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Should You Get an Online MBA?

Should You Get an Online MBA?

There are a lot of questions about whether or not an online MBA makes sense, and today, we’d like to try and answer some of those questions once and for all. Here are the positives and the negatives of trying to get an online degree instead of one taking place on campus.

The Positives

  • Cost: Prices vary by school, but at the moment, acquiring an online MBA usually costs on average somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000 at an average school. That can go above $90,000 or below $25,000, depending on the school offering it. In contrast, Investopedia reports that the cost for getting an MBA from a physical campus is about $140,000 when everything is factored in.

    In other words, you’re going to save a lot of money–literally three or four years of income for the average person in your field–if you decide to get your degree online.

  • Flexibility: This may be the most valuable part of pursuing an online degree. Some people don’t want to move across the country for a few years to attend school. You’ve got friends, families, probably even a job that you’d rather not give up while you study. Online courses can often be adjusted to take place on a schedule that works for you, and that flexibility can make life a lot easier.
  • Acceptance: Many schools make no distinction between degrees acquired online and degrees acquired on a campus. On top of that, many employers are perfectly happy to hire applicants who got their degrees online – much like online dating, the idea of an online education is becoming increasingly accepted by employers over time.

The Negatives

  • Stress: Most people who get an online MBA do so because they’re working at the same time and don’t want to give up their jobs. It’s one thing if you’re not currently working and can focus entirely on your studies, but if you’ve got a job at the same time as you’re getting your education, then you’re probably putting in at least 70 hours a week between those. That’s a lot of work… and not a lot of fun. You could quickly find yourself more stressed out than you ever expected, and you’ll need to find some way of handling that.
  • Finding A Good Program: Online MBA programs are not created equally, and many ‘accredited’ institutes aren’t worth nearly as much as they’d like others to believe. If you’re truly serious about getting a good education, not just a degree, you’ll have to find a program that’s actually worthwhile. Don’t hesitate to ask schools for more information.
  • Few Opportunities To Network: One thing people don’t often mention about in-person MBA classes is the number of opportunities you’ll have to form personal connections with people who are also planning on becoming executives and administrators. Those kinds of connections can be extremely valuable in the future, so an online-only class can limit your future opportunities. (Some courses do, however, offer residencies that may last up to several weeks, giving you the chance to make these connections. It’s not the same as spending a few years with someone, but if you take the initiative, you could make up at least some of the ground you’ve lost.)

So, should you get an online MBA? Well, that’s something only you can answer. Take another look at the pros and cons discussed here, and decide for yourself what’s most important to you.

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