What is an Online MBA Degree
Before you start to dig into the pros and cons of pursuing an online MBA degree, you need to get acquainted with what it is so you can decide whether you are really up for it or not. An online MBA program is simply a fully functional MBA degree in which the courses are delivered via the internet. Live video lectures, which are these days fully interactive, thanks to video conferencing software such as Skype or Google Hangout, are used to teach the students the requisite courses. Course material is distributed by means of emails which either contain attachments or links to the syllabus that are often posted on the university’s own web server. Online MBA programs are a godsend for those individuals who are restricted from pursuing a regular degree due to medical disabilities or other constraints such as a lack of time, or the inability to move to another city.
Advantages of an Online MBA Program
Most graduate students who choose an online MBA program are motivated by the mixture of career prospect and relative convenience an online MBA presents. An online MBA definitely has many factors going in its favor.
- Income Booster: The first and foremost advantage is that it empowers you to study from the comfort and familiarity of your own home. You do not have to move to a different city, away from your loved ones, for the sake of your education.
- Convenience: With an online MBA program, you do not have to build up your life’s routine from scratch around your education. Rather, you make room for your educational plans in your existing routine. Thanks to the flexible schedules of online MBA programs and the plethora of programs from various institutes to choose from, you are virtually guaranteed to find a program that lets you carry on with your job, family and friends like before while also allowing you to enhance your career.
- Cost: Online MBA programs are, as a general rule, less costly than conventional MBA programs. Not only are the costs of accommodation and travel eliminated, but the tuition fees themselves are lower.
Career Prospects of an Online MBA Degree Holder
An online MBA degree holder’s career opportunities are much the same as that of a regular MBA degree holder. This is because both degrees teach virtually the same courses. Just like the ordinary MBA degree, an online degree makes the holder eligible to apply in a diverse range of fields for instance finance, consultation, IT, marketing, operations, accountancy or banking. Additionally, graduates may be hired by NGOs, educational institutions, government bodies, healthcare or engineering firms. Thanks to their MBA degree, these individuals have a higher likelihood of reaching managerial positions within their respective firms than those who don’t.
A 2013 report by PayScale.com indicated that the salary for an MBA graduate may range from around $40,000 (operations manager) to as high as over $200,000 (chief financial officer). Here is a detailed list of what an online MBA holder can earn in different professions:
- Senior financial analyst: from $60,000 to $100,000
- IT project manager: $60,000 to $125,000
- Chief financial officer: $75,000 to over $200,000
- Financial analyst: $45,000 to $90,000
- Marketing director: $50,000 to $150,000
Online MBA holders should be prepared to receive slightly lower salaries compared to traditional degree holders but this largely depends on the reputation of the school they get their online degree from.
Drawbacks of an Online MBA Degree
Where there are some solid factors in favor of online degrees, there are a few minor hicks that you may encounter along the way and need to be aware of:
- You may find it hard to focus on your studies due to the informal environment of your home. This will require you to consciously train yourself into studying when it is time, even though it may seem like you are free to do as you will.
- Online MBA programs may have courses that take around seven years to conclude, but it’s a compromise that has to be made, since these courses may not always be full time. In fact, this can be an advantage for those students who cannot make regular attendance.
- There is an argument that online degrees limit the students’ interaction with their classmates, but this has been remedied quite effectively by the many free and easy to use group video chat services now available online.
What to Consider Before Enrolling into an Online MBA
- Dedication to the program – An online MBA doesn’t tax your routine as much as a regular one, true. This, however, does not mean that it will be a walk in the park. You will have to be dedicated to your program if you are to be successful, especially if it will stretch across a longer time period than a regular degree. Before you decide to purse an online MBA, make sure that you can afford to put in the required effort into it while still performing well at your job.
- Time allocation – Although an online MBA offers much greater time flexibility when compared to traditional MBA programs, a number of hours must be dedicated weekly to your online MBA education. You should therefore decide on the amount of time you will be able to give to the program on a regular basis and make your choice accordingly.
- Choice of school – Today, online MBA programs have become so widely recognized that many prestigious schools have begun to offer them alongside their regular programs which means that there is a very good chance that you will find the right one for you. But for this to happen, you will have to choose the right institute; you can do this by keeping an eye on factors such as accreditation, student support, alumni opinions etc.
- Cost of the program – As mentioned before, online MBA programs cost considerably less than their regular counterparts. However, there is still a lot of diversity in cost between various online MBA programs. You should go for the program that is most affordable for you and covers the courses that are most related to your intended field, while still keeping in mind the elements of accreditation and institution reputation.
With many of today’s online MBA programs offering flexible course schedules, convenience to study from home, affordable fees and above all, high quality courses parallel to those offered in regular degrees, individuals who once had impediments such as jobs or financial concerns in the way of their MBA dreams have a shot to launch their careers in business while continuing with their routine lives. An online MBA degree is just as versatile as a regular MBA degree; prospective applicants should be confident that they will have the same career options open to them as regular degree holders.
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