Online MBAs have become more and more popular over the years. Online MBAs mean flexible learning wherever and whenever you want to. These courses don’t force you to attend class regularly and at one location. And a point that has proven crucial in the aftermath of the financial crisis: They don’t force you to resign your job and tuition is much more cost-efficient. On the downside, employers have been hesitant in the past to recruit online MBA graduates.
Also the big networking benefit of the standard on-campus MBA does not happen as you only rarely meet your classmates in person or not at all. Online students also cannot use university resources, have a quick chat to their professor in between classes or attend a job fair on campus as easily as traditional MBA students. So you’ve got to weigh up your chances, your career goals and your wallet before making a decision. If you decide to go for an online MBA, here’s a quick summary of what to expect.
How long does it take?
An online MBA usually consists of 10 to 15 courses and takes an average two to three years to complete.
What’s on offer?
From a very scarce offer 20 years ago, the degree has expanded rapidly and is now offered by plenty of business schools. Amongst them are renowned schools in the U.S. such as Kenan-Flagler Business School, Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Babson College’s F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and Northeastern University. Northeastern University for example offers different specializations for the online MBA degree: Students can choose between finance, healthcare management, high technology management, innovation & entrepreneurship, international management, marketing, operations & supply chain management and sustainability.
In Europe IE Business School is one of the more famous schools that offer an online degree. IE for example tries to eliminate the big downside of an online offer – the missing face-to-face networking amongst students. The Spanish school offers a blended online programme that runs for 15 months and combines face-to-face education with online modules. Executive MBA students for example spend modules with IE in Madrid as well as a module at the school’s cooperation partner Brown University in Boston in the US.
The Financial Times provides a good overview of online MBA offers here
How much does it cost?
A decent online MBA – which means a degree from an AACSB, Equis or Amba-accredited B-school – can cost anything between 30,000 dollars and more than a 100,000 dollars. Cheaper online degrees are generally offered by regionally or nationally accredited schools, but you have to research well if such a degree will open up the job market that you are interested in. Non-accredited schools might be the cheapest offers, but will they teach you what you need? Also: without an accreditation, it will be almost impossible to get financial aid, a scholarships or student loans.