Top Online MBA Programs: Arizona State’s W.P. Carey Online MBA

blog_coffeeshopArizona State’s W.P. Carey Online MBA

Launched in 2003, the online MBA program delivers a two-year, 48-credit graduate management curriculum via the Internet. Using Web-based distance learning technology, students access course material at your convenience, wherever and whenever you have an Internet connection. More than 20 cohorts of students have graduated from the program, earning a Carey MBA identical to the degree earned in the school’s  full-time, evening and executive MBA programs.

What does the typical class look like? The cohort that entered the online program in the fall of 2012 numbered 103 with an average age of 31 and 6.4 years of average work experience. Some 26% were female. The class had an average GMAT score of 577 and an average undergraduate GPA of 3.2. They were employees of Intel, Raytheon, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, J.P. Morgan Chase, USAA, and all branches of the military.

Before your online MBA courses begin, students gather for a three-day orientation on the ASU campus in Tempe, Ariz., that introduces them to the curriculum and their classmates. The experience, dubbed Launch, is your only required campus visit during the program. At Launch, you’ll meet members of the program’s support staff and become familiar with the technologies used to deliver the online MBA courses. Faculty members will present course overviews and review class policies such as deadlines, grading and contact methodologies unique to the online learning environment. Social outings and team-building activities will help you get acquainted with classmates, open up networking channels, and build connections from the start.

Then, the first of your core courses kick in, starting with Organizational Theory & Behavior and building from there, one course at a time. Students in each cohort not only progress through the core courses together, they also begin and end each of the MBA courses in unison. For each course, a set of weekly interactive exercises, completed either individually or in teams, facilitate shared learning in the online MBA classes. Elective courses are taken with students from other cohorts. Only one on-campus visit is required.

Optional areas of emphasis allow you to utilize electives in your second year by selecting three focused courses (3 credits each) out of four elective choices in one area of study.

The Graduate Career Center (GCC) offers a variety of resources accessible to online MBA students, including assessment tools designed to help students identify career paths and opportunities, online and face-to-face seminars to enhance and refine skills in areas such as resume development, interviewing and career research, and what the school calls eRecruiting, an online system that lists current job postings and campus recruiting activities, providing access to numerous job opportunities

AREAS OF EMPHASIS: Finance, international business, marketing, and supply chain management

FORMAT: Each six-week core course within the online program consists of five modules that you access with your Web browser. You spend the first five weeks completing one module each week. Then, during the sixth week of each course, you complete an online final exam or project.

COST: $54,600

START DATES: Twice a year in the spring and fall


PLATFORM REVIEW: Unlike other online MBA programs that rely heavily on videoconferencing, e-mail or a substantial amount of face-to-face time, the Carey online program uses Web-based technology to deliver all courses in its curriculum. Wherever you are in the world, at any time, you can access your course material over the Internet. The schools says that its course content is developed so that students control when, and even how, they access it. Course materials can be reviewed online, downloaded to a laptop to review on the road or printed for offline study. Students  learn and share through interactive and dynamic presentations via Flash, streaming video, synchronous student-to-student communication, file and application sharing features, and other easy-to-use collaboration tools such as wikis and blogs.

RANKINGS: When U.S. News & World Report came out with its first numerical ranking of online MBA programs in January of 2013, the Carey School second behind only Washington State. Given the school’s ten-year experience with online MBA education and the growing stature of its brand, we currently rank this program sixth best in the U.S. behind Carnegie Mellon, UNC, Indiana, Penn State and Babson.


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