Is an Online MBA Worth It? [2021 Guide]

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Is an online MBA worth it? Yes, getting an MBA online can help you advance your career and develop expertise in management and leadership.

Is an Online MBA Worth It

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.

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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?

Financial Managers in a meeting

Yes, an online Master of Business Administration is worth it for many professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 5% job growth in management occupations over the next 10 years.

Common MBA careers in this field 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.

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Plus, many online MBA programs offer concentrations. Choosing a specialization track can 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 may provide information and training that can significantly help you 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 may 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

Financial Manager working in her office

An MBA may help you try something new or take your business career to the next level. And pursuing it online may 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 usually 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.

For example, if your undergraduate degree is in an unrelated field, though getting an MBA may be the ultimate goal, first earning a business administration certificate is worth it for many students in order to test the waters.

2. You are interested in a niche area of the business world.

Marketing Managers working together on a project

Specialization tracks are common in MBA programs. Common options include finance, marketing, healthcare management and information technology. In an MBA program, you may 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.

Financial Manager working online

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 may earn a degree in a manner that suits your schedule. Graduate with an MBA can help you have both experience and education on your side in your job hunt.

5 Things You Can Do with an Online MBA Degree

Top Executives in a meeting

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.

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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

Computer and Information Systems Manager working in data center

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

Marketing Manager working on a project

If you enjoy connecting people to the services they need, then a job in marketing might 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

Compensation and Benefits Manager congratulating a new employee

One key to retaining talented employees is to offer an attractive salary and benefits package. Compensation and benefits managers oversee wage-related issues in organizations.

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

Sales Manager talking to a client

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

Financial Managers in a meeting

Although an MBA is often considered the gold standard in the business world, many students choose specialized alternatives instead, such as these three:

  1. 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 can help prepare you for those jobs.
  2. Master of Healthcare Administration. Healthcare leaders handle many of the same responsibilities as business managers. In an MHA program, business courses are related specifically to healthcare.
  3. 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

MBA Careers & Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, management professionals earn a median annual salary of $109,760.

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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 $151,150
Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers $141,490
Financial Managers $134,180
Sales Managers $132,290
Compensation and Benefits Managers $125,130
Human Resources Managers $121,220
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $118,430
Training and Development Managers $115,640
Top Executives $107,680
Administrative Services Managers $98,890

An MBA can help 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?

MBA student studying online

Earning an MBA is possible through either online classes or on-campus programs. Online MBA programs cover the same or similar material as their more traditional counterparts. You’ll likely 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, typically offer a great deal of flexibility, many allowing you to log in to complete coursework from anywhere and at any time.

Is an Online MBA Taken Seriously?

Business administrators working on a project

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

MBA Degree student studying online at home

The business world depends on qualified leaders with experience and education. An online Master of Business Administration can help you gain 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 may 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 may go far with an online MBA. To take the first step in this journey, start exploring accredited MBA programs.

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Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.