Are you considering pursuing an online Master of Business Administration (MBA)?

This advanced degree can be a significant investment in terms of time and money, and it’s essential to weigh the costs and benefits before committing to a program.

Online MBAs can prepare you for a variety of high-level leadership opportunities across a range of industries. Combined with their flexibility and accessibility, this makes online MBA programs an excellent choice for many professionals looking to advance in their careers.

Here’s everything you need to know about whether or not online MBAs are worth it, including the career outlook for MBA graduates, the perception of online MBAs by employers, and the cost of these programs.

Career Outlook

One of the main reasons people pursue an MBA is to develop their professional skills, unlock new career opportunities, and increase their earnings potential.

MBA holders typically earn higher salaries than those without the degree, and many report receiving promotions after completing their program. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), MBA graduates reported a median increase of 29% in total compensation. In North America, MBA program graduates reported a pre-MBA median salary of $80,000 and a post-graduation median compensation of $120,000.

However, it’s worth noting that the job market can be competitive for MBA graduates, and it’s not a guarantee of employment. It’s important to consider the specific job market you’re interested in and the type of MBA program that would be most beneficial for your career goals.

What Jobs Can You Get With an Online MBA?

An MBA is a versatile degree that qualifies you for a range of high-level positions in nearly every industry.

Online MBAs open the door to the same career opportunities as in-person MBAs, meaning you’ll have no shortage of options once you complete your program.

Some of the most common positions held by online MBA graduates include:

Chief executive

Chief executive positions like a chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), president, and chief operating officer (COO) plan strategies and policies to help their organizations meet their long-term goals. These positions typically require MBAs.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $179,520

Training and development manager

Training and development managers are responsible for planning and coordinating training programs for organizations. These high-level executives are trusted to improve the skills and knowledge of their organization’s workforce.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $120,130

Computer and information systems manager

Computer and information systems managers hold high-level IT management positions, including chief information officer (CIO) and chief technology officer (CTO). These managers typically have MBAs and work to plan and coordinate computer-related activities in an organization.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $159,010

Financial manager

Financial managers create financial reports, direct business investments, and create long-term financial plans for companies and organizations. Financial managers often hold MBAs, especially at larger organizations.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $131,710

Do Employers Take Online MBAs Seriously?

One concern many students have is whether employers take online MBAs seriously. The answer is yes. Employers do respect online MBAs. Online MBAs offer the same rigorous curriculum, training, and professional development as their in-person counterparts.

U.S. News & World Report states that recruiters say most employers accept online MBAs from reputable institutions.

If you’re already employed, your employer may prefer you pursue an online MBA to maintain flexibility while you work and study.

However, it’s important to note that some employers may still have reservations about online degrees. This is particularly true in industries where in-person communication and collaboration are essential, such as consulting or investment banking. Therefore, it’s important to research your specific industry and target companies to see how they view online degrees.

How Much Do Online MBAs Cost?

The cost of an online MBA can vary widely, with tuition and fees ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to over $100,000. The price of the program can depend on factors such as whether the school is public or private, whether you qualify for in-state or out-of-state tuition, and how much financial aid you’re eligible to receive.

According to Bankrate, online tuition costs for MBA programs can range from $250 to $2,200 per credit.

You also need to consider costs such as technology fees, books and supplies, and any other fees your school charges.

Considering the program’s cost with your career goals and financial situation in mind is essential. Some students may be able to offset the cost of their degree through employer tuition reimbursement or scholarships, while others may need to take out loans to finance their education.

Online MBA Programs: Pros & Cons

Online MBA programs offer high-quality education and professional development opportunities, but for some students, a traditional in-person program might still be the way to go.

Here are some pros and cons of online MBA programs to consider:

Advantages of getting an MBA online

  • tickFlexibility

    Online MBA programs typically allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule, making it easier to balance work, family, and other commitments.

  • tickAccessibility

    Online MBA programs can be a great option for students who live far from a physical campus or have mobility issues.

  • tickNetworking

    While some may assume that online programs lack the networking opportunities of in-person programs, many online MBA programs include opportunities for students to connect with their peers and faculty virtually.

  • tickAccelerated programs

    Online MBA programs often offer accelerated enrollment options, allowing students to earn their degrees as quickly as possible.

Disadvantages of getting an MBA online

  • tickLimited in-person interaction

    While many online programs include virtual networking opportunities, there’s no substitute for in-person interaction when it comes to building relationships with peers and faculty.

  • tickPotential for distractions

    With the flexibility of online programs comes the potential for distractions from work, family, and other commitments. Students need to remain disciplined and dedicated to succeed in an online program.

  • tickLess hands-on learning

    Some MBA programs may include experiential learning opportunities, such as case studies or consulting projects. These opportunities may be more limited in an online format.

How to Choose an Online MBA Program

If you’ve decided that an online MBA is right for you, it’s important to take the time to find the best fit.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a program:

Program accreditation

MBA programs often receive programmatic accreditation to guarantee that they meet high standards for education quality and career preparation. This is separate from institutional accreditation.

Before choosing an online MBA program, make sure it is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or another reputable accreditation body.

Tuition and fees

Review tuition costs, fees, and other expenses the program requires before enrolling. If you’re taking advantage of employer reimbursement, you want to make sure your employer will cover the full cost of the program before enrolling.

Program details

When selecting a program, it is important to consider whether it meets your needs.

Does the program offer flexible enrollment options? Will you have opportunities to connect with peers and instructors? Are courses taught by the same faculty that teaches on-campus courses? Are lessons live or pre-recorded?

Since every online program is structured differently, it is important to ensure that the program you are considering meets your needs and preferences.

Is an Online MBA Right for You?

Getting an MBA can open the door to a variety of new and exciting career opportunities. Online MBA programs allow you to achieve significant professional growth while balancing work and other responsibilities.

But that doesn’t mean online MBAs are the right choice for everyone. If you prefer regular interaction with your peers and instructors, hands-on learning opportunities, and access to local networking opportunities, an in-person program might be the right choice for you.

Interested in a degree instead?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.