What is an Online MBA Program?
Online MBA programs, the most modern version of a long line of distance-learning MBA programs, have quickly evolved in recent years. They combine the content and pedagogy of traditional MBA programs with emerging technology to deliver a graduate level business education through the media most appropriate to a digital marketplace.
The best online programs use video conferencing and social networking technology to create interactive online classes, rather than simply allowing students to watch lecture videos. Some programs also involve periodic residencies on a physical campus, where students meet in person and work closely together. The business schools have not offered top online MBA programs until recently, with offerings from University of North Carolina’s MBA@UNC and Indiana University’s Kelley Direct program.
Advantages of an Online MBA
Earning an MBA online offers some compelling advantages over more traditional programs. The top online MBA programs are available everywhere, which makes them ideal for active-duty military personnel, professionals with good jobs in areas where a part-time MBA program might not be available and parents who do not want to uproot their families. And while critics have argued that online communication cannot replicate the educational value of face-to-face interaction with students and faculty, the business world increasingly relies on the same communications technologies these programs use to educate their students.
What About Teamwork and Networking?
How Employers View Online MBAs
A Word About Accreditation
One useful way to distinguish between online MBA programs is their accreditation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredits non-profit online MBA programs, as well as the top traditional MBA programs. A handful of other organizations accredit for-profit and even fraudulent distance MBA programs, but such accreditation does not carry much weight. If you want a rigorous education and a highly-respected degree, look for AACSB’s stamp of approval. For more information on AACSB standards, click here.