Choosing a MBA Program that’s Perfect for your Career Goals
With the rapid expansion of affordable and accessible online MBA programs in the last decade, choosing the right online MBA hasn’t gotten any easier. Areas of specialization within a given MBA have gotten far more diverse and allow masters students to really focus the concentration of their studies. Today, areas like finance and accounting MBAs are just the beginning. Online MBAs are now available with focuses in organizational management, international business, e-commerce, marketing, knowledge management, human resources, and in disciplines that are just emerging. Make sure that you explore all the options for different concentrations. Even if they differ somewhat in name, you may find that a concentration without the word international in the name actually has a very good international orientation because of the scholars and corporate partners designing and running the program.
Many students choose an online MBA program based solely on the perceived prestige and published rankings of the business school. And the chance to attend a prestigious online program, no matter how expensive or time-consuming is enough incentive to sign up. An education from one of these schools may be a very good thing, but the program itself may be unworkable for you and your situation, your lifestyle, prior commitments and even for the professional goals you’ve set for yourself. You want to select an online MBA based on the criteria specific to your situation and your goals. And that may very well mean a school with less prestige, but a better focus in your area, and a schedule and structure in which you can excel.
No two online MBA programs are ever going to offer the same syllabus. If you’re sure you’re right for an online MBA, you next want to look at the specific experience that a few programs can offer. Examine the syllabus and course structure with regard to the field or concentration you’re interested in, and check out the course content as closely as you’re able to. How many core courses will lead to how many elective courses? You’ll also want to check out the schools professional affiliations and the types of guest lecturers and corporate partnerships that a given program has offered in the past. Remember, they don’t always bring the same people back semester after semester. Finally, you’ll want to look at the research and dissertation requirements – some programs don’t require any dissertation at all while others insist on a 2 to 3 month research project prior to even starting your dissertation.
Online MBA programs can also be an expensive investment. You want to be sure that you can afford the entirety of the program, and any additional expenses that may come up, including not just books and course fees, but what if your PC gives out mid-semester? Online MBA coursework can be a very inexpensive way to take the classes you need to further your career, but make sure you’re ready for all the unexpected expenses as they relate to the MBA and to your life outside of school. Preparing yourself for your MBA is just going to make the whole process that much more attainable.
Written by James Tomon – Degree Jungle Staff Writer © Degree Jungle 2010