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Friday, June 12, 2009

MBAs: Online vs. On-Campus

While the world of academia is sometimes regarded as slow to adapt to the quickly changing world of technology, this view has proven to be somewhat misguided. The large number of respected institutions that are now offering online MBA programs is evidence that traditional schools are embracing alternative and flexible learning methods. Today, students can choose to undertake their MBA education on campus, online, full-time, part-time or independently. Which method is best? That's partially up to you.

For some students, there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. The structuring and time scheduling of traditional coursework proves conducive to students who prefer to avoid at-home distractions and regularity. Those resistant to online study point to the lack of peer interaction as a detriment to distance learning programs. However, because of new technologies and online implementations, many distance learning programs prove to be even more collaborative than sitting passively in a vast lecture hall. Students in online courses often enjoy direct access to teachers via email, message boards, chat rooms and other electronic means. Still, some students prefer working with their peers and professors in person - it's simply a matter of learning style preference.

Meanwhile, students who wish to pursue careers often enjoy the flexibility that asynchronous learning affords them. Careers in business are particularly demanding of time, with work hours that sometimes extend beyond typical business hours, which can prove troublesome for some students taking night classes. Online study allows them to go at their own pace while still giving them the resources and support that on-campus students are afforded.

Work experience is an especially valuable asset for business students and MBA candidates. When deciding between a student who entered graduate school immediately after earning his or her bachelor's degree and a candidate who with demonstrated work experience and an MBA, the latter is often a shoe-in. The organizational behavior and time management skills needed to pursue a distance learning or part-time MBA program are highly valued in the fast-paced business world, and earning an MBA while holding down a steady job proves that your ability.

Another concern regarding online education is the amount of recognition and respect it garners on a resume. This particular issue is becoming less relevant, however, as more and more traditional schools are realizing the value of offering online programs. Today, students can earn business degrees and MBAs from the very same schools that traditionally only offered on-campus education. In fact, some Ivy League schools are even offering courses online with transferable credit.

The key to earning a degree that holds distinction in the job market is to carefully review the institutions accreditation and reputation. A site like greatly aids in your research. For example, allows students to search a database of schools offering online, part-time and distance learning programs for easy comparison. Students can narrow their searches based on their criteria and request exclusive information directly from the school. Visiting sites like has become standard practice for students seeking high quality MBA education.

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