Is an Online MBA Worth It?
Your qualifications and experience can open doors to rewarding careers. One of the reasons people tend to pursue a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) is the potential to gain both. Indeed, the growth of affordable online MBAs in a range of specializations has made this path more accessible to professionals from diverse backgrounds.
Nevertheless, it is vital to treat the pursuit of an MBA as the life-changing decision that it genuinely is. You’ll be investing a significant amount of time, energy, and money into your education. You might be asking: is an online MBA worth it?
We’ll take you through some of the important aspects you need to consider.
What Is an MBA Degree?
A master’s in business administration program focuses on developing business management skills. The curriculum usually involves an in-depth exploration of key administrative areas, such as accounting, ethics, law, and operational management.
The MBA is not the only graduate degree approach to business operations. Technical programs can be valuable, too. For instance, a Master of Science in Information Technology program can provide insights into the strategic use of IT systems in enterprise environments. You may also find that certification programs can act as useful bridges to MS, MA, or MBA programs. If you’re planning to start an IT business, a computing technology certificate program can provide foundational technical knowledge you could utilize in the workplace and then build on further with your master’s degree.
In most cases, though, an MBA is the most relevant route for enterprise-related skills and knowledge.
Types of MBA Degrees
There are multiple types of MBA degrees, depending on your specialty.
- General MBA
A general MBA program helps to build expertise across a broad range of business principles. You’ll develop versatile key management skills that encompass financial, strategic, and leadership disciplines, among others.
- Finance MBA
A finance MBA program provides a specialist graduate education in investment strategies and financial management. The curriculum is aimed at establishing expertise in both day-to-day capital management and big-picture investment decisions.
- Business Analytics MBA
A business analytics MBA empowers students to leverage data for entrepreneurial success through advanced assessment techniques. This includes identifying relevant data sources, exploring and manipulating information, and interpreting analysis results to drive change.
- Digital Marketing MBA
The internet is a powerful tool for businesses to reach consumers. An MBA in digital marketing provides the knowledge to engage with the online marketplace in innovative ways. The curriculum is aimed at developing expertise among a full range of online media in campaigns.
- Human Resources (HR) Management MBA
An HR Management MBA program explores the practices that enhance worker relationships and retention. This includes developing the knowledge to improve organizational performance. The curriculum is also geared toward providing expertise in management and analytical skillsets.
- Marketing MBA
An MBA in marketing program equips students to develop campaigns bolstered by strategic expertise. The curriculum covers subjects such as analytical techniques, equity development, and handling brand crises.
- Project Management MBA
A project management MBA prepares students for leadership challenges in a constantly changing commercial environment. The program is designed to empower students to be inspiring team managers. It also covers key aspects of planning and risk mitigation.
How To Earn an MBA Degree
An MBA degree is a valuable part of your path toward a rewarding career. However, there are requirements you need to meet before you can get started on your graduate program. The online approach to education can help to make achieving these eligibility elements more accessible.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
The basic prerequisite for any graduate program is a BA or BS degree in a similar field. Most universities insist on this as it provides evidence that you can commit to an intensive program of study. For some programs, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree related to your master’s specialization. This is to prove you have a minimum level of knowledge in the field you can build on.
Many universities offer part-time and online courses you can engage with on a flexible schedule. Apart from allowing you to meet the master’s study requirements, this helps you build important study skills. Not to mention it can enhance your passion for your specialist subject.
Most master’s programs don’t demand you have a certain level of professional or personal history in a subject before studying. Nevertheless, this can certainly be beneficial. Gaining practical experiences in the industry or field you wish to study provides you with valuable insights.
Before starting your MBA, seek out opportunities to learn more about your field. This could involve applying for internships with relevant businesses. Volunteer experiences can also be rewarding for both you and the community you’re serving.
Take and Pass Required Exams
Alongside your BA or BS, there may be exams you need to pass to enter an MBA program. Each university will have its own requirements, so it’s important to check this well in advance.
The exam requirements could include:
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
The GRE is a graduate program exam that tests you in a few key areas to determine your readiness for higher study. This includes tests on verbal reasoning (language skills) and quantitative reasoning (math). There is also an analytical writing section.
- Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)
The GMAT is geared toward business school graduate programs and assesses skills relevant to management. As such, it’s one of the more common test requirements for MBA degrees. This includes an analytical writing assignment and an integrated reasoning test that assesses your data evaluation skills. You’ll also need to pass verbal and quantitative sections.
Choose and Apply for a Master’s Program
When asking if an online MBA is worth it, you need to also consider the quality of the school and program you’re attending. Look at the prospectuses and course details of universities offering the subjects you’re interested in pursuing. Examine whether it is an accredited institution. Importantly, look for reviews from students.
Most master’s programs will require supporting documentation alongside your academic transcripts and test scores. Take some time to compose a personal statement that reflects who you are. Importantly, reach out to a referee who can confirm your academic ability. Make sure you upload all documents and application materials before the stated deadline for the course.
Why Earn an MBA Degree Online?
So, why should you choose to study for your MBA online? Firstly, it makes advanced education more accessible. You don’t need to uproot your life to attend a quality master’s course across the other side of the country. It also tends to be more practical to fit your study around your work commitments, family duties, and mobility needs. Many online programs are more affordable than in-person degrees, too. In short, it’s an empowering approach to taking a step up your career ladder.
Students also enroll in online MBA programs for the career outlook and the benefits. Bettering yourself through your career sometimes just takes a little bit of extra training and education. Once you’ve sharpened your business skills, you’ll be worth more to anybody that hires you.
What Do Employers Think of MBA Degrees?
In general, an MBA listed on your resume shows you have committed to a rigorous curriculum and gained significant expertise in your field. The point at which challenges can arise is when an MBA is completed online. Historically speaking, there has been a tendency for employers to assume online MBA programs are less legitimate than in-person counterparts. While this is based on outdated ideas, the opinion has persisted in some companies.
Nevertheless, the rise in remote working practices has served to educate more employers about how high-quality online training and education can be achieved. A World Economic Forum report suggested that as 100% of graduates in 2021 had at least partially online schooling, employers must shift their perspectives on the subject.
So, are online MBAs worth it? Well, with solid specialist curriculums and more flexible methods, they can certainly be a powerful option. As with any worthwhile pursuit it takes time and hard work. But you get to gain an empowering education in an accessible way that can unlock opportunities for career success.
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