MBA distance degree programs are growing in popularity because of the advantages of Distance MBA. Less than a decade ago, only selected classes could be accessed online. Now, with advances in technology, entire degrees can be obtained fully online. You can get an MBA distance degree without having to leave your home. No need to rush to class after work, fight traffic, or waste time finding a parking space. The future is here, and online education degrees are an idea whose time has come.
If you’re technically inclined and familiar with using the Internet, then you can save time and take MBA classes anywhere you have an Internet connection.
- One of the main advantages of an MBA distance degree is flexibility. Classes on traditional campuses require you to attend at certain days and times of the week. Also, many classes are during the day and may conflict with your schedule if you work full-time. However, with online classes, you log-in whenever your schedule allows.
- You can log-in before you leave for work in the morning, at noon on your lunch break, after work at 5 p.m., even at midnight or 2 a.m.
- You can create a schedule that fits with your current job and other obligations. There’s no need to quit your job to focus on your class schedule. Instead, you can create your class schedule around your job.
Some students worry that an online MBA is not as highly regarded as a traditional MBA and therefore a waste of time and money. Rest assured that as long as you choose an accredited college, the online program meets strict educational standards. So even though the method of instruction and the way the students learn the material will differ, you can be sure that you’re receiving the same quality education as students enrolled in traditional MBA programs.
Depending on your learning style, an MBA distance program may be right for you. Be sure to get as much information as possible about the online program at the school of your choice.
Accessibility and Convenience
With traditional MBA programs, you have to drive to campus in traffic, look for parking, attend class, and return home again. If you’re not close to campus, the drive alone can take a couple of hours each time you have to go to school. The time that you waste driving to school can be put to better use in an MBA distance degree.
- Having to attend school in-person is inconvenient for most people.
- Most classes are held during the day, which means that you would have to take off work a lot of quits your job altogether. Plus, it takes time to commute to and from school and look for parking.
- There is also the stress of traffic and not having transportation should something happen to your vehicle.
You don’t have to deal with any of this with an MBA distance degree. Traditional MBA classes require you to attend on-campus at set days and times. With online classes available 24/7, however, you can log on and complete your studies whenever you please, from the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to live near the school. You can move to another city or state and still have access to your classes. If you’re on vacation, and the hotel you’re staying at has Wi-Fi, you can bring your laptop and study while you’re away from home as well. As long as an Internet connection is available, you can access your class from wherever you please.
An MBA distance degree is convenient. Learning from home is stress-free when compared to driving in traffic and creating wear and tear on your car. Also, with rising gas prices, it can be costly to drive to school. Learning on your own time allows you to continue to work full-time while studying for your MBA. You do not have as many limitations when you study for an MBA distance degree. You can log on any time of the day, even early mornings, evenings, and weekends. You can study and complete assignments around your work schedule, family obligations, hobbies, and interests.
Remember that studying for an MBA will be intensive. Even if you choose an MBA distance degree program, you will still have to meet some deadlines and complete tests and assignments on time. However, these classes are geared more toward working professionals, so they will be taught with you in mind, therefore having realistic expectations of the students. Plus, communication with your classmates and instructors is just an e-mail away. You can discuss projects, timelines, and business concepts with other classmates by using online forums, without ever having to say a word. For group projects, you can meet with classmates online without having to coordinate or work around each person’s schedule.
With traditional MBA programs, there usually is not much leeway in how your MBA experience is customized. It’s an intensive two-year program where students have to regularly attend class regularly. Also, many traditional MBA programs still focus on business only, so students are limited in terms of what classes they can take. Because of the intensity, students are expected to fully focus on their studies, leaving little time for work or other obligations. However, with MBA distance degrees, you can customize your degree to fit your needs and schedule.
- Many MBA distance degrees offer classes that make it easier for working professionals.
- Distance degree programs offer a flexible curriculum so you take the classes that pertain to your interests. You can specialize in a variety of fields, from finance to health care management to marketing.
- You are given the freedom to gear your education toward your career ambitions and interests. Some classes are a lot shorter than the average semester; in fact, some colleges have new classes starting every six to eight weeks, so they are completed at a much faster rate.
- There are also accelerated programs that allow students to complete their MBA in less than two years.
On the other hand, if a student is very busy with work or family obligations and requires more time to complete classes, an MBA distance degree can be customized to extend the student’s studies over a longer period of time. Students can opt to attend school part-time or full-time or even just take one class at a time. It all depends on the student’s schedule and how much time he can dedicate.
Students can also customize their actual course of study. They are not limited to solely a general business MBA. There are now many choices when it comes to deciding which MBA to choose. Specializations vary by college, so you’ll want to choose a school that has your interests in mind and can offer you the education you need to succeed. When it comes time to choose a degree, keep several things in mind. Think about a specialization where the jobs are plentiful and workers are in high demand. Also, think about one where you have lots of room to grow and are not limited to just a few positions. Consider what interests you. Although money may be a key factor for some MBA graduates, you want to gain satisfaction from your career and enjoy what you are doing.
MBA distance degrees give you the flexibility that traditional MBAs do not offer. Traditional MBAs are often much more intensive and require more time than online programs. Many traditional MBA students end up quitting their job in order to focus on studies. However, many students may not have this option, especially if they are on a limited budget or raising a family. This is why the MBA distance degree’s flexibility to work around your current work schedule offers a major advantage for working professionals.
With traditional MBA programs, it may be difficult to coordinate class schedules.
- For example, you may have one class at 9 a.m. and the other at 3 p.m. If you live far away from campus, your only option is to stay on campus all day and wait for the 3 p.m. class after your 9 a.m. class lets out. Although this huge break allows you time to study, it’s still a long stretch between classes and may leave you wishing you had the opportunity to work and earn money instead.
- With online classes, you do not have to worry about long stretches of time between classes. You can complete them on your own time, whether it is at 5 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., or midnight. Online classes are available all the time, so it doesn’t matter what time you study.
Many MBA distance degree students choose online classes so they can work around other obligations, such as work and family. No need to get off work and race to school to attend an evening class, then come home exhausted afterwards.
- No need to rush to school at noon to take in a class during your lunch hour. Online classes allow you to study when you have the time.
- You can log-on after you’ve gotten home and relaxed a bit. This also helps your studies because you’re learning when you’re more relaxed instead of feeling stressed and hurried.
An MBA distance degree is ideal for stay-at-home parents because they can study while they’re home with their children. MBA candidates do not have to be logged on at a certain time, so they can attend school functions, sports games, and leave the house to pick up the kids from school without missing a thing. When the kids are at school, playing independently or taking a nap, Mom or Dad can catch up on their studies, complete an assignment, or post a comment on an online discussion board. They can even wait until the kids are in bed at night. It’s up to them. MBA distance degree classes allow parents to control their own schedules.
Freedom to Learn Where You Live
With traditional MBA programs, especially if you’re shooting for a prestigious school, chances are that you’re not interested in a local school. If you live in a small town, attending school may require you to move to another city or state. So not only would you be paying for school tuition, but also moving and finding housing in an unfamiliar area. You would be leaving your community and moving away from your friends and family and maybe living on your own far away with no emotional or financial support.
- Sounds stressful, doesn’t it? Moving to another place may be an unrealistic option, especially if you’re already established in your career and happy with your current job. Many people would love to have a job, so why quit yours and risk it? It’s a huge gamble in this economy. Plus, you may have strong family or community ties that would make it difficult to just pack up and move.
- Instead of all the hassle involved in moving away and disrupting your life, why not just stay put and learn where you currently live? There are many business schools, even well-known prestigious ones that offer MBA distance degrees. You don’t need to live near a business school, or even within commuting distance of one, in order to pursue your MBA. As long as you have an Internet connection, and the motivation to work independently, you can learn in the comfort of your own home. How easy is that?
- An MBA distance degree will require you to establish an Internet connection, if you don’t already have one, at home or wherever you will be studying. Although a dial-up connection may suffice, a DSL or broadband connection is preferred. These types of connections allow faster data transmission and downloads, which will be useful for downloading videos, assignment instructions, and logging on to discussion boards. Unless you live in an extremely remote area, you should be able to obtain Internet access.
With an MBA distance degree, you can learn from almost anywhere in the world. Whether you live in a metropolitan or rural area, an MBA is within your reach. Forget long commutes and traffic. Your location does not have to limit you. An MBA distance degree gives you the freedom to learn at home without the stress of travelling, so you can focus more on your studies and spend less time worrying about how you will get to class on time.
Interactive Learning Environment
One concern of students interested in MBA distance degrees is that because they’re studying from home, they won’t be able to interact as much with their instructor and classmates. With classes being asynchronous, meaning that the students are all on-line learning at different times, it can be hard to communicate with someone if they have questions about the material. Some students have the perception that their MBA experience will be limited by the lack of the communication they’ll be exposed to and that the best experience is one where they are able to participate in activities on campus.
Each student has different views on how they want to achieve their MBA. Many prefer to meet with their instructor and classmates in a traditional college environment because they learn better when they interact with others in person. For working professionals, their main goal is usually to complete the degree around their work schedule, which is why many are interested in an MBA distance degree. In any case, due to advances in course software and online education management systems, a significant amount of interaction with others is offered in online environments.
- MBA distance degrees offer classes that combine both theory and practice. Contrary to popular belief, learning online does not primarily consist of downloading course materials and reading them. Students are expected to fully engage and participate, sometimes even more so than in traditional MBA classes on campus.
- The reason for this is because when you study from home, your instructor can’t see you and therefore doesn’t know if you’re contributing or not unless you participate in an online forum. In an online discussion forum, your name is attached to any responses or comments that you type. A percentage of your grade is based on participation, so students are expected to contribute.
Schools are trying more options to increase interaction since the lack of it can be a deal-breaker for students who are interested in an MBA distance degree, but enjoy working with others. Some colleges offer video conferencing so students can talk in real-time to classmates. There are also streaming videos of professors’ lectures so students aren’t stuck reading summaries online. Of course, there is always e-mail and telephone should students need to contact their instructor with any questions.
Many past MBA distance degree students say that their experience studying online was positive in terms of interaction. In fact, they said they felt less isolated and more comfortable discussing the course material with other classmates. Plus, they felt they learned a lot from their peers and received faster and higher-quality feedback than they would have in a traditional college environment.
More Quickly Incorporate Learning Into Your Job
Most students continue to work part-time or full-time while studying for their MBA distance degree. Although it can be difficult to manage work and school simultaneously, the advantage is that you can instantly begin applying the skills and knowledge you learn into your current job. You don’t have to wait to apply your newfound business skills in another job or career. Use them to your advantage now. This means that you can start using your knowledge right away instead of waiting until after you obtain your degree, which could be a year or more down the road.
- Using your business skills and knowledge in your current job is a great way to apply what you’ve learned and see how it fits into the everyday situations you encounter. You can apply the knowledge immediately, while it’s fresh in your mind. You don’t have to wait, meaning that there’s less chance of forgetting major concepts.
- Another advantage of using your knowledge while in school is that you gain more real-world experience than those students who wait until after graduation to begin working. You’re already applying your knowledge while other students are still in school learning, so you have an extra 1-2 years of experience. You can use this experience to your advantage on your resume and increase your chance of landing a higher-level job after graduation. When you interview for higher-level positions, be prepared to explain why you have the advantage over your classmates and what skills you’ve learned that changed the way you do your job. Make sure to include specific examples.
- Using your skills and knowledge in your current job can impress your manager. Companies always encourage employees to learn new skills that can increase their productivity and benefit the department or company as a whole. Therefore, management will take note that you’re improving your skills, which can lead to more responsibility. This, in turn, can result in pay increases, bonuses, and even promotions.
- Another advantage of using your skills in your current job is that you have the support of classmates and teachers when business situations arise. When you come across problems that are difficult to manage, you can use these problems as discussion topics. These are real-world lessons that your classmates will face eventually, so they are relevant situations that can be useful in teaching the class how to react. As a class, you can discuss possible solutions to the problems. Students can work as a team to use their business skills to work through the problems. Plus, your teachers have most likely been through the same situations, so they can offer you advice.
Reduced Material Costs
College textbooks are pricey. The average cost for a hard copy textbook is $150. Over the course of your MBA, the cost of books can set you back several thousand dollars. However, one of the advantages of pursuing an MBA distance degree is that textbook and other material costs are significantly lower. This is due to the online availability of class schedules, curricula, and reading materials. For online classes, instructors don’t have to print hard-copy materials for students, so those cost savings are passed on to you, the student.
- For online classes that require textbooks, most be can download online for free from the class’ website. In fact, some colleges encourage their instructors to author their own textbooks and make them readily available to students for free or for a small fee compared to other textbook prices. Instructor-authored textbooks sell for less than $40; however, they are not as common as regular hard- copy textbooks.
- For classes that require a hard-copy textbook, there are several options available, including digital textbooks, Open Source, and textbook bundles. Digital textbooks can be found for about $50 – a great deal when compared to the average price tag of $150, right? Unfortunately, a digital textbook does have its limitations. Most only allow you to print 10 pages at a time, which can be a hassle if you procrastinate studying for that exam you have the next morning. Plus, they are only available for a limited time. Once you download it, you have 180 days to read it before it’s gone forever. Digital books are created to self-destruct from your hard drive after 180 days. This means that they cannot be resold, unlike hard-copy textbooks.
- Open Source offers another way to reduce textbook costs. Open Source is a type of non-profit organization created to make educational materials free to students worldwide. This includes not only textbooks, but learning modules, multimedia presentations, and study aids for tests.
- Many online schools bargain with publishers to decrease the costs of their online textbooks. Instead of paying per book, some colleges now require a $49 book fee per semester, which allows access to an extensive online library of digital textbooks.
Publishers are under a lot of pressure to sell hard-copy textbooks at lower costs now that digital books are becoming more widely available. Some students feel that hard-copy textbooks still provide a better deal, while many are converting to digital books. Therefore, you will want to do some research and compare costs before buying books.
Savings in Both Time and Money
When choosing a school and program for your MBA, compare both traditional on-campus MBAs and MBA distance degrees. You’ll see huge differences in both the time and monetary requirements. Private schools are more costly than state universities. Plus, each school is different. Some offer more resources than others, such as career seminars and training. Company recruiters often visit the most popular schools and recruit students for potential employment, so students are willing to pay more to attend schools that allow them to have more job opportunities upon graduation.
Compared to a traditional MBA, an MBA distance degree costs much less. You can expect to pay as much as $100,000 for a traditional MBA, whereas you can get an MBA from an accredited online school for as low as $5,000. This is a huge price difference. With the more expensive private schools, you’re paying mostly for the prestige. If you want an MBA and don’t really care where it’s from, then you may want to check out a less expensive one. If you’re looking to make the most money possible and snag a CEO-type job, then you’d want to get your MBA from a well-known school. No matter which school you choose, make sure that it is accredited and has the type of program and services for which you’re searching. Sometimes the cheaper degrees are too good to be true. Be sure to research any programs to which you apply because you want to make sure you get your money’s worth.
You also save money when you opt for an MBA distance degree because you’re saving money on gas and parking fees by not having to commute. Being able to log-on at home without travelling to a college campus can save you thousands during your MBA education. Also, textbook fees are lower for MBA distance degrees. The average price for a textbook is $150 at a traditional campus, whereas many reading materials can be downloaded for free or for a small fee. Some colleges charge students a materials fee at a low set price (usually $50 or less), which allows students to access an online library that contains all the books and materials they need. This allows students to spend one-third of the average cost or less on books.
The time savings in an MBA distance degree are dramatic. Students study from home and therefore can save time by not having to get ready in the morning or having to commute in traffic. Ten hours or more can easily be saved each week, especially if the student lives a far distance from the campus. Because students can log-on and study on their own time, they don’t have to stay on campus all day, every day, waiting for their classes to start. In addition, because students study from home, they don’t have to pay for room and board, which can cost thousands of dollars per year. Online students can also opt for accelerated programs, which allow for shorter classes (eight weeks vs. an 18-week semester) and therefore allow students to graduate sooner – sometimes in 18 months or less.
Many aspiring students are reluctant to pursue an MBA distance degree because they think they don’t have the skills to access classes online. They think advanced Internet skills and web skills are needed. They may be concerned about technical requirements and whether or not they know how to use the software. However, online learning is a lot easier than most people think. The software is fast and user-friendly. Just like anything else, it takes practice to get used to it, though. Schools strive to make online learning as easy as possible and therefore strive for simplicity when creating online portals for students.
Don’t be confused by the term “simplicity.” The actual courses themselves are not created to be simple at all. If they were, what would be the point of wanting to pursue an MBA distance degree? The courses are complex enough so that students learn new skills and concepts and gain experience learning how to think critically. However, the way the classes are presented and accessing online is easy even for basic Internet users. Once you log-in with a username and password, you are able to access everything relevant to your classes. The courses are accessed through the school’s learning management system. These learning management systems can be used by even novice Internet users. There are tutorials available to help guide students through the website. There are also support hotlines available for online students. If you know how to access websites and search on the Internet, then you can easily learn online.
Online learning sites use special software to support learning over the Internet. They combine classroom, textbook, discussion areas, library, campus, and communication networks all in one site for ease of usability. Many sites also have special functions, such as study managers, that allow students to check for deadlines and updates to their classes so they can organize and prioritize assignments and plan their time efficiently. Everything that students need to be successful in their online classes is, for the most part, incorporated into one website. A student usually does not need any additional programs unless they are taking, for example, a graphic design or HTML course, that would require special programs to be installed. However, you should check with your college before buying new equipment for your MBA distance degree, as some colleges include everything you need (even a laptop) as part of the tuition cost.
MBA distance degrees are geared toward ease of use of the website and simplicity. This is especially critical to working professionals, who do not have hours of time to spend learning new software.
Working While Earning a Degree
Traditional MBA programs require extensive study, internships, hands-on training, as well as certain days and times that you need to be in class on campus. Because of the amount of time required to be successful in the program, most students have no choice but to quit their job for one to two years in order to fully focus on their studies. This is a deal-breaker for many working professionals who simply cannot afford to pay for an MBA program and save up two years worth of living expenses without any steady income coming in for an extended period of time. However, there is another option, so you can continue to work while attending school.
If you work full-time and cannot afford to take two years off to pursue an MBA, don’t worry. Thanks to MBA distance degree programs, an MBA is still within your reach. An MBA distance degree allows students convenience and flexibility, so they can learn on their own time. They don’t have to miss work to attend Monday morning classes or lectures on a Wednesday afternoon. All their assignments are available online when they have time to log-on and complete them.
With an MBA distance degree, the time requirements are not as great. However, you will need to prioritize, multi-task, and be extremely self-disciplined. An MBA is a very intensive program and requires a substantial amount of work. Choosing an online program is not simply taking the easy way out. In fact, it may be somewhat harder because you won’t be required to attend school on set days and times. Therefore, you’ll need the motivation to complete your reading and assignments on time. You will still need to set aside time to study, participate in online discussions, and complete assignments and projects. However, you will not have to quit your job to do so.
Working full time and attending school is a balancing act. Add children and other obligations to the picture and you have your hands full. However, it is easier to juggle a full-time job with an online MBA than a full-time job with an on-campus degree program. Plus, many MBA distance programs are designed with working professionals in mind. Some offer accelerated programs or shorter courses so that students can get started on their new careers much more quickly.
An MBA is an expensive investment, and many working professionals do not have the means to quit their job to attend school full-time. Although an MBA will result in high-level management jobs and much higher salaries, most professionals look at the short-term consequences. Especially in these tough economic times, quitting a job may not be an option, especially if the student has no other financial resources.