More people than ever are enrolling in online MBA degree programs.
In fact, in the past year alone, the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business boosted enrollment in its online MBA program by 151% to 369 students from only 147 a year ago. The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School saw a 78% jump in enrollment to 1,862 students from 1,047 a year earlier.
When U.S. News published its ranking of online MBA programs last month, it ranked nearly 270 different online MBA programs, up from 180 in 2017.
In July of this year, Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business will welcome the first cohort in an online MBA program it is launching with 2U, a publicly traded online education provider. UC-Davis’ Graduate School of Management will be next. The school signed a contract with 2U in November and hopes to get its online option off the ground next year. Davis’ new program will be the first online MBA degree offered in the 10-campus University of California system.
- You don't have to quit a job you already have to get your MBA.
- An online option provides maximum flexibility for a student. You can do your classwork and assignments from anywhere, including an airplane equipped with Wifi or a hotel room.
- Most online MBA programs can be completed in an accelerated fashion in as little as 18 months or you can spread out the work over a number of years.
- You can work on other personal and professional commitments.
- You don't have to sit in a class for a couple of nights a week
- You don't have to commute to an actual location and be physically present anywhere.
- You may be able to take advantage of a company plan to pay at least part of your education.
- The satisfaction levels of online MBA programs are quite high.
More people are doing online programs because they don’t want to stop their careers and quit their jobs, says Ramesh Venkataraman, chair of Indiana University’s Kelley Direct MBA & MS programs.
On a scale of one to ten, with ten reflecting the most enthusiastic recommendation possible, graduates gave their programs an average score of 9.22.
- Carnegie Mellon's blended online MBA program had a perfect score of 10.0
- Ohio University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Indiana Kelley and Lehigh University all scored between 9.8 and 9.7.
- No access to recuriters.
- Employers have been less eager to hire MBAs from online programs.
- Online MBA graduates are often older and outside the typical hiring window for MBA candidates.
Indiana University's Kelley School of Business online graduates are reporting average salary increases of 29% over their pre-MBA pay.
University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, 76% percent of online students have received promotions or started new jobs while in the program.
Students there also average 29% salary increases over their pre-MBA pay levels by graduation.
Online programs range in price from $128,000 to $16,800 and vary greatly in terms of what you get.
- Some are purely online, with no face-to-face sessions.
- Others have residence weeks on-campus, live weekly classes, global immersion trips and consulting projects with corporate clients requiring live presentations.
- Some schools provide full access to their career management centers, even including one-on-one executive coaching.
Bottom Line: If you can't quit your job and want an MBA degree, an online option is a great opportunity to do it on your time.