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Earn Your MBA from Home through Online Programs

Earn Your MBA from Home through Online Programs

By Dona DeZube

September 03, 2008

You could live in an extremely rural area, or maybe you have five kids and a job that keeps you at your desk until 7 p.m. every night. Or perhaps you’re on the road five days a week.

You want to get ahead and know a master’s of business administration (MBA) degree could be the ticket, but for one reason or another, you can’t attend class at the local university. Should you consider enrolling in an online MBA program, or is that a waste of time and money?

The answer depends upon several factors, including what you hope to gain from your degree, your own temperament and where you plan to go after graduation.

What Do You Hope to Gain?

If you see an MBA as your ticket into investment banking, consulting or the management suite of a multinational company with 25,000 or more employees, an online degree is not the way to go. Those types of businesses tend to recruit from a small number of top-tier schools, and your online degree probably isn’t coming from one of them. (More on that later.)

On the other hand, if you’re looking to broaden your knowledge and increase your chance of promotion by your current employer, then who cares what Wall Street thinks? Find out how your company’s honchos and human resources personnel feel about online degrees.

Some employers don’t recognize online degrees, because they think there’s more to business school than reading, writing and calculus. They believe the in-person MBA experience hones leadership, presentation and negotiation skills. However, online degree program officials argue that their courses do the same, giving thoughtful, quiet students a chance to get a word in edgewise, since communication is typically written.

While for-profit institutions were the first to jump into the totally online degree market, some traditional universities have followed. Many more schools offer alternatives to completely online degrees, such as weekend-only classes or blended delivery programs that combine Internet learning with videotapes, conference calls and on-campus classes.

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