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How to Choose an Online MBA Program

Earning an online MBA degree is not online convenient, but will pay large dividends in the future. When choosing an online program, you should consider the following aspect of the school’s distance program.

  1. Accreditation. The school itself must have regional or national accreditation. The MBA online program must be accredited by the Association to Advance College Schools of Business (AACSB), Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). AACSB accreditation is for research universities. Programs with AACSB accreditation have the best reputation and are considered to be the most prestigious. However, they do cost more than ACBSP accredited MBAs and have more stringent guidelines for admission. Taking the Graduate Management Admissions Test, GMAT, will typically be required. ACBSP accreditation is ideal for those who want to work in a certain region of the country and are not the best test takers as a high GMAT score is not usually required.
  2. Reputation. MBA programs are all about brand. Alumni connections and the program reputation can give access to many opportunities. While the age of the program does not correlate to the quality of the program, older, better established programs may have more “brand” appeal.
  3. Career Services. Consider what type of career services the program has. A program with strong career services can provide excellent networking opportunities with an array of companies. Many well established online programs require that students complete internships during the summer. Some questions to consider: What is the percentage of graduates who have a job after graduation? What type of networking opportunities are there? What companies recruit students?
  4. Networking Opportunities. In addition to networking with recruiters, networking with classmates and professors typically occurs. How much interaction occurs between online professors and students? How much interaction is there between students?
  5. Breadth. Make sure that the online program has the concentrations you are interested in. Furthermore, programs that have a large range of concentrations can be advantageous if you decide to change your concentration later in the program.
  6. Time. Does the online program allow you to complete it on a part time basis? What is the typical time it takes to complete an MBA? Is there a time a limit?
  7. Faculty. An online program is only as good as its faculty. Look up the faculty on the school’s website. What degrees do the faculty members hold? Are the faculty members conducting research in their respective fields? Do faculty members have industry experience?
  8. Library Services. While library services seem to be trivial, as MBA students, you will need to regularly use library resources. Is the library business database filled with popular business periodicals such as Bloomberg? If the library does not have extensive business resources, does it have some kind of interloan program with another university? Is there special library staff for students taking online courses?
  9. Requirements for admission. Some programs require that applicants take the GMAT and have graduated with a certain grade point average during their undergraduate years. Additionally, most if not all MBA programs require job experience and an undergraduate degree. Highly selective programs require letters of recommendation, interviews, and resumes. It should be noted that the requirements for admission indicate the quality and caliber of students in the program.
  10. Curriculum. Having an up-to-date online curriculum is important. After all, it is no use to learn about a case that is no longer applicable to the modern market. Look up the online courses that you will be taking and their various syllabuses. Compare the content to other schools’ and look to see if the material is relevant.

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