Earning Your MBA Degree Online
Enrollment in online MBA programs is on the rise, as it has been over the past several years. In general, getting your education online is becoming increasingly more common as schools across the country continue to add a number of online degree programs to their repertoire. Additionally, schools with a purely online platform, i.e. no campus at all, are becoming more prevalent and accepted as accredited institutions of higher education.
Earning an MBA online is quite similar to earning a degree in a more traditional setting, through a brick and mortar business school. To apply, you must have already earned your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and your GPA must meet the minimum standards of the school you are planning to attend. In many cases, GPA requirements for a master’s program fall somewhere around a 3.0.
Program duration varies from school to school, as program requirements may differ. In general, MBA programs are usually designed to be completed in two years. That being said, online MBA students may find that they are able to earn their online degree in less time than those enrolled in an on-campus program, as online schools offer flexibility in how many courses they offer at a given time and allow students to access coursework at any time of day. Online schools also frequently offer part-time options if that fits students’ schedules more suitably. Typically, online colleges are also less expensive that their brick and mortar counterparts. Firstly, tuition costs are often lower for a variety of reasons. For instance, some schools with a traditionally on-campus format may still charge an in-state vs. out-of-state tuition differential, but with purely online business schools, this is not an issue. Online programs typically also offer savings on textbooks and potential housing fees.
Job Outlook for MBA Graduates
According to BLS and online MBA rankings, the following chart addresses potential salary differentials/varying earning potentials between professionals with a bachelor’s degree vs. those with an MBA.
|Occupation||Number of People w/ Bachelor’s Degree||Number of People w/ Master’s Degree||Median Yearly Salary – Bachelor’s||Median Yearly Salary – Master’s|
|Securities, Commodities, and Financial Sales Services Agents||113,110||32,865||$90,000||$170,000|
|Transportation, storage, and distribution managers||41,935||15,415||$62,000||$90,000|
|Market research analysts and marketing specialists||114,105||49,705||$65,000||$90,000|
On average, students who graduate with an MBA are more likely to earn more money both in starting salary and over the course of his or her lifetime in the field, over those with a bachelor’s degree. Though some exceptions do exist, BLS reports that as of 2012, MBA holders can expect to earn an annual average of $12,000 more than those with bachelor’s degrees in the same line of work.
If you earn your online degree from a top MBA program, you can expect not only a higher starting salary than your contemporaries with a bachelor’s degree, but also to earn increasingly more over time. That is to say, while salaries of most employees rise over the course of their career, those who earn their degree from one of the best online MBA programs will see their salary rise at a higher growth percentage than those without a master’s degree.
The findings in the chart summarize the top five fields in which MBA holders earn more on average than those with bachelor’s of arts or bachelor’s of science degrees. Perhaps more commonly in business than in other areas of study, graduates may find that their expected salary varies from field to field. In other words, someone working as a financial analyst could expect to earn more than a marketing manager due to fluctuating circumstances, such as supply in demand and job availability, amongst other factors.
How an MBA Compares with Other Business Degrees
|Degree Level||Definition||Possible Concentrations||Median Annual Salary|
|Bachelor’s||A bachelor of arts or bachelor of sciences earned at an accredited 4-year institution.||Accounting, General Management, Finance, Human Resources||$60,000|
|Master’s||Master’s in business administration.||Marketing, Operations Management, Finance, Strategy||$100,000|
|Doctorate||PhD – prepares students for a career with an emphasis in research.||Business Administration, Human Capital Management, General Management||$140,000|
*Salaries vary greatly in the business sector, depending on what concentration you choose to work in. The salaries above are national averages and may not reflect your chosen career path.
Types of MBA Careers
“Business” is a broad heading under which to consider employment and earning potential ranges as wide as this category suggests. Many positions in the field of business are available to those who have earned an associate or bachelor’s degree, but the majority of those positions offer higher wages to candidates who have earned their MBA. By earning your MBA online, you will raise your potential for earning more throughout your lifetime. There are also careers that require a minimum of a master’s degree to be considered for employment; for example, to be an economist or research surveyor, you must have earned your MBA but, with this qualification, can expect to earn a median yearly salary of $101,150 or $54,470, respectively.
Earning your MBA online can open doors to an array of potential professions, including:
- General Management
Working in the field of management, you can expect to be in charge of an organization or group of people. It will be your responsibility to ensure that an office or place of business runs smoothly, that all tasks are completed on time, and that all expectations are met. Potential careers include construction manager, administrative services manager, and education administrator.
Getting your online MBA with a finance concentration prepares you to work with money and the management thereof. In finance, it is your job to keep track of accounts and the money involved in your place of business. Possible finance careers involve accounting and appraisals (i.e. real estate appraisement), as well as many other options.
For those who choose to focus on marketing, it is your job to promote your company and make the image of your business accessible to the average person. Getting your online MBA in marketing can lead to positions in advertising, promotions management, and marketing management.
Entrepreneurship may also be offered as a series of classes rather than a full concentration for the duration of a program. This type of coursework is geared toward preparing you to begin your own business or to work as an investor.
- International Business
Especially in today’s world, there is a growing necessity for individuals with international business savvy. With increased trade from country to country, it is crucial to ensure that relations between countries and companies remain on a level playing field, and one way to do this is to be familiar in the inner workings of business between nations. International business majors can expect to pursue careers as financial analysts, foreign affairs officers, and trade specialists.
- Supply Chain Management
A supply chain management MBA will allow students to become leaders in increasingly globally-driven business environments. Students will gain analytical skills in order for them to successfully cut costs and improve current processes. Supply chain managers are responsible for the logistics of the business, from obtaining raw materials to delivering products to the end user.
- Nonprofit Management
Working at a nonprofit means working at a place of business that does not make money, instead, these nonprofits receive funding from the government and through donations. These businesses still require a great deal of managing to ensure that they are able to remain open and operational. Positions in nonprofit employment may include program director, lead fundraiser, or outreach and communications manager.
- Information Systems/Technology
With the increased reach of technology and informatics, careers in technology are expanding accordingly. MBA holders interested in the tech field can potentially work as computer network architects, database administrators, and information security analysts.
MBA Certifications and Licensing
In seeking employment in business, in addition to earning your MBA online, you may find that pursuing a specific certification may help further marketability and expand your knowledge in the field. For example, earning a certification in business management can help you learn about human resource, financial, and legal issues as they pertain to management in a place of business. Certifications in most majors, including business, are available through some of the best online MBA programs at community colleges and extension colleges/campuses of traditional four-year universities and online business schools. While these certification opportunities award associate degree students an opportunity to transfer into a four-year program, sufficiently educated professionals or MBA students may be able to obtain certification by taking a test, rather than undergoing further coursework.
Many scholarship opportunities are offered to students in search of their MBA – earned online or on campus. The following are just some of the available MBA scholarships:
- Hubshout Internet Marketing Scholarship
The Hubshout Internet Marketing Scholarship is awarded twice a year to any student who has taken at least one year of upper-level education and displays passion for internet marketing.
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: March 1 and November 1, annually
- Paul Hagelbarger Memorial Scholarship Fund
Paul Hagelbarger Memorial Scholarship Fund awards students on the basis of academic achievement and intent to work in public accounting in the state of Alaska.
- Amount: $2,000+
- Deadline: November 20, 2017
- Wiley Scholarship Program
Wiley, in partnership with the American Women’s Society of Certified Public Accountants, will provide a free online review course for qualifying women who wish to prepare for their CPA, CMA, or CIA exams.
- Amount: Free review course
- Deadline: June 30, 2017
- Walmart Associate Scholarship Program
The Walmart Associate Scholarship Program is awarded to students enrolled in a higher education program, who also have been employed at Walmart either full-time or part-time for a minimum of six months prior to application.
- Amount: $2,000 per year
- Deadline: December 2, March 3, June 2, and December 3
- Golden Key International Honour Society Graduate Scholar Award
The Golden Key International Honour Society Graduate Scholar Award requires applicants to be either an undergraduate senior accepted into an MBA program or a student currently undertaking an MBA program. You must also be a member of the Golden Key Honour Society.
- Amount: $10,000
- Deadline: December 15, 2017
- LawnStarter Lawntrepreneur Scholarship
LawnStarter Lawntrepreneur Scholarship is open to students of all majors who currently own or are planning to establish a lawn care business.
- Amount: $1,000
- Deadline: December 31, 2017
- AfterCollege Business Student Scholarship
AfterCollege Business Student Scholarship is awarded to a student who is working toward a career in a business field. An applicant must also be a U.S. resident and a registered member of Aftercollege.com.
- Amount: Varies
- Deadline: June 30, 2017
College graduates are often unaware of the benefits available to them outside of the expected job opportunities that their field entails. One such benefit is professional association. These associations are particularly popular in the world of business, offering members a platform for networking as well as learning business standards such as codes of conduct and policy updates. By joining a professional association, you will likely be awarded access, communication, and networking opportunities with important people in your industry, as well as awarded internship opportunities and more.
Below are just some of the industry’s most prominent professional associations:
- American Bankers Association: This association was founded in 1875 and represents members from banks of all sizes.
- American Society of Women Accountants: The ASWA provides opportunities to women in all fields of finance and accounting.
- American Marketing Association: This group is the largest marketing association in North America; it provides crucial information to thousands of marketers each day.
- American Management Association: The AMA provides valuable resources and training to business professionals to ensure they remain up to date in the field.
- DECA: Founded in 1946, this nonprofit organization develops the business skills of college and high school students.
- National Human Resources Association: The NHRA was founded to support the development of students and professionals in the field of human resources.
- Social Media Club: This professional organization is designed to promote literacy across social media platforms.
- Entrepreneur’s Organization: This foundation is built on the notion of enhancing entrepreneurs’ abilities to be successful by learning from one another’s knowledge and experience.
- National Association of Black Accountants: This group strives to promote opportunities for minorities in the fields of finance and accounting.
- eMarketing Association: The eMA is the largest international association of eMarketing professionals in the world. This group provides resources and education to the online marketing community.
Internships for MBAs
Internships can be another useful way to enter the business world either before you graduate or while you are in the midst of a full-time job search. Internships provide invaluable networking opportunities as well as relevant experience in the field. Many are available via job searching/networking sites such as LinkedIn or Indeed. Additionally, you can find available internships via professional associations (as above), on campus, or in campus chat rooms.
The process of landing an internship is very similar to that of starting a career as a full-time employee; to apply, you will likely have to fill out an application, write an essay, and have reputable references. It may lend even greater value to your application to includes a letter of recommendation specifically from a professor, former boss, or member of a relevant professional association. Top online MBA programs frequently offer students resources for finding an internship that meets their expectations and goals.
Students often find themselves in a place where they are either unsure which program is right for them, or are unable to choose between multiple top online MBA programs. Courseware provides students with the opportunity to take classes and tutorials before committing to a given program. Not only does courseware enable you to sample what a given course may be like, but it can also supplement your education even after enrollment in a program. Courseware is a grouping of educational material designed to provide students with additional learning resources. The following links lead to a variety of MBA courseware materials:
- TUDelft MBA courses
- OpenCulture MBA/business courses
- Coursera MBA courses
- Coursera Business Management courses
- Open Education Consortium Business Management courses
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