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Pick the right Online MBA

Date: 3/1/2012

Four tips on picking the right Online MBA

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.”

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.