Advantages of an Online MBA
- Flexibility: perhaps the greatest advantage is the ability to complete courses and work through the program at your own pace. If you work best at 5am, that's when you can work. There are no time or location requirements to further your education
- Cost: In some cases, an Online MBA can be a lower priced alternative to the high cost of business school. However, some online education options can be quite expensive and may not offer the value of a traditional business school.
- Travel: with an Online MBA, you are not constrained by location. If you have a job where you do a lot of travelling or live a long distance away from a business school, you can complete your degree from home.
Disadvantages of an Online MBA
- Interaction: completing your degree online dramatically reduces the amount of interaction you will have with your instructors. Even when you are able to interact with the instructors, the medium of interaction may not be as valuable as face to face contact.
- Networking: one of the biggest benefits of business school is the countless networking opportunities and relationships that are developed. Whether it with class mates, guest speakers, or school connections, members of your network can go a long way to furthering your career. An Online MBA does not offer the same opportunities as a traditional MBA program.
Is an Online MBA Right for You?
The ideal candidate for an Online MBA is someone who is very happy in their current position and needs the MBA credential to move ahead in their organization. The Online MBA option allows individuals to continue to work in the current capacity, while furthering their education on their own time. The networking and interaction tradeoff isn't as much of a concern to those who are attached to their current organization.
The other prime candidates for an Online MBA are those who either have to travel a lot with work and can't committee to a part-time MBA program or those who are tied to a location that is a considerable distance from a business school. When moving away for a couple of years or going jobless isn't an option, the Online MBA is a tailor-made solution.
For those who are looking for a career change, the traditional MBA school is still the best alternative, especially in the mind of employers and campus recruiters.
What to Look For in an Online MBA?
The most important thing to look for when considering Online MBA programs is the programs accreditation. Within Canada, accreditation is determined by the province where the program is based. Within the U.S. 6 regional associations handle accreditation for their specific regions.
Major accrediting groups for MBA programs are AACSB, EQUIS, and the Assocation of MBAs. Most Online MBAs would struggle to meet the interaction requirements some of these agency's use in deciding accreditation.
The major American advocate of distance learning is the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Approval by the DETC for an Online MBA is something to look for.