Online vs. Traditional MBAs


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“Online vs. Traditional MBAs” compares and weighs both these modes of learning on certain important parameters. The article intends to help prospective students decide between an online MBA and the traditional MBA.

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Online vs. Traditional MBAs

  1. 1. Online vs. Traditional MBAsAccording to, the 2011 salary of employees with an MBA degree can range from$78,407 to $137,971 in New York(, so it’snot surprising to see why so many students want to pursue an MBA. But to say that a fatpaycheck is the only motivation for earning an MBA would be unfair to the students who pursue it,and an unwarranted attack on the spirit of the program itself. There is a certain prestigeassociated with having an MBA on your resume. It reveals a person who has mastered not justthe theoretical concepts of business, but is also a perfect combination of interpersonal skills,leadership qualities, strategic thinking ability, and an analytical bent of mind.Is an MBA for Everyone?There was a time when a master of business administration degree was the exclusive reserve ofthe crème-de-la-crème of the academic and corporate world. That was when only a few, top-tieruniversities offered this program and all of them had stringent entry requirements, not to mentionexorbitant tuitions and fees.The status quo has changed since then, especially since the introduction of online MBAprograms. Now an MBA is not just the right of a select few, but an option open to many who havethe willingness and intelligence to see it through.But does that mean it’s for everyone? Absolutely not. Whether you pursue a traditional MBA or anonline program, you have to be dead sure of your own abilities, your suitability for rigorousacademic discipline, and your genuine interest in expanding your skillset. All an online MBA offersis an opportunity for people whose schedules mean they cannot earn their degree in thetraditional way. Remember that an MBA never guarantees miraculous corporate success andsalaries.Online vs. TraditionalThe obvious question is which of the two is the better, more legit option—an online MBA or atraditional program? Unfortunately, there’s no simple “tick the correct one” answer to thisquestion. Both online and traditional MBA programs have their advantages and pitfalls. The job ofpicking one that’s the best fit for you is, well, yours and yours alone.So what are some of the things going in favor of an online MBA versus a traditional MBA? Here’sthe lowdown.The biggest advantage of earning an MBA sitting in a classroom is that no one is going toquestion its credibility—there is still some stigma attached to online MBA programs. But thingsare changing, and employers are opening their minds and businesses to candidates who earntheir MBAs the non-traditional way. If your degree is from an accredited institution, it is likely thatit will be treated as legitimate and get the respect it deserves.Another thing that the traditional MBA has going for it is the level of student-teacher and student-student interaction it facilitates. An online MBA, on the other hand, makes people independentlearners by forcing them to do a lot of self-study.As far as difficulty level and sophistication of coursework are concerned, there is not muchdifference between the two. Both styles of program generally follow the same rigorous curriculumand have the same level of complexity.
  2. 2. One feature that puts an online MBA ahead of a classroom-based program, however, is theflexibility it can offer. Managing a full-time job with a traditional MBA may not be possible unlessyou have the option of taking evening/night or weekend classes. Even this can wreak havoc onyour personal life, if you have any left after attending classes several days a week. Most peoplefind it easier to fit the flexibility of online classes into their schedule without drastically changingtheir lifestyle.Which One is Right for You?Online or traditional—what’s your call? Do you want to take the road less traveled or do youprefer sticking to a familiar path? The choice is yours, and the primary thing you should keep inmind is that they’re both means to the same end.