Is an online MBA degree worth it?

Is an online MBA degree worth it?

An online MBA degree is worth it. The MBA is a very popular grad degree because it can lead to many well-paying jobs in business. It is possible to earn your MBA online.

Online MBAs are an affordable and flexible way to get your business grad degree. One of the best things about the online MBA is that you can take classes on your schedule, which makes it easier to keep working while you earn your online MBA degree. The top online MBA programs will help you get a great job with great pay.

With the substantial investment in time, energy, and money that a master of business administration (MBA) degree requires, the question, “Is an online MBA degree worth it?” is an oft-repeated one. The short answer: Yes, an online MBA degree is worth it!

The MBA is a very popular graduate degree because of its numerous benefits. Not only can it lead to many well-paying jobs in business and finance occupations, but it’s also an excellent step toward personal and professional development!

Even better, it is possible to earn your MBA degree online, making it an affordable and flexible way to get your business graduate degree. You can take classes on your schedule and keep working while you earn your online MBA degree. Indeed, you’re getting world-class education and acquiring essential business skills that are immediately applicable to your workplace or business.

Take a look at the Best Online MBA Programs.

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What is an online MBA?

The online MBA is an advanced degree in business administration that you can earn entirely or partly online. The MBA is the most popular grad degree for American students.

Online MBA programs feature a comprehensive curriculum that allows students to develop advanced knowledge and skills in business administration and management, such as financial management, financial and managerial accounting, and human resources management. As an online MBA student, you will learn important business topics like leadership, strategic planning, and international business, as well as demonstrate your proficiency through the completion of a capstone project (i.e., original business plan).

Every online MBA program is unique in terms of its curriculum, learning outcomes, and graduate outcomes, of course, but there are several similarities among online programs. One of the most notable of these similarities is that every online program prepares students for leadership positions in business and finance occupations, both in the public and private sectors. Many online MBA graduates also pursue entrepreneurial ventures where their advanced business administration knowledge and skills are put to good use.

Between online MBA programs and traditional MBA programs, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer! Many business schools offer both online MBAs and traditional on-campus programs with the same curriculum, faculty members, and learning outcomes. The main difference is in their mode of delivery—online MBA programs use online learning management systems, while traditional MBA programs offer in-person classes.

If a graduate school or business school offers both on-campus and online MBA programs, you can check if their curriculums are the same. In most cases, this is the case, meaning you will get the same quality of academic instruction and business education!

In a world-class MBA curriculum, there’s a strong emphasis on academic excellence characterized by rigorous coursework that demands exceptional communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Both qualitative and quantitative skills are also a must to thrive in an online MBA program.

Bottom line: The advanced business administration knowledge and skills that you will gain make earning an online MBA worth every second, ounce of energy, and dollar spent!

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Is an online MBA taken seriously?

The online MBA is taken seriously by employers. Employers know that online degrees are more common than ever.

Employers also know that many excellent schools offer online MBA degrees. Employers don’t care if you get your MBA online or on campus.

But employers do care about the reputation of your grad school. For this reason, it is important that your online MBA is granted by a regionally accredited college or university—and if you’re looking for the best online MBA programs, look for programmatic accreditation from the AACSB or Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the gold standard of accreditation for business schools worldwide.

The positive perception among employers and industries of online MBA programs and the online degree that these institutions grant can be attributed to several factors.

First, the quality of online education continues to increase, thanks to advancements in technology that allows online students to enjoy interactive, engaging, and challenging virtual learning experiences. Second, employers have become more open to working professionals with online MBA degrees because of accreditation and the acknowledgement that juggling personal and professional commitments with intensive studies isn’t easy (i.e., demonstrates strong time management and organization skills). Third, the success stories of alumni of online MBA programs cannot be overlooked!

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Does an online MBA degree look different?

An online MBA degree does not look any different than an in-person MBA. Your transcript won’t look any different either. Employers won’t be able to tell you got an online MBA unless you tell them.

But it may be a good thing to tell employers. Some employers may prefer the online MBA.

Getting your MBA online shows that you have the discipline to work independently. Getting an online grad degree also shows that you know how to work remotely. These are both important workplace skills. Getting your MBA online may improve your job prospects.

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Will your online MBA result in a higher salary?

The online MBA will result in a higher salary for most students. The MBA gives grad students a great return on their investment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that MBA students will earn $20,000-$30,000 more a year than college graduates.

Some MBA specializations have even higher wages. The BLS says MBA students with specializations like securities, commodities, and financial services can earn 90% more than college grads!

The BLS says that market research analysts, marketing sales managers, and real estate managers all earned much more with an MBA. Research shows that online MBA students have the same salary range as students with in-person MBAs.

Free course provider Coursera surveyed students before they started their online MBA programs. These students earned an average salary of $79,532 before getting their online MBA. The same students earned $96,974 three months after getting their online MBA. This shows that the online MBA is a good investment.

But even the most successful online MBA graduates will tell you that earning an MBA degree isn’t a fool-proof guarantee of career advancement and the higher salaries that it brings, in and of itself! There are several factors that will determine the impact that an online MBA degree will have on your earning potential.


Choosing a concentration or specialization, such as human resources management or supply chain management, can contribute to your marketability in certain industries.


Be sure to expand your reach and enrich your professional life by networking in and outside of your industry. The best online programs provide students with in-person and online networking opportunities, such as industry conferences, workshops, and seminars.

Work experience

Working professionals with extensive pre-MBA work experiences have a competitive advantage for leadership positions because, in many industries, experience trumps education.

Your industry and geographical location as well as your specific employer will also have a significant impact on whether you will earn a higher salary or not—or more appropriately, whether you will get the leadership position and salary you expected. You must also keep in mind that return on investment is just one aspect of a successful professional career.

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How long does it take to get an online MBA?

It takes 2 to 3 years to get an online MBA. Getting an online MBA takes the same amount of time as getting an in-person MBA. You will need to earn 30 to 60 credits to complete the online MBA.

Of course, every online MBA program has its own unique timeline, too, so it’s best to ask the business school you’re interested in about the specific MBA time-to-completion. Some programs also have a maximum time-to-completion allowed, meaning the maximum number of years that an MBA student is allowed to complete the academic requirements from time of admission.

Numerous online MBA programs also allow students to choose from different duration options including:

  • Standard MBA programs have a traditional academic calendar with a two-year time-to-completion for full-time students. Part-time students can earn their MBA degrees in three years or more depending on their course load per term.
  • Accelerated MBA programs are designed for faster time-to-completion, usually 12-18 months, with students completing more courses per term and taking less breaks between semesters. These are obviously intended for full-time students.

An MBA curriculum typically includes the following components:

  • Core courses cover business administration principles and practices, such as finance accounting and management, strategic management, marketing, operations management, and human resources management.
  • Concentration courses expand the student’s depth and breadth of knowledge related to their chosen specialization.
  • Elective courses enable students to customize their MBA learning experiences according to their personal and professional interests.
  • Capstone project, a practice-based project based on real-world issues, or a master’s thesis that demonstrates the research skills in business administration.
  • Comprehensive exam or final assessment that represents the culminating requirement of the online MBA program

Most online programs also offer online students in-person learning and networking opportunities, including group projects. Many online MBA programs even have study-abroad opportunities in addition to internship experiences.

In terms of admission requirements, prospective students may also need to pass the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) to get into some MBA programs. You may need a few months to study for this exam before applying to your online MBA program.

This can make it take a little longer to get your online MBA. You can save time by looking at the Best Online MBA No GMAT Required.

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Why get an online MBA?

You should get an MBA because it’s a flexible way to advance your career. The online MBA can also help you get a higher salary.

The online MBA can help you gain or update business skills. You can learn leadership and management with an online MBA.

You can also specialize in areas like finance, human resources, or supply chain management. Specializing in an important area of business can make you more valuable to employers.

Getting your MBA online makes it possible to get these skills on your own time. This means you can take online MBA classes while still keeping your work schedule.

An online MBA can help you move forward in your career without interrupting your current job responsibilities. You can earn an online grad degree and earn a living at the same time. This makes the online MBA degree a worthy investment.

Invest in yourself today with a look at Best Online MBA Programs. Students should also look into the top HBCU MBA Programs Online, which offer some of the best educational value among grad schools.

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How can you get maximum value from an online MBA degree?

It must be emphasized that online MBA students have the ultimate responsibility of getting the maximum value from their learning experiences and MBA degree. Think of an online MBA degree as a tool in your hands—it may or may not be an effective tool depending on how you use it to your advantage.

With that said, here are some effective tips for getting the maximum return on your investment, in both monetary and non-monetary terms, from most online MBA programs.

  • Choose the right online program by researching as many online MBA programs as possible. Be sure to consider your unique career goals, personal interests, and preferred study format and pace. More importantly, only consider accredited business schools approved by the Graduate Management Admission Council and similar organizations, with a strong reputation for their MBA programs and graduate outcomes (i.e., successful alumni).
  • Specialize, if possible, since it can result in more marketable skills in your preferred industry, such as healthcare. Seek a mentor, too.
  • Be an active participant in your courses including group projects and class discussions because of the valuable business insights that can be gathered. Expand the depth and breadth of your network, too, because it’s an excellent source of career advancement and professional development opportunities.
  • Enjoy real-world experiences from a traditional on campus program like consulting projects, internships, and work placements where hands-on experiences similar to those at in-person programs will not only boost your marketability but also your leadership skills. Keep in mind that soft skills are just as important as hard skills!

In the end, the question “is an online MBA degree worth it” isn’t in the hands of the business school and its MBA program - it’s in yours! Ultimately, you are in control, and when you take advantage of networking opportunities, internships, and developing hard skills and leadership skills, you will benefit most from your degree.

Get tips for choosing and applying to advanced degree programs both in person and online with a look at our Grad Life Guide.

See our Resources Guide for much more on studying, starting your job search, and more.

See our complete guide to MBAs for more information.

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