both personally themselves and professionally their career opportunities. It has a great potential to gain more popularity, offers quality education, and provides recognition to current and future employers.