Doing Your MBA Online: Is it a Smart Move?

Various studies have shown that online schooling isn’t in any way inferior to traditional schooling; according to a 2011 study of over 2500 colleges and universities by Babson Survey Research Group titled “Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States” and a 2013 study titled “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States“, analyzing both for-profit and nonprofit institutions, it was revealed that enrolment in online universities and courses is increasing significantly, and more people now enroll in online colleges on a year-by-year basis than in a traditional college.

Data from the 2013 study also revealed that 77% of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to that from face-to-face education.

Perhaps, the most important question we should be asking is this:

How Valuable is an Online Degree

Ultimately, whether an online degree is comparable to a degree you will get by being in a college that requires your physical presence on a regular basis will be determined by the market, and there’s good news on that end.

The same Babson study revealed that 44 percent of online graduates felt their online degree resulted in their first job or a new job while 58 percent of online graduates attributed their raise to their online degree. The same study revealed that 47 percent of online graduates attributed a promotion they got to their online studies.

As we can see, getting your MBA degree online isn’t necessarily a waste of time. While schooling online isn’t without its own unique challenges, you can be assured that it will be well worth it if you know what you are doing.

Here are some key reasons why you might want to do your MBA online:

  • You can attend classes anytime, even if the most convenient time for you is at night when you’re back from work and rested.
  • You can attend classes anywhere as long as you have internet access. Yes, you can attend classes even when you’re on that business trip.
  • You can learn at your own pace, making it easier to get better grades since you are taking your time.
  • Studying online is also usually cheaper compared to brick and mortar colleges, especially when you consider costs you will be saving on commuting, physical presence of the colleges factored into your tuition, etc.
  • Shy students can interact more freely with other students and instructors without being physically present

How to Get the Best From Your Online MBA

With all the above said, it doesn’t necessarily mean schooling online is a piece of cake; in fact, online schooling can sometimes be very difficult compared to schooling offline, especially since it is designed in such a way to allow flexibility for students, meaning there really isn’t any consequence for lack of accountability.

To this effect, a five-year study by the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University analyzing 51,000 students revealed that students who take online courses are more likely to drop out than their counterparts who attend traditional classes.

So, while there can be massive benefits to getting your MBA online, it can be very difficult to follow through; and ultimately, that’s what matters.

All hope is not lost, though. Here are some key tips to help you get the best from your online MBA:

1. Familiarize Yourself with Computer and Internet Technology to Make Learning Easy

One of the key complaints from people who drop out of online colleges is that they feel isolated and technically confused, and this is understandable.

Most students focus just on the “studying” part of their schooling online and fail to realize that making sure it is easy for them to study and that they are familiar with the mode of study is just as important; take computer classes and learn to better navigate the internet to make things easier for you.

2. Keep Yourself Accountable by Leveraging Support from Other Students

A 2011 study by Grockit titled “An Experiment in Group Study” revealed that being in study groups can have massive impact on how well a student performs; the study revealed that, when they are studying as a part of a study group, students spent 3x as long studying, they studied 2x as many questions, and they were more likely to answer questions correctly compared to those who are not in a study group.

This study makes it clear that being in a group is more effective than going it alone, which leads to another key factor that can make you more successful when studying online.

Interact with other students of your online college, form study groups, learn together and you’ll be assured of increased success.

3. Chose the Right College

This is even more important when studying for your MBA. There are countless colleges where you can study online, but choosing a college that has accreditation and that is focused on success on the parts of its students is critical.

This is where research comes in; don’t just go for an online college based on cost alone. Instead, do your due research and make sure you’ll actually be getting a valuable certification that you can use. St. Edwards University easily comes to mind in this case.

4. Make Studying for Your MBA a Part of Your Daily Routine

A major selling point for online colleges is the convenience and “at-your-pace study” it offers, but don’t let that deceive you.

You’ll get far more results by treating your online study as the real education it is than by only checking in once in a while; of course, this doesn’t mean you need to study during regular school hours when you have work to do.

If it is the first thing you do in the morning or the last thing you do before you go to bed, make sure you have a consistent time for studying; this will contribute to your success than any other thing you can do.

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