Online Masters of Business Administration (MBA) or distance learning programs focus on instructing students who are not physically in the location of the educational institution. Emerging technologies have made it possible for students to learn at home or at an off-site location. Educators use tools such as webinars, web conferencing, video conferencing, satellite, VOIP, email, online forums, podcasts and many other sources to communicate and disseminate information online.
Distance learning programs or online degrees are gaining popularity because of the vast number of individuals who need to maintain their positions within the workplace or be available for small children. All assignments are completed online, including tests. Online degree programs have often encountered problems with regulating testing environments of off-site students. The distance from University supervision often tempts some students to cheat on examinations. Cheating ranges from conducting online searches for answers during an examination to looking up the answers in a book. Time constraints have been put on tests to alleviate this problem, but this has not curbed the occurrence. For this reason, the individual searching for an online degree program may also find hybrid programs. These programs allow the student to attend classes and complete assignments online. However, the students are required to take major examinations in a controlled environment.
Selecting an Online Degree Program
When selecting an online degree program, the student has several options to consider. The online degree programs are numerous, but many are fraudulent and not accredited. The student seeking an education online should research the educational institution to determine if the school is accredited. Also, the student should determine if the school is recognized in his or her chosen industry. In this economy, finding a job is difficult. However, nothing can be more disheartening than investing time and money in a degree that is not recognized by any hiring organization.
Additionally, the student should research the chosen field of study. If the student is seeking an MBA, the student should check the rankings of the online degree programs to determine how graduates of these programs fared in the job market. This research will give the student a clearer picture of whether the educational investment will yield results in the work force.
Masters of Business Administration
The MBA degree program attracts students from multiple disciplines. Students with undergraduate degrees in accounting, finance, engineering, psychology, sociology, and economics have all pursued graduate MBAs. The MBA is designed to expose the student to successful business practices. It is recommended that students enrolling in a MBA program have some level of outside work experiences. These experiences provide relevance to the business principles taught within the classroom.
The first year of courses will address a wide range of general topics related to acquiring success in business. The second year, the student is required to select a specialization. This specialization will include courses of study such as accounting, finance, economics, organizational behavior, Entrepreneurship, operations management, marketing, strategy and real estate.
Most of the specializations are math based. Therefore, the applicant should be familiar with formulas, computations, mathematical models, and Excel spreadsheets. Some of the core competencies learned will include Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Leadership, Decision Models, Probability and Statistics, Financial and Managerial Accounting, Corporate Strategy, Ethics, Organizational Behavior, and many others. A potential student should determine if he or she is comfortable with the curriculum before pursuing a MBA.
Admissions into MBA programs
Universities who happen to offer an online distance learning program require the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) entrance exam. The GMAT costs approximately $250. The test measures the student’s competence levels in verbal, math, and analytical writing skills. A perfect score on the GMAT is 800. However, the average varies. The average in 2009 was 539. Top business school averages are between 600 and the low 700s. The tests require about 4 hours to complete. Once the student takes the test, the scores are valid for five years from the testing date.
The score the student receives on the GMAT, along with the student’s work experience, extracurricular activities, memberships, leadership experience, essay, and transcripts are all determining factors in the student’s admission into the University.
For-profit online educational institutions are less stringent in their requirements. Most do not require the GMAT. Some will accept anyone who can afford the tuition.
Types of Online MBA Degrees
The student must decide the type of MBA program that he or she desires. Five to six different types of MBA programs exist:
Two Year Full Time MBA
These programs require the student to attend school full time over the course of two full academic years. Eighteen months is the typical time it takes to complete this particular program of study. Students in these types of programs possess prior experience in the workforce.
An accelerated program is designed to allow the student to complete the required course content in as little time as possible. The classes are condensed and the breaks are shortened to accelerate completion of the degree.
Part Time MBA
Part time MBA programs are designed for working professionals. The course of study may be extended over three years. Classes are typically held in the evenings or weekend after working hours.
These particular programs cater to the Executive or Manager. The curriculum is structured to accommodate the Executive’s schedule. These individuals possess ten years or more work experience than their counterparts.
This MBA allows the student to combine the curriculum with another course of study, such as Law. The student will then obtain a J.D./MBA in a shorter time period than a student could obtain each degree individually.
Online MBA Programs
Employment Opportunities for MBA Graduates
The major concern for the graduates of MBA programs is obtaining a job. MBAs, as well as, other industries are struggling to find employment. Many are faced with accepting jobs with lower salaries than anticipated. Many seek their MBA to progress up the management ladder. MBA graduates pursue positions such as upper level manager, CEO, marketing director, and many others.
The median income for a Chief Executive Officer is near $160,000 annually. General Manager’s median income is near $107,000 annually. Health care, engineering, and education are not on the traditional path for MBAs, but are recommended as good entry level management positions for MBA graduates. The management salaries in these positions are comparable to the General Manager salary.