Nearly any career in business can be boosted by pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.
However, many opt not to advance their careers by obtaining an MBA because of the time they must commit to the program.
With careers already on the go, many business professionals decide it is not worth their time to pursue a two-year master’s degree in business administration as it would eat into their busy work schedules.
Luckily, this roadblock to career advancement continues to disappear as more and more online MBA programs gain traction within the business community.
Online learning has become the norm these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic and most have learned what many already knew: online education is the same as in-person courses.
For those with careers, this means they can obtain an MBA while continuing to work because online programs allow them to schedule their education around more pressing and immediate responsibilities at work or in their personal lives.
Let’s now explore the financial and time costs of pursuing an MBA before looking at program requirements and some top schools offering online master’s degrees in business administration.
The Financial Cost
A master’s degree in business administration is an expensive degree which often costs more than $60,000 for a two-year program consisting of 60 credit hours.
But when considering the financial costs of pursuing your MBA, you must look toward the future. If you complete your degree, it pays off massively in the long run with increased earnings that are significant enough to outweigh tuition costs.
According to data published by The Financial Times, the average salary increase three years after obtaining an MBA is about double, reaching $142,000 per year.
An MBA is one of the best ways to earn a promotion, increase your salary and continue your ascent up the business administration career ladder.
The Time Cost
As ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus said: “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”
If you are keen to earn your MBA, you may be worried you’ll be spending too much time focused on your program, meaning you’ll neglect your work while also having less time to enjoy your personal life.
This concern is one of the most common roadblocks to pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. Not only do people struggle to schedule school around all their other responsibilities, some people simply do not have the time to drive to and from a college campus.
But these concerns are eliminated once you commit to pursuing your MBA online, which will allow you to be in control of your education schedule and eliminate the need to attend campus.
Online master’s degrees in business administration are prevalent these days, with many of the top schools offering online MBA programs to meet demand.
Online learning alleviates a great deal of the time cost associated with getting your degree by offering more flexibility. You can schedule classes when it’s convenient for you; you don’t have to drive to campus; and many lectures are available via pre-recorded videos you can watch anytime, anywhere.
By choosing to earn your MBA online, you effectively alleviate a large chunk of the time burden it takes to get a master’s degree in business administration.
So, with the online MBA route becoming a viable option for you, let’s now look at the requirements you may have to meet to gain admission into your MBA program.
Online MBA Program Requirements
There are three main requirements to fulfill for almost all MBA programs: test scores, work experience and undergraduate performance.
Most MBA programs will require you to take an entrance exam of some kind. For the majority of schools, this test is the GMAT but some will also accept GRE scores or even have you take a special entrance exam instead of (or as an addition to) your GMAT/GRE scores. Additionally, if you are not a native English speaker, some schools may require you to take a language proficiency test such as the TOEFL.
Some schools may have minimum test score requirements to apply, so be sure to check that you have the appropriate scores before filling out your application.
Most MBA programs will require candidates to have some full-time work experience after obtaining your undergraduate degree. While you need a minimum amount of work experience for most MBA programs, having more always makes your application more competitive.
Your undergraduate performance is also an important factor in your application, as it is an indicator of how well you perform in an academic setting and can give admission officers an idea of what type of student you are.
Some schools have more requirements than the three listed above. These requirements often come in the form of extracurricular activities or an interview, so keep an eye out for these additional requirements when applying to MBA programs.
To help you locate the right school to pursue your online master’s degree in business administration, we have compiled a list below of some of the top online MBA programs in the United States.
Top Online MBA Programs
Now that we have covered the standard requirements for being able to apply to your average MBA program, let’s take a look at some respected online programs.
University of North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has one of the most established and recognized online MBA programs in the country. The university provides a rigorous and intense MBA program that does not uproot you from your workplace or familial duties but still gives you the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the program and your career. The school boasts a 24 percent average salary increase at the point of graduation, with a total salary estimate of $159,557 one year after graduation.
The university offers five different concentrations: data analytics and decision making, strategy and consulting, marketing, finance and entrepreneurship. On-campus teachers lead the courses for these areas of specialization online just as they would at the school.
In addition to completing classes based on their specialization, all students are required to complete two in-person summits. These summits are immersive experiences held on campus as well as across the United States and internationally. They expose students to the pressing business challenges of today and give them the ability to network with one another. This is one of the greatest aspects of the education offered at this institution, as networking is an essential part of education that is often ignored in online degree programs.
Indiana University is another institution which offers an online MBA through their Kelly School of Business. For this degree, you can choose from six main focuses: business analytics, entrepreneurship and innovation, finance, global supply chain management, marketing and strategic management. The curriculum at this school consists of live meetings and lectures, discussion forums and market simulations, all with a focus on interactions and collaboration with real people in real-time.
The main appeal of this online school is the ability to earn a dual degree, meaning you can obtain an MBA and an MS in just 66 credit hours as opposed to the 81 credit hours it would normally take to earn these two degrees. This is possible by working with the school to ensure your elective credits when pursuing your MBA overlap with MS requirements.
Another attractive feature is the ability to extend the time it takes to earn your MBA, meaning you can slow down your pace of studies to ensure you have time to focus on other responsibilities in your life. The school allows you to complete the program in two years like most, but it can also be stretched to four years.
Carnegie Mellon University
The famous Carnegie Mellon University is another school that offers an online MBA program. What sets its instruction apart from others is that its online degree is a hybrid program, meaning some instruction is done in person and some is done online.
This is a great middle-ground for someone who wants to minimize the time cost of an MBA while also preferring in-person instruction. Your in-person and online instructors are the same, meaning you can build a better relationship with your instructors than if you were to enroll in a completely online curriculum.
This can be extremely appealing to some people who find it easier to ask questions and speak one-on-one with professors in person. The mission of this institution’s online learning seems to be networking and interaction, as it gives students plenty of opportunities to interact and network with their classmates and instructors. This is most exemplified by their Access Weekends, where students and faculty come together for a long weekend in order to attend lectures, give presentations and network with alumni.
Obtaining a master’s degree in business administration is an extremely profitable investment in terms of increasing your salary and moving you up on the workplace ladder. Unfortunately, time constraints often block individuals from pursuing an MBA in person.
Online MBA programs alleviate many of these time issues as you can form your education schedule around the rest of your other responsibilities. An online MBA is suited for the working professional or someone with lots of familial and personal responsibilities.