Netflix isn’t the only beneficiary of the pandemic lockdown. While couch potatoes binge on The Queen’s Gambit and other shows, tens of thousands of ambitious professionals are turning toward online learning while in quarantine.
Eager to use their lockdown time productively, prospective students are applying to the top-ranked online MBA options in explosive numbers. At Indiana University’s Kelley Direct program, a $74,520 online MBA experience recently ranked first in the world by Poets&Quants, applications have soared by 64% over last year.
It’s the same story elsewhere. Even with the death of legendary General Electric CEO Jack Welch in March, the online MBA program at the Jack Welch Management Institute has seen a remarkable 84% jump in applications to 5,321 this year from 3,103 a year earlier. Applications to the online MBA option at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business have jumped even more, 89% in the past year to 1,159 candidates from 614 a year earlier.
THE PANDEMIC IS FUELING A DESIRE BY MANY TO GAIN NEW SKILLS IN LOCKDOWN
Demand for the $22,000 online MBA at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois has caused the school to increase the number of annual intakes to five from just two this year. Now new students can start the iMBA in October, January, March, May and August, up from only August and January. “Applications are still going up,” says Brooke Elliott, the associate dean of online programs at Gies. And that is after a 75% increase to 3,272 candidates this past year. The boom was helped no doubt by the introduction of the new October cohort. The online MBA program has gone from zero to some 4,000 students in the program from 2016 to this fall.
The pandemic and the economic downturn are fueling a desire by many to gain new skills and credentials during the lockdown. But the increases also reflect the growing acceptance of online learning as a legitimate way to earn a degree as advances in technology have made virtual programming better than it has ever been.
The days when only for-profit colleges offered online education are over. Today, many of the world’s best business schools now boast online MBA programs that allow students to study and learn from anywhere in the world, stay in their jobs and apply what they learn in the classroom immediately at work.
ONLINE MBA GRADS REPORT PAY INCREASES AND PROMOTIONS DUE TO THEIR DEGREES
A new analysis of the career outcomes of online MBA graduates by Poets&Quants shows immediate benefits. Seven of every ten graduates of the online MBA program at the University of Maryland attribute their promotions at work directly to their education. Some 84% of the online MBA graduates at The College of William & Mary say they received pay increases at a direct benefit of their online MBA.
Poets&Quants found that many online programs, moreover, pave the way for graduates to gain substantial increases in their compensation. Online MBAs from Indiana University’s Kelley School reported an average boost of 33% in their pay, a hefty $30,873 increase over pre-MBA compensation of $92,688 to $123,561.
One of the biggest boosts came from Carnegie Mellon University’s hybrid online MBA program. Graduates reported a hefty 63% rise in their annual pay, a whopping $57,728 increase to $149,773, after completing the three-year-long MBA experience.
That’s certainly a more tangible benefit than one would get from the ephemeral enjoyment of binging a Netflix series during the pandemic.