I have spent several hours researching an online degree in business administration, and looking at offline programs as well. I've graduated with my degree and I have found 10 things to remember and think about before you dive in.

Getting a degree takes time, so picking a good school that will meet your needs can really help the process along. Take a few minutes to think about these, and I also have some suggestions for places to look for programs you may like.

10 things to remember about an online degree in business administration

1. The Benefit

Why are you planning pursuing degree? Will you get a raise? A promotion? What will an offline or online degree in business administration do for you? This is the most important question as you move through these points.

If you expect to get a better job or a raise, that's great! Congratulations on having some ambition. Was a secondary idea, you might look at what type of job you. want, and see if you can tell how any people have the degree you want. You do this just to validate your plans. For instance, you don't see many Oceanology PhD's on salmon boats in Alaska. It's just not a requirement for the job.

2. The Bill

How much will the degree cost? As you check out colleges and universities that offer an online degree in business and management or similar programs, jot down how much they cost per year or per credit. The University I went to for my degree, an MBA, cost less that half of what another local institutions charged and only about one third of what a large online university would have charged.

For me, the lower tuition and fewer loans made a big difference.

3. The Prestige

How much respect will your degree receive? When you walk into a job interview or write a resume and say, 'I graduates from so-and-so university, will you get the respect you want?

To find out, look up reviews of the schools you are considering. Also, if you know anyone who has enrolled with the schools on your shortlist, ask them how their degree was received. You can also call a few HR departments and find out more.

4. The Simplicity

How hard will attending your sessions or classes or workshops be? Will you have to log in 20 minutes early, or require special software? Not that any of these are bad things - you should just be informed in advance of registering.

Also, will these schools do everything online, or offline, or do you have to handle a bunch of paperwork by mail? Online is easier, usually for those with other commitments like I have, family, kids, parents...

5. The Time

How long until you graduate? Is this a lock step program? I passed on a more prestigious program partly because of a lock step program. I could delay a module if I needed to but it required extensive evidence as to why I needed to suspend or pause my studies. However, as a lock step program I couldn't skip forward with my batch I had to scale back.

6. The Aid / Support

Does this University have arrangements for financial aid set up? Meaning, what kind go support can the University give in terms of scholarships or rebates?

Also, does the school have adequate support for students studying part-time or online or via correspondence? I had a mentor with me through my journey that helped me cope as well as motivated me for time to time.

7. The Program

Do the programs for an online degree in business administration at the university of colleges you plan to attend seem similar? Some schools require different things. since I have an engineering diploma only I gained entry onto the MBA through relevant managerial work experience. I later found that this is fairly common.

If the school promises you graduation in a short time, when others say 2 years or 4 years, you might want to investigate further. The school may not be legitimate or accredited internationally or the local counterpart may be partnered with other providers and only using the school branding.

8. The Flexibility

The MBA program I attended was online, with offline/traditional portions, and I was able to complete the program without any impact on my job. It also helped that the schedule was provided in advance and this allowed me to schedule my official travel in line with my workshops, saving me time and money.

What level of flexibility would suit you? Al all-online program will allow you to work on your course material anywhere and anytime. However, we are human and crave contact, so attending workshops at intervals may actually be more beneficial to your learning experience.

9. The Access

Do you know if you can talk to your professor outside of the prescribed methods of classroom contact, online platform forums and the like. I would schedule Skype calls with my professor and this allowed for more personal communication and discussions.

Since you may be planning on an online degree, you will probably do most of your work through email and some via the online learning platform. I did this for several assignments, and it works, you just have to keep on top of it. Getting an accredited business degree online will mean lots of papers, some presentations, and team assignments and the like.

10. The Follow up

When you finish that degree (phew!) whether in business or not, most graduates do prefer some follow up assistance in the form of job hunting or alumni network building...however, most online colleges and universities are not able to provide this service for two reasons. (1) Geographic distance, the institution may be based in the UK while you are in Riyadh or Jeddah or Kuwait, the Univrsity would not be able to source employment opportunities in the Middle East from the UK, would they? (2) Most candidates who register onto post graduate degrees are already in secure employment so this service would be unnecessary, wouldn't it?

The question arises though, would you get employment support to help you find a better job? Unfortunately my university did not support us in this manner, but it was not an important criteria for me, maybe it is for you?

Here are 10 of the most important criteria for me prior to registering for my online MBA program - I am sharing this through Stafford as I had registered for my course through them. Have a think about the above and make an informed decision you are comfortable with. Good luck!

Clinton D'sa

Asst GM

Bassem International Trading Co. - Kuwait

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