When I was young and the postal service was the king, people who wanted to acquire college degrees but can’t be on campus for whatever reason, or those who want to embellish their bios with additional skills not offered in local universities, took correspondence courses. Here information flow between school and student was done through the slow and cumbersome postal service.
The advent of the Internet made the mailing stamp a candidate for extinction. Correspondence schools have been supplanted with “online schools.” That evolution made possible the emergence of online B schools.
Why an online MBA?
Just as in correspondence schools, an online MBA is great for people who don’t want, or are constrained, to be at a certain place at a specific time.
Online B schools are great for people who want learning experiences that are customized to their preferences, schedules and goals.
They are perfect for independent learners who prefer self-directed study where they set their pace to complete the program of their choice.
Which is for you, Online or On-campus?
Online and on-campus B schools basically have similar course content, curriculum and objectives; students in both receive the same level and quality of education.
Both deliver the same content and require the same amount of effort from students.
However, in on-campus programs, big projects, assignments or reports are handled by a group of students while in online environment these are scaled down for a single student to handle.
The biggest difference between the two is in the way information is distributed and received. On-campus programs have in-person lectures, face-to-face discussions and assignments are directly submitted to course professors.
In online B schools, lectures are done through video streaming and discussions in chat rooms. Assignments are submitted by uploading electronic files into the school’s data base.
Pros and Cons of online B schools:
One of the biggest advantages of an online program is to be able to pursue your MBA aspirations while holding on to your present job.
It allows schedule flexibility as program contents are available any time of the day, 24/7. This gives room for professionals to balance their time between work and academics without being stressed thin.
Online B school programs can be completed according to the convenience of the student and they don’t have to relocate or travel distances to get an MBA.
But an online MBA is not good for students who like to attend lectures and later study the lecture materials, or those that need personal attention.
It is not good for people who find video streaming time consuming and chatting lacking the pleasures of a live, person-to-person conversation.
Lastly, online B schools may not offer the same perks like internship programs, recruiting opportunities, career services or host hiring events found in on-campus programs.
How long does it take to complete an online MBA?
Generally, a full-time, on-campus MBA program takes two years to complete. Online B schools can also be as long.
But it can be shortened to, say, 12 or 18 months, in two ways:
First: By accelerating it:
Students can accelerate their programs by giving it more time within the week. It can be very challenging and demanding on their time.
Aside from watching online lectures, online MBA from quality schools require their students to devote 20 hrs per week for reading textbooks, prepare for exams, complete homework and projects, do research, write essays, creating presentations and many others.
Accelerated programs are preferred by students who are in a rush to get their MBA so they can move up the corporate ladder earlier and those who want to keep their knowledge fresh to make it easier to write essays, complete projects or pass examinations. It is kind of “striking while the iron is hot.”
Second: Foregoing unnecessary electives:
It can also be shortened by not taking some electives which are not required to complete a program. In fact, some students do want to concentrate on areas or programs with a perfect match with their current jobs or industry to bolster their career opportunities.
When online B schools came on stream, they were beset with credibility problems. Improvements in online infrastructure, increasing demand and competition changed all that.
Now an online MBA is just as valuable as an on-campus program. Students are required to master the same curriculum, meet the same expectations and rise to the same challenges found in traditional B schools. Graduates from online B schools have become just as valuable assets in corporate environments.