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How to Choose the Right Online MBA Degree Program

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Are you planning to earn an online MBA degree for career advancement?

If yes, you should be careful when choosing an online school to earn your degree. You must be cautious about any diploma mills. It’s extremely important to choose a right online MBA program. Otherwise it’s definitely a waste of time and money.

However, good news is that you have plenty of options since a large number of online schools and campus-based institutions are offering online MBA programs now. How to choose the right program to help boost your career? Consider the following factors to ensure you’ll receive high quality MBA online education.

Is the school accredited?

Accreditation is the primary criterion when you’re looking for a proper online MBA degree program. For those who earn an online MBA degree through an unaccredited program, the degree won’t be recognized by employers. Earning an MBA degree online from an accredited school is also a good way to ensure quality education.

Typically the school must have either regional or national accreditation. Business schools offering online MBA programs must be accredited by one of the following accreditation agencies:

• The Association to Advance Schools of Business (AACSB)

• The Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP)

• The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)

Please note that the three accreditation agencies are not the same. The oldest accreditation board for business schools is the AACSB. Only about 30% of business schools in the United States have AACSB accreditation since it has the strictest requirements. However you may find it difficult to apply for an online MBA degree program with AACSB accreditation. Instead, online MBA programs with ACBSP or IACBE accreditation usually do not have very strict admission requirements.

What do recruiters think?

Since most candidates for online MBA degree programs are seeking to advance their career. Will your online MBA degree be recognized by your employer? Many top companies around the world do not accept candidates with online degrees. This is particularly important if you’re aiming for the C-suite.

You do not have to be discouraged anyway. If you’re seeking career opportunities in a certain company, simply call the HR department and ask them whether candidates with online MBA degrees are accepted. According to a questionnaire conducted by executive recruiters at large international firms, like Stanton Chase International, candidates with online MBA degrees are still preferable for mid-level positions. The precondition is that the online MBA degrees must be earned through AACSB-accredited schools.

Before choosing a right online program, you may have to think about the question: how do your potential recruiters think of your online MBA degree? If your online degree will not receive expected recognization, think twice about your selection.

How much does it cost?

Earning an online MBA degree can be costly. For example, if you choose Liberty University to earn your MBA degree online, your tuition costs can be up to $20,160. The cost is comparatively low among online MBA programs. If you opt for online programs that are accredited by the AACSB, the average cost will be $32,926. The average cost for earning an online MBA through regionally accredited schools is about $22,924.

If you do not have enough finances to support your online MBA education, it will be essential to compare the tuition costs for completing an online MBA program. When comparing different MBA degree programs, you need to figure out several questions:

• How many credit hours are required for successful graduation?

• How much does each credit hour cost?

• Are there any technology fees, application fees and other related fees?

• Do you qualify for discounted rates or financial aid, like scholarships and grants?

Then you’ll be able to work out the possible total costs of your online MBA degree. Then you can choose the right school based on how much you can afford. You should not only compare the tuition rates. The financial aid should be taken into consideration as well. Most online MBA degree programs provide various forms of financial aid for eligible online students. Then your financial burdens will be reduced significantly.

What about career options for graduates?

One of the most important criteria for choosing an online MBA degree program is prospective career opportunities. Now many online MBA programs allow students to choose a specific specialization, such as accounting and risk management. Your career options will be determined by your specialization. Possible career options for online MBA graduates include accounting, business management, finance, marketing, information technology, investment banking, insurance and financial planning and more.

Of course, your career option can be influenced by other factors, such as your work experience, your abilities and the online school you graduate from. If you want to ensure that you’ll be qualified candidates for mid to upper level management positions, opt for an online program with good reputation. You need to know the percentage of graduates who have a job after graduation. Now most online MBA programs provide certain type of career services. Some online programs even offer excellent networking opportunities with various well-known companies. Check out whether your program offers internship opportunities.

In addition, you also need to consider its course delivery format and academic support. When you have any questions in your online study, make sure you can have access to academic support so that your problem can be solved in time.

How long does it take to complete the program?

When selecting a proper online MBA degree program, you also need to consider the length of time required to complete the program. If you cannot attend the program as a full-time student, choose programs that allow you to earn your MBA degree on a part-time basis. Typical online MBA programs can be completed in about 2 years. Now there’re accelerated online MBA programs that can be completed in one year or less time.

You just need to choose the right program based on your own working schedules and time arrangement. Before beginning your online MBA program, you need to consider whether the course schedule fits your time constraints. Make sure you’ll have enough time for online studies.

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