What Should I Look for in an Online MBA Program?

online-mbaIf you’re considering pursuing an online MBA, this can be a great way to earn an advanced degree if you’re already working in the field or have other obligations that prevent you from being able to attend a traditional MBA program. But when you’re deciding on where to enroll for your online MBA, there are certain criteria that you should consider to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money and will receive an education that will serve you well in your career endeavors. Read on to learn more about what you should look for in an MBA program online.

Ensure That the School is Legitimate

If you’re attending a renowned university for your program, then you don’t need to worry about whether the program is legitimate. But you may want to steer clear of colleges and universities that have an unknown reputation or which are considered for-profit (rather than non-profit) institutions. It’s always best to attend an accredited school, such as those¬†accredited by the Association to Advance College Schools of Business.

Consider Entry Requirements

The best online graduate business degree programs will require the same standards for entry as a comparable in-person MBA program, particularly if that school also offers a traditional MBA. This means that you’ll be required to submit GMAT scores, transcripts, recommendations, and other application materials. Steer clear of schools that have few or no acceptance requirements for students; this is a reflection of the quality of the program.

Look at Combination Programs

While some colleges and universities offer MBA programs that are completely online, other schools offer a combination program that requires some level of in-person meeting; for example, one seminar per semester, or one to two conferences each year. If you are available for some travel, these programs can provide the best of both worlds with the convenience of an online program coupled with the opportunity to build personal connections and professional networks that may be absent from a program that’s given completely online.

Resource: If I Attend College Online Can I Spend Time Studying Abroad?

Consider Cost

While you may think that an online degree is cheaper than its in-person counterpart, the reality is that many of these programs cost more than a traditional MBA. While costs vary wildly, one benchmark figure is $20,000 ($32,000 for an AACSB-accredited program). When you’re deciding on a program, take these costs into account balanced by the amount you’ll need to take in student loans and the salary you can project to obtain upon graduation with your MBA.

As you begin your search for a program, one resource to consult that may be helpful in your decision making process is the U.S. News and World Report rankings. The publication ranks online MBA programs based on factors such as accreditation status, reputation among peer institutions and organizations, and resources available to students.