Is an Online MBA Worth It? [2021 Guide]
Is an online MBA worth it? Yes, getting an MBA online is a great way to advance your career and develop expertise in management and leadership.
Experienced, educated managers keep businesses running smoothly and successfully, so hiring committees are always on the lookout for the skills that are developed in MBA programs.
Pursuing an online MBA may be a critical step toward securing a desirable job in the growing field of management.
Is an Online MBA Worth It?
Yes, an online Master of Business Administration is likely worth it. With an average salary of $105,660 and 5% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a degree in business administration can help you launch a career in this management field.
Common MBA careers include top executive, computer and information systems manager, marketing manager, compensation and benefits manager, and sales manager. After entering the business world with a bachelor’s degree, you may have found that you’re nearing a cap on how much farther you can advance.
For top management roles, companies often want candidates who have not only experience but also a graduate-level education. Earning an MBA may make it easier for you to earn a more advanced position at your company.
Plus, many online MBA programs offer concentrations. Choosing a specialization track will help you to position yourself as an expert in an area of great interest to you. Higher salaries often accompany leadership positions. Having an MBA may help you negotiate a raise or find a more lucrative position.
An online MBA may also be worth it if you have your sights set on a new career path. MBA coursework provides information and training that can significantly help anyone looking to enter the business world.
With an advanced degree, you may beat out job applicants who have business experience but no MBA.
Whether you’re a business pro or new to the field, time in graduate school can become a networking tool. The connections you make through classes, internships and other experiences may lead to job opportunities.
How to Decide Whether an Online MBA is Right for You
An MBA may help you try something new or take your business career to the next level. And pursuing it online can make the process simpler.
Here are four reasons why you might consider pursuing an online MBA:
1. You find the business world exciting.
As you’ve probably guessed, business degrees lead to business careers. There’s often a hustle and bustle to the business world, and you may be the type of person who thrives in that sort of environment.
If you already have a traditional or business degree online and love the career path that it’s led you down, then an MBA may be the next logical step. An MBA may also allow you to enter this field for the first time.
2. You are interested in a niche area of the business world.
Specialization tracks are common in MBA programs. Common options include finance, marketing, healthcare management and information technology. In an MBA program, you can complete in-depth studies on a topic that interests you.
Online programs may offer access to unique concentrations that aren’t available at very many schools. Examples include sports business, construction business, ethical leadership, hospitality management and agricultural business.
3. You have your sights set on being management material.
Many companies reserve leadership positions for employees who have graduate degrees. Without a master’s, your opportunities for advancement may be limited.
If you want to become a manager, an MBA may be a great option. This degree can help you get positions like human resources manager, public relations manager or chief executive officer.
4. You want an education that matches your experience.
If you are currently working as a professional in the business world, then you may not want to quit your current position to enroll in a full-time program on campus.
Fortunately, online MBA programs are a promising alternative. With online study, you can earn a degree in a manner that suits your schedule. By the time you graduate, you’ll have both experience and education on your side in the job hunt.
Top 5 Things You Can Do with an Online MBA Degree
Many different organizations have employment opportunities for MBA graduates. These advanced positions often come with great influence and an attractive salary.
1. Top Executive
Holding an MBA may help you earn one of the top leadership roles at an organization, such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer and chief financial officer.
These positions are the company’s ultimate decision-makers. In these roles, your responsibilities may include casting vision, directing operations, setting policies and hiring influential leaders.
2. Computer and Information Systems Manager
IT managers are in charge of organizations’ networks and other computer systems. In this role, you may hire analysts and developers, guard the security of your network, oversee budgets for technology projects, and make upgrades to the computer systems as needed.
IT experience and a computer-related MBA concentration may help you advance to an executive position. Some organizations also hire chief information officers or chief technology officers.
3. Marketing Manager
If you enjoy connecting people to the services they need, then a job in marketing could be right for you.
Marketing managers may evaluate consumer needs, suggest products or services to meet the demand, and plan how to get the items into the right consumers’ hands. To pursue this line of work, consider a marketing concentration for your MBA program. Related roles are advertising manager and promotions manager.
4. Compensation and Benefits Manager
One key to retaining talented employees is to offer an attractive salary and benefits package. As a compensation and benefits manager, you’ll oversee wage-related issues for the people in your organization.
Some people in this field—especially those in larger organizations—focus only on salaries while others handle benefits. If you work for a smaller company, you may cover both.
5. Sales Manager
If you have a proven track record as a salesperson, you may have your sights set on a sales management position.
Earning your MBA may help you become more effective at managing sales teams, making pricing decisions and marketing products to clients. As a sales manager, you may head up teams that sell products directly to individuals. Alternatively, your salespeople may market goods or services to other businesses.
Online MBA Degree Alternatives
Although an MBA is often considered the gold standard in the business world, many students choose specialized alternatives instead, such as these three:
- Master of Finance. If you have a passion for numbers and money, then you may be a good candidate for a career in investment or trading. A master’s in finance will help prepare you for those jobs.
- Master of Healthcare Administration. Healthcare leaders handle many of the same responsibilities as business managers. In an MHA program, each business course will be related specifically to healthcare.
- Master’s in Management. A management degree is designed to equip you to lead teams in nearly any setting. Management students frequently review case studies to learn from others’ experiences.
Although programs vary in length, some specialized business master’s degrees require less coursework than a typical MBA program.
MBA Careers & Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management professionals earn a median annual salary of $105,660.
Here are some of the careers that professionals with an MBA may pursue, along with their salaries:
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$146,360|
|Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers||$135,900|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||$122,270|
|Human Resources Managers||$116,720|
|Public Relations and Fundraising Managers||$116,180|
|Training and Development Managers||$113,350|
|Administrative Services Managers||$96,940|
An MBA can open a wide variety of doors for you in business, healthcare, government, education or nonprofit settings. The specialization track that you choose for your program may determine which type of management role is the best fit for you.
Is an Online MBA the Same as a Regular MBA?
Earning an MBA is possible through either online classes or on-campus programs. Online MBA programs cover the same material as their more traditional counterparts. You’ll complete similar assignments and have opportunities to interact with faculty and fellow students.
Often, the same professors teach both online and on-campus classes. Online programs, however, offer a great deal of flexibility, allowing you to log in to complete coursework from anywhere and at any time.
Is an Online MBA Taken Seriously?
Yes, you can earn an online MBA that is respected, and may serve as a valuable asset during your next job search.
Many prestigious schools offer both online and on-campus MBA programs. There will be many similarities between the online and in-person curricula. In fact, you may work with the same faculty members.
In most cases, your degree won’t point out to prospective employers whether you’ve completed an online, on-campus, or hybrid course of study.
Whether attending online or in person, it is important to look for a school that is accredited. Regional accreditation is the most widely respected form of college accreditation.
Getting Your MBA Degree Online
The business world depends on qualified leaders with experience and education. An online Master of Business Administration can provide graduate-level training that will get you noticed by hiring committees. With this degree, you may qualify for job advancement and top managerial roles.
Online MBA programs provide a flexible way to pursue a master’s degree. You can earn an MBA without having to relocate or quit your job. You’ll likely be able to complete your coursework from home at times that fit your schedule.
You can go far with an online MBA. To take the first step in this journey, start exploring accredited MBA programs.