One of the fastest growing study modes in the world is distance learning and online learning. Despite this, there is still considerable uncertainty and misconceptions about this approach of study, especially at the Masters Degree level and even more so when it comes to an MBA (Masters in Business Administration).
In this article, we outline and debunk 7 of the most common Online MBA myths.
Myth 7: Is an Online MBA as expensive as a full-time MBA?
An Online MBA is often much more affordable than a full-time MBA, for several reasons.
A full-time MBA requires physical buildings – and the overheads associated to it such as rent, utilities, facilities etc. – along with additional staff and faculty needed to service the full-time MBA students. As a result, the extra expenses a University needs to incur to teach students on-campus gets transferred to the student in the course fee. An Online MBA is taught on a University’s virtual learning environment and even though it is held to the exact same quality and academic standards as a full-time MBA, the decreased overheads translates to a more affordable course fee.
Another way an Online MBA is more affordable is because of its flexibility. Many full-time or even part-time MBAs constitute of mandatory classes and workshops that are on a weekday, or a weekday tacked onto a weekend. This requires students to often take time-off work or stop work altogether for 2-3 years until they earn their degree, resulting in a temporarily reduced income and a gap in their work experience. The flexibility of an Online MBA allows students to study whenever and wherever, letting them continue working while they earn their Masters degree.
Myth 6: Is an Online MBA easier to study than a full-time MBA?
This is a yes and no answer.
It’s a NO in relation to difficulty of study. An Online MBA consists of written assessments, case study analysis, group projects, online quizzes and research projects, mirroring a full-time MBA course. It requires a similar investment of study hours as an on-campus programme, a necessity as an Online MBA from an accredited University must adhere to the same government outlined academic guidelines.
It’s a YES in relation to flexibility. Unlike its counterpart, an Online MBA can be studied at anytime and anywhere in the world. On-campus MBA’s require either weekday attendance if it’s full-time or weekend attendance if it’s part-time, making it harder to balance work and personal commitments.
Myth 5: Is an Online MBA only for tech-savvy individuals?
If you can use a computer to view a website, you can study online. It’s as easy as that!
An Online MBA needs a basic computer system and a decent internet connection to start studying the degree. A University’s virtual learning environment such as Moodle or Canvas is designed to be intuitive; easy to navigate and incredibly easy to use. All the learning materials are provided by course folder and topic, with links to related reading materials in a University’s online library, allowing students to quickly move to the relevant study resources. Many universities also provide an induction or on-boarding video to help students get familiar with their systems, and student support services are available to provide additional assistance if required.
Myth 4: Is there no peer-interaction with an Online MBA?
A common myth of the Online MBA is that it’s lonely. This is very untrue.
Given that online learning requires discipline and self-motivation, a university structures its Online MBA programme specifically to push students to interact with their course material, tutors and most especially their peers to successfully complete the course.
Assignments can be group-based, requiring collaboration and team-work with online classmates to meet the course requirements. This teaches online students to build a strong peer-support network and utilize all the available tools and channels to communicate and work together – mimicking the global business environment today. This is further supplemented by online discussion boards, webinars and skype calls with course tutors. The most beneficial aspect to all this it that students can do it at their own pace and schedule with the option to join and exit a discussion at any time, providing a much higher degree of flexibility than a full-time MBA.
Myth 3: Is the Networking opportunity for an Online MBA not equal to a full-time MBA?
On Online MBA provides a broader, multi-cultural, global networking opportunity.
What doesn’t often get highlighted about on-campus, full-time MBA courses is that with the exception of the very expensive, top-tier Universities, the majority of the students in an average MBA class tends to be highly localised to near the campus location. While international students do make up a segment of a full-time MBA course, most students tend to study at their closest university, given that they do not have to relocate themselves or their family for the 2-3 year study duration.
An Online MBA has the unique benefit of not being restrained by location, or the need for a student to stop working to pursue an MBA. As a result, it attracts a greater number of potential candidates from all over the world, and any given MBA cohort tends to skew more international compared to a full-time MBA course. So comparatively, an Online MBA provides networking prospects on a larger, global scale vs a smaller, localised one, providing worldwide career opportunities.
Regardless of if you do a full-time MBA or an Online MBA, both make you eligible to be part of a University’s alumni network, and the alumni network of any of its related accrediting bodies.
Myth 2: Are Online MBAs only from non-credible Universities?
The most prevalent Online MBA myth – and the least factual – is the perception that an online degree isn’t held to the same rigorous standards as a full-time MBA programme. Today some of the top Universities in the world such as Imperial College London and Kelley School of Business USA offer an Online MBA. This myth is definitively untrue as long as the Online MBA is administered by a government accredited University.
An Accreditation is an endorsement of the competence, integrity and academic standards of a higher education institute. In almost every country, an academic institution must meet rigorous criteria before they are permitted by their Government to issue a degree or be able to name themselves as a ‘University’. The UK government for example, has very rigid standards and it lists all UK accredited and recognised Universities on their website, so that students can easily validate a University’s authenticity: https://www.gov.uk/check-a-university-is-officially-recognised/recognised-bodies
In addition, an Online MBA from an accredited University has to mirror the exact same requirements as an on-campus, full-time MBA programme; learning outcomes, course content, learning materials, programme structure and so on. The biggest credibility to an Online MBA being equal to a full-time MBA is that the final degree award written on the parchment doesn’t specify on-campus or online MBA - it just reads Master of Business Administration.
Myth 1: Is an Online MBA not as useful for my career as a full-time MBA?
This is the culmination of all the myths that come before it, and quite untrue.
Due to its affordability, many employers are willing to partially or fully fund an Online Masters degree programme; as it lets an employee enhance the knowledge and skill of their job function thus contributing more to the organisation, without having to leave work to do so.
Furthermore, Online MBAs often have more specialisations pathways compared to a full-time MBA, allowing students to get a deeper understanding of their chosen field versus the broader business concepts taught in a general MBA pathway. Candidates can hone their skills in their specialist field, giving them a competitive edge and increasing their employability prospects on a global scale.
An Online MBA, such as the one offered from Edinburgh Napier University UK offers both a general MBA pathway along with multiple specialisations;
- MBA in Banking
- MBA in HR
- MBA in Finance
- MBA in Project Management
- MBA in Health Management
- MBA in Information systems & corporate governance
- MBA in Hospitality & Tourism
- MBA in Event Management
- MBA in Entrepreneurship
- MBA in Leadership & Innovation
- MBA in Logistics & Supply Chain Management
- MBA in Criminal Justice
To learn more about which Online MBA would best suit your career goals, book a free Higher Education Consultation with Stafford.