MBA online: How and Should I get?
MBA online: How and Should I get?

Today, the world is more digitally advanced than ever and can be accessed with just a click. Taking cue from this, universities and institutes have started rolling out online programs to help students across the world to avail quality education.

What is MBA, how to study it, and should you get the course, we will answer your questions in the article below.

What does MBA stand for: MBA definition

Photo: Netviet
Photo: Netviet

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration.

First introduced by Harvard University Graduate School of Administration in 1908 (now Harvard Business School), the MBA is the original graduate degree offered by business schools globally.

Having “MBA” on your resume will help you stand out to employers, but the true meaning of the MBA goes beyond three letters on a sheet. During an MBA, you’ll build your business knowledge, grow your professional network, and boost your career and salary prospects.

Who is an MBA degree for?

Photo:  IIMT Group Of Colleges Greater Noida
Photo: IIMT Group Of Colleges Greater Noida

There is no typical MBA student. While historically MBA students pursued careers in finance or consulting, the average MBA class today is filled with students from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.

There are 69 nationalities represented in the Harvard MBA class of 2022. Forty-four percent of students are women and 45 percent are US minority students. Students come from the technology industry, manufacturing, healthcare, nonprofits, the media, and the military, as well as finance and consulting.

At INSEAD, 88 nationalities are represented in the MBA class and students come from academic backgrounds ranging from business and engineering to the arts and political sciences.

According the Graduate Management Admission Council™ (GMAC™), the top career motivations for prospective MBA students include: salary increase, promotion to senior positions, managing people, and working internationally—and these benefits are just some of the many reasons to get an MBA.

Whatever your background, if you want to learn management skills and advance your career, the MBA is for you; whether you want to start your own business, progress within your current company, switch function, industry, location, or all three at the same time.

“An MBA is not just designed to equip students for their next job post-graduation; it’s a life changing experience that enables students to make career changes five, 10, and 15 years post-MBA, thanks to the skills they learn and the network that lasts long after graduation,” says Virginie Fougea, global director of admissions and financial aid at INSEAD.

Types of MBA programs

Photo:  ISB
Photo: ISB

While the traditional full-time MBA degree is a popular option, the MBA today comes in all shapes and sizes. Business schools offer various types of MBA programs suited to different profiles of students.

Full-time MBA

The full-time MBA is the original, immersive, on-campus experience, designed for early and mid-career students who may be looking to completely change career path. The two-year, full-time MBA program is most popular in the United States and offered by the group of elite M7 Business Schools.

The one-year MBA is especially popular in Europe and Asia, offering an accelerated experience and less time out of the workplace, although full-time MBAs come in a variety of formats. INSEAD’s MBA takes just 10 months to complete, while London Business School offers flexible exit points after 15, 18, or 21 months of study.

Part-time MBA

The part-time MBA allows you to combine work and study, meaning you don’t miss out on your salary and the opportunity cost of pursuing a full-time program. Part-time MBA classes typically take place in evenings, weekends, or in flexible modular formats, combining online learning with in-person sessions.

Executive MBA

The Executive MBA is a part-time MBA program targeted at experienced, executive-level professionals with over 10 years of work experience. EMBA programs bring senior leaders together to upskill, network, and knowledge share, with participants bringing their professional projects into the classroom.

Online MBA

The Online MBA is a super-flexible, part-time MBA experience, allowing you to continue working while studying from the comfort of your home. Online MBA programs typically require a residential component (1-2 weeks), although there are an increasing number of 100 percent-online MBA programs. Many online MBAs also allow you to pay per module and plan your own study time. This means durations for online MBA programs can vary, although most take around two years to complete.

MBA specializations

While the MBA is a generalist degree, you can specialize in areas you’re interested in. Business schools offer various MBA specializations including MBAs in healthcare management, business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and HR. These usually combine core MBA courses in management with a specialist track of courses focused on your area of interest.

In the US, STEM MBA programs have specializations that incorporate STEM topics and international graduates from STEM MBAs can stay and work in the US for up to three years without an H-1B visa.

You can also pursue dual degrees at most business schools, combining your MBA with a specialized business master’s, or cross-university programs like the JD MBA, offered jointly by law and business schools.

What Is an Online MBA?

Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Both respected and internationally recognized, online MBA programs focus on developing the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in business. MBA students study big-picture thinking, core aspects of business management, and strategic decision making.

Core coursework for an MBA includes accounting, finance, marketing, management, economics, and business law. Specializations may include business analytics, international business, entrepreneurship, management information systems, and real estate. Students typically acquire 2-5 years of work experience before entering an MBA program, with graduates commonly working in areas like consulting, operations, marketing, and finance.

An online MBA offers the same rigorous curriculum as its on-campus counterpart; instructors simply tailor coursework to online platforms. Technology permits location-independent study, opening a variety of attractive educational options for prospective students. A distance-based MBA offers an opportunity to attend out-of-state schools without the expense and hassle of relocation, and it permits you to have more control over your pace of study.

Considering the potential savings on costs — such as relocation, childcare, and transportation — online MBA programs often present a more cost-effective alternative to on-campus programs, even when tuition rates are identical. Some schools also offer a hybrid MBA option, blending online study periods with classes or short intensives requiring in-person attendance. Duke University offers a popular example. Its global executive MBA program combines immersive 1-2-week residencies in selected cities with distance learning.

How Much Do Online MBA Programs Cost?

While tuition rates for online and on-campus MBA programs at a given school are often the same, online programs can offer other cost-saving benefits, including fewer fees, lower transportation costs, and the opportunity to pay in-state tuition regardless of geographic location. State-subsidized public schools usually cost less than private ones, though private schools often offer more financial aid packages. Students should research all of their online options to identify affordable school choices that work for them.

The prestige of a school can also affect the cost of your degree. MBAs from Ivy League schools generally come with hefty price tags. The table below shows the wide range of tuition costs for schools in our online MBA database.

What to expect in an online MBA program

What should students expect in a business school?

Prospective students should expect to engage in weekly conversations via discussion boards managed by professors, take regular quizzes, and write essays as well as working on case studies, presentations, and group projects. Students must devote significant time towards reading. Reading assignments include textbooks, case studies, online articles, and research studies.

Students may engage with professors and classmates via discussion forums, video conferencing, and live lectures with chat and question and answer options.

While leveraging the demands of graduate school, successful learners apply their problem-solving, organization, and time management skills. Students may earn an online MBA in an asynchronous or synchronous program.

Asynchronous programs typically allow full-time working professionals and students with families a flexible schedule and convenience of submitting assignments any time before the deadline.

Synchronous programs require students to attend live classes in real time. Some programs may require students to meet on-campus for orientation, course exams, or graduation.

5 Reasons to Get Your MBA Online

1. Flexibility

If you're considering an online MBA, chances are you're balancing work and family responsibilities, while still keeping an eye on your future. Because most online MBA programs offer a combination of synchronous (during an appointed class or project time) and asynchronous learning (work that you can complete at any time that's best for you), online MBA schedules tend to be highly adaptable to complex schedules.

At Northeastern University's D'Amore-McKim School of Business, online MBA students may take their courses “exclusively online,” or they also have the option to complete a campus-based residency (an intensive one-week course) or an international field study residency. If you need to work full-time, care for a family, or transition from the military into the workforce, the flexibility of online learning may help you juggle adding a degree program to your balls in the air.

2. Affordability

For the many ambitious students concerned about tuition costs, MBAs can offer great value in terms of both base cost and timeline flexibility. Speaking broadly, it's very possible to find accredited online MBA programs for as little as $5,000 to $10,000 a year, just as it's possible to spend upwards of $50,000 a year. At many programs, it's also possible to adjust how many credits you take per semester, or how long it takes you to complete the program, based on how much you can afford to pay over time. And, of course, continuing to work while you're in school is an undeniable financial upside.

3. Access to Innovative Technologies

Because they deliver a quality curriculum straight to their students' computers, online MBA programs sit at the cutting edge of business technology. Online learning provides two key advantages to MBA students: You'll build your mastery of business technology while making your educational experience compatible with your needs and schedule. Online platforms like ANGEL and Adobe are making online learning more dynamic and interactive than ever, and individual online MBA programs usually offer comprehensive tech support to troubleshoot any problems that arise.

The Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University has its own eLearing Portal called GLEAN (Graziadio Learning Environment and Network) where students can access all the interactive tools at their disposal:

-Google Docs/Drive to share and simultaneously edit files

-Join.Me and Voicethread for realtime online meetings, presentations and feedback sessions

-Yammer to make connections with other students, faculty, staff, and alumni

-Sakai to get course materials, turn in assignments, and see grades and feedback from professors.

Technological fluency is essential to business success today, and an online MBA will immerse you in its language.

4. Diversity

Online MBA programs, by their very design, are adaptable to a wide range of backgrounds and needs, so if it's important to you to learn from a variety of other viewpoints, going online may be a great choice.

At the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University managers at Fortune 500 companies (such as Apple, Boeing, and Cisco) join Air Force pilots and Law School dual degree students in the online classroom. Business is a broad umbrella, and connecting with students of all different ages and stages, career paths, and national origins will make you consider new ideas and reconsider old ones.

5. Global Opportunities

As online MBA programs have flourished and gained prestige, many programs make a priority out of attracting international students, offering international business immersion opportunities, and even establishing satellite universities in other countries. Especially since online MBA students don't typically see their classmates every day, the opportunity to connect with other students, faculty, and professionals in immersive international settings can make a big educational impact even if the experience lasts just a few days.

[email protected] offer four global immersions a year which give online students in the Kegan-Flagler Business School the opportunity to travel to major business centers around the world. In the last year, students have traveled to Mumbai, Johannesburg, and Istanbul. If you want to expand your professional contacts abroad, it may be smart to go online.

Who should opt for an online MBA?

The online MBA option is ideal for working individuals who do not wish to pause their careers in order to pursue further education. The eligibility criteria for enrolling into an online MBA program is:

-Bachelor’s degree awarded by a recognized university, with a CGPA of 3.00 (on a 4.33 scale) or better, and

-Acceptable GMAT or GRE score that has been appeared for in the last five years, or

-Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (BBA) or Commerce (B.Com) or equivalent, or

-At least two years of documented professional or management experience with evidence of career progression and relevant education and/or training.

Best Online MBA Programs - Online Education

Photo:  William Woods University
Photo: William Woods University

1. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

The Tepper School of Business is the business school of Carnegie Mellon University. It is located in the university's 140-acre (0.57 km2) campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US. The school offers degrees from the undergraduate through doctoral levels, in addition to executive education programs.The Tepper School of Business, originally known as the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA), was founded in 1949 by William Larimer Mellon. In March 2004, the school received a record $55 million gift from alumnus David Tepper and was renamed the "David A. Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon". A number of Nobel Prize–winning economists have been affiliated with the school, including Herbert A. Simon, Franco Modigliani, Merton Miller, Robert Lucas, Edward Prescott, Finn Kydland, Oliver Williamson, Dale Mortensen, and Lars Peter Hansen.

The application deadline for the online MBA programs at Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper), a private school, is April 12. Ninety-six percent of students are already employed when they first enroll. For these programs, the majority of the online classes are recorded and archived. Students should also note that the online MBA programs at Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper) are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the gold standard of business school accreditation.

2. University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)

The application deadline for the online MBA programs at University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler), a public school, is rolling. One hundred percent of students are already employed when they first enroll. For these programs, all of the online classes are recorded and archived. Students should also note that the online MBA programs at University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler) are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the gold standard of business school accreditation.

[email protected] delivers just as rigorous an MBA experience as offered on campus but through a flexible, virtual environment. Innovative technology allows students to attend weekly live classes from anywhere. The flexible length (18-36 months) allows students to complete the program around their schedules. Students also have the opportunity to take some courses in-person through Kenan-Flagler's full-time MBA and EMBA programs. Additionally, individual career management plans tailor specifically to professional goals.

3. University of Southern California (Marshall)

The USC Marshall School of Business is the business school of the University of Southern California. It is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In 1997 the school was renamed following a $35 million donation from alumnus Gordon S. Marshall.

University of Southern California (Marshall) is ranked No. 4 out of 293 in Best Online MBA Programs. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

The application deadline for the online MBA programs at University of Southern California (Marshall), a private school, is rolling. Ninety-nine percent of students are already employed when they first enroll. For these programs, all of the online classes are recorded and archived. Students should also note that the online MBA programs at University of Southern California (Marshall) are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the gold standard of business school accreditation.

4. University of Florida (Warrington)

The UF MBA Online program gives students the flexibility to complete the program from anywhere without sacrificing high-quality learning opportunities and access to top faculty. Additionally, experiential learning, co-curricular programming and Global Immersion Experiences complement the online learning environment enabling students to develop powerful and diverse networks. Students have access to dedicated career coaches for career readiness help and preparation for the next career opportunity.

University of Florida (Warrington) is ranked No. 5 out of 293 in Best Online MBA Programs. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

5. Arizona State University (Carey)

The W. P. Carey School of Business is the business school of Arizona State University and is one of the largest business schools in the United States, with over 300 faculty, and more than 1,582 graduate and 15,077 undergraduate students (2019-2020 enrollment). The school was named for William Polk Carey following his $50 million gift in 2003. In 2020, the W. P. Carey School was ranked 21st in the world for economics and business by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities. In 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranked 30 W. P. Carey academic disciplines in the top 25.

With two core courses at a time, students are immersed in two topics for 7 ½ weeks, culminating with final exams or final projects. A variety of elective courses, or optional concurrent degree offerings, complement and augment the MBA core curriculum. Multiple start dates (January and August) provide greater flexibility for working professionals.

Arizona State University (Carey) is ranked No. 6 out of 293 in Best Online MBA Programs. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

6. Pennsylvania State University--World Campus

Penn State’s Online MBA is AACSB accredited and designed for working professionals seeking career advancement or change. The program is designed with customization and flexibility in mind. Students can choose the pace which is best for them and also choose from a vast selection of over 20 concentration options. Our focus on integration, collaboration and engagement allows us to combine asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities for a holistic educational experience. Defining components of our program include the residency experience at the start of the program, our optional Global Immersion experience (on hold for 2021), and the ability to simultaneously pursue select professional graduate certificates and concurrent degree options. Led by The Smeal College of Business, the Penn State Online MBA leverages the expertise of faculty who are world renown subject matter experts from across the commonwealth. The program connects students to the expansive and global Penn State alumni network, and gives students access to a plethora of resources across one of the most recognized universities in the world.

7. University of Texas—Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD or UT Dallas) is a public research university in Richardson, Texas. It is the largest public university in the Dallas area and the northernmost institution of the University of Texas system. It was initially founded in 1961 as a private research arm of Texas Instruments.

The young university has been characterized by rapid growth in research output and its competitive undergraduate admissions policies since its inception. Less than 47 years after its founding, the Carnegie Foundation had classified the university as a doctoral research university with "Highest Research Activity"—faster than any other school in Texas. The university is associated with four Nobel Prizes and has members of the National Academy of Science and National Academy of Engineering on its faculty with the most notable research projects including the areas of Space Science, Bioengineering, Cybersecurity, Nanotechnology, and Behavioral and Brain Sciences. UT Dallas offers more than 140 academic programs across its eight schools and hosts more than 50 research centers and institutes.

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