Online MBAs are getting a lot of attention at the moment. This is because they’ve been getting better every year and are doing a great job at replicating the traditional classroom experience. However, while online MBAs may be the perfect option for some, other students might not thrive as much when learning this way. There are also some significant differences between online MBAs and on-campus MBAs that need to be considered. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of online MBAs.
Pro – Online MBAs are Convenient
Let’s talk about the biggest benefit of online MBAs first. One of the reasons why so many people revolve around them is the fact that they’re so much more convenient than the traditional option. Online MBAs are the perfect option for people who have professional or family obligations. They can be taken full-time or part-time, and you can take them at specific times or on your own schedule.
Another group that can benefit from online MBAs is that of business owners. Many would love to have a stronger foundation and be able to use advanced business principles to run their business better, reduce inefficiencies, costs, and make better decisions. The online MBA allows business owners to get their education while operating their business. Not only that, but they can also directly apply the principles they learn in their operation.
Con – They Demand Discipline
One of the things people overlook about the online MBA is the amount of discipline they require. If you’ve been in a traditional structure all of your life, you may not realise how important that structure is. You may find that you are not as self-motivated and disciplined as you thought.
For some people this may not be an issue, but others need that structure to stay on top of assignments. This is also why you should think twice about opting for asynchronous classes. It’s very easy to procrastinate and find yourself overwhelmed with these. This is why you need to make a good self-assessment and see if you have the discipline needed to stay on top of your work.
Pro – They Expand Your Options
Another great thing about online MBAs is that they could broaden your options. Some people may be living in remote areas and not want to relocate to the city. This is perfectly understandable, and online MBAs allow you that. You can attend a top university from wherever you are in the country or the world.
If you feel like the options are limited where you are or want to attend a specific university but can’t relocate for some reason, getting an online MBA allows you to attend the university of your choice. This also means that you could apply to universities you may have never considered due to distance.
Con – They Can Be Isolating
Here, it will depend on the type of person you are and your expectation of the uni experience. Some people will have no issue listening to lectures for hours in an empty room, and some may even find it more comfortable. However, others may feel isolated and miss the direct contact with other students.
One thing you have to remember, however, is that modern tools make it easier than ever for students to communicate. This also goes with teachers. Chat tools allow you to speak directly to teachers without interrupting the class. Many universities will also have portals where students can meet and discuss. There is also nothing stopping you from meeting other people attending the programme living in your area.
This is why you must check at which side of the spectrum the programme is in terms of technology. Some people may use more traditional platforms where the flow of information is more uni-directional, and others do a better job at fostering dialogue and interaction. This is also why you need to speak with other people who have followed the same programme and see what they had to say about the experience as a whole.
Pro – Diversity of Experiences
One of the underrated benefits of online MBAs is the diversity of the student body. You’ll get to rub shoulders with people who are already in industry. You may have the chance to meet executives or self-made business owners trying to refine their skills. You also get to meet students from all over the world as these courses tend to be popular with international students. They could introduce you to emerging markets that you may not have considered.
Being able to speak with professionals means that you can not only learn from their experiences but get opportunities during and after your studies. Who knows, maybe someone could get you a level entry job, hire you, or decide to partner with you. Online MBAs can be just as powerful for networking as traditional classes, and being able to have connections with people from all sorts of sectors and backgrounds is a definite advantage.
Con – Some Are Less Reputable
One thing you have to know, however, is that not all online MBAs are created equal, and depending on where you got your degree, you might experience some employer apathy. That’s why it’s very important that you look at the accreditation of the university and how the degree is ranked.
Ideally, you want a programme that was accredited by AMBA, AACSB, and EQUIS. This will not only ensure that your degree is recognised, but that the level of education will be up to par. Also, going with an accredited university will make sure that your credits are transferable.
Note that the prestige and reputation of the university will supersede the fact that you’ve gotten the degree online. There is no way for someone to tell if the degree was received online or not. So, make sure that you pick an accredited top-rated online MBA from a reputable university if you want your degree to be respected.
Online MBAs can be a great option if you want to get access to more options and are a busy professional. You must, however, understand their limitations and assess whether you have the right personality to succeed.