If you’re thinking about getting an online MBA and wondering what you can expect from the experience, ask recent graduates. That’s exactly what we did in putting together a new 2020 ranking of the best online MBA programs in the U.S.
We just completed the most exhaustive study of online MBA student satisfaction ever made. This year alone, a record 1,583 online graduates responded. In the past three years, more than 3,100 online MBA graduates have completed Poets&Quantsstudent satisfaction surveys.
All in all, graduates of these online programs are pretty happy with the results. Here are some of our key findings:
+ Nearly 40% (exactly 38.7%) of the graduates said they received a promotion at work as a direct result of their participation in an online MBA experience.
+ More than half (52.8%) said they gained an increase in pay as a direct result of their online MBA.
+ Almost a third (30.4%) of the graduates were able to leverage their online MBA degrees to switch employers.
NEARLY 90% GRADS SAY THEY ACHIEVED THEIR PRIMARY OBJECTIVE THANKS TO THEIR ONLINE MBA
In many cases, of course, students aren’t just looking to get a raise or increased responsibility at work. They just want to build on their existing skills, gain the business basics they never learned, or increase their self-confidence on the job.
There are lots of reasons why someone might get an online MBA. So we also asked graduates to tell us whether they achieved their primary goal in getting the degree, without defining a specific objective, and 88% answered in the affirmative. Another 84% of the respondents said they were able to achieve their secondary objectives in getting an online MBA (for career results by school, see Best Career Outcomes for Online MBAs).
One major concern expressed by many applicants to online MBA programs is whether they will be able to create real connections with their fellow classmates and faculty in a program where there is little, if any, face to face interaction. Yet, even here, our findings were surprisingly positive:
On a scale of one to ten, with ten indicating complete satisfaction, online MBA graduates rated their opportunities to create connections with their fellow students an 8.16. That’s darn good for a long-distance learning program.
The average score for their satisfaction in creating good connections with faculty was a bit lower but still impressive given the inherent limitations of an online learning environment: 7.97.
One big reason why many enroll in MBA programs is for the network they gain upon graduation. So how do the alumni networks of online MBA programs match up?
Asked to rate their satisfaction with their school’s alumni network in terms of “encouragement, support and career opportunities,” online MBA graduates seem less enthusiastic with an average score of 7.5. That was among the lowest scores recorded in the survey. The lowest score (7.35), by the way, was given to student satisfaction with international immersion trips.
On the other hand, 79.0% of the graduates said they were able to create a network of contacts as a result of taking an online MBA program.
Overall, the latest crop of graduates is giving pretty good marks to their programs. (see Online MBAs With The Best Satisfaction Scores for individual school results). No doubt, that’s why enrollment in online MBA options is growing, even while full-time, residential MBAs are in the decline.