Online MBA programs can give busy students and working adults the flexibility to learn without limits, so you can complete your business education when and where you choose. But you should investigate your potential choices carefully, because not all online MBA programs are created equally.
“It’s critical to separate the best from the rest,” says Mark Snyder, coordinator of graduate admissions and student services at Alvernia University. Here are some essentials he strongly recommends considering when choosing a program.
School Reputation and Proper Accreditation:Look at institutions that both students and employers trust and respect. It’s also important that you investigate a school’s reputation through the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited institutions or by looking it up on the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP) website. ACBSP accreditation requires a high level of interaction and engagement between students and faculty. This puts many online-only institutions at a disadvantage.
Interaction with Faculty and Fellow Students: Interaction is another important factor to consider. “The best online programs promote student interaction and connectivity through cohort formats,” explains Snyder. “In today’s interconnected world, technology now makes it easier for students and faculty to communicate electronically. The most valuable programs also offer networking opportunities among business students.”
Faculty and Curriculum: “You certainly want courses that are taught by accomplished professors who bring professional experience, academic credentials, and real-world expertise,” says Snyder. “A characteristic of Alvernia University’s Online MBA program is that faculty members and instructors have real-world expertise as impressive as their academic backgrounds. You also want to be sure the online degree requirements mirror the on-campus requirements.”
Cost, Affordability and Value: Choose a program that offers the right mix of theoretical coursework and practical knowledge at a reasonable price. You should also look into the school’s financial aid opportunities, employer reimbursement, grants and private scholarships. “Talk with graduates of your potential MBA program, too,” adds Snyder. “These are the best people to educate you about the value of their own experience.”