Should You Get an Online MBA Degree?

Have you been working hard in your current position, but feel like you’re stuck? Getting an MBA online offers you the potential to enhance your career prospects and raise your salary levels.

An MBA (Master in Business Administration) is among the most prestigious degrees you can obtain. Business Week reports that in 2008, newly minted MBA graduates earned an average base salary of $104,000 per year, excluding bonuses, stock options, and other benefits. Their undergraduate counterparts who have a bachelor’s in business administration took home $40,976 per year, less than half of the starting salary of an MBA degree holder, according to College Journal. When it comes to salary expectations, having an MBA is undoubtedly a great asset.

Unfortunately, the starting salary statistics available do not distinguish between students enrolled in traditional brick-and-mortar MBA programs and online MBA’s. But an MBA is an MBA. If you get an MBA degree at one of the top ranked online MBA programs, your starting salary will likely be similar to that of an average MBA graduate.

Cost of Getting an MBA Online

In a February 2010 survey carried out by Best Online MBA, the cost of getting your MBA online ranged from as little as $8,000 to as much as $115,000. The average cost of an online MBA varies substantially from school to school. Though pricey doesn’t necessarily mean better, the business schools with the best reputation are often also the most expensive ones. For instance, the cost of a Harvard Business School online MBA is $37,500 for just 28 weeks. When you evaluate online MBA’s, you should look not just at the cost, but, more importantly, also at the overall reputation of the program.

Choosing Where to Get an Online MBA Degree

It’s important to do a thorough research to make sure you’re choosing the best online MBA program. The sad news is that there are more fake online MBA programs than there are real ones, according to Buisness Week. It is therefore easy for students to get ripped off. If you have a fake or non-accredited degree from a charlatan institution, it becomes harder for you to land a higher-paying position afterwards.

Business Week also reports that employers impose a higher standard when it comes to evaluating the credentials of online MBA graduates. With the proliferation of these diploma mills, employers have grown suspicious of online MBA degrees. These days, not only do recruiters look for strong resumes, but they also look at the candidate’s reason for choosing an online school.

As you are evaluating which online MBA program you want to join, make sure to look at the list of accredited online MBA programs. A big part of your program’s reputation depends on the accreditating body. Make sure to pick a school whose accreditation agency is nationally recognized. AACSB accredited online MBA programs represent the highest standard of achievement for MBA programs worldwide. In additon to AACSB, the U.S. Department of Education also has a list of nationally recognized accreditation agencies.

Research each online MBA program that you’re evaluating. Talk to the school’s admissions office and seek information about the success of their graduates. Ask about the average starting salaries of their graduates and which companies recruit their graduates. Do a Google or Twitter search on the school to see what other people, especially former students and potential employers, are saying about the school’s online MBA program.

Ultimately, the benefits of getting an online MBA offset its costs. It’s up to you perform a thorough due diligence to make sure you’re choosing the best online MBA program for you.

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