There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has led many MBA programs to shift from in-person to online format over the past two years.
“We expect the impact of the pandemic on MBA programs to vary, some offered fully online, some offered on-campus with strict safety guidelines, and some are a combination of both delivery methods,” says one of MBA professors.
As for students, it is about the flexibility that is provided when studying online; Especially when you combine work, travel and study at the same time.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), applications for online MBA programs increased more than 43% in 2020, compared to 11.6% for in-person programs.
So, is an Online MBA worth it?
One of 100% online MBA student (Patrick Gittleman) at Birmingham Business School says that he couldn’t have studied an MBA without the flexibility of studying online. “The internet was the only option that worked for me so that I wouldn’t have to quit my job to become a full-time student.”
One of the famous collages in MBA (Birmingham College) breaks down the online MBA class by time zone, and offers fortnightly “live sessions” for groups of up to 25 students, to meet this requirement.
While online MBAs are viewed as secondary, on-campus courses, such advances in technology – bringing more interactive learning experiences – mean universities are increasingly offering online MBAs as direct alternatives to the traditional full-time MBA.
One of the senior professors of the online MBA, Professor (Dan Chexand) says, the program offers students the same quality of learning experience as the on-campus course with a different delivery method. The online MBA is a program in its own right, he says, that was developed for the online space and priced with the university’s global reputation in mind.
Some curious if paying in On-Line MBA worth it?
One way to think about the value of this program is to calculate the return on investment (ROI): the money paid to receive the program and the salary earned after completion. By this account, an online MBA will seem to you less “valuable” than a full-time MBA.
But comparing the “value” of an online MBA in this way is really misleading. First, online MBAs tend to attract older, more experienced students who earn more and are less likely to experience the salary jump of an early-career professional.
Second, most online MBA students go on to work and earn a salary alongside their studies. This means there is no “opportunity cost” for students if they take a year or two off to pursue an MBA. So the GMAC says it takes an average of two and a half years for online MBA graduates to recoup their investment compared to three and a half years for full-time MBA graduates.
Who is an Online MBA for?
An online MBA involves more than money. The GMAC Alumni Survey asked 11,000 business school graduates whether they find their degree rewarding personally, professionally, and financially.
79% of full-time MBA graduates find their programs financially rewarding compared to 69% of professional MBA graduates. However, the opinion of graduates about the personal and professional value of an MBA was similar whether they took a full-time MBA or a part-time online program.
GMAC research indicates that online MBA students are more likely than full-time MBA students to be driven by career advancement — a promotion or salary increase — rather than a disruptive career change.
Despite the differences between the programs, Laila says that full-time and online MBA students can get the same kind of personal and professional return:
“Every time I saw an MBA student a few years after graduation I asked him: Was it worth it? I haven’t yet met anyone who told me it wasn’t. The transformation is similar whether they are from an online or face-to-face program”.
Consider earning your MBA online if:
- You have family, work or other obligations that require a more flexible schedule. Online MBA programs allow students to study at times most convenient for them; So you don’t miss a semester and don’t spend time and money commuting to campus.
- You want to attend a program that located far from where you live. Studying online means that you will be able to stay where you are, providing additional flexibility for students who have personal or professional commitments. Travel costs can get you bogged down, because it’s common for many universities to have online MBA programs include a short quarterly or semi-annual on-campus session so students can meet face to face.
- You have many self-motivation and self-discipline. Online learning requires more commitment to keep up with classes and assigned work even if professors and peers are not present as they would on campus.
- Through it you have access to reliable technology. At a minimum, you will need a fast Internet connection, a computer with sufficient memory and appropriate software. You will need to use it a lot!
- You have strong writing skills because most communications with instructors and fellow students will be via email, so you’ll need to express yourself clearly (especially if you need help).
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