Steps To Consider Before Deciding On An Online MBA
An online MBA program may be enticing for those looking to continue making income while attending school. However, there are many factors to consider when choosing an online MBA.
Jordan Friedman, online education editor for US News & World Report, recently released four steps prospective online MBA students should consider when looking at online MBA programs.
1) Determine whether or not you need an MBA
If you’re considering an MBA as a means for a salary increase or simply because you are undecided on your career, think again. Experts say that an MBA is most useful for those seeking managerial roles or hoping to utilize their MBA to learn applicable business skills.
“What I advise students to do is think about how this degree is going to impact their short-term and their long-term career aspirations,” William Rieth, director of graduate enrollment at the Temple University Fox School of Business, tells US News.
2) Consider the pros and cons of an online MBA
Online MBAs may offer schedule flexibility or more choices for those looking to keep a steady income while still working towards a degree. Prospective online MBAs should consider whether they value face-to-face instruction or a virtual learning environment.
There is growing evidence that suggests online learning quality may actually be better when compared to face-to-face instruction. A 2010 Department of Education report found that “students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction.”
Eric Richards, chair of the online MBA unit at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, tells CBS News that an online learning environment actually can give students more time to digest and better understand learning materials.
“Deep learning — if it’s long-term learning — has to be with material you’ve wrestled and grappled with, where you reframe it in your own words,” Richards says. “There’s a very limited opportunity to do that in [the classroom].”
3) Weigh the importance of a top-ranked program’s reputation
A brand name MBA can have the potential to lure an equal brand name employer. There are definitely many benefits to holding a brand-name MBA, such as high quality careers services or and more experienced faculty. Yet, online MBA applicants should consider how much a brand name means to them before dishing out the costly tuition.
US News found that the average 2016-2017 out-of-state tuition among all ranked online MBA programs was $30,576. Compare that to the tuition average of $53,477 for the top 20 online MBA program. On the other hand, a name MBA degree can make up for this difference over time by making graduates more attractive to employers.
4) Calculate the return on investment
Calculating an MBA programs return on investment, or ROI, is a useful tool all MBA applicants should consider whether they’re considering an online program or not. A return on investment for an MBA education can be calculated by using the salary-to-debt ratio – comparing the starting salary post-graduation to debt. An online MBA may be attractive to those looking to maintain a steady income. Because many online students maintain their jobs, they won’t need to factor in earnings lost from not working during an MBA.
Click here to learn more about the best ROI for MBA programs.