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Online MBA – The Best Decision For Your Career

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An online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program has become increasingly popular, and there are good reasons why this should be. Like any postgraduate choice, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider. But for business professionals who want to gain hands-on experience while advancing their career opportunities, the online MBA is an obvious choice. 

Let’s consider five of the top considerations when deciding on an online MBA: 

Arguments For (And Against?) an Online MBA 

  1. Flexibility is one of the most significant advantages of online MBA programs. Students can typically access course materials and lectures at their convenience, making it easier to balance work, family, and other commitments.  

Against – Limited Hands-On Experience: Some MBA programs emphasise experiential learning, such as consulting projects, internships, or case studies. Some online programs may have limitations in providing hands-on experiences.  

This disadvantage is counterbalanced by the reality of applying your MBA learning in your place of work, which will also enhance your learning by being able to identify real workplace problem solving applications of course work.  

Many MBA programs typically require 2-5 years’ work experience before enrolling, anyway, so rather than interrupting your career progression and family responsibilities by going back to campus full time, the online MBA is the answer. 

  1. Accessibility: Online MBA programs allow individuals from around the world to access top-tier business education, such as that offered by EU Business School,  without the need to relocate. This is particularly beneficial for working professionals who may not have the option to attend a traditional on-campus program. 

Access to resources online also includes many of the facilities available on campus, from career services to corporate recruiter networks, advice from the writing centre, technical support, and copies of your transcript from the registrar. 

Against – Technology Dependence: Online learning relies heavily on technology. Technical issues, such as internet outages or platform glitches, can disrupt the learning experience. Students must be comfortable using and troubleshooting digital tools.  

On the upside, a measure of technological sophistication and connectivity is a given in this day and age, unless you’re in the backwaters of Indonesia, on a two-masted schooner, with no Wi-Fi at all. But then, under those circumstances you’d probably want to put your MBA on hold for a while. 

The learning management systems (LMS, e.g., Blackboard, Moodle) employed by institutions these days offer access to the full range of lecture capture, text chat windows, streaming video, audio discussion forums, web conferencing, and interactive video. Course material is delivered via a combination of synchronous (real time interactive classroom sessions) and asynchronous (anytime access) sessions.  

Remember that technological fluency is essential to business success today, and an online MBA will immerse you in its language. 

  1. Cost Savings: Online programs often have lower tuition costs compared to on-campus alternatives. Even when tuition costs are identical to full time programs, students can save on commuting, housing, child care, and other associated expenses. 

Against – Perceived Credibility: While the perception is changing rapidly, some employers may still view online degrees as less prestigious than traditional degrees. It’s crucial to choose an accredited program with a strong reputation, such as EU Business School, to mitigate this concern. 

COVID-19 probably provided the biggest impetus to changing the perception of online tuition as the poor cousin of full time study. Suddenly, we were all studying online, and it was working. The educational environment will never be the same as it was pre-COVID. 

  1. Networking Opportunities: Contrary to the belief that online programs lack networking opportunities, many online MBA programs facilitate networking through virtual events, discussion forums, and collaboration tools. Students can connect with peers and professionals globally. The “cohort model” encourages connectivity, collaboration and mutual support online. 

Against – Limited Face-to-Face Interaction: Online programs lack the face-to-face interaction found in traditional on-campus settings. Some students thrive in a physical classroom environment and may miss the direct engagement with professors and classmates. 

However, many schools offer a hybrid MBA option, blending online study with occasional intensive classroom sessions requiring in-person attendance.   

  1. Diverse Student Body: Online programs attract students from various geographical locations and professional backgrounds, providing a diverse and enriching learning experience. 

Against – Potential for Distractions: Learning from home or another non-traditional setting can be challenging due to potential distractions. It requires discipline and effective time management to stay focused on coursework. 

In summary, “A distance-based MBA offers an opportunity to attend out-of-state schools without the expense and hassle of relocation, and it permits you to have more control over your pace of study.”1 

The traits required of an online MBA student – self-discipline, time management, people skills and networking, perseverance and problem solving – are no different to those of a full time student. But there is little doubt that flexibility, pacing, and cost all play major roles in the growing popularity of online learning. 

Before deciding on an online MBA program, thoroughly research and consider your personal preferences, career goals, and the specific offerings of the programs you are interested in. Look for accredited institutions with a solid reputation, such as EU Business School’s online MBA, and consider factors such as program structure, faculty credentials, and the level of support provided to online students. 

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