Online MBA considerations
There are many important considerations a student must make when choosing a graduate degree program. In addition to the other previous material such as applications and financing the degree, a veteran must choose between a variety of program formats including on-campus full-time, part-time, off-campus, or online programs. The online format offers some distinct differences than traditional formats, and with the proliferation of high-quality graduate schools present in the market, online options are becoming more popular with each passing semester.
One important element to consider when choosing a program is to understand the differences in accreditation and ensure the programs meet your desired standard. Many schools are offering diversity in their MBA programs such as the opportunity to earn a dual masters in engineering, or to focus within the business discipline with concentrations such as analytics or business intelligence, and some schools are having their degree programs certified as STEM.
Many of the leading online MBA degree programs will incorporate a residential requirement for the cohort to visit the campus at some point. This is typically for a weekend or a week, and is a mandatory element to completing the program. In some cases, it is mandatory on fixed dates and in other cases, the veteran can choose when they would like to participate. There is an added advantage for some veterans in this instance, because under the post 9/11 GI bill rules in effect September 2020, any class program that requires a veteran to be on-campus will award the veteran the on-campus housing allowance rate for the ENTIRE school term. This can have enormous value depending on the circumstances, but it is a consideration that the veteran must contemplate.
The next important element to consider is the physical location of the school. Typically, graduate schools are aligned with companies and industries located within their geographical area. These partnerships are available to online students as well as on-campus students, and provide valuable learning opportunities and can lead to improved networking and even internship and career opportunities. Another geographic consideration relates to any recurring class or group work. You will want to be in a similar time zone with your school to ensure you can work effectively with your colleagues.
Many veterans considering online opportunities may be fully employed while pursuing their education. The online-MBA option offers a high-degree of flexibility for those who are employed, or desire flexibility for any reason. A common format is for students to complete an amount of work that is asynchronous, which means that it’s done on the students’ own time. This might consist of quizzes, video lectures, research assignments, and more. After completing the individual work, class might meet for a live synchronous session. In some programs, the weekly lecture might be a mandatory part of the final grade. Please ensure you work closely with an academic advisor to understand how each program is structured and what all the requirements are for you to be successful in their program.
In summary, an online MBA is a great option to consider for numerous reasons. The format can vary greatly between schools. In order to ensure greatest success, it is important for the veteran to consider where the school is, how the schedule will fit into their personal lives, and carefully choose which program they are interested in joining.