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What Really Matters When Choosing an Online MBA Program?

An MBA is often the next step for professionals who want to build their careers and advance in the corporate world, and modern business professionals are frequently turning to online MBA programs. But with a wealth of prestigious institutions offering online degrees, it can be difficult to know which program to choose. Here's what smart business students should look for in an online MBA program:

Jul 15, 2016
  • Student Tips
What Really Matters When Choosing an Online MBA Program?

We all know that the world of business moves quickly, and while career development and continued learning are essential to success, it can be difficult to find the time to stop and earn an MBA. That's why many business professionals are opting to enroll in online MBA programs. With universities around the world offering high-quality online degrees, business professionals can earn their master's without sacrificing their earning potential or delaying their careers. But with so many options to choose from, how does a smart business professional go about choosing an online MBA? Every program is different, so use these key features to assess whether a program will give you the skills, credentials, and organization that fits your needs.

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1. Flexibility
One of the main reasons that professionals choose online degrees is that remote-study offers flexibility and convenience. But not all online MBAs are created equal, and some offer greater degrees of flexibility than others. Consider your schedule and life situation. Can you take time off to attend on-campus elements if they're required? Does your work-schedule allow you to log in for synchronous class elements? Will the program penalize you, or worse yet, revoke earned credits, if you take a break from your studies? For students who need maximum flexibility, look for online MBA programs with generous allowances for course completion. Remember, just because a school gives you five years to finish your degree doesn't mean you have to take that long. But you'll be happy to have the option if life and work demand more time than you imagined.

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2. Resources
Another sign that an online MBA in Business programs are a good choice? Students participating in the remote version have the same access to university resources as their on-campus counterparts. Although many institutions now offer online degrees, for some digital coursework and students hold less priority than their analog cohort. Look for programs where online classes are taught by the same professors and instructors as those on-campus and check whether instructors leading classes have experience teaching online. Watch out for programs that outsource teaching responsibilities or where the curriculum of the online program is significantly different from the on-campus degree requirements. Remember, top-quality programs will see their online students as equal to those on-campus and will offer the same access to career services, recruitment, and campus resources.

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3. Accreditation
Accreditation matters for students considering brick-and-mortar programs, so why would students considering an online degree ignore this factor? Many institutions are now offering online versions of their accredited on-campus programs, but that doesn't mean that the digital degree holds the same accreditation. Look for programs accredited by the Association toAdvance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP), or the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). These organizations are all recognized as legitimate accreditors, and their stamp of approval on a program indicates that it meets acceptable standards for academic achievement.

Of course, your requirements for a program will be dependent on your own personal circumstances, but there is one school gathers all these criteria: The University of Birmingham


  • The University of Birmingham's Online MBA program is the first 100% online program in the world to receive formal accreditation from the Association of MBAs. This impressive achievement is, according to Professor Simon Collinson, Dean of Birmingham Business School, “a testimony to [Birmingham's] innovative program design and state-of-the-art online learning experience.” The University holds its online program to the same high standards as its on-campus offerings and utilizes technology and modern learning techniques to ensure that online students are highly engaged and motivated.
  • The flexibility of Birmingham's online program is ideal for young professionals with three to five years of experience who want to improve and develop their business skills. The program was designed with busy professionals in mind and gives students across the globe access to the expertise of the Birmingham Business School. The coursework is built on a core of six modules, with six elective options and a final dissertation that can be completed in conjunction with students' employment.
  • The University of Birmingham is a prestigious institution. It's ranked among the world's 100 top universities, and its business school has triple-crown accreditation from the AACSB, AMBA, and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). The Business School has forty years of experience as a leader in innovative business degree development and the university offers numerous distance-learning programs in a variety of subjects and degree-fields.
  • For students without managerial experience, Birmingham also offers an excellent Online MSc International Business. This popular program is designed to prepare those in the early stages of their careers for the challenges of business by providing a host of practical skills to help them get ahead and stay ahead in today’s competitive business environment. Covering all the essentials of business, from marketing to finance, this course benefits from the same rigorous academics and cutting-edge virtual learning environment as Birmingham’s Online MBA.

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