Online MBA Rankings is your place for rankings of the best online MBA programs and business schools. Earning an MBA online is a serious and demanding endeavor. With all the hard work and cost you will be putting into it, make sure the MBA degree you receive opens the doors you want by enrolling in a quality MBA program from a top-ranked online business school with the reputation and prestige to get an employers attention.
Technology is changing rapidly, and education is keeping pace with these changes. Today, online degrees are becoming much more popular and widely accepted than ever before, and an online MBA program can be the perfect choice for some busy students. Taking business classes online enables you to take classes at your own pace and schedule, making a business degree program accessible to people who otherwise would not have access to higher education. Online business colleges let students study for a degree while working full-time or tending to the needs of a family.
Despite the many advantages of online business education, online colleges and business schools have not always been met with high regard from employers. This has begun to change in recent years, but a stigma does sometimes cling to these degrees. Fortunately, by carefully choosing your online MBA program, you can ensure that you receive a top-notch education that will be respected wherever you go.
The Growing Prevalence of Online Business Education
Distance education is not new. In fact, the concept reaches back as far as 1858, when the University of London began offering courses to students all over the country. For years, however, long-distance education was held back by technological limitations. Mail-order classes paled in comparison to the classroom experience, and such options were far from the norm for most students.
The advent of the Internet began to change all of this, especially as social media and other forms of technology began to revolutionize the ways people could interact online. Today, online classrooms are very similar to traditional university settings: They provide multimedia lectures, discussion with classmates and instant feedback from professors by way of email or chat rooms.
According to a study by the Sloan Consortium and the Babson Survey Research Group, approximately one third of all college students are now choosing to take their classes online. Altogether, more than 6.1 million students attended virtual classrooms in 2011, and the growth of online education is much faster than traditional classroom enrollment.
To keep up with that demand, 65 percent of higher educators admit that online learning is a priority. They’re quickly finding ways to change their educational strategies to keep up with the growing demand for online classes. Each year, more universities provide a wider variety of options to students pursuing a long-distance degree, and such online degree programs are gaining recognition among students, employers and other universities.
Are Online MBA Degrees Credible?
The rising demand for online education has been met in the past by many universities, but some Internet-based colleges have developed a poor reputation in the professional world. While most traditional universities are state-funded, many online-only programs are for-profit ventures. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a college utilizing a corporate business model, but some of these colleges were guilty of charging high tuition in exchange for poor education.
The quality of these universities earned them the nickname “diploma mills,” and they were a dark mark on the history of distance education. Essentially, a diploma mill is a college that has low standards for both admission and graduation. It exists primarily to take a student’s money, not to help that student learn valuable work skills or receive a competitive education.
Fortunately, the government has taken steps to crack down on this behavior, and it’s possible for a student to find a reputable program with minimal research. Choosing a good school ensures that your MBA will be worth every dollar you spend on it.
Identifying the Best MBA Programs
Thanks in part to changes made by the government, but mainly the advent of online MBA programs at traditional business school powerhouses, online MBA programs have gained in both quality and prestige. These new MBA programs hold themselves to the same high standards as traditional universities. Students learn the same quality of material and are held to the same grading rubric and rigorous standards. The end result is a high-quality business degree that can give your career the boost it needs.
To protect yourself, here are a few tips to follow when choosing an online college:
- Make sure the program is accredited. Accreditation means that the college is held to a certain standard and is respected among its peers. Business schools are accredited by three major agencies: AACSB, ACBSP and IACBE. Any single university is unlikely to be accredited with all three, but a reputable college will be accredited with at least one of them. You can learn the difference between the accreditation agencies to determine which online MBA program will best suit your needs.
- Research the university itself. When possible, get an idea of what the curriculum for your course work looks like and how it stacks up against similar universities.
- Obtain data about the university’s graduation rates and statistics about employment for students leaving with degrees. Not every student who receives an MBA will necessarily get a job or start a business right away, but some data should be available to suggest a positive trend in that direction.
- If in doubt, consider pursuing a degree through the online branch of a major university rather than a college you’ve never heard of.
Following these tips will help you weed out the unsavory colleges from the legitimate universities. The remaining universities will be well-respected and able to provide you with the degree you need. Once you’ve narrowed down your selection to only well-regarded accredited online degree programs, you can rest assured that your education will meet your needs without holding you back from job prospects after graduation.