Evaluating Online MBA Programs

The demand for online MBA programs is growing.  The increase in acceptance of online degrees by employers and headhunters and a slow economy has led to increased student demand for online and part-time MBA programs. These programs allow students to work on their degree while still keeping their full-time jobs and without relocating.  With MBA admission rates for traditional programs slowing due to the recession , more colleges and universities are implementing online programs to meet increased student demand.

When evaluating an online degree, the first thing to consider is the college or university’s accreditation. A degree from an accredited institution ensures that the academic quality of the degree is undisputed, and is often very important to potential employers. Many colleges and universities list their accreditations on their website, and you can ask your admissions officer if you are unsure.  MBA programs can be accredited either by AACSB or by a regional accreditation board.

In evaluating which online MBA programs to apply to, look at each school’s admission requirements.  Schools hold a variety of admission requirements. Some schools require specific GMAT or GRE score, while others do not require that either test be taken.  Schools may have minimum regulation for your previous GPA or a certain number of years of work experience. Some colleges and universities ask for letters of recommendation by former teachers or your employer. Being aware of the admission requirements before you apply ensures that you tailor your application to meet the demands of each school you are applying to, and can sometimes save you a hefty application fee.

Evaluate MBA programs before you apply (photo by dcJohn).

Look at the class requirements of each MBA program before you apply. Some MBAs require a certain amount of in-person work at the university campus. Others demand specific days or hours a week for class time. Almost all schools will demand a significant commitment to the MBA program. Evaluate the demands of each program before you apply. Ensure that you can meet all the requirements and expectations of that program.

Before submitting your application, it is helpful to look at the overall cost of an MBA. Most MBAs are expensive, so take the time to evaluate your financial aid options. If you cannot pay the cost of the entire degree out of pocket, there are grants, scholarships, loans, and other forms of financial aid. Some employers also offer assistance to help students get their MBA.  Evaluate all your possibilities and make sure you can afford the degree before submitting your application.

Once you have evaluated the options and selected the programs to apply to, carefully craft your application to meet that school’s expectation. Submit all the required letters of reference, copies of test scores, undergraduate transcripts, and other required material.  Write your statement of purpose in a way that appeals to the admissions officials and showcases the best aspects of yourself.

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