4 Crucial Questions You Need to Ask Before Enrolling in an Online MBA
Technology has made it able for students from all over the world to gain a world-class education from wherever they are. The online MBA might seem like a dream to many and allows people to go beyond the limitations of geography and get an education that will allow them to stand out and thrive in their local markets.
Online MBAs are not perfect, however, and if you come in unprepared and uninformed, you run the risk of getting swindled. On the other hand, an online MBA could open so many doors for you and arm you with a set of expertise that will allow you to fill a wide variety of roles. Let’s take a look at some of the most important questions you need to ask before enrolling in an online MBA.
Is Online Learning the Right Fit for me?
The very first thing you have to do is take a long hard look at the type of person and student you are. Some people might be able to thrive in an online setting. Others will fall behind, while some will be able to adapt.
If you’re the type who needs to feel the camaraderie and have a very specific idea of the college experience, then it might be a bit tougher for you. You also have to make sure that you have the discipline necessary. You may see yourself as a very disciplined student when there’s a clear structure, but you’ll need to be self-motivated this time. This is why you need to be very honest in your assessment.
Also, know that you could actually benefit from being in an online setting. A lot of introverted students love the idea of not having to deal with social pressure. And for them, being out of a school environment is what will help them focus better. So, make sure that you are very clear about what you were looking for from your program, and whether you’ll be able to get it through an online version.
Is the School Accredited?
The most important part when picking an online MBA program is if it’s accredited or not. For one, this is what will ensure that your diploma is respected by employers. It will ensure that you learn everything that you should and also that the course will be delivered to the highest of standards.
Online programs actually have to go through more rigorous accreditation for that reason. They not only have to be tested for the extensivity of their programs but how these classes are dispensed online.
You first, however, have to make sure that you know which type of accreditation is the most important. In the US, regional accreditation supersedes national accreditation. This is something that will be crucial for you to understand, as there may be some transferability issues.
For instance, a school with regional accreditation may not see courses or degrees obtained from a nationally accredited school as sufficient. You also have specialized accreditation for business schools like the AACSB. If you want to make a good investment, go for an MBA that is both accredited regionally and by the AACSB.
If you don’t know which regional accreditation to look for, here are the main regional accreditation boards are:
- Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities
- Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools
- North Central Association of Colleges & Schools
- New England Association of Schools & Colleges
- Western Association of Schools & Colleges
- Southern Association of Colleges & Schools
The college you choose should at least have one of these accreditations if you want it to be recognized in the US and most jurisdictions.
How Respected is their Program?
Many people wrongly assume that there will be a way for employers to know that they’ve received their diploma online. The truth is that the ranking and reputation of the school’s business program is what will make the most difference. If you want to know more about what you should be looking at in a school, we strongly suggest you check out this article. This will allow you to see which programs will be more respected, and which ones you should avoid.
There is absolutely no way to differentiate an online program from one that was obtained traditionally. At the end of the day, your diploma holds just as much weight, and employees will consider candidates from a better school no matter how they had the degree. Or you could go to a school that is slightly less prestigious but has a better business faculty.
This can be tricky, however, as some students may want a school that has high brand recognition. The goal is to strike a good balance between prestige, reputation, costs, and quality. Only then will you know which college would make for the best return on your investment.
What’s Your Timeline?
One of the things that make online MBAs such a great option besides the fact that you can take them from wherever you are is how fast you can get your qualifications. Most online MBAs will allow you to get your MBA in a fraction of the time you’d normally have to through a traditional program. On the other hand, these also allow you to extend your studies to alleviate your workload.
So, if you have a position or other responsibilities, going for an extended program could be a good option. Others might feel like they can handle the load and go for a condensed program.
Another thing you’ll have to consider is the format. Going for a condensed course might be a challenge if you’re taking synchronous courses, but much easier to manage if you can take them asynchronously. For instance, you could watch some lectures in your free time during the week and work on assignments on the weekend. Asynchronous classes allow you to fit your work around your schedule and could allow you to get your credentials fast while still being able to earn. These are all very important things that you’ll need to ask before you decide to start looking at online MBA programs. While they could be the best option for you and your career, you have to be prepared for what they entail to make sure that you’re ready for the challenges they pose.