our everyday life

Online vs. In-Class MBA

by Christine Jax

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of Master of Business Administration degrees has more than doubled in the past 20 years with almost 170,000 people earning an MBA or Master of Science degree in business in 2009. Seeking your MBA is an important decision that will impact your future, as is determining whether to do it at an online or brick-and-mortar institution.

Convenience

Online education brings the school to you.

Online education allows you to go to school when and where you want. If you are working full time and can’t easily step away from work, online learning allows you to attend classes around your work schedule. If you have parenting responsibilities, online learning gives you the option to attend class from home providing you with more time for your family and saving you on babysitting costs. Not having to drive and park is also a convenience, particularly in inclement weather.

Cost

Education costs vary by school rather than delivery method.

The cost of an MBA depends on the specific institution. At the time of publication, the cost for an online MBA can vary from $12,614 at a public state university, to $76,100 at a private business college; whereas the cost at a brick-and-mortar university can range from $22,200 at a small Christian college to $119,000 at an elite private university. Federal law requires all colleges and universities to disclose on their websites the entire cost of a degree, making comparisons relatively easy.

Credibility

Credibility matters to employers.

If employers once had concerns about online education, that view has diminished. The fact that content can be mastered in an online environment is now widely accepted, and content among quality MBA programs is basically the same due to accreditation standards. According to Careerbuilder.com, 83 percent of executives say that an online degree is as credible as a traditional one, although some employers express concern that essential skills are not developed without face-to-face activities.

Employers Value the Credential

An MBA equals success.

If you are considering an MBA, you are most likely doing so to obtain a position or attain a promotion. As "Forbes" magazine notes, you are showing that you “paid your dues.” Unless you attend one of the top schools in the nation, where you get your MBA is not going to be relevant to a hiring manager. Employers want to know you have the credential, skills and some experience.

About the Author

Christine Jax has been a writer since 1991 in the areas of education, parenting and family relationships. Professor Jax has a Ph.D. in education policy and administration, a Master of Arts in public administration and a Bachelor of Arts in child psychology. She has worked in PK-12 and higher education for more than 20 years.

Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images