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Online MBA Guide Overview

It’s no secret that distance programs allow for greater flexibility. Did you also know that pursuing your MBA online could also save you money during the course of your degree program? With a Wi-Fi connection and a laptop, you have the luxury of completing an MBA from the comforts of your coach. Nowadays, educational platforms have allowed for greater collaborations with students, streamlined interaction with professors, and easy access to classroom resources. Collaboration can be organized by way of chat rooms and interactions with the professor, by way of discussion boards. With online video lectures, discussion rooms, and digital assignments, there’s little drop off between online learning and traditional classroom formats.

One of the biggest differences between an online program and a traditional on-campus program is the way course content is delivered. The Online Guide covers all the benefits of pursuing your education virtually whether it’s watching streaming video lectures, participating in a class discussion via chat rooms, interacting with professors via discussion boards or turning in assignments via Blackboard technology. Online programs deliver similar content and require the same amount of effort from students as on-campus. The Online Guide will give you an inside look on what it’s like to attend B-School virtually, show you the importance of attending an AACSB-accredited MBA program, and how to network during your tenure as a grad student.

List of Accredited Online MBA Concentrations

There are plenty of options (173 schools offer AACSB-Accredited Online MBA Programs) for those considering an online MBA. With the ability to pursue your degree while maintaining your career, an online MBA from a highly-reputable B-School is a surefire way to strengthen your resume and boost your professional career to new heights. Whether full-time or part-time, those with demanding work schedules have options. An online MBA programs, whether it’s an executive evening or full-time accelerated program are great for those looking to climb the corporate ladder without sacrificing quality in education. The online eLearning environment is user-friendly, super-collaborative, and is delivered in a self-manageable platform designed for busy professionals. Balancing school while climbing the corporate ladder is stressful, to say the least. B-Students should rest easy knowing that their hard work is paying off. An online AACSB-Accredited MBA program will certainly provide a great ROI without the constraints of attending a traditional on-campus program. Not having to relocate to receive a high-quality graduate education is a huge advantage for working professionals.

The number of B-Schools offering online MBAs has increased exponentially over the past five years. Traditional graduate schools, in an attempt to stay competitive, have integrated virtual coursework into their business programs. Thanks to innovative eLearning platforms, business professionals have access to a growing list of AACSB-Accredited online MBA programs that offer flexible scheduling.

3 Advantages of Earning an Online MBA Over a Campus MBA

Attend a Highly Reputable B-School Without Leaving Your Couch

Distance programs allow for greater flexibility in scheduling and at the same time, provide high-quality education in terms of courses, curriculum and objectives. With a Wi-Fi connection and a laptop, MBA students can tackle papers or projects by logging into a highly interactive educational platform. For example, developing a business plan can be easily assigned to a group of students in the class. Collaboration can be organized by way of chat room and interaction with the professor, by way of discussion boards. Upon completion of the project, the business plan can be easily uploaded in the course assignment section. With online video lectures, discussion rooms, and digital assignments, there’s little drop off between online learning and traditional classroom formats.

One of the biggest differences between an online program and a traditional on-campus program is the way course content is delivered. Campus programs allow for in-person lectures, face-to-face discussions and assignments that are turned in directly to instructors. For online programs, technology eliminates the need for a student’s physical presence. This allows students to watch streaming video lecture, participate in a class discussion via chat rooms, interact with professors via discussion boards or turn in an assignment by uploading a file. Most of the time, a digital textbook or PDF case study replaces the need for a physical textbook. Online programs deliver similar content and require the same amount of effort from students as on-campus. Discussion board participation replaces class participation and most online coursework has a minimum weekly posting requirement.

Making the decision to pursue your MBA degree is no small decision and should never be taken lightly. To guarantee yourself the best education, it’s crucial that you choose an accredited degree program, preferably from the AACSB. Upon completion of your MBA, you will have a well-respected business credential, lifelong networking opportunities, and a comprehensive business education that follows the highest of standards for B-Schools. So what are some of the accrediting agencies for top-ranked B-Schools?

There are some well-known business organizations that accredit business schools across the globe. These organizations are responsible for evaluating the academic programs and ensuring the highest standards of B-School education are met. There are three accrediting organizations that are recognized by the U.S. Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

  • The most widely recognized and well-respected business accrediting organization is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Founded in 1916 and considered to be the most prestigious of the agencies, the AACSB has granted their accreditation stamp of approval to 796 member institutions in 53 countries, according to the most recent statistics on the organization’s website.
  • The second most widely recognized organization is the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP). Signifying a high quality business education program, the ACBSP has a different approach to granting accreditation compared to the AACSB but the mission is still the same: to promote excellence in business education. Established in 1988, the accredits more than 1,200 campuses in 60 countries, according to the organization’s website.
  • The third most recognized accrediting organization is the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). As the new kid on the block, the IACBE was established in 1997 and is focused on “educational outcomes of an academic business unit relative to its mission rather than prescriptive standards, according to the IACBE’s website. The IACBE accredits business programs and colleges and universities worldwide that demonstrate characteristics of excellence, its website says. The organization is certainly gaining some momentum with its commitment to business program excellence but it still has yet to garner the respect the AACSB accreditation carries.
  • For more information on accrediting agencies and the accreditation process for business schools, check out the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s database. Prior to making any decision on where to attend B-Schools, it’s imperative to see whether a school holds national or regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is the baseline standard for institutional accreditation and is a must-have credential. The bottom line: if you attend an AACSB-accredited B-School, you are guaranteeing a top-notch, high-quality business education that carries a ton of weight in the business world.

Global Networking Opportunities for Online MBA Students

MBA programs attract students from all over the world. This allows for networking opportunities with B-Students already established in the global business community. Just like a highly successful company, an online MBA program should be a reflection of members of the global business community. The more international students, the better the program. A company that hires employees from other countries evolves into a well-rounded organization. The employee talent should represent the company’s most important asset: its customers. This is similar to an MBA program. The average percentage of students from the U.S. is 85% for online MBA programs. If you want to collaborate, network, and learn from global business leaders, it’s highly recommended that prospective B-Students attend an institution that accepts a higher percentage of international students compared to students from the U.S.

A more culturally diverse student population is especially important for the MBA student interested in working abroad or simply wants to broaden their international business acumen. If a graduate student plans on working for a multinational company, gaining insight into how other countries conduct business is invaluable. AACSB accredited Online MBA programs attract extremely talented global students. Learning from a diverse student population can only strengthen your global business skills and make you well-rounded business professional.

Same School. Same Professors. Same Degree.

The stigmas associated with online education are almost nonexistent. Blackboard technology and eLearning platforms have made is easy to deliver remarkable content in the most engaging way imaginable. Over the years online MBA programs have been an integral part of elite graduate MBA programs, making the traditional on-campus format seem a bit limiting to the busy professional. An AACSB-accredited online MBA program is just as rigorous as the traditional format and balancing work and a graduate education – just as difficult. More and more public and private universities are getting on board and adapting their traditional on-campus MBA curriculum to an online format. Traditional on-campus B-Students are also registering for online courses in order to free up their schedule for internships.

Simply stated, an online MBA is just as valuable as one earned through a traditional program. An MBA is a highly-respected credential whether completed online or via the traditional on-campus delivery. When it comes to receiving your diploma, there will likely be no differentiation between MBA graduates who completed their course work on campus and those who did it online. As technology makes it easier for us to conduct business from anywhere in the world, eLearning platforms have made it easier B-Students to reap the benefits of an MBA designation from a well-respected institution.

5 Metrics To Consider Before Submitting Your MBA Application

Online MBA Tuition Costs

If you plan on attending B-School, it’s best to start thinking about fiscal responsibility. A prospective B-Student  needs to weigh their tuition options. An AACSB-accredited MBA program can pave the way for a great starting salary or career advancement. An online MBA program can provide the flexibility of completing a program while being employed in your respective career.

The average tuition cost for online MBA programs is $34,053.96. The lowest in-state tuition for online MBA programs is $8,484.00 from Georgia Southwestern State University compared to the highest average in-state tuition of $121,536.00 from Carnegie Mellon University . There’s a significant tuition range for online MBA programs. Compare the 10 lowest accredited online MBA program to the 10 highest.

10 Least Expensive Campus MBA Programs

  1. Georgia Southwestern State University - $8,484.00
  2. University of Central Arkansas - $9,129.00
  3. Southeast Missouri State University - $9,785.00
  4. New Mexico State University - $9,882.00
  5. Columbus State University - $10,245.00
  6. Valdosta State University - $10,450.00
  7. Midwestern State University - $10,529.00
  8. Jackson State University - $11,010.00
  9. Emporia State University - $11,196.00
  10. Missouri State University - $11,291.00

10 Most Expensive Online MBA Programs

  1. Carnegie Mellon University - $121,536.00
  2. Syracuse University - $118,074.00
  3. University of Virginia-Darden - $116,300.00
  4. University of Southern California - $116,229.00
  5. Georgetown University - $109,842.00
  6. Johns Hopkins University - $109,500.00
  7. University of Denver - $99,918.00
  8. The George Washington University - $96,855.00
  9. Pepperdine University - $93,840.00
  10. University of Miami - $91,748.00

Student/Faculty Ratio for MBA Programs

The lower the ratio, the better it is for students. They get the personalized one-on-one attention from faculty mentors that have extensive experience in the industry. The Student/Faculty metric is a matter of personal preference and for those students who excel in large group environments, you may not need the low Student/Faculty ratio.

The best Student/Faculty ratio for online MBA programs is 0.06 compared to the worst online Student/Faculty ratio of 19.64. The combination of cutting-edge eLearning platforms and innovative Blackboard courses make the online experience a rewarding one for prospective business students. The Student/Faculty ratio comes down to personal preference. For a B-Student interested in networking with professors and fellow students via a cohort style classroom environment, it’s best to look for programs with lower Student/Faculty ratios. If you don’t mind the lecture hall environment, then a higher Student/Faculty ratio may be a suitable option for the prospective MBA applicant.

Online Student/Faculty Ratio

Campus Student/Faculty Ratio

10 Lowest Student / Faculty MBA Programs

  1. Marist College - 0.06%
  2. University of Nebraska-Lincoln - 0.08%
  3. Longwood University - 0.08%
  4. California State University, Fullerton - 0.17%
  5. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse - 0.19%
  6. Radford University - 0.25%
  7. Villanova University - 0.27%
  8. Robert Morris University - 0.30%
  9. The University of Akron - 0.30%
  10. Western Kentucky University - 0.35%

10 Highest Student / Faculty MBA Programs

  1. West Texas A & M University - 19.64%
  2. University of Dallas - 18.88%
  3. University of Colorado Denver - 12.84%
  4. University of Illinois at Springfield - 11.46%
  5. The University of Texas at Dallas - 10.95%
  6. University of Virginia-Darden - 10.56%
  7. The George Washington University - 9.00%
  8. Johns Hopkins University - 8.74%
  9. University of Florida - 8.35%
  10. Thunderbird School of Global Management - 7.97%

Student Enrollment

Every MBA program has a strategy behind their enrollment sizes. As a prospective B-Student, you should know that enrollment size has a direct impact on networking opportunities, job placement, and your relationship with fellow classmates, B-School enrollment size should play an important role in the decision making process. For the B-Student interested in the cohort-style classroom and flourishes with more intimate online platforms, smaller enrollment sizes may be a better fit. This is especially true for cohort programs where the online MBA class completes the program together.

The average MBA enrollment for online MBA programs is 271 compared to the average campus MBA program of 262. The average part-time enrollment for online MBA programs is 329 students compared to the average part-time enrollment form campus MBA programs is 248. Without the limitation of classroom space, virtual courses can boost their enrollment. It’s important to note there is a significant difference between the online study experience versus the traditional classroom experience. Chat rooms and course discussion boards will be impacted with a large class size compared to a more intimate, smaller class size.

Online MBA Student Enrollment

Online MBA Programs Highest Full-Time Enrollment

  1. The University of Texas at Dallas - 2,715
  2. University of Southern California - 1,320
  3. Indiana University, Bloomington/Indianapolis - 1,313
  4. University of Maryland - 1,231
  5. West Texas A & M University - 1,100
  6. The George Washington University - 1,017
  7. University of Colorado Denver - 976
  8. The Pennsylvania State University - 935
  9. University of Florida - 909
  10. Pepperdine University - 897

Online MBA Programs Highest Part-Time Enrollment

  1. Florida International University - 1,961
  2. Texas A & M University-Commerce - 1,419
  3. University of Massachusetts Amherst - 1,248
  4. Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey-Newark/New Brunswick - 1,239
  5. The University of Texas at Dallas - 1,189
  6. Northeastern University - 1,136
  7. Villanova University - 1,117
  8. Colorado State University - 1,104
  9. Arizona State University - 954
  10. University of Connecticut - 946

 

Online MBA Program Rankings

Here is a list of the top online MBA programs in the U.S.

Strength of Faculty

Highly competitive B-Schools recruit part-time and full-time professors that usually have a mix between academic and professional experience. They are the subject matter experts in their respective field and most of the time, industry influencers. Most business professors have experienced success in the corporate world and have written extensively in their chosen field. The number of highly-qualified full-time professors is usually an indication of how strong the MBA program, online or traditional.

Online MBA programs average 84 professors with doctorates. As a B-Student, you should seek programs that hire industry influencers and academics who are on the front lines of their respective industry. Researching professor bios, academic credentials, published work, and their professional history is a great way to determine if your online MBA programs hires quality faculty. You will find that most have worked for Fortune 500 companies, have experience as consultants, or have found success as entrepreneurs.

Online Faculty Numbers

MBA Programs with Fewest Doctoral Faculty

  1. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - 57.60%
  2. Western Illinois University - 61.90%
  3. Southern Arkansas University - 63.20%
  4. Southeastern Oklahoma State University - 64.30%
  5. University of Alaska Fairbanks - 65.40%
  6. Indiana University, Bloomington/Indianapolis - 66.30%
  7. Marist College - 66.70%
  8. Queens University of Charlotte - 66.70%
  9. Ohio University - 68.40%
  10. University of Denver - 68.90%

MBA Programs with Most Doctoral Faculty

  1. California State University, Stanislaus - 100.00%
  2. New Jersey Institute of Technology - 100.00%
  3. Thunderbird School of Global Management - 100.00%
  4. Jackson State University - 100.00%
  5. University of Houston-Victoria - 100.00%
  6. University of Miami - 100.00%
  7. University of Virginia-Darden - 98.60%
  8. Rider University - 98.40%
  9. California State University, Sacramento - 98.20%
  10. The University of Mississippi - 98.20%

 

Making Sure Your Online MBA Isn’t Hazardous to Your Career

What is AACSB Accreditation

Once known as the Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (ACSB), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) was established in 1916 by a group of top U.S. institutions as the premiere membership organization for business schools. It is considered to be the gold standard in business school credentialing.

Established to promote high-quality business education in the U.S., AACSB members developed a stringent accreditation process. Members are held accountable for following an established business education framework set forth by the AACSB. The AACSB International now holds a membership of about 1,200 colleges and universities, corporations and nonprofit organizations in 70 countries. The AACSB has become one of the most prominent and highly trusted resources in business education around the world. The AACSB accreditation is the official B-School stamp of approval and assures every student receives a high quality education.

Why AACSB Accreditation Important for Online MBA Programs

To become accredited by the AACSB, an online B-School must be a member institution of the AACSB and offer degree-granting programs in business or accounting. If a school is a member and would like to apply for review, it must submit an application for accreditation. The AACSB evaluates the application and determines whether a school has the potential to receive accreditation. The most current AACSB International accreditation standards were published in the Eligibility Procedures and Accreditation Standards for Business Accreditation, adopted by the AASCB on April 25, 2003, and revised as recently as April, 2013. You can read about the accreditation process by clicking here.

If the institution has established an online business program and it meets the preliminary standards of quality required for AACSB accreditation, the evaluation process begins. The next step in the process is the Standards Alignment Plan. Once the institution meets its alignment plan and about two years prior to its on-site review, the school is assigned a Peer Review Team chief. Working alongside school administrators, the chief establishes an evaluation visit date and develops a Self-Evaluation Report. In the self-evaluation process, the school prepares a detailed review of its academic program and outlines how it compares to AACSB standards. This is the critical phase in the accreditation process.

After the Peer Review Team visits the school, a report is created to recommend accreditation, deferral or no accreditation. Review committees and the AACSB board of directors make the final decision about accreditation. The online institution is notified every step of the way.

The Benefits of Attending an AACSB-Accredited School

AACSB online MBA programs follow a rigorous standard in delivering high-quality business education to its B-Students. With that comes MBA degrees conferrals that are widely recognized by Fortune 500 companies. This results in lucrative job opportunities.

According to Businessweek.com, about 12,000 schools worldwide provide business degrees, but “fewer than 10% are accredited by AACSB or one of the other top accreditation agencies.” AACSB graduates are considered a cut above and due to the breadth of their business education, they are heavily recruited. According to the AACSB, many of the top global corporations pick their talent pool from accredited business schools, and graduates with online MBAs from AACSB programs are offered more competitive salaries. There’s a host of Fortune 500 companies that reimburse tuition from only AACSB-accredited business schools.

An AACSB-accredited online MBA will provide a degree program that is held to the highest of standards established by the world’s most recognized business education accrediting agency.

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Applying to B-School

Do I Need a Bachelor In Business to Earn and MBA

The short answer: No. Does it help gain admission into top institutions? Yes it does.  As a prospective B-Student, there’s a host of required application materials needed to complete your admissions file (undergraduate transcripts, GMAT scores, personal statement, interview results, etc.). A B-School admissions committee will look at all factors when making a final decision on acceptance – the two most important being undergraduate record and GMAT score. If you happen to be a strong student in any undergraduate major and you crushed the GMAT, you will have ample opportunity to attend an elite B-School. With that being said, some AACSB-accredited online business schools may require prerequisite coursework in statistics, economics, business law, finance, and accounting.

A business school admissions team has one job: to select a class of strong students most likely to success as B-Students. Students with extensive coursework in business administration will most likely have a leg up applicants with liberal arts undergraduate degrees, such as English or History. A strong performance in one’s undergraduate business major, most of the time, translates into success as a B-Student. Still, given the versatility of an MBA program, it may not matter at all what your major was in college as long as you received a broad, well-rounded education in which you developed quantitative and analytical skills. The great part about an MBA: it will only enhance your analytical skill set and provide you with the necessary tools to grow in any industry.

GMAT/No GMAT: Why Most Reputable B-Schools Want to See Test Scores

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardized examination used by online B-Schools to assess their applicant pool. The test is strategically designed to measure an applicant’s analytical, verbal, writing and mathematical skills. The GMAT is used as a predictor of success in B-School and tests one’s ability to successfully handle the advanced quantitative and qualitative study of business and management.

Selecting the right applicants for an online MBA program is no easy task. Most AACSB-accredited B-Schools require a Bachelor’s degree (in any discipline), a competitive GMAT Score, and a few years of professional experience. With applicants from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds, admissions departments need at least one form of assessment that is the same for every candidate, thus the GMAT. More than 1,500 institutions in 83 countries use the GMAT as part of the selection criteria for more than 4,800 programs, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

5 Tips on Making Your B-School Application Stand Out

Quantify Your Professional Experience Gives You An Edge

Just imagine for a second being on an admission board for a business school and your responsibility is to offer acceptance based on academic credentials and GMAT scores. These two metrics are certainly important and without them, it would be tough to determine scholastic capabilities in graduate school. But is would be difficult to foresee an applicant’s performance as a B-Student based on solely on two metrics. This is why it’s so important to look at an applicant’s overall achievements prior to rendering an admissions decision. Would you give an applicant who held a part-time job working in an accounting firm while finishing their undergrad degree a slight edge over a applicant with better grades? Or would you consider an applicant’s ability to hold down a job while attending school full time a clear indication of future B-school success? Imagine if an applicant with average GMAT score completed highly coveted summer internships at Fortune 500 companies. Would they be a stronger applicant than the prospective B-Student with no professional experience but received a top 10% score on the GMAT?

Professional experience certainly gives you an edge as a B-School applicant. It shows not only your dedication as a business professional; but more importantly, highlights your work ethic. It’s not easy to maintain solid grades and test scores while working a part-time job or a summer internship. You greatly increase your chances of acceptance with professional experience in your respective field. If the admissions department can clearly see your career path and how an MBA would contribute to your profession, the better chance you have on receiving that acceptance letter.

Leave a Lasting Impression with Your Resume

Simply put, the best resumes have little to no career gaps and strategically highlight a person’s dedication to a particular profession. You want to clearly show a B-School admissions department how their MBA can bring your career to the next level. As a sales professional, your resume should follow the progression from an entry-level sales position to an Assistant Manager role in a certain time frame. The next logical step would be a Sales Manager/Group Manager position and the analytical skills learned from a high-quality MBA program would help push you the next level. As an aspiring accountant, for example, your resume should show your progression from account receivables clerk to senior accountant. The admissions department, by way of your application, should know that you’re pursuing the CPA designation and your goal is to become an Accounting Manager at your firm.

Once again, there is nothing wrong with trying out multiple professions before making a final decision on your long-term career goals. Holding positions in various business sectors can usually makes for a well-rounded employee capable of adapting to change. Most startups like employees with experience in various business functions: marketing, accounting, sales, and operations. It adds value to a company requiring their employees to wear multiple hats. With that being said, if your resume depicts a person who is a Jack-of-all-trades and a master of none, you want to indicate in your B-School essay/personal statement the reason behind your career choices. Prior to spending thousands of dollars on an MBA, you should have a firm understanding on how a graduate degree in business can help you reach the next level of your career.

Strategically Plan Your Letters of Recommendation

Your sphere of influence can make or break your professional career. By building lasting relationships your teachers, supervisors, and mentors, you build a network of opportunity that is forever beneficial. An incredible letter of reference can bring your application to the next level, especially if it’s from a well-respected industry professional or a highly-regarded academic. Whether it’s a summer internship at a Fortune 500 company, a Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) club during undergrad, or long term employment in your respective industry, there will be plenty of opportunity to build rapport with leaders, managers, and supervisors. By developing a mentor/mentee relationship with people you respect and admire, you have the opportunity to secure letters of reference that speak to your strengths as an MBA applicant. Keep in mind, it’s best to secure letters of recommendation from both your professors in undergrad and your professional network. You want to have a well-balance selection of letters of recommendation that represent your skills as both a student and a professional.

Tips on Successfully Conquering MBA School Essays

  1. Explain Why You’ll Succeed as a B-Student: In your essay, paint a clear picture as to why you would be an excellent fit for their MBA program. Let the admissions department know what prompted your decision to pursue an MBA and how it would affect your career. Talk about:
  • How your career path aligns with the MBA curriculum
  • How your professional and academic credentials are a difference maker
  • Why you are interested in becoming a business leader
  • How the program is relevant to your respective industry
  1. Showcase Your Achievements Strategically: Whether it’s graduating Summa Cum Laude in Business Administration or being the fastest promoted employee to management at your company, illustrate your accomplishment inside the classroom and inside the boardroom. Talk about:
  • Describe your stand-out performances
  • Performance metrics that differentiated you from peers
  • What your set of skills brings to an MBA program
  1. Discuss Why Now is the Right Time for an MBA: B-School admissions departments want students that have a clear focus. An applicant that understands the benefits of an MBA and how it could improve their professional goals is an ideal candidate for admissions. Talk about:
  • Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. How can an MBA help you become a better business leader
  • How can an MBA improve your current position and make you attractive for promotion
  • What set of skills do you bring to the table. How will they impact your fellow classmates
  • What is your ultimate game plan. Describe your five year plan, post MBA graduation.

Secrets to Mastering the B-School Interview

Simply stated, you need to explain why you want an MBA and what you can offer the program. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, if you’re pursuing an MBA in the hopes of figuring out what you want to do in life, you may not be the best fit. B-School admissions departments are looking for students who can apply real world professional experiences to their studies. B-Students are asked to consistently read about real world case studies and apply it to their own professional experiences. In order to become a better problem solver, decision maker, and team leader, B-Students must analyze their own professional experiences but learn from their fellow peers. A great B-School interview addresses some of the shortcomings of their professional career and how an MBA can rectify these areas. The applicant should also address their career aspirations and how an MBA can fulfill their ultimate goal.

How an Online MBA Saves You Time & Money

Let’s face it, attending graduate school on-campus has unexpected expenses. Whether it’s the gas expense commuting to and from campus, the computer/lab fees, or simply the overpriced campus bookstore, traditional grad students have to cover the costs of taking up valuable space within a classroom. Consider it rent for attending graduate school. Someone needs to pay the electric bill. Outside of the actual line items you’ll see on your bursar statement, the time away from work, studying, and other income-earning endeavors takes a huge hit on the wallet. Time is money and the more time you spend inside a classroom, the less you have replenishing your bank account. One of the major advantage of pursuing your MBA online is the value-added benefit of completing your degree from any location with a Wi-Fi connection.

The textbooks for online MBA classes are usually selected by the professor, and might include traditional textbooks, e-textbooks, CD-ROMs, workbooks, eLearning exercises, etc. If your professor teaches via the case study methodology, you may simply need to purchase materials from the Harvard Business Review. Everything you will need will be included in your syllabus and course description. Since online B-Students don’t normally have access to the campus bookstore, there are usually less expensive alternative to obtaining classroom textbooks.

Life After B-School: How an MBA Can Propel Your Career

Make Some Moves: Network with Classmates/Professors/Alumni

If you make the most out of your time as an MBA student, doors will open prior to graduation. During your program, you’ll have the opportunity to network with academics and industry professionals dedicated to their craft. Whether it’s your Accounting professor (who happens to be a CPA) or your Digital Marketing graduate assistant (who happens to own an advertising agency), business school teachers are at the forefront of their industry. They not only have connections in your respective field but know exactly how to reach the top. In other words, they have a pulse on the latest trends and they have the tools you need to make it in your chosen field.

How to Strategically Position Yourself as an Industry Influencer

As an MBA student, you are in the unique position to graduate with an arsenal of valuable industry information. Whether it’s the latest in supply chain management technology or the newest corporate tax laws changing the accounting industry, you’re a well-rounded subject matter expert in your chosen concentration. Outside of obtaining the MBA credential and adding that well-respected credential to your resume, you can differentiate yourself even further by adding a recognized industry credential. From the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation to Certified Financial Planner (CFP) license to the the Six Sigma Certification, there are professional credentials that not only compliment an MBA nicely but are a means of strategically positioning yourself as an industry influencer.

5 Keys to Job Placement with an Online MBA

  1. Get to know your professors, fellow students, and alumni that are still involved with your institution. Whether it’s volunteering your time with a student business organization or simply being highly active on discussion boards, there’s plenty of opportunity to engage, interact, and build lasting relationships with your MBA program.
  2. If there’s an online graduate assistant opportunity, take advantage of it. This is an incredible way to not only network with B-School professors, but more importantly, a fantastic resume builder. Assisting professors by engaging students in the discussion boards, grading assignments, and making sure student inquiries/concerns are answered in a timely fashion is an excellent way to showcase your leadership skills and at the same time, help teach and manage a virtual classroom. This will open more doors than you can imagine.
  3. Always keep an active resume and cover letter ready-to-go throughout your online MBA program. Whether it’s the latest job posting from your career development center, an on-campus recruiting even, or a fellow student starting their own eCommerce company, you never know when opportunity comes knocking.
  4. Build your portfolio while attending B-School. This is along the same lines of keeping your resume and cover letter updated except that it showcases your abilities via a digital “lookbook” or interactive portfolio. If there’s a two-year gap in your resume because you decided to pursue your online MBA full-time, there’s no better way to impress employers by showing, in the most engaging way imaginable, some of the projects you finished while attending B-School. Make no mistake, there will be plenty of group projects/final presentations that will mirror real-world business assignments. If your professional experience is a bit light upon graduation, there’s no better way to Wow your potential employers. Keep a real-time portfolio during your time as a B-Student and watch the offers come rolling in.
  5. Conduct a S.W.O.T. (internal strengths and weaknesses/external opportunities and threats) on yourself and understand your true inner self. Most successful business leaders have a firm grasp on their strengths and weaknesses and try to improve their shortcomings and exploit their most valuable skill set. During your MBA program, you should develop into a well-rounded, ethical leader capable of managing all types of employees. The best way to effectively manage teams is to develop a thorough understand of one self and lead by example.

15 Careers to Fit Your Online MBA

Online MBA in Accounting

  • Accountants prepare state and federal taxes, analyze financial information and keep accurate financial records for a wide variety of clients. The median annual salary for accountants was $68,150 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job opportunities for accountants are projected to be favorable, particularly for CPAs, as faster than average employment growth is expected for these professionals through 2018, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Economics

  • Economists conduct research into how society distributes resources, analyze the data, identify trends and provide forecasts on a wide variety of issues. The median annual salary for economists was $101,050 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth for economists is projected to be slower than average, with master’s and doctorate degree holders having the best job prospects, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Finance

  • Financial managers provide oversight in the preparation of financial reports, recommend and direct investments, and develop strategies for cash management. The median annual salary for financial managers was $121,750 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average job growth is expected for financial managers between 2008 and 2018, and heightened competition for jobs is typical, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Global Management

  • Chief executive officers (CEOs) work at the top of the company chain to come up with strategies and policies to help push forward the goals and objectives of the organization. The median annual salary for CEOs was $181,210 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth is expected to remain stagnant among CEOs, and strong competition is present in the field; the best job prospects will be for those with knowledge of international economics and several languages, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Healthcare Management

  • Medical and health services managers direct and coordinate the delivery of health care provided by a facility or system and often manage financials. The median annual salary for medical and health services managers was $96,540 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job prospects are projected to be good for medical and health services managers, particularly for those with strong business management skills, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Human Resources

  • Human resources managers direct the hiring, training, presentation of benefits and retention of personnel for an organization. Their median annual salary was $106,910 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of human resources managers and similar positions is projected to grow 22 percent—much faster than average—in the 2008-18 decade, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Information Technology

  • Computer and information systems managers are in charge of the technology component of organizations, directing the maintenance of current technology, making sure it is up to date and recommending upgrades as necessary. Their median annual salary was $135,800 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job prospects for these professionals should be excellent, as employment growth is projected to be faster than average, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Marketing

  • Marketing managers direct and coordinate efforts to promote an organization’s products or services and identify target audiences for them. The median annual salary for marketing managers as of 2016 was $131,180, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth for marketing managers will grow by 12 percent in the 2008-18 decade, or about as fast as average, with strong competition for jobs.

Online MBA in Supply Chain Management

  • Industrial production managers direct and coordinate the production of various goods in manufacturing centers, focusing on quantity and quality. Their median annual salary was $97,140 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although overall job growth is expected to decline moderately, those with experience in production and a college degree in management will experience the best job prospects, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Entrepreneurship

  • Chief executive officers (CEOs) work at the top of the company chain to come up with strategies and policies to help push forward the goals and objectives of the organization. The median annual salary for CEOs was $181,210 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth is expected to remain stagnant among CEOs, and keen competition is present in the field; the best job prospects will be for those with knowledge of international economics, marketing and information systems, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Hospitality Management

  • Lodging managers oversee the day-to-day operations of hotels and motels, ensuring patrons have a comfortable room, a hot meal and options for entertainment. The median annual salary for lodging managers was $51,840 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even though slower than average employment growth is expected in the industry, jobs should still open up because of reasonable turnover rates, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Information Systems

  • Computer and information systems managers are in charge of the technology component of organizations, directing the maintenance of current technology, making sure it is up to date and recommending upgrades as necessary. Their median annual salary was $135,800 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job prospects for these professionals should be excellent, as employment growth is projected to be faster than average, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in International Business

  • Chief executive officers (CEOs) work at the top of the company chain to come up with strategies and policies to help push forward the goals and objectives of the organization. The median annual salary for CEOs was $181,210 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth is expected to remain stagnant among CEOs, and keen competition is present in the field; the best employment prospects will be for those with knowledge of international economics and several languages, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Management

  • Human resources managers direct the hiring, training, presentation of benefits and retention of personnel for an organization. Their median annual salary was $106,910 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of human resources managers and similar positions is projected to grow 22 percent—much faster than average—in the 2008-18 decade, the Bureau notes.

Online MBA in Operations Management

General and operations managers oversee all departments of the organization they work for as well as conduct day-to-day supervisory activities. The median annual salary for general and operations managers was $99,310 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth is expected to remain stagnant among general and operations managers, and intense competition is expected, the Bureau notes.

Your Online MBA Courses

The main objective of an Online MBA program is to develop business leaders of the future. MBA courses are designed to boost a B-Students problem-solving, quantitative analysis, decision-making, and leadership capabilities over the course of a program. Whether it’s case studies, research papers, or breaking down the financial of a company, real-world application is applied in almost every MBA course. At the core of an MBA is its ability to integrate the latest technology into the classroom experience. This allows students to graduate armed with cutting-edge knowledge of their respective industry.

Today’s Online MBA programs are action-packed business courses designed to teach students every step in how to effectively manage teams. Although the specific classes change depending upon the program, most will include the core topics in finance, accounting, management, marketing, global or international business, and technology. Below is a breakdown of the courses you may take as an Online MBA student.

Online MBA in Accounting

  • Financial Accounting: This introductory accounting course teaches students how to analyze and interpret financial statements. It also teaches B-Students how to disseminate critical financial performance information to company leadership. Accounting processes and methods are also emphasized. Students will have a firm understanding of how to analyze an income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows.
  • Managerial Accounting: Students in this class get prepared for leadership roles when managing a company’s accounts with an emphasis on decision making. Students get an in-depth look at cost behavior, cost analysis, profit planning, control measures and capital budgeting decisions.
  • Cost Accounting: This course explores accounting as it relates to job order and process costing, cost-volume-profit analysis, activity-based costing, variable costing, budgeting, standard costing systems and variance analysis. Decision making and differentiation between direct and indirect costs are also emphasized.
  • Forensic Accounting: The means of investigative auditing for fraud, building a case for litigation and methods for quantifying damages caused by instances of fraud are covered in this class. Legal issues in accounting are also examined.
  • Tax Accounting: This class equips students with an in-depth understanding of federal, state and local taxation for people, companies and large organizations. It explores federal income tax laws and how they apply to corporations, partnerships, estates and trusts. Students learn federal and state tax preparation methods and best practices.

Online MBA in Finance

  • Financial Analysis and Reporting: Through case studies, students taking this course get an intensive look at effective methods for corporate financial reporting, with emphasis on asset evaluation and determining future income. Students learn how to analyze and interpret financial statements and communicate data effectively to other team members.
  • Corporate Finance: This class emphasizes capital budgeting techniques, risk management and uncertainty, investment decisions, company valuation and financial planning. It also explores legal and ethical concerns in corporate finance. The course equips students for the role of chief financial officer.
  • Risk Management: In this class, students discover best practices for protecting firms from losses by hedging with derivatives. They learn to identify, evaluate and monitor the financial price risks that corporations face.

Online MBA in Management

  • Organizational Leadership: Through case studies, this class focuses on teaching students modern management strategies such as networking, coaching, cultivating diversity, crisis leadership, delegation of responsibilities, team leadership and individual leadership.
  • Supply Chain Management: This course provides students with a solid foundation in materials and logistics management from the perspective of a general manager. Students learn strategies for customer service, quality control and management of inventory. The focus is on how logistical decisions affect the company or organization overall.
  • Management Communication: Effective internal and external communication strategies for managers are explored in this course. Conflict management and communication from the top down are emphasized. Students also learn how to tailor their communication for various audiences.
  • Operations Management: Operations Management explores the planning, operation and controlling of products and services. Project management, inventory management, forecasting and quality control are emphasized.
  • Human Capital Management: Often included in a human resources management concentration, human capital management teaches managers how to effectively develop and cross-train personnel, helping them to attain their career goals within a company.
  • Strategic Planning and Implementation: Students in this course learn leadership skills as they apply to planning for the future. A key point of this class is teaching students the value of a company’s mission, vision and values.
  • Project Management: This class teaches students effective techniques for planning, managing, controlling and executing projects of varying scope and the assigning of responsibilities and risk management for major projects.

Online MBA in Marketing

  • Marketing Management and Analysis: Building on basic marketing concepts, this course helps students apply those concepts in a management capacity. Students look at pricing, distribution, promotion and consumer behavior and learn to develop strategies for effectively marketing goods and services.
  • Marketing Research: Students learn to define marketing problems, gather data and conduct research in this class. Students also discover how to interpret the results of their research and discuss their implications for marketing.
  • Product Management: This class explores strategies for overseeing the conceptualization, development, prototypes, product design and labeling, test marketing and national launch of new or revamped products.

Online MBA in Global or International Business

  • International Business Strategy: This course focuses on economics, finance, marketing, technology and operations in a global context. Lectures discuss how to do business in other countries and what it means to lead in cross-cultural settings.
  • Global Leadership: Students learn the importance of cultivating the characteristics of a global mindset and how this relates to leadership in this class. Emphasis is placed on leading international teams.
  • Global Economic Environment: This course gives students strategies for competing in an international business environment. Students study how to overcome barriers to doing business in diverse cultures, economies and political environments. Exchange rate risk management is a component of this class.

Online MBA in Business Technology

  • Information Systems for Managers: Designed to help managers become information literate, this class explores the various information systems they will encounter. These might include database management, executive information and expert systems.
  • Introduction to Information Security: This course teaches students how to protect sensitive company information from getting compromised while allowing access to those who need the information to do their jobs. Controls and countermeasures are emphasized.
  • Information Security, Ethics and Policy: The legal and ethical issues associated with information security are examined in this class, with a particular focus on government policy.

Online MBA in Other MBA Courses

  • Business Law: In this class, students get a thorough understanding of the American legal system as it applies to businesses and corporations and how business law applies to making informed business decisions to avoid legal risk.
  • Business Research and Statistics: Students enrolled in this course study statistics and probability as they apply to making business decisions. Students will define a research question and gather information on it.
  • Business Policy: How the administrative team of a company develops policies that affect employees is considered in this class. Case studies are closely examined.
  • Entrepreneurship: This course examines strategies for launching business ventures, including initiating a marketable concept, drafting an effective business plan and acquiring startup capital. Creativity and innovation are emphasized.
  • Business Economics: Students in this class look at economic principles such as supply and demand, scarce resources and opportunity costs and how they apply to the world of business. An emphasis is placed on economic strategies for maximizing profit.
  • Human Resource Management: This course looks at management strategies for recruiting and hiring the best personnel and retaining those employees by supporting and developing them. Theories of motivation and maximizing human capital are emphasized.
  • Business Ethics: Students in this class learn how to build ethical practices into a company’s mission, values and overall business strategies. Numerous case studies are typically examined.

List of Online MBA Programs

  • The number of MBA Schools with Online MBA Concentrations offered: 173

Whether you want to attend an online Executive MBA program, a traditional on-campus full-time program, or a part-time hybrid between online and on-campus classes, your choice are plentiful. In order to stay competitive, MBA schools offer their MBA programs with a variety of scheduling options and in flexible formats. There are 519 on-campus MBA programs in the U.S. compared to 173 online MBA programs. Traditional on-campus programs may offer the option to take a few online business courses while the flexible online program may have a residency requirement for its B-Students. Only you can determine your preferred learning style, whether or not to attend full-time or part-time, and what type of classroom experience you are best suited for.