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Pros & Cons of an Online MBA

With most students wanting to have job experience on their way to earning an MBA, many top universities are now offering online options. Within this article we'll take a look at some of the benefits and disadvantages of an online MBA.

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An increase in demand for online MBA programs has led to many top accredited universities creating the ability for students to complete their degree remotely. While lower tuition cost and increased flexibility are the driving forces behind choosing such a program, there are some drawbacks to. We'll go over some of these drawbacks, along with some additional benefits that online programs have over a traditional MBA program.

Pros

The added flexibility of an online MBA program is just one of the many positives to such a program. We'll take a look at some of these positives in a little more detail.

Earn While You Learn

One of the biggest draws to any online degree program is the fact that you can earn while you learn. This means that students can pay off their expenses and gain valuable work experience while they do so. While you can do this in a traditional setting too, it is more difficult due to lack of flexibility with class scheduling.

A Chance at Top Programs

With the internet age and the increase in high speed internet coverage, more universities than ever are offering online programs. Thanks to this, prospective students will have a good chance of entering into some of the best MBA programs in the country from the comfort of their own homes.

A Larger Network

Just like anything in life, there are benefits and disadvantages. For those in an online MBA program there is a good chance to meet with individuals from all over the world. In a subject where international business relationships are important, this could prove to be a valuable asset for graduates in the future.

The Same, but Different

For a long time online degrees had a disadvantage in that they weren't as well respected by employers as traditional MBA programs. Nowadays, that is far from the case, and often employers prefer an online degree due to the increased work load and real-world experience that students will gain as a part of their curriculum. Additionally, students will be required to interact more with fellow students and engage in an increased amount of discussions.

You Can Earn Your Degree in Less Time

The time that it takes students to earn a traditional MBA can vary from one program to the next, but on average they should expect to complete it in two to three years. This timetable for completion changes drastically for those students in an online MBA program, as they can graduate from their respective program in a little over a year. This is of course dependent upon the student's dedication, but they don't have this ability with most traditional MBA programs.

Lower Tuition Cost

Online MBA programs have a much lower operating cost than traditional programs, and they pass that savings onto their students. Since students can work while they earn their MBA they will be able to pay their tuition while not paying as much as they would on campus.

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Cons

While the positives associated with such a degree may seem appealing, it is worth noting that there are some negatives as well. In the list below you will find information related to a few of these negatives.

Missing Out on Internships and Job Fairs

Traditional MBA programs give students a lot of opportunities to take part in internships on their way to earning a degree. While many online MBA programs have started to do this as well, it is worth noting that there are quite a few that do not offer internships to students. Furthermore, unless the student is close to the university offering such a program they are likely to miss out on the opportunity to attend job fairs. Not having access to internships and job fairs could in turn have an effect on how quickly a student is employed after graduation.

A Loss of On-Campus Benefits

On-campus MBA programs give students the chance to connect with fellow students and professors. They hold discussions and get to listen to lectures given by world-class speakers. Online programs don't give students many opportunities in these areas. This in-person interaction helps build communication and interpersonal skills that many employers value in prospective job applicants. Since most of this interaction is held during forum discussion and video conferencing in an online MBA program, many employers feel that those who earn such degrees may be lacking the interpersonal skills required.

The Loss of a Support System

Within traditional MBA programs you have constant reminders from professors and peers alike on what you need to be doing in the process of earning your MBA. Traditional programs provide the class structure and set dates and times when things will need to be completed. While this provides less freedom and flexibility, it keeps students on track. With an online MBA program, students will have to be more accountable for themselves. They will have to set their own structure and their own schedules and make certain that they leave time to complete their studies. Furthermore, they won't be able to get as much help from their professors as they would in a traditional setting. This means that they will likely have to work harder in order to obtain their degree.

For those students looking for lower cost and increased flexibility, an online MBA program might be a good choice. That being said, these added benefits do come with a cost. It's important to weigh the potential disadvantages against the advantages of such a degree before moving forward.

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